2009 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs (September Update)

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer ISeptember 3, 2009

ATLANTA - AUGUST 29:  Running back Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons is tripped up by cornerback Antoine Cason #20 of the San Diego Chargers during the game at the Georgia Dome on August 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Falcons beat the Chargers 27-24.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

By Derek Lofland. (Fantasy Football Maniaxs)

We've been going back and forth all offseason about about our No. 1 Fantasy Football Running Back for 2009 between Peterson and Turner. Who makes the final edition of the rankings at the top?


Note: These are seasonal rankings, not keeper or dynasty. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to have the same list, because there are so many scoring systems in fantasy football. All point totals are courtesy of ProFootballReference.com, which uses a scoring system of one point per 25 yards passing, one point per every 10 yards rushing or receiving, and six points per every touchdown pass, catch, or rush. There is also a two-point penalty for interceptions, but ProFootballReference.com did not give a penalty for fumbles.


1) Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) – You can’t go wrong taking Peterson or Michael Turner with your first pick, but I like Peterson a little more with Brett Favre at quarterback because teams are going to have to be cautious about putting eight or nine in the box to stop him. Peterson is going to be a serious candidate for 2,000 yards rushing and 15 to 20 rushing touchdowns this season. 

2) Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) – He also received a big boost with the signing of Tony Gonzalez at tight end, which means defenses are going to have more weapons to guard against in the goal line situations. I look for Turner to also have a huge year with numbers very close to Peterson.

3) Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) – QB Jay Cutler signing with the Bears is going to help him improve on his 3.9 yards per carry average from 2008. Expect many receptions as well with the Bears lacking a dominant No. 1 receiver. 

4) DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) – The presence of Jonathan Stewart is always a concern, but Williams had 1,515 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns with Stewart stealing carries last year. The Panthers have no weapons in the passing game other than WR Steve Smith, which means there will be plenty of carries to go around. 

5) Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) – The only thing I disagree with people on is that the departure of Fred Taylor is going to be mean more yards for MJD. Taylor only had 143 carries, 556 yards, and one rushing touchdown last year. MJD is a great scoring threat, already having tallied 38 rushing and receiving TDs in his first three seasons in the NFL. The problem is that he isn’t a big yardage back, and while I expect him to top 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career, I don’t expect him to top 1,300 yards like I do the guys that are listed above him.

6) Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants) – This guy is so undervalued considering the numbers he puts up. In 2008, he had 1,089 yards rushing and 15 rushing touchdowns despite playing with another 1,000-yard back in Derrick Ward. Ward is now in Tampa Bay, which means Jacobs should receive more carries, provided he can stay healthy. Ahmad Bradshaw acts as a nice handcuff, which helps Jacob’s value, because you can guarantee yourself the Giants’ rushing attack, which was the best in the league last year.

7) Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins) – He was the MVP of the first half of the season, before tailing off in the second half of the season. His age (28) and career carries (2,052) are the reason I rank him below the other guys, but there is no denying what this guy has accomplished in his fantastic career.

8) Steve Slaton (Houston Texans) – I wasn’t surprised that he was able to put up 1,282 yards rushing last year, but it was the nine rushing touchdowns that were surprising. He is very athletic, and with no running back there to steal carries and WR Andre Johnson there to keep eight people out of the box, expect another big year from this young emerging star.

9) Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) – I’d have him a little higher if LenDale White wasn’t there to steal carries and touchdowns, but Johnson was a big producer last year despite White’s success. Kerry Collins isn’t going to throw the ball a lot, so there should still be plenty of carries for both backs.

10) Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles) – He is turning 30 years old, but the good news is that he only has 1,247 career carries, which means he should still have some gas in his tank. He has had some surgeries on his knee and ankle this offseason, so consider taking LeSean McCoy as a handcuff in case Westbrook’s body fails him during the season.

11) Steven Jackson (St Louis Rams) - I am sick of him being ranked in the top 10 because of one monster season in 2006. He is a terrific talent and some of his struggles are due to playing on a very bad team, but until this guy stops missing four games a year and playing inconsistently, 1,042 yards and seven rushing touchdowns should not equate into a first-round pick. 

12) LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers)- He is 30 years old, has 2,657 career carries, has a quarterback in Philip Rivers that can throw the ball with the best of them, and was plagued by injuries last year. He is a first-ballot Hall of Fame running back and one of the best to ever do it. He will have some big games this year in a weak AFC West, but he is no longer first-round material, as he can’t be counted on to stay healthy the entire season.

13) Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys)- This is another player that needs to stay healthy. However, with the big offensive line the Cowboys have, solid quarterback play from Tony Romo, and weapons in the passing game like Roy Williams and Jason Witten, I’m going to have faith in him for one more year that he can produce at a high level.

14) Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers)- Head coach Mike Singletary likes to run the ball a lot more than former offensive coordinator Mike Martz did, which means Gore is going to see a lot more touches. Health is always a concern with him, but so far, the injuries that dogged him at the University of Miami have not taken a toll on him in the NFL.

15) Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) - I think Thomas is going to have a really nice season. Teams can’t stack seven in the box with Drew Brees there and Thomas is going to receive the bulk of the rushing opportunities, with Reggie Bush being more of the third down back and receiving threat. Look for Thomas to top 1,000 yards this season and approach 10 touchdowns.

The Rest: 

16) Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins)

17) Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers)

18) Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders)

19) Kevin Smith (Detroit Lions)

20) Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)

21) Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers)

22) Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts)

23) Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

24) LenDale White (Tennessee Titans)

25) Thomas Jones (New York Jets)

26) Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos)

27) Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo Bills)*

28) Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs)

29) Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals)

30) Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints)

31) Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens)

32) Chris Wells (Arizona Cardinals)

33) Fred Taylor (New England Patriots)

34) Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts)

35) Jamal Lewis (Cleveland Browns)

36) Julius Jones (Seattle Seahawks)

37) Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants)

38) Leon Washington (New York Jets)

39) Chester Taylor (Minnesota Vikings)

40) Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys)

41) Tim Hightower (Arizona Cardinals)

42) Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills)

43) LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)

44) Sammy Morris (New England Patriots)

45) Darren Sproles (San Diego Chargers)

46) Michael Bush (Oakland Raiders)

47) Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers)

48) James Davis (Cleveland Browns)

49) Jerious Norwood (Atlanta Falcons)

50) Edgerrin James (Seattle Seahawks)

*Suspended first three games of 2009 season

Check out our latest rankings at every position including defensive players.