The 10 Best Fantasy PPR Running Backs for 2010
The 2009 Fantasy Football season has come, or is about to come, to an unfortunate end. Fantasy owners everywhere will soon come to the grim realization that the next fantasy football season is 6-8 months away. I, too, have encountered this unwelcoming truth and am attempting to remedy the situation.
There is no better way to say goodbye to the 2009 season than by looking forward to the promising 2010 season, however far away it may be.
I am an avid supporter of PPR (point per receptions) leagues and have compiled a list of my top ten PPR running backs for the 2010 fantasy football season. Enjoy.
No. 10: Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
If Thomas wasn't splitting carries with Reggie Bush and Mike Bell he would probably be in the top five of this list. However, Thomas is indeed part of a committee, but that doesn't stop him from putting up attractive PPR numbers. Thomas has respectable rushing statistics with 800 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, but what makes him even more valuable is that he was targeted 45 times in the passing game and caught 39 of those, adding two touchdowns in the air to his six on the ground. Thomas should remain a top PPR option for years to come.
No. 9: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte was arguably the biggest fantasy bust of the '09 season. He amassed more than 1,600 total yards his rookie season as well as 12 total touchdowns. He grabbed 63 passes through the air and carried the pigskin an incredible 316 times in his inaugural campaign. The Bears feature back then experienced a major sophomore slump as he has only put out 1,200 total yards and four total touchdowns this season. Forte has only carried the ball 242 times this season, which can be partly attributed to the addition of strong-armed Jay Cutler, but has caught 54 passes, only nine fewer than his '08 receptions total, with one game left to play. Forte's production took a big hit this season, but his steadiness in the passing game still makes him a good PPR option.
No. 8: Jerome Harrison, Cleveland Browns
Jerome who? No one knew who this out-of-nowhere Cleveland running back was until a few weeks before the end of this season. Harrison only had one 100 yard performance this season in Week 4 against Cincinnati before he exploded onto the fantasy scene against the Chiefs in Week 15. Harrison racked up 286 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Kansas City, and backed it up with a 148 yard, one touchdown performance against Oakland a week later. Harrison caught 32 passes this season despite minimal playing time, which is why he is such a threat next season as Jamal Lewis will be retiring.
No. 7: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles became the Chiefs' starter in Week 10 after Larry Johnson was released from the team. He took advantage of the opportunity and didn't look back as he became one of the top PPR running backs toward the end of the season. Despite starting in Week 10, Charles has managed to gather 1,100 total yards and six total touchdowns. He has also been targeted 54 times with 39 receptions. The sky's the limit for this former Longhorns' running back next season, as he will no doubt be the Chiefs No. 1 option.
No. 6: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
If Jackson could stay healthy he would be the fourth running back on this list. However, Jackson has had trouble with his health in recent years and is really the only good player on his team, which makes him the center of attention for opposing defenses every week. Despite Jackson's health issues and lousy team situation he has still managed to accumulate almost 1,400 all-purpose yards, but only four total touchdowns; all on the ground. Jackson is still third in the league in receptions and targets for running backs with 54 and 74 on the season, respectively. Jackson is a PPR monster every season. He just needs to increase his TD output.
No. 5: Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Gore is another perennial PPR beast. He is one of the few backs left in the league that can be relied on to put up good numbers each and every season. He's only managed 1,400 total yards this season, but scored 11 times. Not to mention he is fourth in targets for running backs with 71. There is no reason to doubt Gore's productivity next season, as long as he stays healthy.
No. 4: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson's home is on the ground, but his numbers through the air increased this year with Brett Favre taking over at quarterback. He has doubled his reception total from last year (21 to 42) and totaled close to 1,800 total yards, as well as 17 rushing touchdowns. The only downfall of Adrian Peterson's game is that he does not score through the air, but definitely makes up for it on the ground. Even if Favre retires at the end of the season, Peterson is a safe bet no matter what scoring system you're playing with.
No. 3: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
The biggest surprise in fantasy football this year. Ray Rice is a PPR dream. He has been targeted a whopping 96 times with 74 catches and racked up 683 yards receiving alone. He also managed to run for 1,200+ yards and seven touchdowns. This was Rice's first year as a starter and he still put up gaudy numbers. He is, surprisingly, Joe Flacco's go-to guy in the passing game and will be a top PPR option for years to come.
No. 2: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jones-Drew is the most reliable PPR option in my book. Every year he gets at least 40 receptions and double digit touchdowns. His workload increased this year with the departure of Fred Taylor and he proved undoubtedly that he could handle the pressure. Jones-Drew has had his best season yet as he has totaled close to 1,700 yards and 16 total touchdowns. These numbers shouldn't change too much next year.
No. 1: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
He's Chris Johnson, what else is there to say. With one game left to play he already has over 2,200 total yards and 14 touchdowns. Johnson's speed separates him from the rest of the pack and as long as he doesn't lose his legs he will be the No. 1 PPR running back for the foreseeable future.