Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Running Back Rankings for PPR

Caleb ShawContributor IIJuly 10, 2011

Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Running Back Rankings for PPR

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    Here is a look at the top 10 projected RB's for the 2011 season as well as possible sleepers to key in on this year.  After evaluating many mock drafts and projections, I have come up with what I believe is an accurate list of fantasy projections for Point Per Reception formats or (PPR) leagues.

    Feel free to hit me with your comments, good or bad.  Some interesting choices will be made on this list and your favorites might have been left off.

    Reaches: Players drafted ahead of their value because of their name or past success. 

    Steals: Players that produce at a higher rate then their draft position indicates.  People often undervalue them because they are stuck in the past or have injury concerns.

    Sleepers: Players that you can get relatively late in your draft but will produce like a similar player taken in earlier rounds.

    This will be broken down into three tier's of RB performance.

    Follow this guide and it will lead you to Fantasy Football glory.


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    Any one of these RB's would make a solid RB 1 for your fantasy team.  There are better options, but if you pick late in your draft you should feel comfortable selecting one of these work horses.



    He proved he could be a stud RB last season.  He just has to stay healthy in 2011 to really get my attention.  He has the most boom potential out of this group and could score as a top five RB, but he has to stay healthy to prove that first.

    Projection:  1,100 Yds, 7 TD’s, 53 Rec, 450 Yds and 2 TD’s

    256 points



    He is the guy in Pittsburgh and will get around 350 total touches in 2011.  He has a nose for the end zone…otherwise he would miss the top 10 because of his lack of receptions.

    Projection:  1,300 Yds, 12 TD’s, 31 Rec, 220 Yds and 1 TD

    261 points



    People are clearly undervaluing him while overvaluing Montario Hardesty.  Hillis scored the third most points for a RB in PPR leagues last season!  His numbers may dip slightly but not a ton.  He likely will fall in drafts to around the nine to 14 RB spot.  He will produce on a higher level than that though, which makes him a STEAL.

    Projection:  1,100 Yds, 10 TD’s, 58 Rec, 400 Yds and 1 TD

    274 points


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    This group is very solid.  MJD and Rice regressed last season, but they still put up solid numbers.  I expect both of them to be back in form this season.  



    He broke out in 2010.  They have Jones to give carries to as well, but he has all the tools to produce.  If Jones were gone then Charles would be higher. But Jones isn't gone, so Charles isn't higher.  Beware of an increase in carries as it will hurt his yards per carry average.  

    Projection:  1,290 Yds, 8 TD’s, 49 Rec, 420 Yds and 2 TD’s

    278 points



    He had offseason knee surgery so he may be a little rusty, but he produces every year.  He is their number one guy and gets more touches than most RB’s in the league.

    Projection:  1,400 Yds, 10 TD’s, 49 Rec, 440 Yds and 1 TD

    299 points


    5.  RAY RICE  (RAVENS)

    TD’s are the only thing holding him back.  That will change this season.  He gets 60+ catches and 1,200 yards yearly.  Expect the same with more TD’s this season.

    Projection:  1,300 Yds, 8 TD’s, 64 Rec, 540 Yds and 2 TD’s

    308 points


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    I am a little down on Arian Foster this season, but his touches and numbers don't lie.  The surprise in this tier is obviously going to be McCoy, but I will tell you why he is here later in the slide.



    Nobody is calling this but I will.  Expect him to be solid…but drop drastically from last season.  This is nothing new to the Texans, as Steve Slaton blew our minds and then disappeared.  Foster won’t disappear but he will come back to earth.  He will go first in many drafts but shouldn’t.  That is why he is a REACH.

    Projection:  1,250 Yds, 11 TD’s, 55 Rec, 500 Yds and 3 TD’s

    314 points


    3.  LeSEAN McCOY  (EAGLES)

    He likely will be taken as the fifth to ninth fantasy RB but expect him to breakout as a top three RB in 2011.  This is why he is a STEAL in 2011.  He should lead all RB’s in receptions and will have a heavy workload in Philly this season.

    Projection:  1,130 Yds, 9 TD’s, 70 Rec, 600 Yds and 3 TD’s

    315 points



    It will be extremely tough with a bad team, but he is money in the bank every season.  Nobody is more consistent than Peterson.  He goes for around 1300 yards and double digit TD’s every season.  He will get close to 400 total touches in 2011.  Warning: handcuff Toby Gerhart.  

    Projection:  1,640 Yds, 15 TD’s, 40 Rec, 320 Yds and 2 TD’s

    338 points



    He will have a tough time just like Peterson if the box is loaded, but he is so electric that it may not matter.  He wants a big contract (which he deserves) and he may hold out of camp.  However, he is the RB with the most game changing ability, so missing time in camp won't matter.  He gets over 300 carries and 40 or 50 catches every season.

    Projection:  1,750 Yds, 14 TD’s, 47 Rec, 400 Yds and 2 TD

    358 points

Reaches, Steals and Sleepers

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    Reaches:  Arian Foster, Michael Turner Steven Jackson and Frank Gore.

    Turner is nearly 30 and he is not a receiving RB.  I believe Jackson is on the down turn and will not produce.  Gore is injury prone and the new coach likes to throw the ball around.  He hasn’t played 16 games since 2006.  Gore may impress, but he usually doesn’t...and I just don’t trust him.  

    Advice of the your gut.  If you pick someone you were hesitant on and he gets hurt or doesn't produce, you will kick yourself.  Go with what you are comfortable with.


    Steals:  LeSean McCoy, Peyton Hillis and Ahmad Bradshaw. 

    Bradshaw could easily make the top 10, but there are many good backs in front of him.  However, he will likely produce top 10 numbers, but won’t be taken until around 11th to 17th among all RB’s.


    Sleepers:  BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Joseph Addai, Johnathan Stewart, LaGarret Blount and Ryan Grant.

    All have the ability to be top 10 RB points producers…the question is will they?  The all are great value picks since they will likely be around later to key in on.  One of these guys could very well surprise and score big in 2011.