2010 opened a lot of eyes in the world of fantasy football.
The mighty fell (Marion Barber and Jonathan Stewart), while the unknown flourished (Green-Ellis, Hillis and Foster.) Things are different going into this season with the wild summer. This means fantasy will be different as well.
There is new blood at the running back position, and being able to steal the up-and-comers will strengthen your team.
Here are my top 20 running backs for 2011.
I am not a Hillis believer at all. I had him on my team and rode the wave, but crashed with him as he ran out of gas.
He isn't quick and has no passing game to support him. Hillis does catch the ball well out of the backfield and is a beast though.
I am just not buying anything close to a repeat of last year.
Best is capable of a massive break-out year. He will have a passing game to support him, as well as a bruiser to share some of the load.
I see a lot of Chris Johnson in Best, though he is nowhere near as durable.
Mathews enters his post-hype year.
Last year at this time he was the toast of the ESPN mock drafts, but had a disappointing year due to injuries and ineffectiveness. He is still the same player he was then, I’m just willing to take another chance on him.
Nothing like seeing the good guys succeed in life, right?
Blount may not be the most outstanding citizen, but he is a very viable fantasy option. He faces little competition in Tampa Bay, and the passing offense is improving enough to open the line for him.
Blount had one of the highest per-game averages in the league last year, and I would not be surprised if he did it again.
Turner isn't sexy by any stretch of the imagination, and he refuses to catch the ball out of the backfield.
However, he gets a lot of carries and plays for a good team. He doesn't have a very high ceiling, but he is very consistent if he is healthy.
I love C.J. Spiller this year. I think he is a poor man’s LeSean McCoy.
Spiller is electric and will get plenty of catches out of the backfield. I think he will get the majority of the carries in Buffalo and make the most of them.
I loved Forte last year, and I love him again this year.
His line is suspect, and his quarterback is erratic. This all adds up to a lot of carries for Forte. He is versatile and has the ability to take any touch to the house.
Forte would be a bit scary to draft high, but I think I may be willing.
I am going overboard on Lynch.
He may not be a No. 1 fantasy back, but he is the clear-cut guy in Seattle. He still has a lot of untapped potential and is still young.
Lynch may look scary, but he puts the team on his back. Let him carry your young team to the promised land.
Foster led the league in scoring last year, and while many are calling for a repeat, I don't see it.
He plays on a team that has a potent passing attack. Foster went undrafted and had 257 rushing yards going into last season.
I think he will be decent, but I'm not going overboard on him this year.
Teams under such scrutiny and pressure frequently disappoint. Bradford and the young guns will not take as many steps forward as people are expecting, and that benefits Jackson greatly.
The Rams will once again lean on their bruiser.
Gore has been much maligned recently. He has produced every year in recent memory, but for some reason nobody gives him love.
Gore may not be flashy, but he is a guy you can build your team around.
Shady is about to break out.
Philly will have an explosive offense, and McCoy is just one of those weapons. He is versatile and dangerous, and he will score often and from deep.
Rice is a great receiver out of the backfield; this will add to his value.
He is a good option going forward, but I feel like he may have reached his ceiling.
If there is one player I would stake my reputation on for this season, it would be Felix Jones.
Dallas, on paper, has one of the best offenses in the league. While Jason Garrett loves to air it out, he will also give Felix his share of touches. He has as much potential as any back in the league, and without any real threats to his touches, he will have a monster year.
I have a personal motto I play all fantasy games by: Top prospects become top producers.
While this is obviously far from foolproof, more times than not it turns out to be true.
McFadden started to deliver on his enormous talent and high draft pick last season. I think this season will be his break-out season.
Injury risk, but very talented; I would bank on him returning to his healthy contributions.
Mendenhall is one of the more underrated backs in the league. He gets it done and has nobody to snake his goal line touches.
He is decent catching the ball out of the backfield and should boost his production from last season in that department.
Always reliable and dangerous; I'm not a huge fan of him historically, but he is always a top-five producer.
Johnson may be the fastest back in the league, and the Titans will be leaning on him more than ever with the unsettled quarterback situation. He can take any play to the house and gets plenty of receptions.
I like him slightly better than Peterson, though they are in virtually the exact same situation.
Charles is the perfect blend of everything; he may be the most talented runner in the league right now. He plays on a team that throws the ball just enough to keep the heat off the running game.
Charles also has a reliable, but not threatening, backup. He will be the leading scorer in the league this season.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know.