Fantasy Football Top 20 Running Backs for 2011: Updated as of 07/25/11

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 25, 2011

DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texas rushes with the ball as cornerback Perrish Cox #32 of the Denver Broncos defends at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Will today be the day that the lockout officially ends?  I’m sure I’m not the only one that will be relieved when we can finally get things rolling towards our fantasy drafts.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the updated running back rankings:

  1. Arian Foster: Houston Texans
  2. Adrian Peterson: Minnesota Vikings
  3. Chris Johnson: Tennessee Titans
  4. Jamaal Charles: Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Ray Rice: Baltimore Ravens
  6. LeSean McCoy: Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Darren McFadden: Oakland Raiders
  8. Michael Turner: Atlanta Falcons
  9. Rashard Mendenhall: Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Frank Gore: San Francisco 49ers
  11. Maurice Jones-Drew: Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Steven Jackson: St. Louis Rams
  13. Matt Forte: Chicago Bears
  14. Jonathan Stewart: Carolina Panthers
  15. Shonn Greene: New York Jets
  16. LeGarrette Blount:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  17. Ahmad Bradshaw:New York Giants
  18. Peyton Hillis: Cleveland Browns
  19. Ryan Grant: Green Bay Packers
  20. Cedric Benson: Cincinnati Bengals


  • To see why I would go with Rice as not only the fifth running back, but the fifth overall selection, click here.  It’s really close between Rice and McCoy, though, so I can understand going either way.
  • While Matt Forte has failed to live up to his 2008 success (1,238 yards, 8 TD), he also has seen his carries drop each of the past three seasons (316 to 258 to 237).  That’s not to say that he’s not getting his touches, however, as he had 51 receptions last season and totaled 1,616 yards and 9 TD.  Possibly even more important for fantasy owners is the Bears willingness to lean on him over the final few weeks of the season, when your fantasy title is on the line (90-plus yards each of the final three weeks).  Obviously, you need to get there, but he should produce more than enough.  I’d rather have him as a RB2, just because the Bears go pass happy at times, however.
  • For the past few years Steven Jackson had basically been the entire Rams offense, yet he continued to produce.  Now, with the emergence of Sam Bradford, he finally has some help.  Granted, having carried the ball 907 times over the past three seasons (third most in the league), there is a little bit of concern of if he can hold up or not.  Still, he’s rushed for over 1,000 yards for six years running and should continue to be considered one of the better backs in the league.
  • I’ve already discussed LeGarrette Blount and why I think he’s a solid option as a RB2 for the coming year.  To find out why, click here.
  • Peyton Hillis is certainly a player that some love for the coming season.  Unfortunately, I am not fully on board.  He could face a reduced role as the Browns try to keep him healthy, and also showed fumbling issues in 2010.  To read more about my concerns, click here.
  • Cedric Benson picked a pretty bad time to get into trouble, didn’t he?  We’ll have to see how things play out, but his draft stock certainly could plummet.

Make sure to check out the other rankings from Rotoprofessor:

Make sure to check out the rest of the early rankings from Rotoprofessor: