Fantasy Football Rankings 2011: Arian Foster and the Top 20 PPR Running Backs
These are, in my opinion, the top 20 fantasy football running backs in point-per-reception format leagues.
These rankings are based on last season's statistics, as well as expectations for the upcoming season.
Keep in mind that these rankings are for leagues with PPR scoring, so running backs with more catches have more value than in standard scoring leagues.
20. Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 185 ATT, 800 YDS, 1 TD; 48 REC, 450 YDS, 1 TD
You'd like to see more touchdowns from a back as talented as Jones, but he still managed more than 1,200 yards from scrimmage, not to mention 48 receptions. His numbers should increase in 2011 now that Marion Barber is gone.
19. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 222 ATT, 927 YDS, 5 TD; 31 REC, 215 YDS, 2 TD
Jackson was a very pleasant surprise for fantasy owners last season. He took the reins as Buffalo's featured back and should continue to produce in that role in 2011.
18. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 229 ATT, 1,008, 13 TD; 12 REC, 85 YDS
Green-Ellis doesn't get a lot of action in the passing game but his rushing numbers make up for it (1,000-plus yards and 13 touchdowns).
17. Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions
Leon Halip/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 172 ATT, 563 YDS, 4 TD; 58 REC, 487 YDS, 2 TD
Best was on his way to NFC Rookie of the Year before injury problems. He still gained more than 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns.
That's not a bad rookie season at all.
He'll be splitting carries with rookie running back Mikel Leshoure, but Best is still a nice PPR player to have, finishing sixth among all running backs in catches last season with 58.
16. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 334 ATT, 1,371 YDS, 12 TD; 12 REC, 85 YDS
Turner is another guy who hardly catches the ball, but does a lot of work on the ground. He's practically a shoo-in for more than 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.
15. LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
2010 Stats: 219 ATT, 914 YDS, 6 TD; 52 REC, 368 YDS
L.T. just doesn't quit producing. He was surprisingly the better fantasy player than teammate Shonn Greene in 2010.
Owners shouldn't expect the numbers he put up last season, but he'll still carry his own in the Jets' backfield.
14. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 203 ATT, 853 YDS, 3 TD; 46 REC, 452 YDS, 2 TD
Gore would be a lot higher on this list if he didn't get injured every season. When healthy, Gore can be a top-five PPR fantasy running back. He still put up some respectable numbers in 2010 with more than 1,200 total yards and five touchdowns.
13. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 299 ATT, 1,324 YDS, 5 TD; 34 REC, 317 YDS, 2 TD
Jones-Drew is like the Energizer bunny, he just keeps on going.
Despite nagging knee injuries, Jones-Drew still made fantasy owners happy last season. Like Gore, he too has the ability to be a top-five PPR fantasy running back when healthy.
12. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rob Carr/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 324 ATT, 1,273 YDS, 13 TD; 23 REC, 167 YDS
If this was a list of standard scoring fantasy running backs, then Mendenhall would probably be in the top five. Who doesn't want more than 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns on their team?
11. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 276 ATT, 1,235 YDS, 8 TD; 47 REC, 314 YDS
Bradshaw really showed off his stuff last season; maybe only his mom and Tom Coughlin would have predicted he would gain more than 1,500 total yards and eight touchdowns. Bradshaw's an ideal PPR fantasy running back and a safe bet for similar numbers in 2011.
10. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 330 ATT, 1,241 YDS, 6 TD; 46 REC, 383 YDS
Jackson kind of went under the radar in 2010 despite gaining more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage. He didn't score as many times as owners would have liked, and there's always the possibility of him getting injured as he's showed us over the years.
Still, Jackson's what makes the Rams' rejuvenated offense tick.
9. Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 270 ATT, 1,177 YDS, 11 TD; 61 REC, 477 YDS, 2 TD
The fantasy surprise of the year was, hands-down, Peyton Hillis. He's a bulldozer on the ground and a huge threat in the passing game. Hillis' numbers will probably go down some in 2011, but he'll still get more than 1,000 yards and close to double-digit touchdowns.
8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 237 ATT, 1,069 YDS, 6 TD; 51 REC, 547 YDS, 3 TD
Forte had what some considered to be a relatively quieter season in 2010, but he still managed more than 1,600 total yards and nine touchdowns.
Not too bad for a "quiet" season.
7. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 223 ATT, 1,157 YDS, 7 TD; 47 REC, 507 YDS, 3 TD
Run-DMC finally showed fantasy owners what he's capable of in 2010, racking up more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns, despite losing a good amount of goal-line touches to teammate Michael Bush.
This season shouldn't be too different and, playing in the AFC West, you know he's going to have a decent schedule.
6. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 308 ATT, 1,223 YDS, 5 TD; 63 REC, 556 YDS, 1 TD
Rice is another PPR standout. He was third among running backs with 63 catches, and is the heart and soul of the Ravens' offense.
5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 283 ATT, 1,298 YDS, 12 TD; 36 REC, 341 YDS, 1 TD
Peterson is arguably the most consistent and reliable player on this list. He's a lock for more than 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.
4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 316 ATT, 1,364 YDS, 11 TD; 44 REC, 245 YDS, 1 TD
CJ2K gathered 12 total touchdowns, but still had what was considered an off-year due to the lack of yards compared to previous seasons. With a new veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck at the helm, his numbers should go up this season.
3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 230 ATT, 1,467 YDS, 5 TD; 45 REC, 468 YDS, 3 TD
Charles turned it up a notch in 2010, proving himself to be one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL. Don't be surprised if he reaches the prestigious plateau of 2,000 total yards in 2011.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Laham/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 207 ATT, 1,080 YDS, 7 TD; 78 REC, 592 YDS, 2 TD
McCoy is a PPR beast. He led all running backs in targets (90) and receptions (78). He's Philadelphia's second-best weapon, as crazy as that is.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Al Bello/Getty Images
2010 Stats: 326 ATT, 1,614 YDS, 16 TD; 66 REC, 604 YDS, 2 TD
Foster is a no-brainer for the No. 1 PPR fantasy running back. He had more than 2,200 total yards and 18 total touchdowns for crying out loud.