Fantasy Rankings: AFC South Running Backs In 2009

Josh SatlerAnalyst IJune 6, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 18:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for yardage during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 18, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The collection of running backs in the AFC South is both deep and talented, and represented as well as any other division at the top of fantasy drafts.

1. Maurice Jones-Drew

It was only a matter of time before this mighty mite became the full-time starter. After splitting carries for the past few years with Fred Taylor, the Jaguars said good bye to the long time vet and passed the torch to the tailback from UCLA.

Jones-Drew has been stellar since he's come into the league and last year, playing behind a decimated offensive line, still managed 824 yards and 12 TDs.

After the Jags went out and stockpiled talented offensive linemen in the draft, look for Jones-Drew as the No. 1 one guy to explode for over 1,400 yards and 15 TDs.

2. Chris Johnson

After Johnson ran a 4.2 at the 2008 NFL Combine, he snuck his way into the first round of the NFL Draft. But everyone thought it would be as a change of pace back with LenDale White. That wasn't the case.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Johnson's blinding speed and moves served him well and he established himself as a bonafide fantasy stud from day one, both as a running and receiving threat.

Look for him to pick up where he left off and surpass the 1,300 yard mark this year with double-digit TDs, some being of the longer variety.

3. Joseph Addai

Many of Addai's problems last year can be attributed to his decimated offensive line, but injuries also prevented him from posting numbers worthy of a top five fantasy pick. And this year, the Colts went out and drafted Donald Brown in the 1st round.

Addai, when healthy, is still an elite back in this league, and with an offensive line back intact, plus better luck in the injury department, he should regain form and post over 1,200 yards with double-digit TDs. He'll also do well receiving out of the backfield.

4. Steve Slaton

The steal of last year's fantasy draft, Steve Slaton, shrugged off all naysayers who said that he couldn't be a number one guy, and rushed for over 1,200 yards and nine TDs. And over the last five games of the season, he began to get stronger and stronger, and rattled off three 100 yard games with three TDs.

This year he'll look to prove that he wasn't just a one year wonder. And playing in a potentially potent Texans' offense, we think he'll do just fine. Look for him to eclipse the 1,200 yard mark and hit double-digit TDs in year two. And like the RBs listed ahead of him, he'll also provide some points in the receiving department.

5. LenDale White

While White's not a threat in the yardage department, he does know how to get into the end zone; he crossed the goal line 15 times last season. And this year we look for similar results.

Fisher is a run first, pass second coach, and Kerry Collins isn't exactly a gun slinger. While Johnson is clearly the MAN in Tennessee, look for White to pick up 30 percent of the carries and score double-digit TDs once again.

6. Donald Brown

Brown's initial role as a rookie will be to keep Addai fresh, but as the season moves along, look for his load to get heavier. The talented player from Connecticut, taken in the first round of the Draft, went ahead of many other areas of need, so you know GM Bill Polian plans to use him. And should Addai once again miss time, look for Brown to be a nice sleeper.

Draft Tip

The first round will see Jones-Drew, Johnson and Addai all taken off the board, starting from pick five on. Slaton shouldn't last past round two, and White will go between rounds three and five because he scores so many TDs. Brown will be a late round sleeper who could turn out to be a gem should Addai suffer an injury.