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Pro Football 101 Fantasy Rankings: Running Backs 11-20 in 2009

Josh SatlerAnalyst IAugust 10, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 21:  Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants celebrates as he runs off the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers on December 21, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

11. Brandon Jacobs

The bruising back scored 15 TDs in 2008 and rushed for a thousand yards in his just 13 games. This year, with the uncertainty at receiver, the running game becomes even more of a focal point and that means a lot of Jacobs.

12. Steve Slaton

Initially pegged as a third down back, Slaton showed he was much more. Now's he's considered one of the building blocks for the franchise and after 1,282 and nine TDs it's easy to see why. With Andre Johnson commanding much of the defenses attention, look for Slaton to once again flourish.

13. Frank Gore

Gore's a talented back who has taken a few steps back over the past few seasons. The entire 49ers' offense has for that matter. Things are looking brighter by the Bay this season and perhaps the weapons on the outside will open things up once again for Gore.

14. Marion Barber

Barber's as tough a runner as they come, but the real question is whether he's durable; last season didn't answer that in the affirmative. Still, with a big offensive line and a pro bowl QB, Barber will be featured and should produce.

15. Larry Johnson

2008 was a wash as he went down with an injury shortly after the midpoint of the season. With the improvements to this year's version of the offense, notably at QB, look for LJ to be a nice surprise this year and a nice fantasy sleeper pick.

16. MarShawn Lynch

The three-game suspension to start the season moved him to  No.16. Lynch is a steady back who can do a lot of things good, not great, and we expect upon his return a solid stat line with T.O. in the lineup.

17. Thomas Jones

Jones had a very strong 2008 campaign and finished fourth in fantasy football scoring. This year he's bickering over his contract, playing with an inexperienced QB, and all but certain to lose carries to Leon Washington. He still should have a solid season, just not like last year.

 

18. Joseph Addai

Addai was a top five fantasy back last year but injuries ravished his season. And now Indy used their top pick on Donald Brown out of UConn which doesn't bode well for Addai. If the offensive line comes together, and he can stay healthy, he'll end up ranked much higher than this pre-season ranking.

19. Kevin Smith

The second-year back from the 0-16 team had a solid rookie campaign coming on strong in the end. Calvin Johnson always keeps the safety out of the box and Smith showed he could run inside, or outside, so expect improvement in his sophomore season.

20. Ryan Grant

The wonder back of 2007 certainly didn't transfer it over to 2008, but a lot of that can be attributed to his training camp injury after his holdout. With no hold out this year, and a very good offense around him, look for Grant to bounce back.

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