Pretty self-explanatory, here are my rankings for non-keeper leagues with standard scoring systems. Feel free to post your feelings in the comments section and tell me how stupid you think I am!
1) Marion Barber – One of the league’s best O-lines, an offense that will move the ball with relative ease regardless of who they’re playing, giving up very few carries to Felix Jones and is the league’s best goal-line back. I think he could at least approach LT’s touchdown record.
2) Brian Westbrook – He’ll rival Barber as fantasy’s top producing back, I simply have him at No. 2 because he’s still a bit of an injury concern.
3) Adrian Peterson – Not sharing carries with Chester Taylor anymore and has a stellar O-line that will only get better once Bryant McKinnie comes back. I’d take him over any back in the league if I was building a real team but he’s hurt by Minnesota’s lack of a passing attack.
4) LaDainian Tomlinson – Injuries starting to become a concern. I don’t see a reason to put him above the previous three when all four are similarly capable of going for 30 fantasy points on any given week but LT is the only one banged up.
5) Joseph Addai – He’s faced two terrible matchups, he’ll be fine.
6) Frank Gore – Finally looks to have a passing game to complement his beastliness.
7) Willie Parker – Not giving up near the amount of carries to Rashard Mendenhall that I expected. Pittsburgh will be up in plenty of games and feed Parker the rock time and time again.
8) Steven Jackson – Still the focal point of his offense, more than any other back in the league, but the problem is his offense is mediocre and his team’s defense will find it tough to keep the Rams in ball games.
9) Marshawn Lynch – Great back on a good-looking team, value is certainly hurt a bit by what looks like 10-plus touches a game that will go to Fred Jackson.
10) Clinton Portis – Doesn’t have the speed he used to but is still a valuable No. 1 back.
11) Matt Forte – Hated him before the year, as I though the Bears would be the worst offense in the league. They aren’t, but what they are is a team that will rely on defense and their running attack to win games. I see Forte compiling a similar season to Thomas Jones’ two years ago (1,350-plus total yards) when Chicago made the Super Bowl.
12) Darren McFadden – Justin Fargas’ injury could be worse than people think. Though Michael Bush will be a factor, McFadden will get enough looks to ensure more than a few highlights this season and the fantasy points will come too.
13) Reggie Bush – Top-5 guy in PPR leagues. Marques Colston’s injury only further added to Bush’s value, as he’s now arguably Drew Brees’ top target.
14) Michael Turner – Hype of his Week 1 performance is gone but he’s still a beast.
15) Ryan Grant – Don’t sell low on him. He’ll be fine once he’s back to full health, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.
16) Thomas Jones – Improved offensive line and addition of Brett Favre have proved to give a nice boost to Jones’ production.
17) Brandon Jacobs – If you step out of a fantasy mindset, I think Jacobs in one of the league’s top-10 backs. I think he’s actually hurt that the Giants are so good, as they’ll bring in Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw late in games to keep Jacobs fresh throughout the season.
18) Jamal Lewis – Browns offense has faced two tough matchups and will get better. Lewis is still their feature guy, and there’s not a defender in the league that wants to tackle him.
19) Earnest Graham – Love the guy, hate that Jon Gruden is splitting his carries with Warrick Dunn.
20) Julius Jones – Seattle’s offense will get better once their wideouts get back. With Maurice Morris’ injury, Jones has a chance to show he deserves to handle the load.
21) Larry Johnson – Everyone was yelling bust before the season, and everyone might be right. He faces an unattractive schedule and the Chiefs are awful regardless of who happens to be handing LJ the ball.
22) Chris Johnson – Has surprisingly received a carry more than LenDale White through two weeks and also has five receptions to White’s zero. He’s the fastest back in the league and is a part of one of the league’s best running offenses.
23) Maurice Jones-Drew – Despite problems on the O-line, Jags offense will be better. He’s still just one Fragile Freddy tweak from being a monster.
24) Jonathan Stewart – Timeshare with DeAngelo Williams still a bit unclear, but it’s pretty clear Stewart is the man you’d rather have.
25) Edgerrin James – Still the starting back in a good offense but has lost all his goal-line duties to Tim Hightower.
26) Willis McGahee – He’s banged up and the Ravens offense should be one of the league’s worst. You won’t hear him saying he’s the league’s best running back anytime this year.
27) Chris Perry – Has been getting nearly all the carries in Cinci’s offense that can’t be as bad as they’ve looked, can they?
28) LenDale White – Chris Johnson is better but White still gets half the carries in Tennessee’s run-heavy system, including the invaluable ones on the goal line.
29) Steve Slaton – His bye week is already out of the way and Houston should be at least decent on offense. With the end of Ahman Green’s career looking like one constant stay on the injury report, Slaton could be a nice sleeper.
30) Felix Jones – Barber is firmly Dallas’ feature back, but I put Felix here simply because he’s one play away from being a top-5 fantasy back.
No, I didn’t forget about them
Laurence Maroney – I just don’t see much, if any, upside. He’s going to share carries all year long with Sammy Morris. And if Morris gets hurt, as he did last year, Maroney will share carries with LaMont Jordan. Plus Kevin Faulk comes in on third down regardless.
Kevin Smith – Detroit will continue to struggle, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rudi Johnson get worked more into the offense as he gets acclimated to the playbook.
Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams – Neither of them have shown any reason to consider them as useful flex options this season.
Selvin Young – Mike Shanahan, on a life-long quest to screw over any and all fantasy owners that draft his starting running backs, is in his prime. Already murky with Andre Hall and Michael Pittman, it’ll only get worse once Ryan Torain returns.
Posted by Danny Goldin at 9/17/2008 11:40:00 AM