2011 Definitive Fantasy Football Positional Rankings – Running Backs

1.    Adrian Peterson
2.    Arian Foster
3.    Ray Rice
4.    Chris Johnson
5.    Jamaal Charles 
6.    Maurice Jones-Drew
7.    LeSean McCoy
8.    Rashard Mendenhall 

9.    Darren McFadden
10.  Michael Turner
11.   Frank Gore
12.  Steven Jackson
13.  Matt Forte 

14.  LaGarrette Blount
15.  Ahmad Bradshaw
16.  Peyton Hillis
17.  Knowshow Moreno
18.  Jahvid Best
19.  Felix Jones
20.  DeAngelo Williams
21.  Ryan Mathews
22. Shonn Greene 

23.  Cedric Benson
24.  Fred Jackson
25.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis
26.  Joseph Addai
27. Marshawn Lynch

28.  Tim Hightower
29.  Jonathan Stewart
30.  Mike Tolbert
31.   Beanie Wells
32.  Mark Ingram
33.  Reggie Bush
34.  Ryan Grant
35.  Brandon Jacobs
36.  Daniel Thomas 

37.  Michael Bush
38.  Ryan Torrain
39.  LaDanian Tomlinson
40.  C.J. Spiller
41.  Danny Woodhead 

42.  Pierre Thomas
43.  Willis McGahee
44.  Rashad Jennings
45.  Ben Tate
46.  Tashard Choice
47.  Montario Hardesty
48.  Thomas Jones
49.  James Starks
50.  Stevan Ridley

Thoughts on the 2011 Fantasy Football running back class

  •  All of the guys in the top tier have a weakness. You could take them in any order and still be fine. The reason I pick Peterson first is because he’s been consistently in this group each season in the League. He has the lowest possibility of a bust, and that’s why I like him. Foster is hurt-ish, CJ2K is still holding out and it’s getting beyond the point where it affects his draft stock, Rice doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as the rest and Charles isn’t established and mike get vultured by Thomas Jones, who still has some left in the tank. Take your pick.

    Adrian Peterson doesn't have bad seasons. He's a sure thing and sometimes that's enough.

  • The first four tiers of players are pretty solid. After that, it’s more of a crapshoot. Do your research and pick out a few guys from these later tiers to target in the later rounds.
  • At least half of the fantasy football field likes to go running back, running back in the first two rounds. If you want to get two guys in the first 3 tiers or 3 in the first 4, you’re going to have to sacrifice the other positions.
  • I rank the young guys (Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas, Roy Helu, etc.) lower than most people for several reasons, the biggest is the shortened offseason. The second is that they are all in backfields with several other good options. While Platooning may be a solid may to develop a young guy, it doesn’t help your fantasy team much right now. Best to let the season play out and stay active on waivers.
  • Speaking of platoon backfields, if you want to draft a member of a platoon, do your research and pick the one guy that you think will win the position. Don’t pick them both, because you’re not drafting two halves of a whole position, you’re drafting two half-players that would be a waste to play together. Have some balls and take a chance on a guy.
  • If your league is a PPR league, that needs to affect who you pick. Guys like McCoy, Rice and Foster become more valuable at the top and guy like Darren Sproles and Tim Hightower are all of a sudden worthwhile backups.
  • At some point in your season,  you’re going to end up playing those guys you draft to sit on the bench, so do your research there too.
  • No matter what position you pick in the first round, know which backs should be free and be ready to take one that you like there. You don’t have to do it, but have an idea and pick a player you like.
  • Backups can produce extremely well if a star gets hurt. They may have a low shot to play, but the potential is worth a late-round pick.
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