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Runningbacks

 

1

DeMarco Murray

Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray

The Bears' defense is legit. It was a struggle not to drop Murray down even further. He's in the top-20 simply because he has no one to steal carries from him. Certainly, Felix Jones isn't going to do much with the ball. 

2

Le'Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers

3

Jamaal Charles

Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles

4

LeSean McCoy

Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy

To us, Philadelphia needs to understand that their offense flows through LeSean McCoy, not Michael Vick. Other than in his return-from-prison season, Vick has always been mediocre. McCoy should begin to be featured in this offense.

5

Matt Forte

Chicago Bears

Matt Forte

Matt Forte is one of the most talented running backs in the league. And one of the most complete. He's a threat in the running game and can catch out of the backfield. If he were to get goal line carries, he'd be a top-3 fantasy option. 

6

C.J. Anderson

Denver Broncos

7

Marshawn Lynch

Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch

Lynch is looking like he wasn't just running hard to get a big contract. He's proved to be a top running back in the league. 

8

Andre Ellington

Arizona Cardinals

9

Justin Forsett

Baltimore Ravens

10

Eddie Lacy

Green Bay Packers

11

Michael Turner

Atlanta Falcons

Michael Turner

Turner is going to struggle to run between the 20's. But when he gets inside the 5-yard line, he's fantasy gold. He's ranked this high only because of that reason. 

12

Ahmad Bradshaw

New York Giants

Ahmad Bradshaw

13

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Cincinnati Bengals

It's tough putting The Law Firm out of our top-10. He's a sure bet to get a monster workload by today's standards for running backs. That's a difficult thing to come by these days for fantasy owners. Even still, we think he disappoints a bit in Week 4.

14

Trent Richardson

Cleveland Browns

Trent Richardson

Richardson will struggle against the Ravens but may sneak a touchdown in sometime during this blowout waiting to happen. 

15

Jacquizz Rodgers

Atlanta Falcons

Jacquizz Rodgers

Rodgers has forced Atlanta into an RBBC. Well, maybe it's been the steady decline of Turner. Either way, Turner and Rodgers are receiving the same amount of snaps. Turner has a slight edge because he's the goal line back, and for good reason. Nevertheless, Rodgers still has tremendous value in what is arguably the league's most explosive offense. 

16

Darren Sproles

New Orleans Saints

Darren Sproles

Sproles is often overlooked in fantasy circles. If Brees is the Saints brain, Sproles is their nervous system. He is their top receiving option and has the ability to scramble for a score once they get in the red zone. Start him with confidence each week. And not just in PPR leagues. Sproles showed in Week 3 that he's capable of putting up rushing numbers too.

17

Michael Bush

Chicago Bears

 

Bush took advantage of his extended playing time last year filling in for the oft-injured Darren McFadden. Bush finished with 977 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. As Matt Forte's back-up in Chicago, Bush will likely get 5-10 touches per game, including goal line carries. Projected fantasy points: 121

18

Cedric Benson

Green Bay Packers

Benson may find the end zone this week playing on a fired-up Packers' squad.  

19

Andre Brown

New York Giants

Andre Brown is the clear No. 2 running back for the Giants and is a solid RB2/flex play in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers as long as Ahmad Bradshaw is unable to suit up.

20

Steven Jackson

St. Louis Rams

Steven Jackson

Even with all the hype of a new head coach, the Rams couldn't produce much by way of an offense. Steven Jackson is one of the best running backs of his time that just happened to land on one of the worst teams of his time. 

21

Reggie Bush

Miami Dolphins

Reggie Bush

 

A change of scenery did wonders for Bush in 2011. In his first year in Miami, he put up career numbers, which included his first 1,000 rushing season. His six rushing touchdowns were also the most since his rookie season and his 1,382 total yards marked a career-high for him. I can't see Bush having the same success in 2012, simply because he hasn't been able to stay healthy for consecutive season. However, few expected him to have so much success in 2011 so he might be worth the gamble. Projected fantasy points: 160

22

Stevan Ridley

New England Patriots

 

With BenJarvus Green-Ellis now in Cincinnati, Ridley likely takes over the featured back role in New England. Ridley saw limited action during his rookie season, but played well when he got a chance. He averaged more than five yards per carry and showed a nice burst. Also look for fellow second-year back Shane Vareen to get an opportunity for carries in 2012 as well. Projected fantasy points: 110

23

Chris Johnson

Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson

It's been a blame game with Chris Johnson. Whoever, or whatever, is to blame, it makes for a frustrated fantasy owner in times like these. Will the return of Kenny Britt open things up for Johnson?

24

Shonn Greene

New York Jets

 

Despite all the problems the Jets had last season, Greene wasn't one of them. He put together a decent year, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. The hiring of Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator will benefit Greene. Sparano's offense is built around a power-running game. This is also a contract year for Greene. Projected fantasy points: 153

25

Frank Gore

San Francisco 49ers

 

While he had a solid season in 2011, Gore's days as the Niners featured back may be numbered. Second-year running back Kendall Hunter will certainly get more looks next season and the addition of Brandon Jacobs doesn't bowed well for Gore either. However, Gore is still a valuable commodity because of the Niners run-first offense. Projected fantasy points: 139

26

Donald Brown

Indianapolis Colts

 

Brown emerged as the Colts featured back last season after an injury to Joseph Addai. Brown, who many consider a bust, showed flashes of promise. With Addai no longer on the Colts roster, Brown is the Colts’ best option right now. Projected fantasy points: 137

27

Willis McGahee

Denver Broncos

 

McGahee was supposed to be the back-up in Denver in 2011. Instead, he became Denver’s featured back and finished with nearly 1,200 rushing yards. McGahee will turn 31 during the season, and one has to wonder how much he has left in his legs. With that said, he showed no signs of slowing down last season and had one of his best games of the year in Week 17. His biggest challenge could be keeping rookie Ronnie Hillman off the field. Projected fantasy points: 115

28

DeAngelo Williams

Carolina Panthers

 

Carolina invested a ton of money in Williams, and he paid them back with a solid season in 2011. Williams finished with more than 800 yards rushing, seven touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Williams will split time with Jonathan Stewart and newly signed Mike Tolbert. Projected fantasy points: 113

29

James Starks

Green Bay Packers

 

Starks will likely start the season as the Packers top running back. But before you get too excited, Green Bay doesn't run the ball that often. Also, Starks has had a hard time staying healthy. Projected fantasy points: 104

30

Mike Tolbert

Carolina Panthers

 

Tolbert joins a crowded backfield in Carolina and will likely see a decreased work loaded, compared to last year. Despite sharing touches with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Tolbert should still get plenty of targets and goal line opportunities. Projected fantasy points: 103

31

Fred Jackson

Buffalo Bills

Fred Jackson

32

Maurice Jones-Drew

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew

33

Ray Rice

Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice

If you have Ray Rice, you're starting Ray Rice. It's not like you are ever going to sit him. Ever.  

Featured Writer

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).