Welcome to the "Original" Dynasty Rankings Fantasy Football Blog

This blog was born out of a Dynasty Rankings thread originally begun in October, 2006 at the Footballguys.com message boards. The rankings in that thread and the ensuing wall-to-wall discussion of player values and dynasty league strategy took on a life of its own at over 275 pages and 700,000 page views. The result is what you see in the sidebar under "Updated Positional Rankings": a comprehensive ranking of dynasty league fantasy football players by position on a tiered, weighted scale. In the tradition of the original footballguys.com Dynasty Rankings thread, intelligent debate is welcome and encouraged.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Running Back Rankings: April 19, 2008


[100] Adrian Peterson MIN 23.5 - Simply the most talented player on the field
[98] Steven Jackson STL 25.1 - Rams & new offensive coordinator Al Saunders to build offense around multi-dimensional S-Jax
[97] LaDanian Tomlinson SD 29.2 - Have we seen the last of the truly dominant LT2? He may bounce back with a vengeance after all the flack he took for the Pats game, but it's tough to rank him higher at the crucial RB age of 29
[93] Brian Westbrook PHI 29.0 - Money in PPR leagues and still underrated, but injuries are a constant concern; is this offseason the time to flip him for a younger talent before it's too late?
[91] Frank Gore SF 25.2 - Talented, well-rounded, great job security, and in line to haul in a ton of receptions in Martz' offense which saw Marshall Faulk take his game to the next level
[90] Joseph Addai IND 25.3 - Safe call in the Colts offense, but is 300 touches per year his limit?
[89] Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 23.4 - One of the best players in the NFL and averages a TD per game even in limited touches; his time for Westbrook-like domination is coming like a freight train
[84] Marshawn Lynch BUF 22.4 - Should see his role expand on the heels of an impressive rookie season

[77] Marion Barber III DAL 25.3 - He and Ronnie Brown have consistently given me the most trouble since I've started these rankings, and this offseason is no different. Barber's distinct strengths (runs hard, scores often, well-rounded) and weaknesses (runs too hard, likely to wear down with major increase in carries, could lead to short career, Cowboys likely to add a talented counterpart) make for a complex value judgment for dynasty leaguers
[76] Clinton Portis WAS 27.0 - Something is askew here: his owners are constantly trying to deal him, but they also consider him an elite back. The problem is he's not quite the ideal RB1 that dynasty leaguers want to rely on, but it's increasingly difficult to trade him for an upgrade
[76] Reggie Bush NO 23.5 - We have to accept the fact that he's not the dynamic homerun hitter he was hyped to be, but he's still gold in PPR leagues and was used at the goal-line while Deuce was injured
[75] Larry Johnson KC 28.8 - With the dwindling YPC, the 400+ carry season of '06, the foot injury, the perdition of what was once possibly the best O-Line in NFL history, and now a punchless Croyle-led offense, L.J. simply has too much going against him to return to '05-'06 form. Those days are gone
[73] Willis McGahee BAL 26.9 - High marks in job security and consistent production, but the Ravens offense inspires so little faith
[71] #Ronnie Brown MIA 26.7 - Here's the crux of the problem: even with the advances of modern medical technology, no RB in history has returned as the same back immediately after ACL surgery. If Brown won't be truly himself again until '09, what's his dynasty value? Can he be counted on as a fantasy starter at all in '08? The answer to that last question is going to count for a lot in determining his value
[71] Ryan Grant GB 25.7 - The Packers love his game, so there's no worry about job security any time soon; how will Favre's exit affect the value of the running game?
[68] Laurence Maroney NE 23.5 - It will be interesting to see if the Pats trust Maroney in short yardage after his success there late in the season; Maroney is a talented back in a great offense, but there are still legit concerns about his usage patterns in that offense

[58] Willie Parker PIT 27.8 - When you lose goal-line carries & 3rd down work, you lose a hefty portion of your fantasy value; I like FWP, but I've always sensed that the Steelers don't trust him to be a true workhorse
[56] DeAngelo Williams CAR 25.4 - Not likely to get regular goal-line work regardless, but if CAR stays with Toefield as his timeshare partner, Williams gets another spike in value. If they draft a talented back, the questions will linger
[54] Jamal Lewis CLE 29.0 - Too many dynasty owners are writing off a talented back who is playing very well with fresh legs; there aren't too many RBs around the league with this much job security and a guaranteed prominent role in a highly productive offense. Frankly, I probably have him too low as opposed to too high
[52] Michael Turner ATL 26.5 - Will be the Thunder to Norwood's Lightning in ATL, meaning Turner will get the early down and short-yardage work but will likely lose some value in the passing game. Will he find the end zone enough to make up for Norwood's production drain?
[46] Brandon Jacobs NYG 26.2 - He will always face questions about staying healthy and being a bit of a novelty act, and now he has to contend with an Ahmad Bradshaw problem

[35] Julius Jones SEA 27.0 - New starting RB for the Seahawks could regain quite a bit of value; now let's see what they do in the draft
[33] Ernest Graham TB 28.7 - Most of his value is going to be tied up in the 2008 season with the Bucs showing a definite interest in finding another reliable RB by hook or by crook; he can help you win now, but there's just not enough long-range value here
[32] LenDale White TEN 23.7 - In addition to the dedication, weight, & maturity issues, BakeSale has picked up a couple more: (1) He's useless if the Titans are playing from behind and (2) The Titans are going to be continually on the lookout for a quality RB to pair with him and siphon production
[30] Justin Fargas OAK 28.6 - What are the chances he stays healthy and holds off all of the competition for his job throughout the whole season? Sell (relatively) high if it's not too late; McFadden to the Raiders at #4 is a concern, but for all of the talk about Al Davis' speed fetish, he rarely takes skill position offensive players early in the first round.
[29] Ahmad Bradshaw NYG 22.5 - I was eyeballing his game for weaknesses throughout the playoffs, but I didn't find any glaring ones; he may not be able to carry a full load, but the question is moot with Jacobs in front of him
[29] Pierre Thomas NO 23.7 - Like Willie Parker a couple of years ago, Thomas could capitalize on a huge Week 17 game to carve out a prominent role in his team's offense especially if Deuce's microfracture right knee and ACL left knee hold him back

[23] Rudi Johnson CIN [x] 28.9 - He looks like he's running on dead legs, but there's some chance his poor production was more the result of the hamstring injury than being washed up. Either way, he's reached the point where he could lose his job at a moment's notice . . . if he hasn't already
[22] Thomas Jones NYJ 30.0 - With the Jets' re-vamped O-Line, he could move up a bit as long as the Jets don't draft a RB in the first couple of rounds; unfortunately, many suspect the Jets are the likely McFadden landing spot
[22] Travis Henry DEN 29.8 - The definition of ethereal value; if stability is London, then Henry is Tokyo; Denver looks like a pure RBBC going into '08
[21] Edgerrin James ARI [x] 30.1 - His goal-line & passing game production have already been taken away, and the Cardinals are now looking for his successor in the draft; still a possibility of being cut this spring/summer
[19] Michael Bush OAK 24.3 - Now that he's healthy, can he stay healthy? If so, he has a better chance to eat into Fargas' work than Rhodes or Jordan do; is he more of a time-share back or a guy who can carry the load in the future?
[18] Selvin Young DEN 24.9 - Talented, explosive, and well-liked by his head coach, but he's never going to dominate the carries

[13] Chester Taylor MIN 29.0 - As valuable of a pure backup as any RB in the league, Taylor is still most valuable to Adrian Peterson owners; won't be a free agent until after the '09 season when he'll be almost 31-years-old
[12] Tatum Bell DET 27.5 - Currently the starting RB in Detroit, but that may change before long; didn't stop Tatum from predicting 1,300 yards & 15 TDs for himself this season
[11] Ricky Williams MIA 31.3 - Could be a good story here if Brown is slow to return to full health; after a couple of seasons away from football, Ricky should have fresh legs and is one of the few backups who can carry a full load if needed
[10] Jerious Norwood ATL 25.1 - As expected, Norwood won't be given an opportunity to shoulder the load in ATL; how valuable can be with limited touches?
[10] #Kevin Jones UFA 26.0 - Won't be back by Week 1, will be less than 100% when he does play, will be injured quickly as soon as he does come back, and will likely be splitting carries wherever he winds up. What's the fantasy football equivalent of a "face for radio" or a "face only a mother could love"? A running back only an intractably twitterpated owner could love
[9] #Cedric Benson CHI [x] 25.7 - Injury prone, headcase RB lacking in explosiveness & receiving ability just lost a step he couldn't afford to lose and now likely to be splitting carries at best. Where do I sign up?
[9] #Kenny Irons CIN 25.0 - There's definitely a window of opportunity in Cincinnati's backfield right now, but it's going to tough for Irons to exploit it at less than 100% in the year following ACL surgery
[8] Fred Taylor JAX 32.6 - Has as much value as a 32-year-old, part-timer without goal-line and passing game opportunities can possibly have
[8] Ahman Green HOU 31.5 - Mistakenly regarded as washed up when he should more accurately be portrayed as a RB who can still play and play well but can't stay healthy under a full workload at this stage of his career
[8] Chris Brown HOU 27.4 - Picked a good situation with Texans' zone blocking scheme and no dominant RB in front of him, but Brown just can't be relied on as more than a committee back

[6] Derrick Ward NYG 28.1 - Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value
[6] Leon Washington NYJ 26.0 - A homerun hitter, but just not physical enough to ever be more than a part-timer; his only hope for value is to catch enough passes to be useful in PPR leagues
[6] Ladell Betts WAS 29.0 - Now more insurance for Portis as opposed to a backfield complement; startable in the event of a Portis injury but valueless in the meantime
[6] Chris Henry TEN 23.3 - Titans continually on the lookout for a backfield upgrade, but Henry is the 3rd down back and White insurance for now
[6] Lamont Jordan OAK [x] 29.8 - Just release him already! He turns 30 this season and the chronic back problems leave him as nothing more than a backup option, but he has a chance to be startable for a few games at a time if he gets the opportunity
[5] [#]Cadillac Williams TB 26.4 - We've heard everything from "career's over" to "suiting up by week one." The most like scenario is that he'll start the season on the PUP list and will be a shadow of his former self once he does return . . . and truth be told his former self wasn't all that hot to begin with
[5] #Deuce McAllister NO [x] 29.7 - Wait, ACL surgery on his left knee and microfracture surgery on his formerly reconstructed right knee? Now that's a horse of a different color for a 30-year-old RB. Why weren't we informed of this microfracture surgery? I can't envision a scenario where Deuce is not washed up at this point

[4] Adrian Peterson CHI 29.2 - Right now he's the most effective RB in Chicago, but will likely go back to his former role when new talent is added in the draft
[4] Sammy Morris NE 31.5 - Was a good fit in New England's offense, but Maroney stepped up when Morris was out with his sternum/clavicle injury; will he keep the short-yardage/goal-line work? Always a chance for an increased role with the whims of Belichick
[4] Shaun Alexander SEA [x] 31.0 - Just a matter of time before he's cut by Seattle; could end up in the mix for his hometown Bengals. His days as a workhorse are long gone, and he's going to struggle to ever maintain fantasy relevance again
[4] #Chris Perry CIN 26.7 - As brittle as brittle can be, and likely lost more than a step by now, but there's a window of opportunity in Cincy's backfield
[4] Kenny Watson CIN 30.6 - Too pedestrian to grab hold of the starting RB job and run with it, but a repeat of his effective '07 season is possible if no other RB steps up for the Bengals
[4] Brandon Jackson GB 22.9 - Jackson owners who drafted him with a high rookie pick want to believe he could eventually win the job from Grant, but it's just not going to happen. Jackson is buried behind Grant, and he'll be lucky to get regular 3rd down duty
[4] Lorenzo Booker MIA 24.3 - Only hope for value is as a flex player in PPR leagues. Can he catch enough passes to make himself relevant?
[3] Dominic Rhodes OAK 29.6 - Strictly a backup to Fargas and could find himself behind Bush by the time the season starts
[3] Darren Sproles SD 25.3 - Explosive. Could find fantasy value as a receiving weapon out of the backfield if the Chargers made it a point to get the ball to him, but his slight build will likely keep him from handling the ball enough to make a sizable fantasy impact
[3] Najeh Davenport PIT 29.6 - Likely to keep goal-line/short yardage duties as Parker's complement, but Moore could take over on 3rd downs; has startable value if Parker goes down with injury again
[3] Mewelde Moore PIT 26.1 - A weapon in the passing game and likely to take over punt-return duties; has a track record of impressive performance in small doses but gets nicked up easily
[3] Kolby Smith KC 23.8 - Was decent in a 5-game trial at the end of the season, but he's limited to backup duty going forward
[3] DeShaun Foster SF 22.8 - Signed a meager contract to head West as Frank Gore's backup; don't look for a heavy role in the offense unless Gore gets injured
[3] Kenton Keith IND 28.2 - Would have some nice value as a sidekick to Addai if the Colts weren't looking to upgrade at RB in this year's draft

[2] Andre Hall DEN 26.1 - Any RB in DEN could get a shot, but he's definitely 3rd on the depth chart even before April's draft; didn't ingratiate himself to his coach by getting arrested last month
[2] Musa Smith BAL (U) 26.3 - Not without talent, but too unreliable due to injury history; would have to land in the ideal situation to merit a look beyond stash option
[2] Antonio Pittman STL 22.7 - More of a pure backup than Brian Leonard at this point
[2] Tony Hunt PHI 22.8 - Could become the short-yardage back in Philly, but not likely to ever be more than one half of a time share backfield
[2] J.J. Arrington ARI 25.6 - Appears the Cardinals don't see him as anything more than a 3rd down back
[2] Fred Jackson BUF 27.6 - Coaching staff is high on him, but he's more of a change of pace/pure backup as opposed to a guy with an opportunity
[2] LaBrandon Toefield CAR 28.0 - Could be D-Willy's short-yardage legs in Carolina if they don't grab a high round RB in the draft
[2] DeShawn Wynn GB 24.9 - Green Bay sees him as more of a pure backup than Jackson, but Wynn's injuries have put him solidly on the bench behind Ryan Grant
[2] Chris Taylor HOU 24.8 - Longshot, but the coaching staff seems high on him
[2] Vernand Morency GB [R] 28.6 - Ceiling is 3rd down back
[2] T.J. Duckett SEA 27.5 - Same old Duckett, should take over the short-yardage in Seattle
[2] Aaron Stecker NO 32.8
[2] Jesse Chatman NYJ 29.0 - Thomas Jones insurance
[2] Warrick Dunn TB 33.7 - Ill-suited to 3rd down work at this point in his career, but that's where he's going to play

[1] Michael Pittman TB (U) 33.1
[1] Maurice Morris SEA 28.8
[1] Michael Bennett TB 30.0
[1] Jerome Harrison CLE 25.5
[1] Ron Dayne HOU (U) 30.5
[1] Gary Russell PIT 22.0
[1] Michael Robinson SF 25.5
[1] Ryan Moats PHI [x] 25.7
[1] Brian Leonard STL 24.6
[1] Cory Ross BAL 26.0
[1] Dwayne Wright BUF 25.3
[1] Brian Calhoun DET 24.4
[1] Darius Walker HOU 23.6
[1] Garrett Wolfe CHI 24.1
[1] Jackie Battle KC 24.9
[1] Jason Snelling ATL 23.7
[1] Danny Ware NYG 23.6
[1] Reuben Droughns NYG [x] 30.0
[1] Correll Buckhalter PHI [x] 29.9
[1] Kevin Faulk NE 32.3
[1] Mike Bell DEN [T] 25.4

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas - 6'1", 211 | 21.0 ---> 4/18/08: Jets officials have met with RB Darren McFadden three times in the past month, including a night on the town. It's all part of their background checking and information collecting, and the Jets appear to have assuaged doubts about any character issues. Says their director of college scouting: "We've done our homework. If that's the pick we choose to make, we will be comfortable with that decision."
2. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon - 5'11", 234 | 21.5 ---> 4/17/08: The Charlotte Observer believes that the Panthers prefer Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart to Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall. Detroit is also believed to favor him over Mendenhall. The Observer, however, may be guessing because Stewart is bigger at 5'11/234. The natural line of thinking is that Carolina needs a big back to pair with DeAngelo Williams.
3. Rashard Mendenhall, Illnois - 5'11", 225 | 21.2 ---> 4/16/08: The Broncos will visit with RB Rashard Mendenhall and OT Gosder Cherilus this week. The team has obviously soured on Travis Henry as a reliable starter and sees Selvin Young as a complementary/change of pace back. Mendenhall is the type of one-cut runner who could flourish in Denver's zone-blocking scheme.
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas - 5'10", 207 | 21.3 ---> 3/28/08: Amidst much media speculation, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insists he will not trade up for the opportunity to draft RB Darren McFadden with a top five pick. "I have no intent at all of moving into the top five," Jones said. He also stressed that this was more about paying the going rate for a top five draft pick as opposed to a comment on McFadden's talent. He can likely stay where he is and draft Jonathan Stewart or Felix Jones.
5. Jamaal Charles, Texas - 6'0", 205 | 21.7 ---> 4/5/08: The Bears have met with Texas' Jamaal Charles, Tulane's Matt Forte, and Arkansas' Felix Jones while prepping for a possible second round running back selection.

The team is investigating backs who might be available after they address another position (offensive tackle?) in the first round. The Bears' brass believes the running back value in Round 2 might not be far off what they could land at No. 14 overall.
6. Ray Rice, Rutgers - 5'8", 199 | 21.7 ---> 3/26/08: Rutgers RB Ray Rice posted a 39" vertical at his Pro Day Wednesday. It's seven inches better than the vert he did at the Combine. The Combine people are trying to figure out why the Pro Day verticals are so much better than those done at the RCA Dome, but it's been the case across the board.
7. Chris Johnson, East Carolina - 5'11", 197 | 23.0 ---> 3/18/08: ESPN's Matt Mosley says he "knows" the Lions, Broncos, and Panthers are interested in East Carolina RB Chris Johnson. Johnson was the fastest player at February's Combine, running the forty in an official 4.24 seconds. He has great change-of-pace back potential, but may struggle to become more at the next level. Johnson is only 5'11/197.
8. Matt Forte, Tulane - 6'1", 222 | 22.7 ---> 3/22/08: The Bears are showing a lot of interest in Tulane RB Matt Forte. Originally considered a third- or fourth-round pick, Forte could move into the back half of the second round after his strong combine showing. He's in Detroit this weekend and has drawn interest from Atlanta and Houston as well.
9. Kevin Smith, Central Florida - 6'1", 211 | 21.7 ---> 3/31/08: Coach Rod Marinelli identified running back, offensive tackle, defensive end, and linebacker as the team's most glaring needs heading to the draft. Rarely are coaches as candid about draft strategy as Marinelli on Sunday. He also rattled off ten rookies the Lions have hosted. Among them were RBs Kevin Smith and Matt Forte, both of whom may be there in round two. DE Derrick Harvey and Vanderbilt LT Chris Williams are possibilities in the first.

10. Jalen Parmele, Toledo
11. Justin Forsett, California
12. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
13. Mike Hart, Michigan
14. Anthony Alridge, Houston
15. Steve Slaton, West Virginia


Anonymous said...

Joseph Addai seems like he should be a little bit higher. He is in a much better situation than Gore and projects to be for several more years. I'd move him up ahead of Westbrook too just because of Westbrook's age, Addai seems like the perfect candidate when you say flipping Westbrook for a younger talent.

Maroney could be higher, he really turned it on down the stretch and in the playoffs last year. I think he'll be used more this year and in the future. I'd take him over McGahee, Brown or Grant.

If Carolina doesn't take a RB in the 1st 2 rounds then I think a case could be made for DeAngelo in tier 2. The panthers offense looks to be improved and Williams seems like a guy who just needs a consistent workload to become a star.

Marshawn Lynch seems slightly high, did he really prove himself that much last year to be considered that much better than MB3 or Portis? Buffalo's offense doesn't inspire much confidence and Mcgahee,who's a similar talent, was never a top-notch guy in Buffalo.

Finally, Brandon Jacobs should be bumped a tier, he could realistically lose that starting job to Bradshaw or it could be a 3 headed attack with Bradshaw and Ward getting major roles. Combine that with the fact that Jacobs looks like a guy who will be spending a lot of time nursing injuries and I'm not sure I'd put him in the same tier as guys like Willie Parker and Jamal Lewis.

Chris Wesseling said...

My first major disagreement with you: Joseph Addai. I don't see the upside, and wasn't the last half of the season disconcerting for his owners? Today, I was actually contemplating a potential article of best bets for draft day weekend, and my best bet for a true stud losing value on draft day is Joseph Addai. I think the Colts are taking a RB in Round 2 or 3, and I think whoever it is will be much more of a threat to Addai's carries than Kenton Keith has been.

I hear you on Maroney. Talent-wise, he should be higher, but I don't see how anybody could feel confident about his usage pattern going forward. True, he played pretty well down the stretch, but he's not out of the woods yet. It's not hard to picture a scenario where he starts the season with a bad game or even a bad series, and Sammy Morris & Kevin Faulk continue to see more and more playing time. I think we like his talent more than Belichick does.

Sure, if CAR doesn't take a RB, but we'll address that after the draft. I don't believe they'll shun the RB position in the draft, so I have to hedge a bit on his ranking for now.

Yeah, I'm with you on Lynch. He's another tier tweener. I don't like him as much as others, but youth and talent are very nice trump cards. You must be way higher on Portis/Barber than I am. Barber has too way many question marks, and Portis just isn't the same back as he was in Denver. He's solid, but he's not a difference maker when that is the #1 job requirement of a RB1.

I hear you on Jacobs too . . . he could easily be down another tier. Due to his situation, he's not on the same level as Parker & Lewis, but there's no doubt he's a productive, talented back -- and still the starter there. I don't think we differ much at all here.

Anonymous said...

Addai put up 1400 yards and 15 TD's in essentially 13 games. He basically played about 3 series in the last 2 weeks of the year as Indy was doing their over protection thing that they tend to do when they have nothing to play for. He also got pulled at halftime of 2 games. I don't think we can count on that happening every year. I fully expect Addai to see another 50 touches next year. You might be right about them taking a RB in the 2nd or 3rd round, but they could also take an o-lineman or a WR or a defensive player.

I think he has incredible safety for a young RB and should be a top-5 RB for the next 4-5 years. I'll agree that he doesn't have the upside of a Peterson or Tomlinson, but I trust him a lot more than Gore or MJD.

1600 yards and 16TD's seem like something we should come to expect annually from Addai.

Chris Wesseling said...

On the surface, Addai seems like a very safe fantasy RB, but I actually believe he's the least safe long-term bet of any of the top tier backs. I think he's the one most likely to have his load decreased due to a timeshare, and I also think he's the one most easily replaced in his own offense. I think the Colts are going to draft a much more talented back than Kenton Keith, and we saw that even Keith could produce just fine in that offense.

If you told me that Addai was guaranteed to remain the Colts full-time starter, stay heavily involved in the passing game, and keep up 300+ touches each season, I'd be all over him. But I just don't see that scenario as a very safe bet.

Frank Gore, on the other hand, is more talented and the fulcrum of his team's offense -- an offense, which be the way, will be much, much improved in '08. They may not be gangbusters, but they will produce a lot more points than they did in '07. I see Gore putting up stats closer to '06 than '07.