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.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Updated Running Back Landscape: AFC



[66] Laurence Maroney NE 23.5 - 1st & 2nd down / Goal-line?

[4] Sammy Morris NE 31.5 - RBBC / Short yardage? / Goal-line?

[1] Kevin Faulk NE 32.3 - 3rd down

[0] Heath Evans NE 29.6 - Back-up short yardage

[0] Benjarvus Green-Ellis NE 23.2 - Practice squad?

Outlook: Maroney performed just fine in goal-line work late in the season, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to lose important work to a healthy Sammy Morris. We know Maroney is talented, but questions persist about durability, dancing in the backfield, and Belichik's willingness to use him consistently enough for weekly reliability. Does the Kevin Jones flirtation say anything about the team's confidence in Maroney to be a 20-touch horse?

Handcuff Grade: 4 out of 5


[80] Marshawn Lynch BUF 22.4 - Full-time

[4] Xavier Omon BUF 23.6® - Back-up

[2] Fred Jackson BUF 27.6 - Change of pace / Back-up

[1] Dwayne Wright BUF 25.3 - Back-up

Outlook: New OC Schonert announced his intention to use Lynch as an every-down back, so he should see a natural increase in receptions. The Bills, though, suddenly find themselves awash in running back depth. Fred Jackson is an intriguing change of pace option while rookie Xavier Omon was seen as one of the top draft sleepers in many circles. Dwayne Wright has been lapped by both.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5


[26] Thomas Jones NYJ 30.0 - 1st & 2nd down

[5] Leon Washington NYJ 26.0 - Change of pace / Passing game

[2] Jesse Chatman NYJ 29.0- Back-up

[2] Musa Smith NYJ 26.3 - Back-up / Special Teams

Outlook: Jones could be in for a nice bouncebank season with the Jets revamping their O-Line, but don't go overboard on expectations. Just because last year's one touchdown performance was an aberration, that doesn't mean he's due to go crazy this seaon as a 30-year-old. Don't rule out the homerun hitter, Leon Washington, stealing a bigger piece of the pie this season either. New signee Musa Smith with compete with Chatman for the 3rd RB job, but both would likely split with Washington in the event of a Jones injury.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5


[69] #Ronnie Brown MIA 26.7 - RBBC early on?

[10] Ricky Williams MIA 31.3 - RBBC? / Brown insurance

[4] Jalen Parmele MIA 22.7® - Back-up

Outlook: The Ricky Revival Tour is picking up steam, and the latest phase of his career sees him as the savvy, reliable Parcells vet pet in a possible time-share role. That scenario would obviously lead to the incumbent Ronnie Brown being phased back into the feature back role slowly throughout the season. As with every other running back coming off of ACL surgery, Brown's weekly reliability is likely to be found wanting regardless of Ricky's presence. Brown owners may find solace in the fact that Ricky is a free agent after the season . . . and a wrong turn from being one toke over the line.

Handcuff Grade: 5 out of 5



[65] Rashard Mendenhall PIT 21.2® - RBBC / Short-yardage?

[25] Willie Parker PIT 27.8 - RBBC

[2] Najeh Davenport PIT 29.6 - Cut? / Short-yardage?

[2] Mewelde Moore PIT 26.1 - Return Game / 3rd down?

[1] Gary Russell PIT 22.0 - Bench

Outlook: Parker has been leaking value since the middle of last season to the point where there were questions about his future startability after losing almost all passing game and red zone work. If you unloaded him before the drafting of Mendenhall, congratulations are in order. Mendenhall will likely begin his career in a complementary role, but as a more talented and well-rounded back than Parker, he's clearly the future in a high octane offense. Davenport could be cut this summer with both Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore on board.

Handcuff Grade: 5 out of 5


[55] Jamal Lewis CLE 29.0 - Full-time

[1] Jerome Harrison CLE 25.5 - Change of pace

[0] Jason Wright CLE 26.2 - Back-up

Outlook: Lewis hit the juvenation machine last offseason and finished with over 1,300 rushing yards in just over 14 games last season -- including an average of over 100 yards per game in the last seven weeks. As one of the last of a dying breed of every-down backs, Lewis is actually one of the safer options available and has been a tremendous value in dynasty leagues all offseason. Harrison has never been able to get off the bench to solidify an offensive role, and Wright is nothing more than a pedestrian backup.

Handcuff Grade: 1 out of 5


[21] Rudi Johnson CIN 28.9 - 1st & 2nd down?

[6] Chris Perry CIN 26.7 - Passing game / 3rd down

[5] #Kenny Irons CIN 25.0 - PUP?

[3] Kenny Watson CIN 30.6 - Rudi insurance

[0] DeDe Dorsey CIN 24.1 - Bench

Outlook: Rudi is going to get a chance to show that last season was the direct result of a debilitating hamstring injury as opposed to being a washed up running back. Time will tell soon enough on that score. Perry is healthy at the moment and could reprise his key passing game role from back in the 2005 season while Watson returns in the steady insurance role. Irons himself doesn't even know when he'll get back on the field, and he's down to a scant 190 pounds during rehab. He's nothing more than a roster stash at this point.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5


[68] Willis McGahee BAL 26.9 - 1st & 2nd down

[30] Ray Rice BAL 21.7® - 3rd down / Passing game? / Some short yardage?

Outlook: I think Ray Rice's arrival could be more troublesome for Willis McGahee's dynasty value than commonly believed. He's a much more talented back than anybody on last year's roster, and he could work his way into a poor man's Maurice Jones-Drew role if given the opportunity. McGahee has never been an asset in the passing game, so Rice could usurp third down work sooner rather than later. This is a situation worth watching in pre-season and early season action.

Handcuff Grade: 5 out of 5



[88] Joseph Addai IND 25.3 - Full-time?

[6] Mike Hart IND 22.4® - Back-up?

[3] Dominic Rhodes IND 29.6 - Back-up?

[1] Kenton Keith IND 28.2 - Cut? / Back-up?

Outlook: Addai remains the feature back, but I think he will be relieved by Rhodes and/or Hart more than he shared with Keith last season. The Rhodes vs. Hart battle this summer will be a key one while Keith has likely written his ticket out of town.

Handcuff Grade: 4 out of 5


[89] Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 23.4 - All short-yardage, red zone, & passing game work / Larger role?

[7] Fred Taylor JAX 32.6 - RBBC

[2] Chauncy Washington JAX 23.4® - Back-up

Outlook: The soon-to-be 33-year-old Taylor was exceptional last season, but the effects of aging mow down all NFL running backs. MJD stands a good chance to see his role increase througout the season, but he'll start out in the same short-yardage, passing game, change of pace, TD-machine role.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5


[45] Chris Johnson TEN 22.9® - RBBC / Swiss Army Knife

[24] LenDale White TEN 23.7 - RBBC / Short-yardage

[3] Chris Henry TEN 23.3 - Back-up

Outlook: Alright, let's quit jerking around here. Anyone who believes LenDale White is going to be a consistent 300-carry workhorse is addle-brained. A year after drafting Chris Henry in the second round, the team grabbed Chris Johnson in the first. Meanwhile, the Titans have put out feelers on fellow pudgy back Ron Dayne as well as the intriguing Kevin Jones. Sometimes you have to read between the lines in fantasy football, but I'll give it to you straight (just as I gave it to the Willie Parker owners late last season) -- if you can find a true LenDale believer in your league, trade him post haste. He's been leaking value since his string of three straight 100-yard games in the middle of last season. An overweight back with questionable dedication and maturity, BakeSale averaged a plodding 3.6 yards per carry last season and is always at risk of throwing up a stinker due to his lack of passing game work and uselessness when playing from behind. Johnson immediately becomes the most explosive weapon on the Titans offense and will get a shot to make an immediate impact in the Reggie Bush role.

Handcuff Grade: 4 out of 5


[7] Ahman Green HOU 31.5 - 1st & 2nd down until injured / RBBC?

[6] Chris Brown HOU 27.4 - Back-up? / RBBC?

[4] Steve Slaton HOU 22.7® - 3rd down / passing game

[3] Chris Taylor HOU 24.8 - Back-up / Fullback?

Outlook: Green remains the starter, possibly in a committee role with newcomer Chris Brown. Slaton takes over 3rd down duties as a hopeful homerun hitter. Taylor is a favorite of the local beatwriters, but he's going to need a slew of injuries and poor play in front of him to accrue value in 2008.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5



[98] LaDanian Tomlinson SD 29.2 - Full-time

[3] Darren Sproles SD 25.3 - Change of pace / passing game

[2] Jacob Hester SD 23.3® - Back-up / Short-yardage / Fullback

[2] Marcus Thomas SD 24.3® - Practice squad?

Outlook: Tomlinson returns with a vengeance as the full-time superstar. Michael Turner's departure likely leaves LT's insurance as a Sproles/Hester two-headed monster with Sproles taking passing down / change of pace work and Hester running inside / short yardage.

Handcuff Grade: 2 out of 5


[43] Selvin Young DEN 24.9 - RBBC / Starter?

[14] Ryan Torain DEN 22.1® - Wildcard back-up / Future starter?

[3] Andre Hall DEN 26.1 - Back-up

[3] Michael Pittman DEN 33.1 - Back-up / Jack-of-all-Trades

Outlook: A true RBBC? A muddled mess? Or is Selvin going to grab a majority of touches? As with any Denver running back Torain may have a shot to take the reigns for awhile, but there's little more than speculative long-term value in Denver these days as the "next big thing" doesn't appear to be on the current roster. Newcomer Michael Pittman's signing could lead to an axing of injury prone, aging, suspension risk Travis Henry this summer.

Handcuff Grade: 3 out of 5


[73] Larry Johnson KC 28.8 - Full-time

[6] Jamaal Charles KC 21.7® - Kick returner / Change of pace

[2] Kolby Smith KC 23.8 - Back-up

Outlook: As the offensive fulcrum, LJ won't lose significant work to Charles or Smith; however, the Chiefs offense remains a hindrance to the running back production as long as Croyle is behind center. Even though a reshuffled O-Line could pay off in the long run, the unit will likely struggle early on.

Handcuff Grade: 2 out of 5


[75] Darren McFadden OAK 21.0® - RBBC / Swiss Army Knife

[14] Michael Bush OAK 24.3 - Backup? / Short-yardage?

[7] Justin Fargas OAK 28.6 - RBBC

[3] Lamont Jordan OAK [x] 29.8 - Cut?

[0] Adimchenobe Echemandu OAK 27.8 - Bench

Outlook: Tough to gauge McFadden's usage pattern at this point, but it could be similar to Reggie Bush's role with the Saints while Fargas/Bush take on the Deuce McAllister responsibilities. Fargas' dynasty value is shot as a 29-year-old part-timer, but Michael Bush may be able to carve out a role as the thunder to McFadden's lightning.

Handcuff Grade: 4 out of 5

P.S. Check out McFadden's chicken-legs over here ------------>

I thought he had strings hanging off his shorts.

No comments: