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, July 26, 2008

Running Back Rankings: July 26, 2008

*Note: I'm testing to see whether this format looks better with the numbering sequence changed back to normal and the name, age, and value score all on the first line. It looks like it takes up significantly more space, but I think it has a better and easier to read appearance. Feedback is encouraged. If you think it looks much better or much worse, please comment. Thanks.



1. Adrian Peterson, MIN | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 100
Simply the most talented player on the field [click here]

2. Steven Jackson, STL | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 98
Rams & new offensive coordinator Al Saunders to build offense around multi-dimensional S-Jax.

3. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 97
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.

4. Frank Gore, SF | Age: 25.2 | Value Score: 93
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.

5. Brian Westbrook, PHI | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 93
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?


6. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 87
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.

7. Joseph Addai, IND | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 87
Safe call in the Colts offense, but is 300 touches per year his limit?

8. Marshawn Lynch, BUF | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 85
Hit-and-run incident shouldn't affect his '08 value.

9. Clinton Portis, WAS | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 81
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.


10. Darren McFadden, OAK | Age: 21.0 | Value Score: 75
On one hand, you've got a RB with laughably skinny chicken legs to go with a worrisome BMI, a checkered off the field college history, and what Pro Football Prospectus calls questionable pass-catching ability. On the other hand, you have a tremendous athlete with a truly versatile skill-set, a prodigious college career, and a playmaker's explosiveness and blazing speed. He's not Adrian Peterson, but he certainly makes for an intriguing roll of the dice.

11. Marion Barber III, DAL | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 74
New contract gives him much-needed security, but he's still going to be sharing the load with Felix Jones. Expect the high TD, lower yardage totals to continue.

12. Reggie Bush, NO | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 71
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.

13. Larry Johnson, KC | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 70
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.

14. Ryan Grant, GB | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 69
The Packers love his game, so there's no worry about job security any time soon; how will Favre's exit affect the production of the running game?

15. Willis McGahee, BAL | Age: 26.9 | Value Score: 69
Drafting of Ray Rice could be more troublesome than McGahee owners want to admit.

16. Jonathan Stewart, CAR | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 68
Hey, Adrian Peterson starting out returning kickoffs too. Stewart's draft spot and running style leave him as the obvious feature back, but it remains to be seen how annoying D-Willy's presence will be. Pro Football Prospectus believes Williams will be the starter, but the Panthers didn't draft Stewart twelfth overall and change to a smash-mouth attack just to leave him on the bench.

17. #Ronnie Brown, MIA | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 65
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.


18. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT | Age: 21.2 | Value Score: 59
Goes to a rock-solid organization with an increasingly explosive offense, but how long until he takes a full load? How long until he's a confident weekly play in your fantasy lineup?

19. Laurence Maroney, NE | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 57
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.

20. Chris Johnson, TEN | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 55
I think he's much closer to taking a part-time gig and making it worthwhile than backs like Jerious Norwood and Leon Washington have been. Johnson may be closer to Reggie Bush in usage and talent, and it won't take much at all to snatch touches from LenDale White. Extremely high marks for speed, pass catching ability, opportunity, and upside here. Less of a sure bet for immediate value than Forte or Smith but more explosive difference-making potential. How does that fit your roster, needs, and style?

21. Jamal Lewis, CLE | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 52
Too many dynasty owners are writing off a talented back who is playing very well with fresh legs6 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.

22. Michael Turner, ATL | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 48
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?

23. Matt Forte, CHI | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 47
Are you really worried about Cedric Benson? Well then, stop that. Forte has a plum opportunity with only Cedric to beat out. Update 7/17/08: I still believe Kevin Jones is likely to open the season on the PUP list.

24. Kevin Smith, DET | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 47
arly favorite to nail down the starting job despite what you may hear about Brian Calhoun or Tatum Bell.

25. Brandon Jacobs, NYG | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 45
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. Would a contract extension really clear anything up about his value?

26. Selvin Young, DEN | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 40
Talented, explosive, and well-liked by his head coach, but how consistent will the carries be? Looks like the obvious starter in Denver now that Henry has been released.


27. Ray Rice, BAL | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 31
Willis McGahee better stay healthy if he knows what's good for him. In the meantime, Rice will try to carve out a poor man's MJD role for himself in the Ravens offense.

28. Pierre Thomas, NO | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 30
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.

29. Felix Jones, DAL | Age: 21.3 | Value Score: 26
Barber's contract extension and Jones' skill-set combine to leave him as a part-time back for the foreseeable future. He's going to have to catch a lot of passes and break quite a few big plays to have startable value any time soon.

30. Earnest Graham, TB | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 30
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 . . . as evidenced by his meager contract extension.

31. Willie Parker, PIT | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 29
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. Mendenhall's addition may leaves him virtually unstartable and certainly unreliable.

32. Julius Jones, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 29
Seahawks announce intention to use a committee attack in the backfield; but Jones will have a chance to run with the job if he impresses early in the season.

33. DeAngelo Williams, CAR | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 28
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.

34. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG | Age: 22.5 | Value Score: 27
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.

35. LenDale White, TEN | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 27
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.

36. Thomas Jones, NYJ | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 25
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.

37. Rudi Johnson, CIN | Age: 28.9 | Value Score: 25
Looking more and more like he'll have his job back full-time to open the season, but this could be more of a committee approach than previous seasons.

38. Ryan Torain, DEN | Age: 22.1 | Value Score: 23
Going awfully high in rookie drafts due to his opportunity, but how likely is it that he'll ever be a full-time back for the Broncos? Worth a roll of the dice if the price is right, but his value may always be tenuous for the exact same reason you're falling for him: you can never role out a Denver running back.

39. #Kevin Jones, CHI | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 22
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.

40. Edgerrin James, ARI | Age: 30.1 | Value Score: 21
The cliff is approaching fast; his goal-line & passing game production have already been taken away while his age and workload history are working hard against him.


41. Tim Hightower, ARI | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 14
It remains to be seen how talented he is, but he's landed in a great spot for instant opportunity. Hightower must impress this season, or the Cards will address the position with a higher pick or free agent next offseason.

42. Michael Bush, OAK | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 12
Now that he's healthy, can he stay healthy? If so, carving out a role as the thunder to McFadden's lightning is a possibility.

43. Chester Taylor, MIN | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 12
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.

44. Ricky Williams, MIA | Age: 31.3 | Value Score: 11
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.

45. Mike Hart, IND | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 11
Major sleeper if he can get past Dominic Rhodes. Well-rounded runner could be one injury away from the Colts starting job .

46. Jerious Norwood, ATL | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 10
As expected, Norwood won't be given an opportunity to shoulder the load in ATL; how valuable can be with limited touches?

47. Steve Slaton, HOU | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 9
Looks like a third down back to me. He may be interesting as a Leon Washington type, but I don't see him ever taking the job in Houston and making it valuable.

48. Jamaal Charles, KC | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 8
A kick returner and role player for as long as LJ stays healthy and productive.

49. Brandon Jackson, GB | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 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.

50. Justin Fargas, OAK | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 8
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 flattens his value.

51. Leon Washington, NYJ | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 7
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.


52. Ahman Green, HOU | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 6
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.

53. Fred Taylor, JAX | Age: 32.6 | Value Score: 6
Has as much value as a 32-year-old, part-timer without goal-line and passing game opportunities can possibly have.

54. Jalen Parmele, MIA | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 6
Talented rookie has only an injury-prone starter and flaky backup in front him.

55. LaMont Jordan, NE | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 6
Signs with Pats, but role unknown. Could eat into Maroney's production or take over passing down work.

56. Chris Brown, HOU | Age: 27.4 | Value Score: 6
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.

57. Derrick Ward, NYG | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 5
Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value.

58. Ladell Betts, WAS | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 5
Now more insurance for Portis as opposed to a backfield complement; startable in the event of a Portis injury but valueless in the meantime.

59. Tatum Bell, DET | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 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.

60. Lorenzo Booker, PHI | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 5
Only hope for value is as a flex player in PPR leagues. Can he catch enough passes to make himself relevant?


61. [#]Cadillac Williams, TB | Age: 26.4 | Value Score: 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.

62. Maurice Morris, SEA | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 4

63. Chris Perry, CIN | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 4
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.

64. Kenny Watson, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 4
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.

65. Andre Hall, DEN | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 4
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.

66. Fred Jackson, BUF | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 3
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.

67. Sammy Morris, NE | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 3
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?

68. Dominic Rhodes, IND | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 3
Back in Indy, but will he get the benefit of the doubt over rookie Hart?

69. Tashard Choice, DAL | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 3
Barber's new long-term deal renders Choice to roster fodder for a couple of years.

70. #Deuce McAllister, NO | Age: 29.7 | Value Score: 3
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.


71. Chris Taylor, HOU | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 2
Longshot, but the coaching staff seems high on him.

72. Jerome Harrison, CLE | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 2

73. Antonio Pittman, STL | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 2
More of a pure backup than Brian Leonard at this point.

74. Darren Sproles, SD | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 2
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.

75. DeShaun Foster, SF | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 2
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.

76. Jacob Hester, SD | Age: 23.3 | Value Score: 2

77. Gary Russell, PIT | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 2

78. Xavier Omon, BUF | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 2

79. Cedric Benson, UFA | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 3
Benson will be expensive to cut, but his latest drunk driving charge gives GM Angelo a convenient out that allows him to save face on Benson's missing talent.

80. Najeh Davenport, UFA | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 2

81. Adrian Peterson, CHI | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 2
ight 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.

82. Kolby Smith, KC | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 2
Was decent in a 5-game trial at the end of the season, but he's limited to backup duty going forward.

83. DeShawn Wynn, GB | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 2
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.

84. J.J. Arrington, ARI | Age: 25.6 | Value Score: 2
Appears the Cardinals don't see him as anything more than a 3rd down back

85. Chauncy Washington, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 2

86. Dwayne Wright, BUF | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 2

87. Tony Hunt, PHI | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 2
Could become the short-yardage back in Philly, but not likely to ever be more than one half of a time share backfield.

88. Musa Smith, NYJ | Age: 26.3 | Value Score: 2
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.

89. Jesse Chatman, NYJ | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 2


90. Mewelde Moore, PIT | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 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.

91. #Michael Robinson, SF | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 1

92. Vernand Morency, GB | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 1
Ceiling is 3rd down back.

93. Thomas Brown, ATL | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 1

94. Marcus Thomas, SD | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 1

95. Warrick Dunn, TB | Age: 33.7 | Value Score: 1
Ill-suited to 3rd down work at this point in his career, but that's where he's going to play.

96. Michael Bennett, TB | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 1

97. #Kenny Irons, CIN | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 1
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.

98. Travis Henry, UFA | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 1
Released by Broncos and unlikely to nail down a starting job the rest of his career.

99. Aaron Stecker, NO | Age: 32.8 | Value Score: 1

100. Michael Pittman, DEN | Age: 33.1 | Value Score: 1

101. Kenton Keith, IND | Age: 28.2 | Value Score: 1

102. Brian Calhoun, DET | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 1

103. Justin Forsett, SEA | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 1

104. Correll Buckhalter, PHI | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 1

105. Ryan Moats
, PHI | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 1

106. Danny Ware, NYG | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 1

107. Shaun Alexander, UFA | Age: 31.0 | Value Score: 1
His days as a workhorse are long gone, and he's going to struggle to ever maintain fantasy relevance again.


Anonymous said...


36. Thomas Jones, NYJ | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 25
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.

Chris Wesseling said...

Comments obviously haven't been updated in awhile. Is that not self-evident?

If I'm doing Dynasty Rankings for Rotoworld's Draft Guide (which is pay material), then I can't post the same exact comments here for free. That would be a conflict of interest. If I wasn't in school, working for Rotoworld, trying to maintain a relationship with a girlfriend, keep a social life, and hobbies, then I might have more time to enter new comments for every player on the list.

In the meantime, I'll continue to update the rankings on an almost daily basis and assume that readers can figure out the comments on their own.