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: 97
I won't start worrying about the holdout until mid-August at the earliest.
3. #LaDainian Tomlinson, SD | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 96
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: 95
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: 95
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. Marion Barber III, DAL | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 88
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.
7. Marshawn Lynch, BUF | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 87
Hit-and-run incident shouldn't affect his '08 value.
8. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 86
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.
9. Joseph Addai, IND | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 85
Safe call in the Colts offense, but is 300 touches per year his limit?
10. Chris Johnson, TEN | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 84
See here for explanation of high ranking.
11. Jonathan Stewart, CAR | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 76
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.
12. 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.
13. Reggie Bush, NO | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 73
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.
14. Clinton Portis, WAS | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 72
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. Where is the burst?
15. #Ryan Grant, GB | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 71
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?
16. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT | Age: 21.2 | Value Score: 60
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?
17. Michael Turner, ATL | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 60
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?
18. Ronnie Brown, MIA | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 59
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.
19. Matt Forte, CHI | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 58
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.
20. Brandon Jacobs, NYG | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 57
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?
21. Larry Johnson, KC | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 56
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.
22. Jamal Lewis, CLE | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 55
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. Hamstring scare has early '08 value in peril.
23. Willie Parker, PIT | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 53
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.
24. #Willis McGahee, BAL | Age: 26.9 | Value Score: 52
Drafting of Ray Rice could be more troublesome than McGahee owners want to admit. An awful O-Line and injury questions give further reason for concern.
25. Laurence Maroney, NE | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 52
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.
26. Ray Rice, BAL | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 42
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.
27. Felix Jones, DAL | Age: 21.3 | Value Score: 42
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.
28. DeAngelo Williams, CAR | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 40
A former first-round pick himself, he's obviously not ready to just hand the job to Jonathan Stewart.
29. Tim Hightower, ARI | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 36
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.
30. Thomas Jones, NYJ | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 35
Aging mediocrity could have a nice bounceback season with Favre on board and an improved O-Line, but don't go overboard paying for him.
31. Earnest Graham, TB | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 35
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.
32. Kevin Smith, DET | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 34
arly favorite to nail down the starting job despite what you may hear about Brian Calhoun or Tatum Bell.
33. Chris Perry, CIN | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 31
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.
34. Julius Jones, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 30
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.
35. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG | Age: 22.5 | Value Score: 28
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.
36. Selvin Young, DEN | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 27
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.
37. Pierre Thomas, NO | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 26
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.
38. #Ryan Torain, DEN | Age: 22.1 | Value Score: 18
RB with an injury-history is out 2-3 months with a fractured elbow and could be a candidate for I.R.
39. Michael Bush, OAK | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 17
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.
40. Steve Slaton, HOU | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 17
Lo0oks 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.
41. LenDale White, TEN | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 16
Let's quit jerking around here: the seeping leak in LenDale's value this offseason has been gashed open by Chris Johnson since training camp started.
42. Jamaal Charles, KC | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 14
A kick returner and role player for as long as LJ stays healthy and productive.
43. Ricky Williams, MIA | Age: 31.3 | Value Score: 13
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.
44. Edgerrin James, ARI | Age: 30.1 | Value Score: 13
The cliff is approaching fast; his goal-line & passing game production have already been taken away while his workload and injury work against him.
45. Kevin Jones, CHI | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 13
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.
46. Chester Taylor, MIN | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 9
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.
47. Jerious Norwood, ATL | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 9
As expected, Norwood won't be given an opportunity to shoulder the load in ATL; how valuable can be with limited touches?
48. Brandon Jackson, GB | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 7
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.
49. Andre Hall, DEN | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 7
Short-yardage back and No. 2 to Selvin Young.
50. Derrick Ward, NYG | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 7
Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value.
51. Sammy Morris, NE | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 6
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?
52. LaMont Jordan, NE | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 6
Mike Lombardi says go get LaMont Jordan because the Patriots are going to use him.
53. Darren Sproles, SD | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 6
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.
54. #Justin Fargas, OAK | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 5
No longer startable except as a flex, and it only gets worse from there.
55. Fred Jackson, BUF | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 5
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.
56. Leon Washington, NYJ | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 5
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.
57. Fred Taylor, JAX | Age: 32.6 | Value Score: 5
Has as much value as a 32-year-old, part-timer without goal-line and passing game opportunities can possibly have.
58. #Maurice Morris, SEA | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 5
59. #Ahman Green, HOU | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 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.
60. Chris Taylor, HOU | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 6
Longshot, but the coaching staff seems high on him.
61. 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.
62. Kenny Watson, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 5
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.
63. Mike Hart, IND | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 4
Major sleeper if he can get past Dominic Rhodes. Well-rounded runner could be one injury away from the Colts starting job.
64. Lorenzo Booker, PHI | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 4
Only hope for value is as a flex player in PPR leagues. Can he catch enough passes to make himself relevant?
65. Rudi Johnson, DET | Age: 28.9 | Value Score: 4
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. Nagging hamstring is cause for concern.
66. Jalen Parmele, MIA | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 4
Talented rookie has only an injury-prone starter and flaky backup in front him.
67. [#]Cadillac Williams, TB | Age: 26.4 | Value Score: 3
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.
68. 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.
69. Dominic Rhodes, IND | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 3
Back in Indy, but will he get the benefit of the doubt over rookie Hart?
70. Kregg Lumpkin, GB | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 3
71. #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.
72. Jerome Harrison, CLE | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 3
73. Jacob Hester, SD | Age: 23.3 | Value Score: 2
74. Xavier Omon, BUF | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 2
75. Antonio Pittman, STL | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 2
More of a pure backup than Brian Leonard at this point.
76. Cedric Benson, UFA | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 2
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.
77. Gary Russell, PIT | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 2
78. 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.
79. Warrick Dunn, TB | Age: 33.7 | Value Score: 2
Ill-suited to 3rd down work at this point in his career, but that's where he's going to play.
80. Michael Pittman, DEN | Age: 33.1 | Value Score: 2
81. *Jesse Chatman, NYJ | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 2
82. 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.
83. Justin Forsett, IND | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 2
84. Adrian Peterson, CHI | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 1
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.
85. Michael Bennett, TB | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 1
86. 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.
87. Marcus Thomas, DET | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 1
88. Michael Robinson, SF | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 1
89. Aaron Stecker, NO | Age: 32.8 | Value Score: 1
90. Correll Buckhalter, PHI | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 1
91. Danny Ware, NYG | Age: 23.6 | Value Score: 1
92. Chauncy Washington, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 1
93. [#]Chris Brown, HOU | Age: 27.4 | Value Score: 1
94. J.J. Arrington, ARI | Age: 25.6 | Value Score: 1
Wednesday, September 17, 2008