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.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Running Back Rankings | September 25, 2008

RUNNING BACKS

TIER ONE

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: 94
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?

TIER TWO

6. Marion Barber III, DAL | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 87
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. Chris Johnson, TEN | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 86
See here for explanation of high ranking.

9. 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.

10. Joseph Addai, IND | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 85
Safe call in the Colts offense, but is 300 touches per year his limit?

11. Jonathan Stewart, CAR | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 84
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.

TIER THREE

12. Reggie Bush, NO | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 74
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. #Darren McFadden, OAK | Age: 21.0 | Value Score: 74
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.

14. Clinton Portis, WAS | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 73
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. Ronnie Brown, MIA | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 72
Crazy kids with their harmless ACL surgeries.

16. Matt Forte, CHI | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 71
Are you really worried about Cedric Benson? Well then, stop that. Forte has a plum opportunity with only Cedric to beat out.

17. Ryan Grant, GB | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 70
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?

TIER FOUR

18. Michael Turner, ATL | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 61
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?

19. Larry Johnson, KC | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 61
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.

20. #Willie Parker, PIT | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 58
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.

21. Brandon Jacobs, NYG | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 56
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?

22. Felix Jones, DAL | Age: 21.3 | Value Score: 54
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.

23. 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. Hamstring scare has early '08 value in peril.

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: 50
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.

TIER FIVE

26. Ray Rice, BAL | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 40
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. Tim Hightower, ARI | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 39
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.

28. Julius Jones, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 38
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.

29. Steve Slaton, HOU | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 37
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.

30. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT | Age: 21.2 | Value Score: 36
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?

31. DeAngelo Williams, CAR | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 35
A former first-round pick himself, he's obviously not ready to just hand the job to Jonathan Stewart.

TIER SIX

32. Michael Bush, OAK | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 25
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.

33. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG | Age: 22.5 | Value Score: 24
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.

34. Earnest Graham, TB | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 24
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.

35. #Ryan Torain, DEN | Age: 22.1 | Value Score: 23
RB with an injury-history is out 2-3 months with a fractured elbow and could be a candidate for I.R.

36. Thomas Jones, NYJ | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 23
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.

37. Kevin Smith, DET | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 22
arly favorite to nail down the starting job despite what you may hear about Brian Calhoun or Tatum Bell.

38. Chris Perry, CIN | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 21
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.

39. Rudi Johnson, DET | Age: 28.9 | Value Score: 20
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.

TIER SEVEN

40. Selvin Young, DEN | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 13
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.

41. Jamaal Charles, KC | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 12
A kick returner and role player for as long as LJ stays healthy and productive.

42. LenDale White, TEN | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 12
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.

43. Pierre Thomas, NO | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 11
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.

44. Edgerrin James, ARI | Age: 30.1 | Value Score: 10
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: 9
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. Derrick Ward, NYG | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 9
Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value.

47. Ricky Williams, MIA | Age: 31.3 | Value Score: 8
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.

48. Chester Taylor, MIN | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 8
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.

49. Jerious Norwood, ATL | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 8
As expected, Norwood won't be given an opportunity to shoulder the load in ATL; how valuable can be with limited touches?

50. Darren Sproles, SD | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 8
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.

51. 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.

52. Sammy Morris, NE | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 7
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?

53. Fred Jackson, BUF | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 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.

54. LaMont Jordan, NE | Age: 29.8 | Value Score: 6
Mike Lombardi says go get LaMont Jordan because the Patriots are going to use him.

55. Leon Washington, NYJ | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 6
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.

56. #Justin Fargas, OAK | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 5
No longer startable except as a flex, and it only gets worse from there.

57. Andre Hall, DEN | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 5
Short-yardage back and No. 2 to Selvin Young.

58. 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.

59. 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.

60. 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.

61. Deuce McAllister, NO | Age: 29.7 | Value Score: 5
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.

TIER EIGHT

62. 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.

63. 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?

64. Jerome Harrison, CLE | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 4

65. #Maurice Morris, SEA | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 3

66. 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.

67. Kregg Lumpkin, GB | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 3

68. Chris Taylor, HOU | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 3
Longshot, but the coaching staff seems high on him.

69. #Ahman Green, HOU | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 3
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.

70. [#]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.

71. Mewelde Moore, PIT | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 3
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.

72. Gary Russell, PIT | Age: 22.0 | Value Score: 3

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

74. Correll Buckhalter, PHI | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 3

75. Michael Pittman, DEN | Age: 33.1 | Value Score: 3

TIER NINE

76. Jalen Parmele, MIA | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 2
Talented rookie has only an injury-prone starter and flaky backup in front him.

77. 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.

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

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

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

81. 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.

82. 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.

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

84. 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.

85. Justin Forsett, IND | Age: 22.8 | Value Score: 2

TIER TEN

86. 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.

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

88. Marcus Thomas, DET | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 1

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

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

91. Chauncy Washington, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 1

92. [#]Chris Brown, HOU | Age: 27.4 | Value Score: 1

10 comments:

starred4life said...

Hey Chris...great stuff so far in Waiver Wired.

Well, I'm still hating on Grant these days, and now have yet another potential trade involving him.

I'm sure you're a real busy guy, but would love some input if you have a moment.

The trade is:

Ryan Grant and Steve Smith

-for-

Our guy Ronnie Brown


Quick glance of my Keeper roster:

Westbrook (can keep for 2 more yrs)
Barber III (must be released next yr)
Chris Johnson (can be kept for 2 more yrs)
Ryan Grant (can be kept for 1 more yr)

T. Owens (2 yrs)
Cal. Johnson (1 yr)
S. Smith (2 yrs)
A. Bryant
Matt Jones
D. Branch


I think with me being such a longtime R. Brown fan, I may be too caught up in his amazing Week 3 performance.

As we've discussed before, I'm really annoyed that R. Williams will be in the picture next year as well, and maybe beyond. Not sure what that's gonna do to his value.

Thoughts?

EdMcGon said...

Starred,
You didn't ask me, but I'll give you my two cents. ;)

If I'm the guy sitting on Ronnie Brown, and depending on what other RB's I have (i.e. I have someone to step in when Grant's matchup doesn't look favorable), then I'd take your offer just to get Smith.

Two factors against Brown: One game does not a season make, plus his injury history.

EdMcGon said...

Chris,
You have Gore under-rated. I would take him above every guy you have rated above him for the following reasons:

AP - Injury history, plus insane running style that exposes him to even more injuries.

SJax - Godawful team around him. No pass game support because the O-line can't keep the QB upright (God help Trent Green).

LT - Getting old. He may have a few good years left in him, but he already looks like he's declining.

Gore has none of the question marks of the guys above him, and he seems to be adjusting perfectly to Martz's system, to the point where Martz is actually running the ball more, which should add even more to Gore's points.

One other thing: I think Jonathon Stewart is already a tier two back in leagues that include special teams points. By the end of this year, or the beginning of next, he WILL be the next LT.

Chris Wesseling said...

Starred,
I agree with Ed. You're drastically underrating Steve Smith, and you're putting way too much stock in Brown's Week 3 performance.

I'm not making that trade...

Chris Wesseling said...

Ed,
Wait, you're saying Frank Gore should be the #1 RB in Dyansty leagues ahead of Adrian Peterson? And you're citing injury history as a reason?

My first thought is that it's nice to get some Gore love since I've always ranked him higher than other people doing rankings. I agree that he's a stud, and he's on all of my redraft rosters this year. In fact, it's nice not having to defend him to the Addai owners early this season.

But how do you hold injury history against Peterson but not Gore? Peterson's are all freak, one-time accidents while Gore's are seen as the type that will shorten his playing career.

Not only that, but Peterson is clearly more talented and explosive. Why give up on that upside? He could almost single-handedly carry you to championships over the next few seasons.

I think S-Jax & Tomlinson will be fine, and I'm not sure I agree with the notion that Gore doesn't have any question marks like the other backs do. Gore has been riddled with question marks the last two seasons (not by me, but certainly by plenty of others).

Re: Stewart. I like him a lot. He should probably be moved up one tier . . . but I'm not including special teams consideration in the rankings. I know some leagues do that, but that's just weird.

Anonymous said...

4 guys have caught my eye as seeming to be too high.

1.Thomas Jones, he's the very definition of average and has little upside even this year. I really have a hard time seeing him in the same tier as guys like Graham and Perry who at least have some upside.

2.Rashard Mendenhall, I like that he's young, but he's not even the best RB on his team and there are no signs that is going to change any time soon. Plus, that o-line looks awful and its only a matter of time before that team starts bogging down offensively, more games like the Philly game are coming with that schedule. Michael Turner has far more upside(and likely talent) and guys like McGahee and Maroney seem more valuable at least over the next year or 2.

3.Clinton Portis, you are dead on about the lack of burst, watching the Skins, I have a hard time telling when Portis is running or Betts. I think a healthy Grant and a healthy Brown are much better options, especially if Grant if Rodgers is for real.

4.Maurice Jones-Drew, He seems a tier high. He just doesn't get the workload and there is no indication he will any time soon. How he's ahead of Addai is a mystery to me,I agree with Addai being behind Gore though. MJD is a lot closer to the tier 3 guys like Grant and Brown than to Addai and Barber to me.

EdMcGon said...

But how do you hold injury history against Peterson but not Gore? Peterson's are all freak, one-time accidents while Gore's are seen as the type that will shorten his playing career.

Chris,
AP's injuries are, IMO, due to his running style. He doesn't avoid unnecessary contact, and he doesn't seem to avoid the big hits. When you watch LT run, he avoids those big hits, which is why he's lasted so long.

AP is another Gale Sayers: Fun to watch, but one career-ending injury waiting to happen.

Re: Stewart. I like him a lot. He should probably be moved up one tier . . . but I'm not including special teams consideration in the rankings. I know some leagues do that, but that's just weird.

I know. I'm in a league where that is a consideration, and Stewart is a near-stud because of it. I don't expect you to change the rankings because of that. ;)

Chris Wesseling said...

Ed,
If you're reaching back to the 60s for a comparison to Peterson, wouldn't Jim Brown make a lot more sense than Gale Sayers as far as build and running style?

Sayers was more of an elusive type, plus a dominant return man. Brown had a very physical style, was clearly the most talented player on the field, and ran over and past everybody.

EdMcGon said...

Chris,
AP started his career as a kick returner. Add that to his injury history, and he screams Sayers.

Brown never missed a game.

Chris Wesseling said...

Ed,
Peterson only lasted a few games as a kick returner. Sayers was one of the greatest returners of all time.

I don't think there's a comparison there at all. I'll stand by my statement that Peterson is much closer to Jim Brown than Gale Sayers. I think he's far and away the most valuable property in Dynasty leagues.