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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Running Back Rankings | October 15, 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
As Ronnie Brown proved in the first half of 2007, elite running back talents can succeed on poor teams.

3. Frank Gore, SF | Age: 25.2 | Value Score: 96
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.

4. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 94
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.

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?

TIER TWO

6. Marshawn Lynch, BUF | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 88

7. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX | Age: 23.4 | Value Score: 88
Was Week 6 a changing of the guard of sorts? The Jags clearly have to get MJD more consistently involved in the offense.

8. Marion Barber III, DAL | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 86

9. Chris Johnson, TEN | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 86
See here for explanation of high ranking.

10. Ronnie Brown, MIA | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 85
We knew ACL surgeries weren't the death sentence they used to be, but it now appears that they're merely a minor setback. Running with impressive power and patience, it's obvious that Brown is the fulcrum of the Dolphins offense.

TIER THREE

11. Reggie Bush, NO | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 77
Owners can live with the poor yards per carry as long as he continues to haul in passes by the bushel-load and find the end zone.

12. Jonathan Stewart
, CAR | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 76
Still an elite talent, but it's becoming more obvious that owners will be waiting until 2010 for him to realize his full potential.

13. Clinton Portis, WAS | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 75
Not an attractive option for builders, but contenders can certainly use a running back averaging 20+ carries and 100+ yards per week. Portis is line for his best season as a Redskin.

14. #Joseph Addai, IND | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 75
I've consistently ranked Addai lower than anyone else doing Dynasty/Keeper rankings, and here's the crux of the problem: Though Addai gets a boost in Dynasty value because he plays for the Colts, he also loses major long-term stability because his backups have proven they can step right in with the offense not skipping a beat. He's not a special talent, and the Colts offense doesn't rely on any unique "Addai-ness" that he brings to the table.

To make matters worse, Addai has been awful since the second half of last season, to the tune of just over 3.0 yards per carry. Did Rhodes impress his coaches enough against Baltimore to receive a bigger slice of the pie down the road? I don't know, but it's not like Addai was seen as a 300+ carry workhorse anyway. I'd be concerned if I was an Addai owner. It doesn't take an over-active imagination to picture the Colts taking it easy with Addai's workload in the future.


15. Darren McFadden, OAK | Age: 21.0 | Value Score: 74
Time to buy if you believe if the talent.

16. Matt Forte, CHI | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 72
Are you really worried about Cedric Benson? Well then, stop that. Forte has a plum opportunity with only Cedric to beat out.

TIER FOUR

17. Michael Turner, ATL | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 64
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. Ryan Grant, GB | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 60
Not only are the big plays gone, but more problematic is that he's slipped to the point where he doesn't even catch passes anymore. Steer clear of running backs with no role in the passing game.

19. Brandon Jacobs, NYG | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 59
The quality of the Giants backups make Jacobs' value a tricky one to judge on a weekly basis. Juggernaut performances like Week 5 help put the doubts to rest.

20. Larry Johnson, KC | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 58
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.

21. #Willie Parker, PIT | Age: 27.8 | Value Score: 56
This is why Parker has never had stability as a Dynasty asset: he's not a true workhorse. Every time the Steelers realize this, they start taking away responsibilities, first passing game work, then short-yardage work, and eventually the starting job.

22. Willis McGahee, BAL | Age: 26.9 | Value Score: 55
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.

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.

TIER FIVE

24. [#]Rashard Mendenhall, PIT | Age: 21.2 | Value Score: 42
Is it too early to wonder if he's a bust? He couldn't get on the field until Willie Parker's injury, and now he's roster fodder until 2009.

25. #Felix Jones, DAL | Age: 21.3 | Value Score: 41
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.

26. DeAngelo Williams, CAR | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 39
A former first-round pick himself, he's obviously not ready to just hand the job to Jonathan Stewart.

27. Ray Rice, BAL | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 38
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. #Laurence Maroney, NE | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 38
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.

29. Tim Hightower, ARI | Age: 22.3 | Value Score: 37
Hightower clearly offers the Cardinals offense more than Edgerrin James does, and Week 6 marked the first time the rookie got more touches than the pedestrian vet.

30. Steve Slaton, HOU | Age: 22.7 | Value Score: 37
I'm still concerned about the long-term stability of his value, but he succeeded in using the porous Colts defense as a springboard to notoriety this week. I'd find an owner who thinks he's a legit stud and sell high for a more stable investment.

TIER SIX

31. #Kevin Smith, DET | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 26

32. #Ryan Torain, DEN | Age: 22.1 | Value Score: 25

33. Julius Jones, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 25
Had a chance to put a stranglehold on the starting job, and he failed to do so.

34. 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.

35. Michael Bush, OAK | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 23

36. Earnest Graham, TB | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 22
Most of his value is going to be tied up in the 2008 season.

37. Thomas Jones, NYJ | Age: 30.0 | Value Score: 22
Sell high!

TIER SEVEN

38. Derrick Ward, NYG | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 14
Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value.

39. Jamaal Charles, KC | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 14
A kick returner and role player for as long as LJ stays healthy and productive.

40. 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.

41. Le'Ron McClain, BAL | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 12

42. LenDale White, TEN | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 11
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. 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.

44. 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?

45. Darren Sproles, SD | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 9
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.

46. Pierre Thomas, NO | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 9
Keep him stashed, but Deuce's return certainly diminishes his value.

47. Dominic Rhodes, IND | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 8
Will be startable for a few weeks and may work his way back into a timeshare with Addai.

48. Sammy Morris, NE | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 8
Most valuable 2008 asset in the Pats committee backfield?

49. Cedric Benson, CIN | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 8
Change happens quickly in the NFL. Benson went from having no future to threatening to usurp Chris Perry's starting job in one week's time. Perry is impressing nobody, and Benson was brought in to play a significant role.

50. Rudi Johnson, DET | Age: 28.9 | Value Score: 7

51. #Selvin Young, DEN | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 7
He's clearly a committee back – the part of the committee that never gets in the end zone.


52. Chester Taylor, MIN | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 7
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.

53. 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.

54. 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.

55. Michael Pittman, DEN | Age: 33.1 | Value Score: 6

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

57. Justin Fargas, OAK | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 6
No longer startable except as a flex, and it only gets worse from there.

58. Ricky Williams, MIA | Age: 31.3 | Value Score: 6
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.

59. 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.

TIER EIGHT

60. 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.

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.

62. Mewelde Moore, PIT | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 5
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.

63. #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.

64. Tashard Choice, DAL | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 5
Barber's new long-term deal renders Choice to roster fodder for a couple of years.

65. Warrick Dunn, TB | Age: 33.7 | Value Score: 4
Ill-suited to 3rd down work at this point in his career, but that's where he's going to play.

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

67. Ahman Green, HOU | Age: 31.5 | Value Score: 4
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.

68. Maurice Morris, SEA | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 4

69. Kenny Watson, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 3
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.

70. Chris Perry, CIN | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 3
Showing no explosion or burst and not long for the starting job.

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

72. [#]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.

73. [#]Mike Hart, IND | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 3
Major sleeper if he can get past Dominic Rhodes. Well-rounded runner could be one injury away from the Colts starting job.

74. [#]Kregg Lumpkin, GB | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 3

TIER NINE

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

76. Lorenzo Booker, PHI | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 2
Only hope for value is as a flex player in PPR leagues. Can he catch enough passes to make himself relevant?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

84. 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.

TIER TEN

85. DeShawn Wynn, GB | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 1

86. Najeh Daveport, PIT | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 1

87. DeShaun Foster, SF | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 1
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.

88. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

94. Chad Simpson, IND | Age: 23.1 | Value Score: 1

95. Shaun Alexander, WAS | Age: 31.0 | Value Score: 1

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

11 comments:

starred4life said...

Need some help regarding Ryan Torain...

I really liked this guy coming out of AZ State, ranked him as the 3rd best prospect behind Stewart and C. Johnson.

Problem is, we can only carry 4 RBs, and Ryan Grant is currently occupying my 4th RB spot.

My roster (Keeper League):

Barber III
Westbrook
Chris Johnson
Ryan Grant

I'd like to pawn Grant off for like a 3rd round pick after this week, because I am not liking his upcoming sked AT ALL (TENN, MIN, CHI). There's that, and the fact he's been a collossal BUST.

My problem is, I have Westbrook too, and I just don't know if he's going to be playing by Week 9.

And I also don't know if Torain will be given a good shot to win the majority of carries.

Anybody lend some insight here?

Chris Wesseling said...

Two major problems here:

1. You desperately need a league where you can carry more than 4 RBs . . . especially Dynasty/keeper leagues.

2. You'd be selling awfully low on Ryan Grant to pick up a huge question mark as his replacement.

Without knowing the specifics of your league, a third rounder seems like an awfully cheap price tag for Grant, but he's definitely the one to move. Can you package him with a WR to a RB-needy team for a WR upgrade? Or a QB upgrade?

starred4life said...

I've been trying to pawn off Grant for 2 weeks now. Owners just aren't biting on him right now.

It's why I feel reduced to offering him for a 3rd, and owners really aren't biting at that.

A 3rd round pick in our particular draft isn't going to be all that great next year, cuz that's generally where the 2nd-tier WRs start to go.

With each team able to keep 3 players, the top 36 players available are generally gone. But there are some guys going back into the pool this year (3-year max keep): Barber III, Addai, Jacobs, etc...

And I actually like the roster limits...it forces owners into the agonizing decision of "now vs. future," very similar to what I'm going thru now.

But Torain is just sitting out there on the waiver wire/free agent list.

To me, everything is pointing to a big 2nd half for him:

- Neither Young or Hall have distinguished themselves.

- Broncos will have kept a roster spot open for him for 8 WEEKS; that rarely happens for rooks, and usually only does if the team REALLY likes them

- A sked that includes NE, MIA, CLE, ATL, OAK & KC during the stretch run

- A potent passing attack to keep defenses honest

I just don't see Grant being worth a crap after this week with a stretch run that includes: TEN, BAL, CHI (twice) & JAX.

I think I just talked myself into outright dropping Grant if I can't trade him for something before the waiver process ends Tue. night.

Is that just insanity? Sounds like it, but ya gotta take some chances to fly that banner, right?

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's quite a drop for Addai just because he'll miss a few games. I can only assume you have a stronger reason than his injury to drop him that far and I'm very curious what that is. I'm hoping it isn't the standard when he's out the Colts offense doesn't really fall off line, because if that's the case then what is Lynch doing 6th. Or MJD 8th.

I really have a hard time seeing Addai behind guys like Johnathan Stewart and even Clinton Portis.

Also, good call on Chris Johnson he's been very useful so far and hasn't even scratched the surface.

Finally, I was curious to get some thoughts on Darren McFadden. Is now the time to buy-low or is his value not going to be that high on that team?

Chris Wesseling said...

anonymous,
I just don't believe Addai has long-term stability in value . . . and I've never believed he was a "stud" RB.

Taken from his new player comment:

I've consistently ranked Addai lower than anyone else doing Dynasty/Keeper rankings, and here's the crux of the problem: Though Addai gets a boost in Dynasty value because he plays for the Colts, he also loses major long-term stability because his backups have proven they can step right in with the offense not skipping a beat. He's not a special talent, and the Colts offense doesn't rely on any unique "Addai-ness" that he brings to the table.

To make matters worse, Addai has been awful since the second half of last season, to the tune of just over 3.0 yards per carry. Did Rhodes impress his coaches enough against Baltimore to receive a bigger slice of the pie down the road? I don't know, but it's not like Addai was seen as a 300+ carry workhorse anyway. I'd be concerned if I was an Addai owner. It doesn't take an over-active imagination to picture the Colts taking it easy with Addai's workload in the future.

starred4life said...

I gotta agree with Chris' assessment about Addai here.

I especially like the phrase "...they don't rely on any unique 'Addai-ness'...", as that about sums it up with Addai: does everything pretty well, but nothing special.

Sure, as long as he plays for the Colts, there'll be inherent value. But how long can a guy dominate carries when it's so obvious he's easily replaced?

Plus, Polian (Colts GM) is rarely satisfied with mediocrity at the RB position; I can only think this will be especially so since he has such a BIG investment (Manning) to protect. D's just don't have to respect Indy's run game much. Nothing keeps blitzers at bay like a good run game.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Addai's replacement be drafted/acquired this year. For dynasty owners, that's a scary thought...

Anonymous said...

I almost never ask for trade help, but this is a biggie. Start 1-QB 2-RB 2-WR 1-TE

My roster:

QB McNabb, Eli, Quinn
RB MJD, Addai, McFadden, Grant, Rhodes
WR Wayne, Marshall, DeSean, Rice
TE Witten, Scheffler

I'm being offered Chris Johnson for Eli, Addai and Rhodes.

I know Johnson is ranked over Addai, but McNabb has a major injury history and I'm worried that if I trade Eli and McNabb goes down then I'm entering a world of pain.

Is the upgrade from Addai to Johnson worth it?

starred4life said...

Ok, Trader Jack here again...

Thoughts on this trade:

Ryan Grant
T. Owens

-for-

R. Wayne


This would clear my roster spot for Torain (hopefully), as well as give me a solid option at WR.

Thoughts?

Chris Wesseling said...

starred,
I think that deal makes a lot more sense. I think Wayne has considerably more value than T.O. in Dynasty leagues considering their respective ages. It beats just flat-out releasing Grant.

Chris Wesseling said...

anonymous,
Nobody would ever advise you to make that deal because you're clearly giving up too much. I'm not going to advise you to do it, but I will say that I personally would not have any problem pulling the trigger.

starred4life said...

Chris-

Thanks for taking the time to offer some insight, much appreciated. Made the deal this a.m.

Question: No mention of Torain in "Waiver Wired" this week?

Have you soured on him?


Anonymous-

You've got the roster to do this trade, as you appear to be loaded at WR & QB...Nice work.

Here's what I think:

- It's gonna be a guessing game w/ Addai/Rhodes the next few weeks.

- McFadden just hasn't received the touches yet

- And while Grant is getting the touches, his upcoming schedule is BRUTAL

CJ is a real nice pairing with Mojo, Especially if the Jags start involving him more--like they should!