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 8, 2008

Running Back Rankings | October 8, 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: 95
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. Marshawn Lynch, BUF | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 88
Hit-and-run incident shouldn't affect his '08 value.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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

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. Ronnie Brown, MIA | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 84
Crazy kids with their harmless ACL surgeries.

TIER THREE

12. Jonathan Stewart, CAR | Age: 21.5 | Value Score: 77
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.

13. Reggie Bush, NO | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 76
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: 75
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. #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.

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: 63
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: 62
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?

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: 60

21. Brandon Jacobs, NYG | Age: 26.2 | Value Score: 58
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: 53
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. Willis McGahee, BAL | Age: 26.9 | Value Score: 53
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.

24. 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

25. [#]Rashard Mendenhall, PIT | Age: 21.2 | Value Score: 41
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?

26. #Laurence Maroney, NE | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 40
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.

27. DeAngelo Williams, CAR | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 38
A former first-round pick himself, he's obviously not ready to just hand the job to Jonathan Stewart.

28. Ray Rice, BAL | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 37
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.

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. 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.

31. Julius Jones, SEA | Age: 27.0 | Value Score: 35
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.

TIER SIX

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

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. #Ryan Torain, DEN | Age: 22.1 | Value Score: 23

35. Kevin Smith, DET | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 23

36. Earnest Graham, TB | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 24
Most of his value is going to be tied up in the 2008 season.

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

TIER SEVEN

38. Le'Ron McClain, BAL | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 16

39. Jamaal Charles, KC | Age: 21.7 | Value Score: 13
A kick returner and role player for as long as LJ stays healthy and productive.

40. Derrick Ward, NYG | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 12
Looks like injury history scared off potential suitors, so he re-signs with Giants which dampens his value.

41. 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.

42. 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.

43. Kevin Jones, CHI | Age: 26.0 | Value Score: 10
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.

44. Pierre Thomas, NO | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 9

45. Chris Perry, CIN | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 8
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.

46. Rudi Johnson, DET | Age: 28.9 | Value Score: 8

47. #Selvin Young, DEN | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 8

48. 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.

49. Jerious Norwood, ATL | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 7
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: 7
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. Cedric Benson, CIN | Age: 25.7 | Value Score: 6
Not crazy about his talent, his skills, or his attitude, but there's not much in front of him in Cincy.

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

57. 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.

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

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.

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. 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.

TIER EIGHT

63. Tashard Choice, DAL | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 4
Barber's new long-term deal renders Choice to roster fodder for a couple of years.

64. Kregg Lumpkin, GB | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 4

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. Dominic Rhodes, IND | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 4
Back in Indy, but will he get the benefit of the doubt over rookie Hart?

67. Mewelde Moore, PIT | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 4
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.

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

69. 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.

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

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: 4
Major sleeper if he can get past Dominic Rhodes. Well-rounded runner could be one injury away from the Colts starting job.

74. Lorenzo Booker, PHI | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 3
Only hope for value is as a flex player in PPR leagues. Can he catch enough passes to make himself relevant?

75. Andre Hall, DEN | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 3
Short-yardage back and No. 2 to Selvin Young.

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

TIER NINE

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

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

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

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

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

82. Kenny Watson, CIN | Age: 30.6 | Value Score: 2
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.

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

TIER TEN

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

85. Kolby Smith, KC | Age: 23.8 | Value Score: 1
Was decent in a 5-game trial at the end of the season, but he's limited to backup duty going forward.

86. 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.

87. 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.

88. Michael Bennett, TB | Age: 30.0 | 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

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

10 comments:

EdMcGon said...

It's too late for Westbrook. Here's a simple hypothetical test for you: You're in a league with no trade deadline. You're about to enter the playoffs. Someone offers you Westbrook for your tier 3 RB, who has little or no injury history. Do you gamble on the few extra points Westbrook MIGHT get you (if he stays healthy for the next two weeks), or do you go with the tier 3 RB who should be healthy the next two weeks?

Personally, I'm turning down that offer.

Frankly, LT2 is also getting close to that assessment.

starred4life said...

Looking for a little more help here, fellas.

I've been offered this trade in my keeper (3 players only) league:

Ronnie Brown (can be kept for two more years)
Dwayne Bowe (can be kept for one more yr, but prolly wouldn't)

--for--

Marion Barber (must be released after this year)
Steve Smith (can be kept for 2 more years)

My linuep

Westbrook (2 more years)
Barber (0 years)
Chris Johnson (2 more years)
Ryan Grant (1 more year)

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

Obviously, Brown would strengthen me for the next few years, but I'm just not sure if he can be better than Barber THIS YEAR.

He's looking more and more like the BEAST he was last year, though.

It seems Barber's workload is going to get a little smaller, while Brown's should remain the same, or maybe increase slightly.

It's just the Dolphins offense vs. the Cowboys offense that scares me, even though that horrible offense didn't slow Brown down last year.

Thoughts, anyone?

EdMcGon said...

Starred,
I wouldn't take the deal. Bowe will never be worth what Smith is now. Brown for Barber is about even for me.

Even if you think about the Calvin Johnson angle, I'd rather hold onto Johnson for another year than be forced to start him now. Smith will get you more production now.

The only way I can see making this deal is if your team is giving up on this season. Based on your roster, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Why so low on Michael Turner? The guy is the #1 RB in fantasy football right now. He's both a big-play RB and a mauler, with very few miles on him in an offense that is built around him. Tier 4 seems FAR too low. Top of tier 3 or even bottom of tier 2 seems more appropriate. I'm not so sure I wouldn't rather have Turner than MJD at this point.

Also, great call on Chris Johnson. I'm curious, would you trade Ryan Grant and Torry Holt to get Chris Johnson in my shoes?

My RB and WR:(start2 of each)
Addai, Turner, Grant, Rhodes
Wayne, Marshall, Holt, Avery

starred4life said...

See, I guess I'm just too sour on WRs...they're just so hot and cold, that you virtually can't rely on them at all.

Just too many variables in a game that direcly affect them.

This--in my eyes--makes them all very similar.

Sure, the top 3 in any given year are what I'd call 'difference makers,' and they can give you a weekly advantage.

But outside of them, it's alot of the same.

For instance, in my league, where receptions count for .5 points, and 10 rec yds = 1pt w/100yd bonuses, Bowe and Smith are fairly even.

Steve Smith: 13ppg

Dwayne Bowe: 11.1ppg

Now I agree, Smith will out-produce Bowe this year, but will it be by more than 2-3ppg or so?

If it is only 2ppg or so, I think the trade is worth it; 2ppg isn't going to win or lose me many games this year.

The one thing, however, Bowe will not give me is that 'explosion' week that Smith can give me--the week where he wins a game for you almost single-handedly.

But to me, the value I'm getting both now and over the next two years will far out-weigh those 2 extra ppg I get this year or the occassional 'explosion' game from Smith.

Am I too down on WRs?

jmc said...

Anonymous,
Surely you give up Grant/Holt to get Chris Johnson. Your two guys are "sell high" territory right now...

starred4life said...

Deemed the Brown/Bowe for Barber/Smith too expensive...

How about this one:

Barber (0 yrs)
Smith (2yrs)

-for-

Addai (0 yrs)
E. Royal (2 yrs)

starred4life said...

Sorry, that last post was a typo:

the actual trade would be:

R. Grant (0yrs)
S. Smith (2yrs)

-for-

J. Addai (0yrs)
E. Royal (2yrs)

Chris Wesseling said...

starred,
the story remains the same. you don't deserve steve smith b/c you undervalue him more than any steve smif owner should.

Smith/Barber is worth way, way more than what's being offered.

and. . . I think your WR theory is nonsense. One of my biggest advantages is that I prey on the QB/RB heavy owners who think WRs are fickle from year-to-year. WRs are way more predictable than RBs.

starred4life said...

lol, you're probably right, I don't deserve Steve Smith.

But here's my angle:

I've got Brian Westbrook, and he's got broken/fractured ribs. The last time I had a RB w/ fractured ribs, it was Chester Taylor in '06, and he was a shell of his former self when he returned.

Westy may not be startable the rest of the way.

With Ryan Grant facing Tennessee, Minnesota and Chicago in weeks 9, 10 & 11, he's not going to be startable during that stretch, either.

We can start 3 RBs in my league, and I've always tried very hard to do so (within reason), as I've found RBs to just be flat-out more consistent than WRs week to week.

For instance, just look at my WRs, and where they currently rank in my league:

T. Owens: 8th
S. Smith: 16th (using his ppg avg)
Cal. Johnson: 19th

I thought--and I'm sure many others did, too--that at least two of those three would be occupying top 10 spots.

Instead, I don't even have two in the top 15! It's still relatively early, I know, but this lack of production from my WR position is really hurting me.

It's this kind of stuff I see every year that makes me say the WRs are the inconsistent ones.

I'm 3-2, staring 3-3 dead in the face this week w/out the services of Westy & Chris Johnson, so maybe I'm just overly anxious.

But the thought of starting Barber III, Chris Johnson and the early "Bust of the Year" candidate Grant, is really not giving me a whole lot of confidence.

To me, this looks a whole lot better:

Barber
Addai
Chris Johnson

T.O.
Cal. Johnson
With Royal as a bye-week fill-in.

Sorry for the long-winded post, and thanks so much for taking the time to help fellas!

Keep up the great work Chris!