Fantasy Football 2011: Top 50 Running Backs

Updated:  9-2-2011

Your draft/s may be complete, but there are still a multitude of drafts on the 6th (my personal favorite day for drafting), and some scattered over Labor Day weekend.   Here are my latest, and likely last, running back rankings.  This list is guided by stats, observations, and some good ole fashioned hunches.  I do not expect anyone (other than me) to follow it verbatim.

1)   Adrian Peterson, Vikings

2)   Chris Johnson, Titans

3)   Ray Rice, Ravens

4)   Arian Foster, Texans

5)   Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

6)   Darren McFadden, Raiders

7)   Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers

8)   LeSean McCoy, Eagles

9)   Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

10)   Matt Forte, Bears

11)   Michael Turner, Falcons

12)   Frank Gore, 49ers

13)   LaGarrette Blount, Bucs

14)   Steven Jackson, Rams

15)   Peyton Hillis, Browns

16)   Jahvid Best, Lions

17)   DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

18)   Tim Hightower, Redskins

19)   Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants

20)   Felix Jones, Cowboys

21)   Beanie Wells, Cardinals

22)   Ryan Grant, Packers

23)   Ryan Mathews, Chargers

24)   Knowshon Moreno, Broncos

25)   Cedric Benson, Bengals

26)   Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks

27)   Mark Ingram, Saints

28)   Shonn Greene, Jets

29)   BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Pats

30)   Joseph Addai, Colts

31)   Fred Jackson, Bills

32)   Brandon Jacobs, Giants

33)   Mike Tolbert, Chargers

34)   James Starks, Packers

35)   Reggie Bush, Dolphins

36)   Willis McGahee, Broncos

37)   Pierre Thomas, Saints

38)   C.J. Spiller, Bills

39)   Thomas Jones, Chiefs

40)   Daniel Thomas, Dolphins

41)   Ben Tate, Texans

42)   Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

43)   LaDanian Tomlinson, Jets

44)   Roy Helu, Redskins

45)   Rashad Jennings, Jaguars

46)   Danny Woodhead, Patriots

47)   Michael Bush, Raiders

48)   Ronnie Brown, Eagles

49)   Ryan Torain, Redskins

50)   Ricky Williams, Ravens

51)  Tony Gerhart, Vikings

(Note:  In the original list, I had a brain malfunction and neglected to include Michael Turner on this list. Thanks to the reader below for pointing out my mistake. The list had been updated.)


With the recent hamstring issue, Arian Foster has been falling, in many cases down to 8 or 9.  He says his hammy is all good, and I believe him.  Foster is too much of a multi-faceted threat not to nab him in the Top 5.

I’m in the “Tim Hightower could be this year’s Arian Foster” camp.  Hightower’s a workhorse who finally gets his chance to start (after being 1b to Beanie Wells the past few seasons).  Then again, Roy Helu could also be this year’s Arian Foster.

I have Willis McGahee a little higher than most at #35.  Touchdown Willie will get his opportunities under John Fox, a coach who knows how to utilize two running backs.

Ahmad Bradshaw has fallen ever so slightly to #18 with the emergence of Brandon Jacobs, who has risen to #31.  The Giants have already indicated an intention of getting Jacobs the ball more, and his 6 yards a carry average in the preseason will likely keep them on course.

Other than Danny Woodhead (who will get plenty of opportunities in New England‘s always unpredictable backfield), everyone listed from 40-50 is a backup for a featured runner.  Drafting these guys is fine in deep leagues, but you’d be better off throwing darts at wide receivers and tight ends, and seeing which unexpected running backs emerge.  I guarantee we’ll see at least one not on this list.  Happens every year.