Seth's 2013 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings:

 

1. Adrian Peterson, Min

2. Doug Martin, TB

3. Arian Foster, Hou

4. Marshawn Lynch, Sea

5. Ray Rice, Bal

6. C.J. Spiller, Buf

7. Jamaal Charles, KC

8. Alfred Morris, Was

9. LeSean McCoy, Phi

10. Trent Richardson, Cle

11. Frank Gore, SF

12. Matt Forte, Chi

13. Steven Ridley, NE

14. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jax

15. Chris Johnson, Ten

16. Reggie Bush, Det

17. David Wilson, NYG

18. DeMarco Murray, Dal

19. Darren Sproles, NO

20. Steven Jackson, Atl

21. Darren McFadden, Oak

22. Ahmad Bradshaw, Ind

23. Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Cin

24. Lamar Miller, Mia

25. Giovani Bernard, Cin

26. Montee Ball, Den

27. Shane Vereen, NE

28. Andre Brown, NYG

29. Chris Ivory, NYJ

30. Mikel Leshoure, Det

31. Ryan Mathews, SD

32. Benard Pierce, Bal

33. Eddie Lacy, GB

34. Jonathan Franklin, GB

35. Le'Veon Ball, Pit

36. Ronnie Hillman, Den

37. Isaiah Pead, Stl

38. Daryl Richardson, Stl

39. Danny Woodhead, SD

40. DeAngello Williams, Car

41. Mark Ingram, NO

42. Vick Ballard, Ind

43. Rashard Mendanhall, Ari

44. Fred Jackson, Buf

45. Bryce Brown, Phi

46. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atl

47. Pierre Thomas, NO

48. Zac Stacy, Stl

49. Joseph Randle, Dal

50. Ryan Williams, Ari

 

Positional Breakdown:

There are so many backfields around the NFL that are still up for grabs. Some situations such as Pittsburgh, Denver, and St. Louis have as many as three players who could reasonably be the feature back once the season starts.

In 2011 we saw the emergence of three rookie fantasy superstars at the running back position: Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, and Alfred Morris. I feel like last year's rookie class was a lot more predictable, while this year I have no idea if any of the rookies will even see the field for one down! Yes, Montee Ball, Gionvani Bernard, Eddie Lacy, and the other rookie half-backs have a lot of potential, but due to the situations they are in, I'd personally stay away from all rookie running backs in this year's draft unless it's a late round flier.

Since this year's draft is very top heavy, I recommend you atleast draft two running backs in the first three rounds. I would much rather wait on the other positions, than have a player who should be on my bench as my 2nd starting running back.

 

Seth's Recommended RBs:

Did you know that the New England Patriots ranked 1st in the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2012? With so much uncertainty with who will catch the ball, both Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen could be great plays for the upcoming season. The Patriots love to run the football while at the goal-line, and Ridley has proven that he can move the chains and cross the plane. With Danny Woodhead gone, Shane Vereen could take over his 3rd down role in the passing game. I like Vereen even more in a PPR league.

Another great play in PPR every year is Darren Sproles. While he did miss three games last season with a hand injury, he still was 17th in the NFL in all purpose yards. Drew Brees loves throwing screens to Sproles, and he's had 7 touchdown receptions each of the last two years. Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas will get some touches but they aren't nearly as productive or explosive as Sproles. I would gladly use him as my #2 running back in a standard 10 team league or a low-end #1 running back in a PPR league.

The Bengals did use a high draft pick on Giovani Bernard in the 2013 draft, but I still think Benjarvus Green-Ellis has another good year in him. He's averaged 10 touchdowns the last 3 seasons and will no doubt grab any goal-line carries. He may not reach the 1,000 yards rushing that he's achieved two of the last three years, but having an explosive backup, like Bernard, can only help keep his legs fresh. I wouldn't recommend drafting Green-Ellis as a starting running back, but I think he's a very solid flex or bench player.

 

Seth's Deep League Recommended RBs:

Danny Woodhead found a new home in San Diego this year and I think this is a great fit for him. Ryan Mathews has really been a disaster the past few years, and isn't even assured the starting gig. All Woodhead did in New England was make play after play out of the backfield. He's a PPR stud, and after seeing what San Diego did with Ronnie Brown last year as a pass catcher, I think Danny Woodhead could be a sneaky flex play in deeper leagues.

You know how I said don't draft a rookie running back unless you get them late? Zac Stacy fits that mold. Now that the Rams have finally said goodbye to Steven Jackson, the starting tail-back job in St. Louis is up for grabs. Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson do have a full year of NFL experience over Stacy, but that could also be to his advantage. Pead will be suspended week 1 due to the NFL's drug policy and Richardson was not very impressive when he got his chance in 2012. Will Zac Stacy be a stud? Who knows, but I feel like he'll have a chance to prove he deserves the Rams' running back job. Stash him on your bench in a deep league.

I'm a huge fan of Ahmad Bradshaw, but no one can deny that he's been really banged up the past few years. In his rookie season, Vick Ballard totaled 814 yards on the ground, after taking the job in late October from draft bust Donald Brown. If Ahmad Bradshaw has to miss any time with an injury, Vick Ballard would be able to step in and be a very solid low end running back #2 or a solid flex. However, if both Bradshaw and himself are healthy, he's probably a low end flex at best.

 

Seth's RBs to avoid:

Trent Richardson is a fantastic running back, but his injury history after one NFL season does worry me. He's had four injuries since August of last year, which may be a sign of things to come. DeMarco Murray, similar to Richardson, has had injury problems to start his career. He's missed significant time in his first two seasons in the NFL and sometimes is underused in games due to the Cowboys being down in games early.

I'm also trying to stay clear of these backfields unless the value is too good:

Pittsburgh: Jonathan Dwyer, Le'Veon Bell, & Isaac Redman

Denver: Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball & Knowshon Moreno

Carolina: DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, & Mike Tolbert

Arizona: Rashard Mendanhall & Ryan Williams

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That's all for today. Thanks a bunch for reading! If you'd like to send me a question about fantasy football or baseball you can shoot me a tweet @RavenNation21