Fantasy Football Focus: Running Back Rankings

Ranking the top 15 running backs heading into the season.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Adrian Foster, Houston Texans

1. Adrian Foster, Houston Texans- Foster broke out last season as a dual threat that is next to impossible to stop. With Houston's strong passing game, opponents can't load up the box to stop him so expect another strong season from Foster.


2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings- Peterson dropped off some last season but with the addition of Donovan McNabb at QB, he could see a rise in production. Whenever you can throw the ball, it takes a huge load off the running game.


3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs- The only thing stopping Charles from being the top name on this list is that he shares carries with Thomas Jones. Even so, he is a numbers machine in an offense that features pounding the ball up the middle.


4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans- Johnson is easily a top 3 running back in most years but with his current contract unhappiness, you have to question where his focus is these days.


5. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens- Rice has all the potential in the world to be the next Marshall Faulk type back. He is that hybrid rusher/receiver that has pro bowl potential at both. If the Ravens offense can step it up this year, he could flourish.


6. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons- A brutal, powerful back who knows how to find the endzone, Turner has been a solid fantasy RB over the past couple of seasons. You have to wonder, however, if he can stay healthy enough for a whole season as injuries often plague his type of running style.


7. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders- The Raiders showed major offensive improvements last season and all those pieces are coming back for another go at it. McFadden should benefit from the familiarity and produce at a high level.


8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles-With the Eagles poised to be pass happy and Vick liking to run it himself, you have to wonder where McCoy fits into the offensive equation.


9. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers- Like McCoy, Mendenhall is on a team that is fast becoming pass happy. Unlike the Eagles, though, the Steelers still believe in consistently running the ball so a healthy Mendenhall will likely produce solid this season.


10, Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers- Once a top 5 running back, injuries and an inconsistent offense has limited Gore to almost middle of the pack status. The talent is still there for the dual threat back, however, so don't write him off yet.


11. Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns- Is Hillis a one year wonder or is he the next big thing? That's the question you have to ask yourself after the season this years Madden coverboy had last year. The good news is that Cleveland's offense is looking sharp this preseason and Hillis still has a nose for the endzone.


12. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears- The Bears are a very talented team and Forte is a major part of that offense. While he isn't flashy, he gets the job done.


13. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals-In an offense featuring a first year quarterback, you can expect a ton of rushes for Benson. Opposing teams will load the box but Benson is talented enough to get around that.


14. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams- Another back that was once a top 5, Jackson has seen himself fall on the draft boards these past few years. He is still a dangerous weapon in a week division so he can be counted upon for some good weeks.


15. Maurice-Jones Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars- Jones is a very talented dual threat back who probably deserves to be much higher on this board. A potential quarterback controversy, however, keeps me from ranking him higher.


Photo credit – AP