Ranking the Top 10 Running Backs For 2013 Fantasy Football Season

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Ranking the Top 10 Running Backs For 2013 Fantasy Football Season

Fantasy Running Backs
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs are arguably the most important position in all of fantasy football. Owning or missing out on a top tier back could be the difference between winning your league and being the laughing stock of it. It is even more important this year as the running back talent is scarcer than any other position.

Last season there were 16 players that reached the 1,000 yard rushing plateau and only eight that reached double digit rushing touchdowns. Since standard leagues require you to start two running backs this will leave a few teams extremely disadvantaged at the position. If you want to be the favorite to win your league, don't let it be you. In a recent 12-team mock draft that I took part in on Yahoo, 10 of the first 12 picks in the draft were running backs. By the end of the third round the best available running back from last season was Darren McFadden, who is clearly one of the furthest things from consistent from a fantasy standpoint.

The bottom line is that when you are picking in the first round chances are you’ll be selecting an RB, and it is important to pick one that could make up for the short coming of your RB2. If you are fortunate enough to have two top running backs then consider yourself lucky. To make sure you get the most value out of your pick I have ranked the top 10 running backs for the 2013 season.

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10. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Trent Richardson
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

2012 was a great success for owners who took a chance on the rookie. Richardson finished tied for fifth in the league in rushing touchdowns and fell just 50 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing all while playing nine games with two broken ribs. Despite the injury Richardson only missed one game last year showing great toughness and still demonstrated his bruising style of running while also showing that he is a very capable receiver out of the backfield. Richardson hauled in 51 receptions, which was sixth most for running backs and second most on his team. Look for Richardson to have a very productive season as the Browns offense relies heavily on the second year pro.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,100 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 60 Rec, 350 Rec yds, 2 Rec TD

3 of 11

9. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

Alfred Morris
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone tells you that they knew Morris was going to be a stud last season then you shouldn’t believe anything coming out of their mouth. Morris was the sixth round draft pick for the Redskins last year and wasn’t believed to have any real chance to be the starter. Fast-forward a year and he ranked second in the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Morris is a prime example of a player benefiting from the system he is in. The bruising back complements the swift QB Robert Griffin III in the read option offense that Washington runs and should be a productive fantasy back this year.

I look for his numbers to come a little bit more down to earth as teams will adjust to the option, but he should still be a solid source of touchdowns.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,200 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 10 rec, 60 Rec yards, 1 rec TD

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8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

“Shady” McCoy had a tough 2012 campaign missing four games because of a concussion leading to the emergence of Bryce Brown. McCoy only found the end zone five times in 12 games and had his lowest yards per carry of his career. Despite the bad season it really isn’t all McCoy’s fault as the Eagles clearly had their struggles (4-12). With new head coach Chip Kelly bringing in his new “high-octane” offense, the whole team seems more optimistic about starting a new chapter. Look for McCoy to have a bounce-back year as he has the upside to be a top 5-fantasy running back (see 2011 stats).

Fantasy Prediction: 1,200 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 55 Rec, 450 Rec yards, 3 Rec TD

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7. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Rice is down to number seven this year for one reason: volume. The Ravens are now leaning towards giving more carries to Bernard Pierce to preserve Rice, which is the last thing any fantasy owner wants to hear. They are also leaning more on their now $120 million QB Joe Flacco. Flacco threw 317 passes last season, the most of his career. Despite these facts, Rice will still make up for it with the amount of receptions he gets. In his four years as the starter Rice averages 69.5 receptions per season, which is almost unheard of for running backs. Mix that with over 1,000 yards rushing and close to 10 touchdowns every year and Rice is one of the safest picks in the draft; but he won’t give you significant upside anymore.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,100 Rushing yards, 7 Rushing TD, 65 Rec, 550 Rec yards, 2 Rec TD

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6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Marshawn Lynch was clearly in “Beast Mode” for all of last season. Lynch is coming off of his best statistical season of his career where he had over 1,500 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns. The seven-year pro is in the prime of his career and will continue to carry a big load in Seattle (338 touches last year). With the addition of playmaker Percy Harvin, defenses will have to stay honest with the balanced attack of the Seahawks, as they can beat you through the air or on the ground.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,250 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 20 Rec, 200 Rec yards, 1 Rec TD

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5. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spiller
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Spiller finally got to show the NFL what he’s capable of. After then starter Fred Jackson went down with a sprained LCL and MCL, Spiller got the call and never looked back. He gained 1,244 yards on just 207 carries last season (6 yards per carry) and even made some PPR owners happy with his 43 receptions. Spiller can truly do it all and is a threat to score on any given play. While he is a small risk since 2012 was his first really productive NFL season, he going up against the 7th easiest schedule in terms of fantasy points surrendered to running backs. Look for Spiller to have a big 2013 season, as he will surely get more carries than the 207 he got last year.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,400 Rushing yards, 7 Rushing TD, 45 Rec, 450 Rec yards, 4 Rec TD

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4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After tearing his ACL in 2011 Charles came back with a vengeance and torched opposing defenses. He had a career year gaining over 1,500 rushing yards in 2012 but frustrated some owners by finding the end zone only six times. Charles only scores on long runs, however that seemed to occur in almost every other game for Charles (average TD length-53 yards). With new Head Coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs may shy away from the run a little bit, but that doesn’t mean Charles won’t be getting the ball. Reid’s offense tends to get the running backs very involved in the passing game (Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy), which will likely inflate the amount of receptions Charles gets.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,300 Rushing yards, 6 Rushing TD, 55 Rec, 500 Rec yards, 3 Rec TD

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3. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Martin wasted no time making his presence known in his rookie year. The “Muscle Hamster” flirted with 2,000 total yards and had 12 total touchdowns. Head coach Greg Schiano had recently said that Martin is in even better physical shape than last year and that he expects him to elevate his game to an even higher level. While that may be asking for a lot from the second year pro there’s no reason to believe Martin can’t do it. With All-Pro guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph returning from injury to go against the third easiest schedule for fantasy running backs, Martin is set up to be a fantasy stud.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,300 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 60 Rec, 500 Rec yards, 2 Rec TD

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2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I know, I know. How can I not put the freak of nature who came back from major knee surgery to come within nine yards of breaking the single season rushing record number one? It simply comes down to his supporting cast and the matchups. Minnesota has the fourth most difficult schedule in Fantasy for running backs. Add that with the shaky play of QB Christian Ponder and Peterson will have to consistently beat defenses with eight men stacked in the box. Not saying he can’t do it because clearly he is not human, but it won’t be easy.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,600 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 35 Rec, 210 Rec yards, 1 Rec TD

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1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Arian Foster
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Foster has been the best fantasy running back over the past three seasons. His consistency and workload put him above any other player on the list. Foster’s 351 carries and 15 rushing TD were tops in the league. He is on an offense that is a scoring machine where touchdowns seem to come to him in bunches. He’s been in the top four in fantasy points scored by running backs in each of the last three seasons. He gets it done on the ground as well as through the air and never gets injured.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,400 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 45 Rec, 400 Rec Yards, 2 Rec TD

Follow me on Twitter @Blockski12 and feel free to ask any questions you may have about fantasy. Mike Block is a featured Fantasy Sports columnist for Rant Sports

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Ranking the Top 10 Running Backs For 2013 Fantasy Football Season

Fantasy Running Backs
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs are arguably the most important position in all of fantasy football. Owning or missing out on a top tier back could be the difference between winning your league and being the laughing stock of it. It is even more important this year as the running back talent is scarcer than any other position.

Last season there were 16 players that reached the 1,000 yard rushing plateau and only eight that reached double digit rushing touchdowns. Since standard leagues require you to start two running backs this will leave a few teams extremely disadvantaged at the position. If you want to be the favorite to win your league, don't let it be you. In a recent 12-team mock draft that I took part in on Yahoo, 10 of the first 12 picks in the draft were running backs. By the end of the third round the best available running back from last season was Darren McFadden, who is clearly one of the furthest things from consistent from a fantasy standpoint.

The bottom line is that when you are picking in the first round chances are you’ll be selecting an RB, and it is important to pick one that could make up for the short coming of your RB2. If you are fortunate enough to have two top running backs then consider yourself lucky. To make sure you get the most value out of your pick I have ranked the top 10 running backs for the 2013 season.

2 of 11

10. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Trent Richardson
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

2012 was a great success for owners who took a chance on the rookie. Richardson finished tied for fifth in the league in rushing touchdowns and fell just 50 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing all while playing nine games with two broken ribs. Despite the injury Richardson only missed one game last year showing great toughness and still demonstrated his bruising style of running while also showing that he is a very capable receiver out of the backfield. Richardson hauled in 51 receptions, which was sixth most for running backs and second most on his team. Look for Richardson to have a very productive season as the Browns offense relies heavily on the second year pro.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,100 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 60 Rec, 350 Rec yds, 2 Rec TD

3 of 11

9. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

Alfred Morris
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone tells you that they knew Morris was going to be a stud last season then you shouldn’t believe anything coming out of their mouth. Morris was the sixth round draft pick for the Redskins last year and wasn’t believed to have any real chance to be the starter. Fast-forward a year and he ranked second in the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Morris is a prime example of a player benefiting from the system he is in. The bruising back complements the swift QB Robert Griffin III in the read option offense that Washington runs and should be a productive fantasy back this year.

I look for his numbers to come a little bit more down to earth as teams will adjust to the option, but he should still be a solid source of touchdowns.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,200 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 10 rec, 60 Rec yards, 1 rec TD

4 of 11

8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

“Shady” McCoy had a tough 2012 campaign missing four games because of a concussion leading to the emergence of Bryce Brown. McCoy only found the end zone five times in 12 games and had his lowest yards per carry of his career. Despite the bad season it really isn’t all McCoy’s fault as the Eagles clearly had their struggles (4-12). With new head coach Chip Kelly bringing in his new “high-octane” offense, the whole team seems more optimistic about starting a new chapter. Look for McCoy to have a bounce-back year as he has the upside to be a top 5-fantasy running back (see 2011 stats).

Fantasy Prediction: 1,200 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 55 Rec, 450 Rec yards, 3 Rec TD

5 of 11

7. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Rice is down to number seven this year for one reason: volume. The Ravens are now leaning towards giving more carries to Bernard Pierce to preserve Rice, which is the last thing any fantasy owner wants to hear. They are also leaning more on their now $120 million QB Joe Flacco. Flacco threw 317 passes last season, the most of his career. Despite these facts, Rice will still make up for it with the amount of receptions he gets. In his four years as the starter Rice averages 69.5 receptions per season, which is almost unheard of for running backs. Mix that with over 1,000 yards rushing and close to 10 touchdowns every year and Rice is one of the safest picks in the draft; but he won’t give you significant upside anymore.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,100 Rushing yards, 7 Rushing TD, 65 Rec, 550 Rec yards, 2 Rec TD

6 of 11

6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Marshawn Lynch was clearly in “Beast Mode” for all of last season. Lynch is coming off of his best statistical season of his career where he had over 1,500 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns. The seven-year pro is in the prime of his career and will continue to carry a big load in Seattle (338 touches last year). With the addition of playmaker Percy Harvin, defenses will have to stay honest with the balanced attack of the Seahawks, as they can beat you through the air or on the ground.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,250 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 20 Rec, 200 Rec yards, 1 Rec TD

7 of 11

5. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spiller
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Spiller finally got to show the NFL what he’s capable of. After then starter Fred Jackson went down with a sprained LCL and MCL, Spiller got the call and never looked back. He gained 1,244 yards on just 207 carries last season (6 yards per carry) and even made some PPR owners happy with his 43 receptions. Spiller can truly do it all and is a threat to score on any given play. While he is a small risk since 2012 was his first really productive NFL season, he going up against the 7th easiest schedule in terms of fantasy points surrendered to running backs. Look for Spiller to have a big 2013 season, as he will surely get more carries than the 207 he got last year.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,400 Rushing yards, 7 Rushing TD, 45 Rec, 450 Rec yards, 4 Rec TD

8 of 11

4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After tearing his ACL in 2011 Charles came back with a vengeance and torched opposing defenses. He had a career year gaining over 1,500 rushing yards in 2012 but frustrated some owners by finding the end zone only six times. Charles only scores on long runs, however that seemed to occur in almost every other game for Charles (average TD length-53 yards). With new Head Coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs may shy away from the run a little bit, but that doesn’t mean Charles won’t be getting the ball. Reid’s offense tends to get the running backs very involved in the passing game (Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy), which will likely inflate the amount of receptions Charles gets.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,300 Rushing yards, 6 Rushing TD, 55 Rec, 500 Rec yards, 3 Rec TD

9 of 11

3. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Martin wasted no time making his presence known in his rookie year. The “Muscle Hamster” flirted with 2,000 total yards and had 12 total touchdowns. Head coach Greg Schiano had recently said that Martin is in even better physical shape than last year and that he expects him to elevate his game to an even higher level. While that may be asking for a lot from the second year pro there’s no reason to believe Martin can’t do it. With All-Pro guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph returning from injury to go against the third easiest schedule for fantasy running backs, Martin is set up to be a fantasy stud.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,300 Rushing yards, 10 Rushing TD, 60 Rec, 500 Rec yards, 2 Rec TD

10 of 11

2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

I know, I know. How can I not put the freak of nature who came back from major knee surgery to come within nine yards of breaking the single season rushing record number one? It simply comes down to his supporting cast and the matchups. Minnesota has the fourth most difficult schedule in Fantasy for running backs. Add that with the shaky play of QB Christian Ponder and Peterson will have to consistently beat defenses with eight men stacked in the box. Not saying he can’t do it because clearly he is not human, but it won’t be easy.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,600 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 35 Rec, 210 Rec yards, 1 Rec TD

11 of 11

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Arian Foster
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Foster has been the best fantasy running back over the past three seasons. His consistency and workload put him above any other player on the list. Foster’s 351 carries and 15 rushing TD were tops in the league. He is on an offense that is a scoring machine where touchdowns seem to come to him in bunches. He’s been in the top four in fantasy points scored by running backs in each of the last three seasons. He gets it done on the ground as well as through the air and never gets injured.

Fantasy Prediction: 1,400 Rushing yards, 12 Rushing TD, 45 Rec, 400 Rec Yards, 2 Rec TD

Follow me on Twitter @Blockski12 and feel free to ask any questions you may have about fantasy. Mike Block is a featured Fantasy Sports columnist for Rant Sports


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