It's a new year, which means it's time for my ridiculously long, over-the-top responses. DEAL WITH IT, PEOPLE!
Hey, it earned me my little ambulance on the left there!
For what it's worth, I have ranked fantasy RB's with a points system, adding the following:
1. average fantasy points per game (standard scoring) from 2012
2. yards per attempt
3. a very loose interpretation of invariables, whether pro or con (for example, Frank Gore got a -2.0 from me because GM Trent Balke has been talking about a "three-headed monster" at RB this year, with Gore, Hunter, and James. In my opinion, that's a huge hit to Gore's fantasy value [happens when you turn 30]. Another example would be a +.75 because Schiano is talking about "likely" having Martin play a 3-down back roll this year, and thus seeing some targets in the passing game. Like I said, it's a very subjective, loose points system).
(number, name, points, comments) (I used younger age as a tie-breaker)FIRST TIER
1) Adrian Peterson (25) - He averaged 19 fantasy points per game last year, including 6 yards per carry. Those are insane statistics. Equally insane are those picking Foster above him this year.
2) Arian Foster - (21.3) - a career low 4.1 y/c and 1,400 yards last year, plus a light injury in OTA's tells me he isn't screaming "BREAKOUT" by any means in 2013. But, when you're Arian Foster, even a "disappointing" http://www.houstontexans.com/news/article-2/Arian-Foster-disappointed-in-his-2012-performance/32c8c35d-7c2b-4fe2-93f4-11f1cbb24e57
year is an amazing one in fantasy land!
3) Doug Martin (20.4) - got owners 15 fantasy points per game last year, averaging 4.6 y/c and now his HC wants him involved in the passing game. Need more? He's only a second-year player = young, and I haven't heard any news of Duane Brown leaving Tampa anytime soon.SECOND TIER
4) Jamaal Charles (19.5) - there were only two feature backs in the NFL to average more Y/C than Charles last year. And this year, it's not Romeo Crenel at HC; Reid doesn't have Vick interrupting what should be a run-first offense with an explosive back in Charles.
5) Marshawn Lynch (19.5) - Working against Beastmode this year is Percy Harvin taking some carries from him. But he will still be top 5; the Seahawks are a solid team top to bottom (hate admitting that as a 'Niner fan!) and teams that win are teams that have the luxury of running a lot.
6) C.J. Spiller (19.2) - Buffalo might not want to admit it because of FJax's strong presence in the locker room, but Spiller is the feature back this year. How can he not be? He tied AP for highest Y/A in the league last year. He only averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game, but there was a heavy time share with Jackson I believe will go away this year. There's also talk of a heavier work load in the passing game for Spiller. Hard to imagine him outside the top 5, but that variable with Jackson getting at least SOME touches makes me hesitant... slightly.
7) Alfred Morris (19.0) - There was a great rookie on the Redskins last year that stood out from his teammates. There was also a QB. Morris is the Washington workhorse, and his skill set is impressive. He is a student of the game (listen to his radio interviews), and he is a hard worker driven to improve. What I like about him is his willingness to be the first to criticize himself. That self-critiquing attitude will lead to improvements and shows how driven he is. That, plus the 'Skins give him the ball a LOT, including at the goal line. The 4.8 yards per carry is a nice statistic as well.THIRD TIER
8) Trent Richardson (17.7) - He got owners more than 14 fantasy points per game as a rookie last year, playing through multiple injuries. That tells me two things: 1. expect more from him this year, and 2. you don't need his handcuff because he plays through injuries, so it's "Hardesty" worth it! (.... goan) His shin injury has, in my book, knocked him out of a top 5 fantasy RB contention.
9) Stevan Ridley (17.7) - It's easy for an amazing back like Ridley to get overlooked in the seemingly pass-happy New England offense. But last year, even with Woodhead, Vereen and even Edelman at times vulturing carries from the guy, Ridley was the first feature back in NE in years. That will only become clearer this year. Woodhead is gone, but Blount is in. Big deal; Stevan still got you 12.3 fantasy points per game last year, and it seemed every time the Pats got a rushing TD it was with a person with a different name. Keep in mind also with a thin WR corps and possible Gronk issues, this year could mark an uptick in rushing for the Belechick offense. Not saying it will; it may. Ridley's talent is top-10 material, and most signs point to his production going up from last year (he finished 11th among RBs)
10) Ray Rice (17.7) The Ravens will be a shadow of their 2012 Super Bowl winning team. And that affects Rice VERY little. In fact, he showed his impressive hands and YAC abilities in the passing game last year. Rice says his involvement in the passing game is going to increase this year. Take his word for it? Why not? No reason not to.
- I used age as a tiebreaker for 8, 9, and 10 -
So, in my opinion Steven Jackson won't be a top 10 fantasy pick next year. In fact, I don't even have him in my top 15. Here is how I have the rest of my top 25 fantasy RB's
11) LeSean McCoy (17.0) Heavy running use in Kelly's offense ... which won't work as well as most in PHI hope it will (sorry)
12) David Wilson (16.8) The GIANTS bounce back this year, and they do so relying heavily on their young, talented back who averaged 5.0 Y/C in 2012. Look out!
13) Chris Johnson (16.6) Speaking of bouncing back, that's what CJ?K did in the second half of the 2012 season; He somehow still finished at this spot (13) last year. This year he has big upside with a newly bolstered O-line.FOURTH TIER
14) Matt Forte (15.9) - healthy and will be used heavily in passing game
15) Reggie Bush (15.7) - huge upside this year in DET, despite what you hear about them being pass-only. Look out for Bush!
16) DeMarco Murray (15.6) - so talented... yet so injury prone
17) Steven Jackson
(15.6) - great talent, on a great team. Garbage time points, and primetime points. His 4.1 Y/C isn't all that impressive, and the Falcons are a pass-heavy O, which is why he isn't higher on this list.
18) Frank Gore (15.9) - 3-headed committee on the horizon in San Fransisco this year. Gore's value drops.FIFTH TIER
19) Darren Sproles (15.3) - He's in a muddled backfield, but he's still the Shetland Ponie. Sproles, with many catches and some touches, still gets it done in 2013
20) Vick Ballard (15.2) - so impressed with him last year. Colts just improve from here, and Ballard as the new feature back benefits.
21) Chris Ivory (15.0) - The Jets stink, but Ivory doesn't. If Shonn Greene can finish 2012 at #15, Ivory should be able to at least finish 21. Err.... maybe he needs to be higher on this list, huh? hmm....
22) Lamar Miller (15.0) - Miami will have a big year this year, winning a Wild Card berth, and Lamar Miller will be their most prized possession. Dude averaged 4.9 Y/C last year!
23) Maurice Jones-Drew (14.9) - Lizfranc is merciless; MJD's talent is top-notch, but I will be viewing his preseason workouts VERY closely... and tentatively drafting him
24) Daryl Richardson (14.9) - IF he gets the starting gig, that is... which I believe he will
25) Darren McFadden (14.3) - (see DeMarco Murray)
These are all subject to change, of course, with time and preseason performances/information. But, as of June 2nd, this is how I see things. Feel free to disagree.