Fantasy Football 2011 Running Back Rankings

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings in action during the game against of the Miami Dolphins on September 19 2010 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Adrian Peterson

A look at the running back rankings for 2011 Fantasy Football

Since we've already taken a look at the quarterbacks, let's now look at one of the most important positions in fantasy football, if not the most critical position on your team as far as the long term outlook of the season.

No matter if you are picking high or low, your strategy should be able to get the absolute best running back you can as soon as you can, because this year's crop of players is very thin. Here are my top running backs this year, so load up on this position as soon as you can because other positions are very deep this season.

 

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

I want badly to put my fantasy darling from last year (Arian Foster) in this spot, but Peterson hasn't been hurt, and he has never not been productive as a pro. Scratch that, he's never not played at a Pro Bowl level. Peterson is a superstar and can be the catalyst for your fantasy team. If you have the top pick, this one is a no-brainer.

2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Foster was your super-sleeper last year, and now he's among the fantasy football elite. He will once again be one of the biggest factors in a high-powered offensive attack, one where he is featured both as a runner and a receiver. Peterson and Foster are my clear 1-2 this season. No one year wonders, here.

3. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

Johnson is an excellent dual-threat back when he's on the field. If I were picking in the top three, I might stay away from him because of his contract. He has two years left on his deal and obviously has no intentions of coming back until the Titans pay him huge money. Whenever he gets back on the field, he's a top fantasy option.

4. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Rice had a down year last year. I know because I drafted him, and I had to trade him early in the season to get a decent bit of production. He still finished with 1,200 yards on the ground and 63 receptions, so he is going to get his touches in this Ravens offense.

5. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

If the Chiefs don't take away red zone carries from Charles, then he will be one of, if not the best fantasy running back this year. He's a playmaker and one of the best in the NFL.

6. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers

Mendenhall is a machine for one of the league's best rushing attacks. There is no backup on the roster that stands in the way of him getting the bulk of carries once again.

7. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

Another dual-threat receiver on a big time offense, McCoy should be one of the best fantasy football running backs in the NFL this season so long as Ronnie Brown doesn't steal goal line carries.

8. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars

MJD simply hasn't missed enough time for his knee to be a concern for me. He is a fighter, and when healthy is a beast and one of the best running backs in the NFL.

9. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders

McFadden finally broke out into the playmaker everyone knew he could be last season, and I think he will continue to show improvement. He has speed and power, and can make plays in the passing game.

10. Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns

Hillis is not a one-year wonder, people. I saw him in Denver, and now I've seen him in Cleveland. If he can stay healthy, he is one of the best backs in the NFL.

11. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

Gore is an injury risk, so he comes with a "buyer beware" tag, but he is still a very productive player when healthy.

12. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons

Not a sexy pick, but he is averaging 13 touchdowns per year since he came to Atlanta. That is production a fantasy owner will gladly take.

13. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams

Jackson is undoubtedly the focal point of the St. Louis offense, and he will get his touches, but we will see if he can get into the end zone a little bit more.

14. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

I fear the addition of Marion Barber could mean Forte's goal line carries will go down, but he is a great receiver as well as running back, and he will get a lot of touches in this offense.

15. LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Here is your sleeper pick right here. Blount has an opportunity to have a "Michael Turner" type of impact on your fantasy team. He only received 201 carries last year, and still had over 1,000 yards (barely). He could be a budding fantasy star.

Best of the Rest

16. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants

17. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos

18. Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

19. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

20. Shonn Greene, New York Jets

21. Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers

22. Chris Wells, Arizona Cardinals

23. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

24. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins

25. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals

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