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Fantasy football running back analysis

Fantasy football running back analysis

Quick Jump: Player Analysis

1 Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
2 Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
3 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
4 Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
5 Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
6 Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
7 Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
8 DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
9 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
10 Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
11 Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
12 LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
13 Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers
14 Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denvero Broncos
15 Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
16 Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
17 Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
18 Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
19 Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
20 Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
21 Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants
22 Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
23 Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis Colts
24 Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
25 Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
26 Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
27 Justin Forsett, RB, Seattle Seahawks
28 Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins
29 Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30 Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
31 Laurence Maroney, RB, New England Patriots
32 LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, New York Jets
33 Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins
34 Ricky Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins
35 Steve Slaton, RB, Houston Texans
36 Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints
37 Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
38 Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns
39 Marion Barber III, RB, Dallas Cowboys
40 Jerome Harrison, RB, Cleveland Browns
41 Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders
42 C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
43 Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona Cardinals
44 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
45 Chester Taylor, RB, Chicago Bears
46 Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
47 Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego Chargers
48 Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo Bills
49 Larry Johnson, RB, Washington Redskins
50 Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings
51 Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions
52 Leon Washington, RB, Seattle Seahawks
53 Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys
54 Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore Ravens
55 Sammy Morris, RB, New England Patriots
56 Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta Falcons
57 Kevin Faulk, RB, New England Patriots
58 Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver Broncos
59 Low-tier running back analysis

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
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Adrian Peterson | Minnesota Vikings | 6-foot-1, 217 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2933331521167110125056360403241216

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Pros: Averaging at least 4.4 yards per carry each of his three NFL seasons, Peterson is coming off a career-high 18-touchdown campaign. He also set a career high with 43 receptions for 436 yards, and with running back Chester Taylor (Bears) gone, Peterson stands to see a potential increase in third-down work. Always a big-play threat, he has scored at least one touchdown from 60 yards or more in every one of his NFL seasons. AD hasn't found the end zone less than 10 times in any one year, either. In fact, he has the most total rushing touchdowns (40) of any back in the past three years, and only LaDainian Tomlinson (38) has scored double-digit rushing TDs each of the past three seasons. Minnesota sports one of the best run-blocking lines in the league, and with the return of quarterback Brett Favre, Peterson is likely to face fewer stacked boxes than he did in his first two seasons.

Cons: Peterson's style is feast or famine. He toted the ball 87 times last year for no gain or negative yardage (23.8 percent of his carries), which was the ninth most in the NFL among qualifying backs. AD's punishing style can lead to injuries, something he wasn't a stranger to at the collegiate level. His yards-per-carry average has decreased each of the past two years. The Vikings have a few players that could be third-down specialists, so Peterson isn't a lock for that workload. Fumbling. Peterson loses the ball most often when fighting for extra yardage. From a fantasy purpose, most leagues deduct only a point per lost fumble, so last year you can basically remove one touchdown from his total to offset his butterfingers.

Fantasy tip: We like Peterson as the top back this year. Yes, even ahead of Chris Johnson. AD is the safest choice for a great season, and while he may not necessarily finish atop the points list for running backs, he is practically a lock to be a top-three back. Peterson is usually drafted with the second pick. If you are so fortunate, count your blessings and laugh your way to the bank.  


Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
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Chris Johnson | Tennessee Titans | 5-foot-11, 200 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1982387979473556623984401348

RB Chris Johnson, Titans

Pros: Speed ... and a lot of it. Johnson makes it all look so effortless as he weaves his way through traffic before turning on the jets. He raced his way to three rushing touchdowns of at least 85 yards last year and added two of at least 66 yards through the air. A quality pass receiver, Johnson is a true dual threat for fantasy owners. He has 93 total receptions and three aerial scores in the past two years. Tennessee's offense is built around the run. Johnson really exploded after Vince Young took over in Week 8 as the starter last season. With Young entering as the full-time starter in 2010, Johnson could easily pick up right where he left off (11 straight 100-yard games). In nine games, Johnson averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry, and he caught at least three passes in as many contests.

Cons: Johnson missed valuable time with his new running backs coach by holding out until recently. The Titans have yet to re-sign veteran center Kevin Mawae. Johnson isn't going to sneak up on anyone. NFL teams have a full year of game tape to see exactly how Tennessee utilized him so successfully last season. The biggest concern has to be Johnson's 358 carries and 408 total touches. Even though his style of play doesn't meet a lot of contact, that big of a workload takes its toll. History is against Johnson in a big way: Of the five previous 2,000-yard rushers, the next season they averaged 1,013 yards and just 5.6 touchdowns.

Fantasy tip: We're not saying he'll be a total bust, but expecting Johnson to come close to last year's numbers is overly optimistic. He'll probably still have a very good season - that's why he's our No. 2 projected back. We prefer Adrian Peterson due to less risk, but it's tough to argue the Johnson love after such a season. You'll have to pay the price to see if CJ2K is able to post another stout season.


Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Maurice Jones-Drew | Jacksonville Jaguars | 5-foot-7, 208 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1712116768264646523053451359

RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

Pros: Jones-Drew has been a touchdown machine since entering the NFL, scoring 54 total times in four years. He has rushed for at least 12 touchdowns in every season by 2007 (nine), and MJD found paydirt a career-high 16 total times last year. Always a receiving threat, the UCLA product has averaged 50.3 receptions per season in his career. Jacksonville's offense is built to pound the rock, and Jones-Drew showed he could hold up to an extensive workload (312 carries) last year. Determination is arguably his best attribute. The Jags have one of the best run-blocking lines in the league.

Cons: Even though he held up to the workload last year, what does it mean for this season? Jones-Drew is going to miss the rest of the preseason, but his agent says it isn't because of a reported knee surgery. MJD is streaky. He scored eight of his 15 rushing touchdowns in three games and was held to no more than 82 rushing yards in nine games. In seven contests, Jones-Drew was held to 3.5 yards per carry or less. 

Fantasy tip: There isn't much to not like here. MJD has become well-acquainted with the end zone in his career, and he knows a thing or two about catching out of the backfield. Fantasy owners in point-per-reception leagues can value him as high as the No. 2 pick, but he's a consensus third overall choice in all formats. 


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
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Ray Rice | Baltimore Ravens | 5-foot-8, 210 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
22326389010402448543023400226

RB Ray Rice, Ravens

Pros: In his first year as the full-time starter, Rice didn't disappoint. He racked up 1,339 rushing yards (5.3 per carry) and scored seven times on the ground. Perhaps his best attribute, Rice has excellent hands and contributes mightily in passing game. His 78 receptions led all running backs in '09, and Rice maintained a strong yards-per-reception average (9.0). Rice averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry only three times and caught fewer than three passes just twice last season. Baltimore has one of the best offensive lines in the game. Quarterback Joe Flacco is developing into a potential star, so defenders can't key on the running game as much. The Ravens' stout defense allows the offense to pound the rock as much as they want.

Cons: Including the playoffs, Rice touched the ball a whopping 376 times last season. Will his body be able to hold up to that kind of a workload? The addition of wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth (foot), upon his return, should lead to more passing. Running back Willis McGahee scored 12 times on the ground last season, and it appears the Ravens are comfortable keeping Rice on the sidelines in goal line situations.

Fantasy tip: In point-per-reception formats, Rice is a top-four draft pick. It's tough to pass on him in standard scoring setups at the fourth pick, though. Consider him a value pick beyond that draft placement. It will be tough for him to top last year's success, but he should be a lively contributor all season long. 


Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
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Michael Turner | Atlanta Falcons | 5-foot-10, 244 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Michael Turner, Falcons

Pros: Turner is coming off an injury-shortened season, but he still managed to score 10 times in 11 games in 2009. His yards-per-carry average increased from 4.5 to 4.9, his best as a starter. All of that came playing WITH an ankle injury! In 2008, The Burner ran for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns, so we know what he's capable of in Atlanta's run-first system. The Falcons' offensive line was constructed with the ground game in mind, and quarterback Matt Ryan helps keep defenders honest. Turner really started to pick it up before the injury last year, racking up 428 rushing yards (9.1 per carry) in three games leading up to the injury. He was on a seven-game touchdown streak, too.

Cons: Head coach Mike Smith said Turner's workload will have parameters, but he wasn't any more specific than that. As of mid-June, Turner's ankle wasn't quite 100 percent healthy despite practicing in full. Never a receiving threat, Turner has just 11 catches as a Falcon. Atlanta's defense may not be good enough to let the offense run through Turner in some games.

Fantasy tip: Clocking in with an average draft placement of sixth overall, Turner is justifiably selected as high as the fourth pick (only in non-PPR). As long as his ankle is right, expect another big season. 


Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
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Frank Gore | San Francisco 49ers | 5-foot-9, 217 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
22626690910596815211221700169

RB Frank Gore, 49ers

Pros: Coming off his fourth straight 1,000-yard season, a 49ers' record, Gore also scored a career-high 10 rushing touchdowns and chipped in three more through the air. His 4.9 yards-per-carry average was the second best of his career (5.4 in 2006). Gore is the focal point of San Fran's offense, as well as a dual threat with his receiving abilities (52 catches last year, at least 43 every year as a starter). With two first-round picks added to the offensive line in 2010, it appears the Niners are going to heavily commit to the run. San Francisco's defense should leave the offense in great positions to pound the ball.

Cons: Injuries. Gore is practically a lock to miss at least one game, likely two. His only 16-game season was in 2006. The 49ers drafted big-bodied running back Anthony Dixon in the sixth round, a fall likely due to character concerns, and San Fran brought in veteran Brian Westbrook this offseason. Could he steal a few goal line touches as the season wears on? Prior to last season, Gore never scored more than eight rushing TDs in a season, and he has proven to be a bit of a fumbler during his career. 

Fantasy tip: Gore is being drafted as the fifth overall player, on average. That is fair value for him. At best, consider him with the fourth pick in point-per-reception leagues, but it's still tough to pick him ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice. The lowest we have seen Gore fall to this year is about the seventh pick. 


Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
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Steven Jackson | St. Louis Rams | 6-foot-2, 236 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1932337819315738442582990259

RB Steven Jackson, Rams

Pros: Only the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson was utilized more than Jackson last season. Very few offenses rely on one player like the Rams do with S-Jax. He rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2009, totaling 1,416 rushing yards and adding 51 receptions last year. The seventh-year pro has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in five straight seasons. When healthy, St. Louis' offensive line has the potential to be excellent. They upgraded their right tackle position by selecting Rodger Saffold in the second round in April's draft. Jackson is expected to be ready for training camp after undergoing surgery to correct a herniated disc in April. 

Cons: Even though Jackson's back is supposed to be right, it's still a back injury for a bruising rusher. He was bothered by a bad back for much of last season. His running style isn't conducive to staying healthy, something that has eluded Jackson throughout his career (only full season was 2006). Coming off so many touches last season (375), will he be run down? The Rams have little in the way of spell backs to give him a breather, too. St. Louis' starting quarterback is likely to be rookie Sam Bradford, and unless he shines early, S-Jax could see stacked boxes with regularity. The Rams' defense doesn't figure to be much better this year, which could force the offense to play catchup with regularity. 

Fantasy tip: On average, Jackson is selected with the eighth overall pick. He's the lone show in town, so you can count on the touches being there if he's healthy. An adept receiver, his value increases in point-per-reception leagues. There are a lot of risks involved here, so build extra depth at the position if you wind up with Jackson. He has bust written all over him, but the upside is enough to warrant a mid-to-late first-round pick. 


DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
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DeAngelo Williams | Carolina Panthers | 5-foot-9, 217 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1662067438932440464044651337

RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

Pros: The Memphis product has enjoyed two straight seasons of at least 1,100 rushing yards in a split backfield. A career average of 5.1 yards per carry is impressive, and Williams is a threat to take it the distance on any play. He missed three games last year and still racked up 1,117 rushing yards and seven scores, giving him 25 TDs in his last 29 games. He underwent ankle cleanup surgery and is expected to be at 100 percent for training camp. The Panthers have a strong offensive line and a power-running mentality. With a rather inexperienced quarterback in Matt Moore likely to start, head coach John Fox will probably rely more on the run than usual. Williams is in a contract year and wants a big deal. 

Cons: Will defenders focus solely on stopping the run? Williams shares the backfield with Jonathan Stewart, who has shown to be beastly at times. Ankle injuries can be tricky to recover from. Williams averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry in four games last season and failed to score in his final five games. He is just an OK receiver and isn't generally utilized much in the passing game. 

Fantasy tip: Consider Williams a nice consolation prize after all of the more sure bets come off the board. We're probably higher on him than most services are. His average draft position is 13th overall, but we wouldn't have a probably drafting him ahead of Steven Jackson in non-PPR formats. Williams is borderline undervalued, but it is understandable given the risks involved. 


Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Rashard Mendenhall | Pittsburgh Steelers | 5-foot-10, 225 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers

Pros: In 12 starts last year, Mendenhall was pretty good. He rushed for 1,108 yards (4.6 per carry) and scored eight total touchdowns (one receiving). The Steelers are likely to get back to pounding the ball with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suspended the first six games of the year. Pittsburgh drafted center Maurkice Pouncey in the first round, and he has won the starting job. Potential for Mendenhall is great, and you should expect an increase in carries this season. Pittsburgh's defense generally allows them to control the clock with the ground game. 

Cons: Once he became the full-time starter, Mendenhall was held to less than 4.0 yards per carry six times, including two games with a sub-2.9-yard average. We have no idea if Mendenhall can hold up to an increased workload. Running backs Mewelde Moore and rookie Jonathan Dwyer will be vying for touches; it is unknown if Mendenhall, only an average receiver, will serve as the third-down back yet. The offensive line took a hit with the loss of right tackle Willie Colon (Achilles') for the season.

Fantasy tip: There is a lot of potential for a breakout season for this promising back. Mendenhall has gone with the 10th overall pick, on average, and he has some upside. His value doesn't increase in PPR formats, but he makes for a quality choice in the late first round as your No. 1 back.


Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
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Pierre Thomas | New Orleans Saints | 5-foot-11, 215 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1381785577073563694665111348

RB Pierre Thomas, Saints

Pros: Thomas has shown he can get it done, and in his third pro season he set career highs in rushing yards (793), yards per attempt (5.4), receptions (39) and receiving yards (302). Thomas has scored 20 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, as well. Playing for a new contract beyond 2010 doesn't hurt Thomas' cause, either. The Saints boast a strong offensive line, and having quarterback Drew Brees running the show instills fear in the defense to keep them from playing up as much. Running back Mike Bell (Eagles) and his 172 carries are gone, so there's reason to believe Thomas' role will substantially increase. Backfield mate Reggie Bush is oft-injured, too.

Cons: The former Illinois back has had problems staying healthy. Bush will still scarf most of the third-down opportunities, and running back Lydell Hamilton could see an increased workload, especially near the painted stripe. The Saints became more balanced last year, but it's clear the offense goes through Brees' arm. Thomas can be streaky. He rushed for less than 4.0 yards per carry in six games last year. We don't know how he'll respond to increased touches.

Fantasy tip: Thomas is quite undervalued at this point. He is going in the early third round of most draft. You shouldn't over-draft him, though, so enjoy the value pick. He's an RB2 in almost all formats, and his value is slightly higher in leagues that award points for catches.


Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
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Ryan Mathews | San Diego Chargers | 6-foot, 218 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
256296119513456825311952420169

RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers

Pros: Fresno State's Mathews enters a fantastic situation with the high-octane Chargers' offense. Arguably the most complete back in the draft, Mathews has size, speed, breakaway ability, vision and quality hands. He'll fit right into the Chargers' system and should received ample touches to shine in '10. Head coach Norv Turner expects Mathews to touch the ball around 290 times. The Bolts have so many offensive weapons it will be tough for defenses to key in on Mathews. The AFC West isn't exactly known as a defensive division, and Mathews plays at least half of his games in sunny San Diego. Despite the perception that San Diego abandoned the run last year, they still checked in with the 15th most rushing attempts from the running back position. Not great, but better than you probably expected.

Cons: The Chargers' offensive line is below average but not terrible. Their running backs produced a 3.5 yards-per-carry average, but left tackle Marcus McNeill is holding out and says he's prepared to take it into the regular season. Darren Sproles is still on roster and will come in to relieve Mathews every few series and often on third down. That is not an indictment of Mathews' blocking skills but rather just how Turner runs his offense. Mathews had issues with staying healthy at Fresno State.  

Fantasy tip: The most versatile rook is being drafted 16th overall, on average, and be willing to spend a late first-rounder or early second-rounder if you want to secure his services. His value should increase slightly in point-per-reception setups. Mathews is technically a sleeper, but the cat is out of the bag at this point. He comes with a fair amount of risk, but running back is probably the easiest position for a player to excel at as a rookie. It likely goes without saying: You need to draft a deeper RB corps than normal if Mathews is your No. 1.


LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
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LeSean McCoy | Philadelphia Eagles | 5-foot-10, 198 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2783181361151110124652419473241216

RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles

Pros: The second-year back from Pittsburgh was pretty good in his rookie season of 2009 working in tandem with and filling in for Brian Westbrook. With Westy out of the picture now, McCoy is expected to shoulder the load. McCoy is a good receiver out of the backfield; the sophomore snared 40 passes last year, and we expect that figure to increase substantially in 2010. Philly's offensive line is good enough for McCoy to succeed. We've seen this backfield be productive for fantasy owners, and McCoy's style of play isn't terribly far off of Westbrook's.

Cons: A lack of experience as the full-time guy leaves fantasy owners doubting McCoy's prospects this season. In two of his four starts last year he averaged 3.6 yards per carry or less and failed to score in both contests. The Eagles employ a pass-first offense; McCoy could go through spells of inconsistency. McCoy's frame isn't built for taking a pounding, and running back Mike Bell, who should steal goal line carries, was signed this offseason.

Fantasy tip: McCoy has been undervalued heading into 2010 draft season. He's going toward the end of the third round, on average. With minimal risk involved, McCoy, primarily in PPR leagues, could be a steal. He has low-end No. 1 running back potential. Our ranking of him may be a bit optimistic, but his price tag is alluring. He makes for a quality midrange No. 2 fantasy back.


Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers
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Ryan Grant | Green Bay Packers | 6-foot-1, 222 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: Grant plays on one of the league's most prolific offenses, and he is coming off back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons. He is coming off a career-best 11 touchdown season and improved on his yards-per-carry average (4.4) after a ho-hum 2008 season. He has little competition in the running game for touches and typically only loses playing time on third downs. That, however, could change as he is pushing to become more involved in the passing game. He has averaged fewer than 319 touches each of the past two seasons; his legs are still fresh, and we shouldn't have to be concerned with him being overworked.

Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers

Cons: Grant, while solid, isn't spectacular in any category. He doesn't contribute a tremendous amount of yardage or score a ton of touchdowns. He only had three 100-yard games last year. Furthermore, Grant has only averaged 24 receptions per year over the last three seasons, and has yet to post a season with more than 197 receiving yards. While playing on a pass-happy team, he doesn't provide extra value in receiving categories. While the primary back in scoring situations, he will also lose a few touchdowns on designed running plays for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Will rookie James Starks also cut into Grant's goal line touches?

Fantasy tip: Grant is typically being selected during the second round this year, so he isn't the tremendous value you found a year ago. In a high-octane offense, he is going to see his chances and is a very strong No. 2 option - borderline No. 1 back quality - for fantasy football rosters this season.


Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denvero Broncos
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Knowshon Moreno | Denver Broncos | 5-foot-11, 210 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1031434055551317231311770215

Pros: Moreno has a year under his belt, and the Denver offense has changed gears from a year ago with star receiver Brandon Marshall no longer part of the equation. The Broncos were 14th in the league in rushing attempts (27.5/game) a year ago, but that's surely to go up while they adjust to life without Marshall and a questionable receiving corps. The team has made some changes to their running attack; while they will still use some zone-blocking schemes, they are going to employ more of a power-running scheme. As a result, Moreno should find more room to run while seeing his carries (15.4/game last year) and yards per attempt (3.8 last year) increase. Despite a time share last year, he still hauled in 28 receptions, so he isn't a total afterthought in the passing game. Despite a timeshare last year, he still carried the ball at least 17 times in nine times.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos

Cons: The former Georgia Bulldog is almost recovered from a partially torn hamstring and should be ready for Week 1. Moreno will still lose touches to backup Correll Buckhalter, who averaged 5.4 yards per shot a year ago, and possibly third-down time, as well. The defense should be improved, but if they struggle the Broncos could find themselves in many situations again where they are forced to abandon their ground game. Moreno lost four fumbles a year ago; the quickest way to the dog house for a young player is a lack of ball security.

Fantasy tip: Moreno is typically coming off of the fantasy football draft board in the late third round this year, which is a fair draft placement. He has a solid blend of speed, power and finesse that should make him a very solid No. 2 option for your fantasy football team. If he is able to wrestle away more touches from oft-injured Buckhalter, his value would skyrocket.


Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
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Matt Forte | Chicago Bears | 6-foot-2, 218 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2412811047119768647049353913711

Pros: Offensive coordinator Mike Martz isn't known for running his backs into the ground with carries, but he doesn't slight them when it comes to catching the ball in space. Forte is an excellent pass receiver out of the backfield, already tallying 120 grabs in two seasons. While he managed just four touchdowns last year, he is just a year removed from a 12-touchdown season. Forte feels he is past last year's knee and hamstring issues, which should help him regain his rookie form.

Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Cons: The Bears have thrown competition on the table for Forte this year, adding veteran Chester Taylor. Taylor is a very capable change-of-pace back and receiving threat, so he will likely cut into Forte's production and playing time. Forte doesn't have that second gear elite backs possess. His career yards-per-carry average is just 3.8 and was a paltry 3.6 last season. Furthermore, the team's offensive line is far from dominating, so Forte has to work harder for his opportunities beyond the primary level of defense.

Fantasy tip: A year ago, Forte was horribly overvalued and selected in the first few picks of most every fantasy football draft. This time around, he comes at a lot more realistic value in the fourth round. In a perfect world, you'll be able to snag him as your third back, but he has the talent to post No. 2 fantasy back numbers, potentially even higher in point-per-reception formats. While Forte should remain the team's top option at running back, don't be afraid to handcuff Taylor to cover your bases.


Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
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Shonn Greene | New York Jets | 5-foot-11, 226 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
549419934957177490158

Pros: Greene figures to be the young lead back on a run-dominated offense, which is why it is easy to become excited about his potential. He has ideal size and build to succeed in the NFL, as well as decent moves to go with it. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 108 attempts during his rookie season but exploded for 304 rushing yards (5.6 ypc) and two touchdowns in three postseason games. The Jets are a conservative lot, built off a great defense and clock dominating offensive drives. This leads to plenty of rushing attempts - the Jets ran the ball 82 more times than the next closest team last year. The Jets believe in him, too, otherwise they wouldn't have sent last year's top rusher (Thomas Jones) packing during the offseason.

Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets

Cons: That short resume is concerning. Can he hold up for a 16-game, 300-carry season? He was knocked out of the playoffs with a chest injury after his carries increased drastically. Greene has one lost fumble for every 36 touches, which is never a good sign for a young player. He corrected this in the playoffs, but will he revert to his old ways? The team added veteran LaDainian Tomlinson during the offseason. While he is not the LT of old, he is back in a system that is ideal for his running style. The Jets are going to use a committee approach at running back. The offensive line also took a step back. The Jets released guard Alan Faneca, one of the key cogs in run blocking, during the offseason and are going to try to replace him with a rookie. Risky move? We think so.

Fantasy tip: Green is being selected in the early second round - sometimes in the first round - on average, this summer, which is incredibly too risky for a player with such a limited body of work. We love him as a No. 2 fantasy back this year, but he is simply too green to be your No. 1 back and be taken in the first two rounds. There is simply too much risk versus potential reward. Do not overvalue him!


Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
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Beanie Wells | Arizona Cardinals | 6-foot-1, 228 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: Say goodbye to Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Arizona's elite passing game. Now say hello to Arizona's new conservative offense. That's good news for Beanie, as the Cardinals should rely on him much more in his second season. The team slowly worked Wells into the mix last year, as injury problems slowed the former first-round pick. In the second half of the season, he rushed for 483 yards and six touchdowns, while clicking along at 4.6 yards per tote. The offensive line was upgraded during the offseason and, even if the passing game isn't what it used to be, defenses still have to respect Larry Fitzgerald and play the Cardinals honest.

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Cons: Tim Hightower remains a factor to be reckoned with for Wells, as he will continue to steal touches and receptions a year after scoring eight times and hauling in 63 grabs. Injuries are something to always be mindful of when considering Beanie. He wasn't incredibly durable in the college ranks, and the injury bug popped up early in his rookie campaign, too.

Fantasy tip: Wells is typically going off the fantasy football draft board near the end of the second round, so fantasy footballers are onto his potential in 2010. If the Cardinals can find some respectability in the passing game and Wells can keep Hightower at bay, he could post very strong numbers this year. Value him as No. 2 back with plenty of upside. Don't be afraid to handcuff Hightower to him later in the draft, too.


Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
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Cedric Benson | Cincinnati Bengals | 5-foot-11, 225 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: In his fifth season and with his second team, Benson finally connected the dots. He set career highs in rushing attempts (301) and rushing yardage (1,251). In 12 of the 13 games he played in, he carried the football at least 15 times; and the Bengals were not afraid to ride him when they needed to. He had six games of at least 25 carries, including three games over 30 carries. While he'll give up some time on third downs, he doesn't lose many touches to other backs and is the team's top option near the goal line despite recording just six touchdowns last season. Also worth noting, is Benson is entering the final year of his contract, so he has the motivation to put his best foot forward.

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Cons: Benson is an off-the-field incident waiting to happen. Health, or lack there of, is the major concern with Benson. He was active for just 13 games last year and has never been active for a full 16-game season. Benson has never caught more than 20 receptions in a season during his career, so he is not going to contribute much in the receiving game.

Fantasy tip: Remember Rudi Johnson during his key years with the Bengals? Benson is almost Rudi 2.0. He is a solid contributor as your No. 2 fantasy back, but you have to realize he is going to miss time with injuries each year, so you need to have a solid insurance replacement as your third fantasy back. He should find more running room with what is expected to be a more open offense.


Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
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Jahvid Best | Detroit Lions | 5-foot-10, 199 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions

Pros: Explosive, exciting and can take any play the distance, Best is the spark on offense the Lions have desperately lacked at running back since the days of Barry Sanders. With Kevin Smith (knee) still recovering from an ACL injury, Best will likely open the season as the top back in Motown. He doesn't need much of a seam to get through defenses, is an adept receiver and has that extra gear you love to see out of backs. We're not ready to say he is the next Chris Johnson, but he'll add an element to the Lions' offense that hasn't existed in the last decade.

Cons: A common theme with Detroit backs in recent years has been injury problems. It's too early to say if Best is injury prone, but he missed four games last year at the University of California after suffering back-to-back concussions. At some point, Smith will be back in action and the Lions will look to use a committee approach. Best doesn't have ideal size to be a feature back, nor the power to move piles, so his work around the goal line could be reduced. Offensively, the Lions often find themselves playing from behind, which takes the running game out of the equation ... if Best doesn't show he can pass protect well, which is a typical problem for rookies, he could give way to a veteran back.

Fantasy tip: Best is being selected around the fourth round, on average, which provides a certain level of risk. The explosive back will take his lumps, as the Lions are definitely still a work in progress. However, when he hits, he is going to score points and pile up yardage in chunks. He is a better No. 3 fantasy back in terms of roster positioning, but he should post No. 2 back numbers - they'll just be inconsistent along the way. View Best as an ideal flex option.


Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
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Arian Foster | Houston Texans | 6-foot-1, 229 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
24628610161166810546035639613913

Pros: Foster should be the primary ball carrier for the potent Texans' offense. Running back Steve Slaton (toe) is dealing with turf toe and may be less than 100 percent early in the season. Foster has size and pretty good hands for a back of his stature. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2009 and hasn't dipped below 4.7 per through three preseason contests.

Cons: The second-year back is relatively untested. He has just 54 pro carries and has to prove he can hold up for a full season. Slaton is a better receiver and could scarf third-down work from Foster. At the end of the day, Houston loves to air out the ball and should continue to do such.

Fantasy tip: Foster is coming off the board in the fifth round, which may be a bit optimistic. He has bona fide sleeper value, but the secret is out. Foster is a weak No. 2 or a strong third back to take a chance on.


Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants
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Brandon Jacobs | New York Giants | 6-foot-4, 264 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
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RB Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants

Pros: The Giants have become rounded offensively, so defenses no longer can purely key in on stopping the run. Jacobs remains the top option in the backfield for the G-Men and is just a year removed from 15 rushing touchdowns. He isn't much of a receiver but is coming off a career high in receiving yardage (184 yards). There is always fear with big backs of breaking down from too much wear and tear. The good news with Jacobs is he hasn't been overused during the last five years; he had just 224 rushing attempts last year, which was a career high.

Cons: Being a big, physical back leads to injuries and a player's body breaking down. Jacobs has not played a full 16-game season the past three years, but missed just one game last year. His yards-per-attempt average took a big hit last season, dropping from 5.0 in 2008 to 3.7. Jacobs blames this on cartilage damage that he played through; he is recovering from surgery. The Giants utilize running back by committee, so Jacobs will continue to lose touches to other options; the hot-hand approach can limit him some weeks. He is a player that needs close to 20 carries to make an impact. Finally, while becoming well-rounded with an improved passing game will help take pressure off of the ground game, it can also take away from the number of carries distributed among the backs.

Fantasy tip: Jacobs is falling until the fifth round in fantasy football drafts so far this year, which is a fair placement considering his risk-reward ratio. He is capable of posting more than 1,000 yards and scoring close to double digits. If you hold off on taking your second running back early while adding wide receivers, Jacobs could be a solid target to fill that No. 2 fantasy back role for you at a reduced cost. Be sure to build adequate depth, and handcuffing Ahmad Bradshaw is advised.


Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
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Jonathan Stewart | Carolina Panthers | 5-foot-10, 235 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
961363895393541472713100237

Pros: It isn't often you can say a team's No. 2 back is coming off a 1,100-yard outing, but Stewart falls into that category. Simply put, the Panthers love to run and have two talented backs to work with. Carolina averaged 32.8 rushing attempts - second only to the New York Jets - last year, and with Matt Moore taking over at quarterback, they're likely to increase on that number this year. Stewart grew across the board last year, setting new career highs in rushing attempts (221), yardage (1,133), average yards per carry (5.1), receptions (18), receiving yards (139) and receiving touchdowns (1). Even with the timeshare, he had 11 games with double-digit attempts. With DeAngelo Williams injured, Stewart showed he could dominate as a feature back, too. He closed the year strong with three touchdowns and three consecutive 100-yard games, including a 206-yard outing.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

Cons: Regardless of how talented Stewart is, he is still second fiddle to Williams. Timeshares can stink for consistency in fantasy football. In five games last year, Stewart had fewer than 10 rushing attempts. While Moore played well and threw eight touchdown passes over the last month of '09, defenses may key on the ground game until Moore forces them to respect him. Stewart, while he hasn't missed any games, is constantly battling nagging injuries. He had offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from pressing into an Achilles' tendon but is expected to be ready for training camp.

Fantasy tip: Ideally, Stewart would be the No. 3 fantasy football back on your roster, because there will be games he simply doesn't see the touches of a No. 1 or No. 2. However, he is being selected in the third round, on average, so if you snag him make sure you take a third fantasy back capable of posting No. 2-caliber numbers. Stewart's production over the course of the year is attractive, but on a week-to-week basis it can be maddening.


Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis Colts
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Joseph Addai | Indianapolis Colts | 5-foot-11, 214 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Joseph Addai, Colts

Pros: Addai is entering the final year of his contract, so motivation for a banner year isn't hard to find. Even though a committee approach will be deployed, he remains the team's first option and can contribute both on the ground and through the air, where he is coming off a career-high 51 receptions. A better receiver than Donald Brown, Addai should get first crack at most third-down opportunities. He has a nose for the end zone, scoring 15 rushing touchdowns in the past two years to go a long with five receiving scores.

Cons: Addai hasn't hit 1,000 yards rushing or 4.0 per-carry average in either of the past two seasons. The Colts may want to find out what Brown is capable of, so increased carries could hurt Addai's touches. The Colts, who averaged a league-worst 80.9 rushing yards per game last season, don't run a lot - they were 31st in rushing attempts per game (22.9) last year - so there aren't a lot of touches to go around.

Fantasy tip: On average, Addai's name is being called during the early fifth round in fantasy football drafts. Provided Brown doesn't chip into his production too much, Addai remains an uninspiring, yet reliable, No. 2 fantasy back. Addai doesn't pile up a lot of rushing yardage, but his combined touches make him ideal in point-per-reception scoring. In 12 of 16 games last year, he had at least 80 combined yards and nine games of at least three receptions. Handcuff Brown to him whenever possible.


Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
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Darren McFadden | Oakland Raiders | 6-foot-2, 210 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1782187969464636423203740248

RB Darren McFadden, Raiders

Pros: Justin Fargas is gone, so the three-man committee has dwindled to a two-man gig between McFadden and Michael Bush. JaMarcus Russell, the team's former deer-in-headlights quarterback, is gone, and Jason Campbell now steers the ship. The passing game, for the first time in McFadden's career, should be respectable instead of atrocious. He can shift around with ease on the field and is a very capable receiver. The Raiders are improving rapidly on defense, which should take the offense out of constant catch-up scenarios. Bush suffered a fractured thumb but may be able to play in Week 1.

Cons: McFadden dealt with a hamstring injury in training camp but should be fine for Week 1. The Raiders seem content going with the hot hand on a game-by-game basis, so if McFadden doesn't start hot, he may not be given an opportunity to rebound. McFadden has durability concerns, as he hasn't made it more than 13 games in his two years in the pros. His yards per attempt dipped to 3.4 last year, but defenses had no reason to respect the passing game. Also concerning is he fumbled five times last year, losing three of them. That gives him eight fumbles, with four lost, in two years.

Fantasy tip: McFadden has all of the tools to be a productive fantasy back. In his third year, he needs to turn that talent and potential into production. If you want a true gamble, McFadden definitely fits the high-risk label. This time around, however, he doesn't come at that expensive of a cost. He is going in the ninth round, on average, which makes him a more attractive gamble than in the past. He is capable of being a 1,000-yard back, the Raiders just need to give him the opportunities and stick with him. In point-per-reception formats, he provides better potential return on your investment, too. We'd be far more comfortable with him as our No. 4 back. Let him force you to get him in the lineup.


Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
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Jamaal Charles | Kansas City Chiefs | 5-foot-11, 199 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2282681143129379616753759024913

RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

Pros: Charles took over the starting duties in Week 9 and reeled off five 100-yard rushing games during the second half of the season, including a 259-yard showing during a Week 17 rout of the Denver Broncos. Despite defenses knowing he was the only option late in the year, Charles still clicked at 5.9 yards per attempt. He is lightning quick and shifty, which makes it difficult for defenders to square up and provide a solid lick. Charles is also a suitable receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 67 passes in two years, including 40 last season.

Cons: Charles may be lightning in a bottle, but the Chiefs apparently weren't completely sold on him as a feature back. During the offseason they added some thunder to the backfield with the addition of Thomas Jones, who has five consecutive 1,100-plus campaigns under his belt. Ladies and gentlemen, the committee approach has landed in KC. Jones is coming off a career-best 1,402 yards rushing and has a chip on his shoulder after the New York Jets bid him adieu. He will be a factor. The Chiefs also drafted speedy Dexter McCluster, who is shifting to wide receiver. McCluster will likely swipe some of the receptions Charles would have been in line for. Plus, four of his seven rushing touchdowns came from beyond 40 yards last year ... that will be tough to replicate.

Fantasy tip: Don't get too caught up or mesmerized by last year's production; it was a perfect storm for Charles and a lot of things have changed. On average, he is coming off the fantasy football draft board during the latter portion of the second round, which is a severe reach for him. His numbers will be inconsistent, which will make playing him weekly a frustrating endeavor. If you want him, take him as your No. 3 fantasy back if he falls far enough; otherwise let him become someone else's headache.


Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
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Felix Jones | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot, 218 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Felix Jones, Cowboys

Pros: Jones emerged down the stretch last season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry from Week 11 on, including a 148-yard Wild Card weekend performance. Even if he doesn't start, the explosive former Arkansas Razorback might see the majority of backfield work over Marion Barber III and Tashard Choice. He has proven he can do damage without having frequent work anyway.

Cons: Injuries have harmed his potential; he tore a ligament in his toe in '08 and had to wear a knee brace after a posterior cruciate ligament sprain early last season. Barber and Choice are still there to take away work in a committee that probably won't have an overwhelming majority carrier. Dallas remains a pass-first offense, and Barber and Choice rival Jones, at least, in grabbing passes.

Fantasy tip: Jones is a textbook boom-or-bust commodity. While his talent and strong finish to '09 could pay off big, Jones isn't worth his fourth-round value due to Dallas' crowded backfield and his injury history. He's a No. 3 that could jump to No. 2 value if he earns the majority of time, but his spurts of brilliant performance are causing many to overpay to rely on him for a bigger role than that - not a good idea.


Justin Forsett, RB, Seattle Seahawks
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Justin Forsett | Seattle Seahawks | 5-foot-8, 194 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
03991590251135770103

RB Justin Forsett, Seahawks

Pros: Even as a change-of-pace back, Forsett emerged as a serviceable PPR threat last season, snagging 41 passes out of an up-for-grabs Seahawks backfield last season. With an increased workload, Forsett finished the season relatively strong, topping 70 rushing yards four times and 100 ground yards twice after Week 9. His explosiveness shone through at 5.4 yards per tote. Julius Jones? Uninspiring, meaning Forsett should become the lead back in camp. He's compact and sturdy enough to handle increased between-the-tackles work. Seattle's offense won't change much under Jeremy Bates. Seattle's offensive line has made improvements, including drafting left tackle Russell Okung, and they hired O-line guru Alex Gibbs to install a zone-blocking scheme.

Cons: Jones has enjoyed a strong offseason and remains in the running for the starting gig. Forsett hasn't carried a full load often and will have to earn that honor. The newly acquired Leon Washington (leg) can do many of the same things the pint-sized Forsett can, which could limit the latter's impact. Despite his recent legal issues, Quinton Ganther is lurking, as well. Seattle might look elsewhere for more backfield help.

Fantasy tip: Forsett is going around the 10th round, mostly, which isn't bad value and profit potential. Since his reps will probably be limited to sustain his explosiveness, though, Forsett could be a No. 3 fantasy back that'll be more useful in PPR setups. Avoid making him your No. 2 given PT concerns.


Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins
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Clinton Portis | Washington Redskins | 5-foot-11, 221 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Clinton Portis, Redskins

Pros: He's still the starter in Washington's backfield. A reunion with head coach Mike Shanahan, his former leader with the Denver Broncos, could rejuvenate the soon-to-be 29-year-old. Even with some new running backs in town, Washington feels Portis, a marvelous pass blocker, should handle third-down plays. Portis has shown he can approach 40 catches in a season, and maybe his use on third downs could pad his reception total. Portis committed to getting in shape this offseason. Donovan McNabb's arrival under center opens up the offense and could give Portis more room to work. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will install a similar West Coast offense to what Washington had with their previous staff.

Cons: There's ample wear on Portis' legs. In '09, his ninth season, when he played just eight games before hitting Injured Reserve after Week 13 because of a concussion. Portis' yards-per-carry average hasn't topped 4.3 in years, not a promising pattern given his age and now crowded backfield. Larry Johnson and Willie Parker aren't inspiring but should also see work. Will any Washington back find many holes to run through? The O-line isn't comforting.

Fantasy tip: Portis is a desperation No. 3 back who's ideally suited as a No. 4; he's being drafted on average in the ninth round. Johnson and Parker are no winners, but they remain threats to Portis' carries. Don't blindly commit to the downside of his career when there probably will be other options with more profit opportunity available. 


Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Cadillac Williams | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 5-foot-11, 217 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers

Pros: Williams stayed healthy in '09 and had a serviceable season, hitting the end zone seven times total with 823 ground yards, 28 receptions and 217 receiving yards. It was his best output since his rookie campaign in 2005. He's entrenched as the Bucs' featured back. Tampa Bay will still lean on the ground game as quarterback Josh Freeman continues his development; there isn't much of a passing game to speak of. He's 28 but doesn't have age-appropriate mileage. Another year of Greg Olson's offense could create a better rhythm. Another year removed from knee surgery could give Williams improved burst, something closer to his '05 production.

Cons: Tampa Bay plans to use Kareem Huggins to keep Williams fresh or pick up any slack. Williams' absence of tread wear doesn't dismiss his two major knee injuries; Caddy's engine hasn't been explosive since '05, the last time he topped 4.0 yards per tote. He could improve, but he'll probably need to be fed ample carries to make a significant dent each week. The Bucs could ride the hot hand each week. Fullback Earnest Graham might vulture some goal line work, too.

Fantasy tip: Even with his injury history, tailbacks with Williams' combo of scheduled workload and upside are hard to find in the eighth round, where he is taken, on average. The opportunity for his stabilized knee to do more with those touches makes him an alluring No.3 or No. 4 running back with potential No. 2 or flex consistency; he's a competent enough receiver to have that title in PPRs, as well. He is still a sleeper, despite his resurgence and the emergence of Huggins.


Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
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Thomas Jones | Kansas City Chiefs | 5-foot-10, 212 pounds | 11th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: A resurgent age-31 season gave Jones career bests with 1,402 yards and 14 scoring carries on 4.2 yards per tote. Jones has topped 1,100 rushing yards in five straight seasons and has 27 ground touchdowns since '07. He hasn't missed a game in four seasons. Jones will fill KC's goal line void. The Chiefs aren't 100 percent certain Jamaal Charles is a featured back; Jones should see ample work and probably the majority of rushing attempts. Charles reportedly tired down the stretch last year.

Cons: After Jones turns 32, he'll miss his old offensive line that aided the league's best rushing attack. The Chiefs don't instill much confidence there. Will he hold up after a career-high 331 totes? Charles is electric at times and may be tough to take off the field. How will Jones fit into Charlie Weis' system? Will the Chiefs run enough? His passing-down utility is nonexistent with Charles and rookie Dexter McCluster around.

Fantasy tip: Jones, typically an eighth-round selection, passes as a No. 3 back but could post No. 2 numbers in standard scoring via his end zone nose. TJ is optimally drafted as a No. 4, though, and shouldn't trump options with less baggage strictly because of his '09 stats, which came in a carrier's utopia. The Chiefs can't prop up an aging back, especially with another talented - and younger - back. Jones' potentially touchdown-centered value could frustrate fantasy owners, a la LaDainian Tomlinson, 2009.


Laurence Maroney, RB, New England Patriots
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Laurence Maroney | New England Patriots | 5-foot-11, 220 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

RB Laurence Maroney, Patriots

Pros: Maroney still has the size to be a featured back; he ran a little tougher last year, absorbing more contact and challenging defenders more often overall. After a rough five-game opening stretch, he stepped up when injuries ravaged the backfield. He averaged 73.1 offensive yards, 0.9 rushing touchdowns and 3.9 red zone uses on 17.4 utilizations per game from Week 6 on. Not a bad recovery from a broken shoulder.

Cons: He had trouble hanging on to the pigskin. New England loves to get cute with its backfield use, incorporating Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. His average yards per carry declined as the year went on and he gained more work. Maroney remains tentative overall, often dancing too much before reaching the line of scrimmage. Would the Pats cut Maroney if he doesn't show improvement in camp? They rarely hesitate to plug in another piece if a vet isn't performing.

Fantasy tip: The 25-year-old has fallen short of expectations in fantasy and reality, but he still carries the upside to be a No. 3 fantasy back. The best part is he's being drafted as a No. 4 in most formats, so there's still some growth potential, as tiring as that saying becomes for him every year. Feeling lucky? A notable summer commitment to improving his ball security will go a long way toward increasing his workload. Just don't forget about the Pats' potential backfield roulette.


LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, New York Jets
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LaDainian Tomlinson | New York Jets | 5-foot-10, 221 pounds | 10th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: LT moves behind a better offensive line to a more run-friendly system. He was competent in frequent goal line use in his final season with the San Diego Chargers, averaging 3.4 red zone plays per contest and crossing the goal line 12 times. His apt blocking will keep him on the field often. Formerly an elite pass-catching option, Tomlinson should see more looks as a receiver - possibly his main responsibility - now that he doesn't have to contend with Darren Sproles in that department.

Cons: Tomlinson has 2,880 NFL carries; expect the decline to continue. His yards-per-carry average hit a career low (3.3) in his age-30 season, and that won't help him gain consistent production as the likely second fiddle to Shonn Greene. How confident are you in plugging in a player whose main value comes from touchdowns? The passing game should also expand, with the arrival of Santonio Holmes, the growth of Dustin Keller and Mark Sanchez gaining another year under his belt. 

Fantasy tip: LT could fall far in many drafts, making him an OK target as a No. 4 back in point-per-reception setups. He'll probably have inconsistent production because of his timeshare. He's going in the 10th round, on average, in non-PPR setups, which is a little soon. That's a more justifiable price if your league counts catches.


Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins
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Ronnie Brown | Miami Dolphins | 6-foot, 230 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: Brown tallied 648 ground yards in nine games last year, scoring eight touchdowns and averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The Dolphins' ground-oriented attack favors Brown seeing sufficient touches; he can catch (and sometimes throw) passes, too, and is typically good for 30-plus receptions in a full season. It's a contract year.

Cons: He's coming back from a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot that cost him the final seven weeks of 2009. Brown sandwiched a 16-game 2008 with 16 contests combined in '07 and '09; durability is a concern. Before he was lost for the remainder of '09, his touchdowns came in bunches (three two-score games); head-to-head frustration, indeed. Ricky Williams had a renaissance '09 season in Brown's absence and has earned the right to frequent touches. How much will Brandon Marshall's arrival and Chad Henne's emergence take away from the rushing plans? 

Fantasy tip: "If healthy" defines Brown's fantasy value, making him a risky and often overvalued No. 3 back, even in PPRs. He's mainly being drafted within the first four or five rounds, which is usually far too soon given his significant injury. If you grab him, be prepared to take another tailback soon after to shore up your crew.


Ricky Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins
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Ricky Williams | Miami Dolphins | 5-foot-10, 230 pounds | 10th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
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RB Ricky Williams, Dolphins

Pros: His sabbatical from football might have kept his legs fresh enough to stave off age. It showed last year: Williams, 33, netted 11 ground scores and 1,121 rushing yards, along with 264 yards and two touchdowns on 35 catches. Williams' average yards per tote spiked to 4.7. He's still a dual threat, and Miami's system favors its running backs. 

Cons: Ronnie Brown (foot), though coming back from injury, should assume the touches Williams ate last year; Williams is the No. 2 when Brown is on the field. Williams is 33, so it's hard to say he could repeat last year's fortune and hold up for the entire campaign even with fresher legs. He topped 75 ground yards in the four weeks (100-plus thrice) after Brown was hurt, but Williams fumbled more later in the season. Fatigue?

Fantasy tip: Williams' placement as a midrange No. 3 back is proper, but his sixth-round price is heavily influenced by last year's stats. Even in split duty, though, his place in this offense is stable enough for that tier. If Brown's prognosis for a return worsens as the draft season wears on, Williams' draft price could spike due to the opportunity for increased work. If that happens, there's enough downside risk that he might become overvalued, if he isn't a smidge already. 


Steve Slaton, RB, Houston Texans
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Steve Slaton | Houston Texans | 5-foot-9, 200 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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RB Steve Slaton, Texans

Pros: He's still a key component in Houston's backfield and is expected to contribute mainly on third down. Count him as a capable receiver (94 career catches) in a system that loves to air it out. He wants to keep his playing weight between 202 and 205 pounds, his physique during his stellar rookie campaign. 

Cons: Slaton is coming back from cervical neck fusion surgery - a sensitive procedure for any football player. He recently was diagnosed with turf toe but says it won't be much of a problem for him. Slaton also suffered a sophomore slump - his yards-per-carry average dwindled to 3.3 from 4.8 in '08. Fumbles clouded his role even before he was placed on Injured Reserve; Slaton attributes the fumbles to the neck injury, though. Arian Foster is currently running with the first team and should see the bulk of the work. Houston lost O-line coach Alex Gibbs, which could hold back the backfield. 

Fantasy tip: Don't be comfortable drafting Slaton as anything more than a low-end No. 4 back in PPR leagues, considering the surgery he underwent, the toe injury and his limited role. His 13th-round placement in non-PPRs is fair. In PPRs, though, he's more worthy of a ninth- or 10th-round selection. He goes in the stage where many other backs also have workload questions, but his leg-up in reception potential makes him more attractive despite the risks.


Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints
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Reggie Bush | New Orleans Saints | 6-foot, 203 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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14118161776735596550255335610

RB Reggie Bush, Saints

Pros: Bush regained his explosiveness after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee; he averaged 5.6 yards on 70 carries, while also snagging 47 passes on his way to 725 total yards and eight scores. His talents are valued in this high-octane offense, which loves to attack via the air. Consistency with receptions: He posted nine weeks of three-plus catches last year. Bush finished second among Saints backs with 2.1 red zone utilizations; they don't mind using his slashing near the goal line, and Mike Bell is now a Philadelphia Eagle. Bush was likely held back last year due to his knee surgery, so the Saints could involve him more in 2010.

Cons: Brittle Bush has missed at least two games in each of the last three seasons. "Microfracture" is still a dirty word long term. Bush takes a back seat to Pierre Thomas, who can also catch. Bush registered 75-plus offensive yards only four times last year. If your league doesn't count catches, does that suffice? The Saints still have too many mouths to feed.

Fantasy tip: Bush can pass as a low-end No. 2 back in PPR despite his inconsistency. He's safer as a No. 3, given his inconsistent weekly output and his frequent physical dings. His standard scoring ADP, somewhere in the seventh round, is a bit high considering some other options that do more on the ground. If PPR backs are falling quickly, a slight reach isn't a high crime, as long as you back yourself up. 


Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
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Fred Jackson | Buffalo Bills | 6-foot-1, 215 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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1141544886384637432703140147

RB Fred Jackson, Bills

Pros: Jackson tallied 1,062 rushing yards in his second full season with increased responsibility. His carry average (4.5 yards per) remained stable, and he hauled in 46 passes (83 since '07), recording at least three receptions 10 times. The Bills don't possess much downfield potency, meaning liberal running back looks from ineffective quarterback Trent Edwards. Marshawn Lynch is the subject of trade rumors after a tank job last season; as last year wore on, his workload was decreased in favor of Jackson's.

Cons: Where are the six-pointers? F-Jax has little help from his surrounding offense. The O-line was awful and doesn't stand to improve drastically. Despite trade rumors, Lynch is still in town, and rookie C.J. Spiller has skills similar to Jackson, with more game-breaking explosiveness. Opposing defenses probably still won't respect Buffalo's passing game. Jackson is dealing with a fractured hand but wants to try to play in Week 1 with a cast.

Fantasy tip: It's hard to rely on Jackson as anything more than a No. 4 fantasy carrier. That value is more solidified in PPR setups. However, the presence of Lynch and Spiller limits Jackson's upside, so don't overvalue Jackson's status as the likely primary back. His seventh-round non-PPR ADP is a little rich.


Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns
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Montario Hardesty | Cleveland Browns | 6-foot, 225 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: This second-round pick has the build to succeed as a featured tailback - at least a goal line producer and a capable receiver. Hardesty's impressive first-team OTA showing might have cinched his movement above Jerome Harrison, who missed some offseason work due to contract whining. Cleveland will probably lean on the run given their shaky quarterback crop and their solid offensive line.

Cons: Despite not missing a game in his senior season, Hardesty has a history of injuries to both knees - a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right one included. Harrison remains a factor regardless of carry split and still could start out as the No. 1 so Hardesty can acclimate to the pros. Chris Jennings, James Davis and Peyton Hillis could swipe totes.

Fantasy tip: The rook is mostly in the early eighth round, not a terrible price for a No. 4 back that could move into frequent fantasy flex duty. His boom potential and cheap price warrants a gamble. Cleveland wouldn't have spent a second-rounder on a tailback if they had full confidence in Harrison. It'll be easy to draft Hardesty since he's falling a couple of rounds below Harrison, on average.


Marion Barber III, RB, Dallas Cowboys
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Marion Barber III | Dallas Cowboys | 6-foot, 222 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Marion Barber III, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Pros: Despite sharing work with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice - and battling a left quadriceps injury - in '09, Barber recorded 932 ground yards in 15 games; his yards-per-carry average jumped back to 4.4. Barber, who has 28 total touchdowns in the last three seasons, remains Dallas' most experienced goal line threat and can snare 30-plus passes. His front five is highly regarded. Barber hasn't topped 238 carries in a season; he doesn't have that much wear and tear from workload. He dropped weight in the offseason in effort to become quicker.

Cons: The Barbarian's battle damage comes from lingering injuries and his high-risk running style. Barber's willingness to play through pain has hurt his weekly performance; the 27-year-old logged 13 games with the aforementioned quadriceps pain and gutted through a bruised knee and a broken thumb. He still dances a little too much near the line of scrimmage. Jones could emerge as the featured back. The younger, less used Choice can step in for most of Barber's duties if needed.

Fantasy tip: Barber will have to deal with two other talented backs, regardless of split, meaning he's nothing more than a last-ditch No. 3 back in all formats. His nose for the end zone marks his most steady contribution. Everything else? Not as stable.


Jerome Harrison, RB, Cleveland Browns
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Jerome Harrison | Cleveland Browns | 5-foot-9, 205 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Player name

Pros: Harrison averaged 4.4 yards per carry behind a mediocre - at best - offensive line. He shined in the few chances the Browns gave him; in seven starts, he rushed for 778 yards (4.6 per tote), caught 23 balls for 168 yards and scored seven total times. The O-line might slowly be improving. Harrison is a good bet to enter camp as the starter, and his only definite comp for touches is a rookie.

Cons: That rook is second-rounder Montario Hardesty, who many think has a more suitable build for a featured role. Cleveland could easily view Harrison as a complementary type, and James Davis and Chris Jennings still have pulses. Most of Harrison's production came in four games; in two of them, he tortured the esteemed Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy tip: Harrison usually comes off the board in any round from the fifth to the seventh. Considering his potential pitfalls and that his 2010 owners may once again be highly uncertain of which weeks to play him, the front end of that range isn't advisable. However, he still has the makings of a high-upside flex play. In PPR formats, he's worth a little more.


Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders
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Michael Bush | Oakland Raiders | 6-foot-1, 245 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Oakland ditched Justin Fargas and Bush's only other competition is Darren McFadden, who is coming off a hamstring strain. They're too different backs, so they might not eat into each other's touches. Head coach Tom Cable said earlier he wanted a lead back in this offense; he recanted that but at least he is open to the idea. Bush has the size to take on that role. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year (123 carries, 589 yards). Oakland's passing game should be stronger with the addition of quarterback Jason Campbell and development of wideouts Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy.

Cons: Bush is dealing with a fractured thumb but may be ready for Week 1. McFadden is still the more explosive back in Oakland; this job will probably end up being a nearly even split if McFadden is healthy. He's also a free agent after this year; Oakland has more invested in keeping Run DMC happy. Bush is relatively inexperienced (218 career carries). Oakland's offensive line is shaky.

Fantasy tip: Bush should get his looks; it's too bad for those that own him that might not be a lot. He's being drafted in the seventh round, on average, as a No. 3 back. If you can snag him as a No. 4, he has decent upside, especially given McFadden's spotty injury history.


C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
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C.J. Spiller | Buffalo Bills | 5-foot-11, 196 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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18722791910693546523183602459

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills

Pros: No other back on Buffalo's roster has Spiller's blend of size and speed. The former Clemson Tiger averaged 5.6 yards per carry last year (216 carries, 1,212 rushing yards) and scored 16 times total. The Bills used the ninth overall pick in this year's draft on him, so they have a ton invested in him. Head coach Chan Gailey has experimented with running Spiller as a wideout, which should get him on the field more.

Cons: Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch are both still on this roster; both of those backs should eat into Spiller's touches, especially if he is sent out as a receiver or used on special teams more often. Buffalo might be relatively deep at running back, but they have little else that excites on offense. Teams probably won't respect their passing game, and they need to improve along the offensive line.

Fantasy tip: Yes, he has talent, but he also isn't surrounded by much else. With two other decent backs on the roster, and no other areas to take pressure off, it could be an inconsistent year for the first back selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. View him as a strong No. 4 back in point-per-reception leagues. That doesn't jive with his No. 3 back ADP, usually at the end of the fifth round.


Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona Cardinals
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Tim Hightower | Arizona Cardinals | 6-foot, 222 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: In 2009 he jumped to 4.2 yards per carry in the same number of attempts from his rookie season. Hightower also started all 16 contests and caught 63 passes, which helped him compile more than 1,000 total yards. He has a nose for the end zone (18 TDs in two years) and was usually the go-to guy inside the 5. The Cards are transitioning to more of a ball-control offense. Their line is on the rise, and Hightower is excellent in pass protection, which keeps him on the field.

Cons: Beanie Wells began to come into his own (and get the ball more) in the second half of 2009. He cut into Hightower's touchdown production heavily and is expected to be the focal point of the O. No Kurt Warner means a drop-off in intelligent decision-making, which could have a severely negative effect on this unit's execution. Many of Hightower's catches came in a handful of contests. Fumbles were an issue for both Cardinals runners.

Fantasy tip: Three years running, Hightower is "the lesser Arizona back." Wells is a bit injury-prone, making Hightower a required handcuff. Fortunately, the price is often somewhere around the 10th round. He'll still get his share of touches and is a decent No. 4 back with definite upside that late.


Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
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Ahmad Bradshaw | New York Giants | 5-foot-9, 198 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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881283945442426321872301337

Pros: The Marshall alum has a 5.2 career yards-per-carry average and reached 4.8 last season while scoring seven touchdowns and catching 21 passes, all with Brandon Jacobs being the top dog. Positive reports have followed surgery on Bradshaw's ankle and feet. His blocking duties will keep his passing-down reps intact. Jacobs has missed nine games over the last three seasons and saw his rushing average tank last season; Bradshaw could be the featured back if needed.

Cons: Bradshaw played through fractured feet for most of the season. Will his reconstructed hooves hold up? They'll probably go light on him in training camp, and he might be slightly delayed heading into the season. Though he's in a role that should provide ample receptions, he only logged four games with three or more catches last year. The Giants will probably go with the hot hand often, meaning Bradshaw might be left out altogether in some weeks.

Fantasy tip: A high-upside No. 4 back, Bradshaw has the explosiveness to become a fantasy regular. He can make a difference in committee work. PPR owners have more incentive to reach a little for him, even with his recent surgeries.


Chester Taylor, RB, Chicago Bears
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Chester Taylor | Chicago Bears | 5-foot-11, 213 pounds | 9th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Taylor's pass blocking and receiving prowess bid well for Mike Martz's high-octane system. The 30-year-old back should again sniff the 40-reception plateau he has reached in four of the last five seasons. Matt Forte, Taylor's backfield companion, took a sophomore year nosedive and hasn't proven overly effective in single-back work. Taylor thrives on that setup. His three-year stretch as a backup to Adrian Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings probably bought him a few more serviceable statistical seasons. 

Cons: In the last two years, he has averaged just 3.8 yards per tote; despite his size, he doesn't offer much between the tackles anymore. His career high of 303 carries in a season came back in '06; it's hard to think Taylor will earn more than a split with Forte, who's still considered the future in Chicago's backfield. Forte is a good receiver, as well. 

Fantasy tip: Taylor can be had as a No. 4 back - more potential to rank higher in PPRs. He's often being taken in the 11th round. Forte isn't stable, so it's possible Taylor winds up a good value pick.


Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
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Donald Brown | Indianapolis Colts | 5-foot-10, 210 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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51912874371315211051470215

Pros: The sophomore has the makeup needed for long-term short-yardage and goal line work. He's healthy after enduring several injuries last year; Brown didn't have an extended chance to showcase his goods. Addai, who has missed five games since '06, doesn't work well between the tackles and is a free agent after this season, meaning Indy might be inclined to employ the healed Brown more often.

Cons: Brown missed five games last year due to his various dings - is he brittle? Addai is no slouch in the paydirt department. Brown is an inferior blocker to Addai. You think the Colts want to leave Peyton Manning hanging out to dry often? You think the Colts will move that much away from the pass? Addai fits their offense better.

Fantasy tip: Still second fiddle to Addai, Brown shouldn't be drafted as anything higher than a No. 4 back. His touchdown potential could pass for flex duty in some standard scoring weeks. Since Addai remains the best fit for Indy's offense, though, expect inconsistent stats otherwise from Brown unless he takes becomes the starter, which remains a remote possibility.


Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego Chargers
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Darren Sproles | San Diego Chargers | 5-foot-6, 185 pounds | 6th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
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31711292790255614464941315

Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego Chargers

Pros: He no longer has to player second fiddle to TD King LaDainian Tomlinson. Instead, San Diego will pair him with a 2010 draftee. Sproles has averaged 4.5 yards per rush in his career. Last season, he posted lifetime highs of 45 receptions and 840 total yards. The Bolts have incorporated him in the offense more often each year.

Cons: Ryan Mathews was the 12th overall draft pick and second running back taken. The Chargers expect big things from him, beginning this year. Sproles doesn't have the build to be anything more than second fiddle in the NFL. In 2009, he hit double-digit rushing attempts only twice - in both of his starts, when he averaged 14 runs. He isn't a threat to score double-digit TDs.

Fantasy tip: Sproles isn't even the ideal handcuff for a stud back, but keep in mind that he outscored LT in fantasy points several times last season. He can put them up as long as defenses can't key on him. Don't reach for him unless you own Mathews, but even then, it's not necessary. He's a low-end No. 4 back who's drafted somewhere around the 10th round in a 12-teamer, with a slight bump in PPR leagues.


Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo Bills
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Marshawn Lynch | Buffalo Bills | 5-foot-11, 215 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
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28232211931343911212717422402913

Pros: A former first-round pick, Lynch still has some talent. He has a decent nose for the end zone with 16 total touchdowns scored over his first two years in the league. His attitude appears to be improved. Buffalo doesn't have much of a passing game to rely on, so all three of the backs in this offense could see a decent workload.

Cons: Where to start? His attitude might be improving, but is it just because he realized he won't be traded? Defenses will be able to key on this running game with little threat through the air. The offensive line is a problem. The Bills invested a first-round pick in running back C.J. Spiller and still have tailback Fred Jackson to take carries away from Lynch. Both are ahead of him in the rotation at this position. Lynch will need to learn a new offense under head coach Chan Gailey.

Fantasy tip: Are fantasy owners overlooking Lynch? Sure, he has had his problems, but he's dropping to the end of the 11th round, on average. The former California-Berkeley star is still talented and could be a sleeper. He's not more than a No. 5 back, but you could do worse at that level; maybe he'll be motivated on playing his way out of Buffalo.


Larry Johnson, RB, Washington Redskins
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Larry Johnson | Washington Redskins | 6-foot-1, 235 pounds | 8th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: LJ still has a bit of tread left on his 30-year-old tires; he averaged 4.4 yards per carry during a seven-game stint with the Cincinnati Bengals last year. He's in top shape in Washington's camp, and if Clinton Portis, who has twice missed half a season in the last four years, misses any time, Johnson would probably be next in line.

Cons: Portis is likely the first back for carries with either Ryan Torain or Willie Parker also receiving a share of the touches - how many does that leave LJ? A roster spot could be dicey if he doesn't perform well during the preseason. He doesn't appear to have much burst left; last year, Johnson's longest run was just 27 yards. He's also not a great receiving threat.

Fantasy tip: View Johnson largely as a handcuff to Portis. Feel free to take a chance on him as a No. 5 back, mainly in standard leagues, if he continues to show flashes of his old self in camp.


Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings
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Toby Gerhart | Minnesota Vikings | 6-foot, 231 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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26030093610865731372142550259

Pros: Gerhart has the frame and skills to be a solid short-yardage, goal line back when called upon. He ran for 1,871 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and scored 27 times on the ground during his senior campaign with the Stanford Cardinal last year. There is a void in this offense after the departure of Chester Taylor, who ran the ball 94 times and caught 44 passes in '09.

Cons: The rook still has a ways to go in learning the offense, especially picking up blitzes and reading defenses; he needs to do that if he wants to see the field as anything more than a rare spell for Adrian Peterson.

Fantasy tip: He's currently the third back on the depth chart, but we expect that to change soon. Gerhart is strictly a handcuff to AD, provided he overtakes Albert Young as the second back. Even if he doesn't for Week 1, he should eventually take over the backup role as the season develops. His upside is limited, so don't go out of your way to draft the No. 5-valued back.


Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions
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Kevin Smith | Detroit Lions | 6-foot-1, 217 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Smith (knee) is just one season removed from a 976-yard, eight-TD rushing rookie year. He has caught 80 passes for 701 yards and one score over his first two years. Jahvid Best, the likely No. 1, has yet to take a snap at the pro level, and Smith could be close to 100 percent for Week 1.

Cons: Best probably will be the No. 1 option in this offense; the 2010 first-rounder is a strong receiving threat, too, so it's tough to see where Smith fits as little more than a backup. Smith still needs to prove he's healthy after tearing his ACL in December 2009, which usually takes well over a year to recover from and return to form.

Fantasy tip: Smith is a decent all-around back, but with Best in town, he should upstaged by the more electric rookie. Take a chance on Smith as a No. 5 back, especially to handcuff to Best, but his ceiling isn't very high. He may wind up being a short-yardage or goal line back for the Lions.


Leon Washington, RB, Seattle Seahawks
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Leon Washington | Seattle Seahawks | 5-foot-8, 203 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Speed and shiftiness. Washington averaged a gaudy 5.9 yards per carry in '08 during a limited role with the New York Jets; his career YPC is 4.8. Washington's biggest contribution in 2008, though, came with 47 receptions for 355 yards and two scores. He's probably the top pass-catching back on Seattle's roster.

Cons: Washington is coming off a devastating compound leg fracture in October 2009. He'll need to regain his explosiveness; if he doesn't, there isn't much else that'll keep him around. He doesn't have the build of a primary back and will probably lose out in the carries department to Justin Forsett as well as possibly Julius Jones.

Fantasy tip: Washington has been participating fully in practice, and he could be a sneaky addition for PPR owners late in their drafts. Only target him as a No. 5 back in PPR formats near the final rounds of standard drafts.


Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys
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Tashard Choice | Dallas Cowboys | 5-foot-10, 200 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Choice has the between-the-tackles and receiving skills to assume majority work if Cowboys starters Marion Barber III and Felix Jones were to lose time or need a rest. He was a capable fill-in last year when called upon, posting two games of 80-plus yards. Choice's career 5.3 yards-per-carry average shows he can do damage even in limited work. The Cowboys' O-line ranks among the top portion of the NFL. Dallas wants to use all three backs whenever possible.

Cons: He's the No. 3 in a three-headed monster. Sadly, that's enough to keep him down. Choice must rely on an injury or trade to assume top dog duties.

Fantasy tip: For a No. 5 or No. 6 back, you could find worse options. Though his ability to help won't depend on his own talent, this ability is the type you should speculate on for its own merit, especially for bye or injury depth.




Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore Ravens
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Willis McGahee | Baltimore Ravens | 6-foot, 235 pounds | 8th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: He'll still be involved as the No. 2 back, despite being behind Ray Rice on the depth chart and the Ravens' desire to expand their passing game. Even with just 109 carries last year, McGahee totaled 544 ground yards (5.0 yards per tote). If something were to happen to Rice, Baltimore wouldn't hesitate to throw McGahee into the starting fray. His 26 touchdowns in three Ravens seasons emphasizes their confidence in his red zone skills, which still kept up even as Rice emerged as a top-level back.

Cons: The vet has dealt with some knee swelling in camp - something to keep an eye on, especially with his history of knee issues. Before last year, he had not played a full season's worth of games since '05. He might only get extensive time with a hot hand without an injury to Rice.

Fantasy tip: Few No. 5 backs have McGahee's potential for touchdown output, and in this run-happy offense, he can be a valuable flex or fill-in back.


Sammy Morris, RB, New England Patriots
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Sammy Morris | New England Patriots | 6-foot, 220 pounds | 11th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Morris has averaged at least 4.3 yards per tote in each of the last four seasons and registered at least 17 receptions in part-time work in three of the last four years. Despite Kevin Faulk's presence, Morris could fit into passing plays well, and he ranked second behind Laurence Maroney in running back goal line utilizations.

Cons: It's hard to predict how the Pats will use their backfield - Maroney, Faulk, Fred Taylor, maybe BenJarvus Green-Ellis ... crowded and often hot hand-based. Maroney has the best shot at the starter's work. Morris usually doesn't stay healthy long enough to complete for long-term duty anyway. He has missed 21 games over the last four seasons.

Fantasy tip: In most setups, Morris should be left for the post-draft waiver wire. In extremely deep setups, he could be a No. 7 back, and maybe as a low-range No. 6 back in deeper setups. In point-per-reception setups, his value sees a slight boost.


Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta Falcons
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Jerious Norwood | Atlanta Falcons | 5-foot-11, 209 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

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Pros: Few backs offer the big-play potential of Norwood; he has scored from at least 67 yards out in three of the last four seasons. In '08, he caught 36 passes for 338 yards and two scores. Even if Atlanta gives Matt Ryan more freedom, this offense is still based around the run, which should ensure a decent workload for Norwood behind Michael Turner.

Cons: Norwood missed time last year with a hip injury. He said he was healthy entering camp but has already missed some practice time because of a hip flexor injury. Different injury, same hip. He'll have to hold off Jason Snelling for the No. 2 job; Snelling performed well last year with a 147-yard game in Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Fantasy tip: If healthy, the dangerous Norwood should be Atlanta's No. 2 and top receiving back. His ceiling is higher in PPR leagues, but don't target him unless you own Turner or the draft extends past 16 rounds. He's at best a No. 5 back in PPR formats.


Kevin Faulk, RB, New England Patriots
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Kevin Faulk | New England Patriots | 5-foot-8, 202 pounds | 12th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: Faulk is back for yet another season in New England. Few have as strong a grasp of this offense as Faulk. He caught 37 passes last year and in the previous three years totaled 148 receptions. Faulk also has at least 62 carries in each of the last three seasons.

Cons: His role is limited; he hasn't reached triple digits in carries since 2003 and has only scored more than three times in a season once in the last seven seasons. Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor are all probably ahead of Faulk for touches. Even if those three suffer injuries, New England will likely go with a bigger, stronger back as their No. 1.

Fantasy tip: Faulk will get a decent share of looks, but he's not going to do anything extraordinary. He'll probably be a decent PPR flex play, at times, but he's no more than a No. 6 back.


Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver Broncos
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Correll Buckhalter | Denver Broncos | 6-foot, 223 pounds | 10th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Pros: Buckhalter (back, neck) performed well in a limited role last year; he ran for 642 yards on 120 carries (5.4 yards per carry) and found the end zone once. He also caught 31 passes for 240 yards. No. 1 back Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) has been limited by a hamstring injury; if he takes a long time healing, Buck could have a larger role.

Cons: Buck has been bothered by back and neck problems during camp; he has completed a full 16-game slate just once in his career. Moreno is clearly the No. 1 in this offense, when healthy, which will limit Buckhalter's workload.

Fantasy tip: Provided his injury doesn't develop into something more serious, Buckhalter should be drafted as a No. 6 back, or as a handcuff by those that already own Moreno. Target him near the end of your standard 16-round draft.


Low-tier running back analysis
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Mike Bell | Philadelphia Eagles | 6-foot, 225 pounds | 5th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Bell was dormant for two years after bursting onto the scene with the Denver Broncos in 2006. His 2009 showing with the New Orleans Saints made fantasy owners remember his name, but Bell defected for the Eagles in the offseason. Coming off a 172-654-5 season, Bell will back up LeSean McCoy in Philly. Expect a fair number of goal line touches for the Arizona product. The oft-injured Bell makes for a No. 5 fantasy back, as well as a handcuff to McCoy.

Javon Ringer | Tennessee Titans | 5-foot-9, 205 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: We expect Ringer to see an increased workload in his second year. Now that LenDale White (Broncos) is out of the picture, coupled with Chris Johnson's massive 2009 touch burden (408), the former Michigan Stater should have mild fantasy value. He's a bit of a deep sleeper, but it will take an injury to Johnson before he sees meaningful carries.

Jonathan Dwyer | Pittsburgh Steelers | 5-foot-11, 229 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
4686182332132814560114

Fantasy tip: The Georgia Tech product has quality size and can take over games at times. He'll battle with Mewelde Moore in camp and could see a marginal workload during the regular season. Dwyer is a late-round speculative pick in deep leagues.

Mewelde Moore | Pittsburgh Steelers | 5-foot-11, 209 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Moore will battle rookie Jonathan Dwyer for third-down and change-of-pace chores, behind starter Rashard Mendenhall. The veteran rusher needs to be more explosive for fantasy owners to consider him as a playable commodity. The younger Dwyer may overtake him sooner rather than later; Moore is only worth drafting in leagues of at least 20 rostered players.

Fred Taylor | New England Patriots | 6-foot-1, 228 pounds | 13th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Injuries cut Fragile Fred's first year with the Pats short (six games), but he is looking very good in camp this offseason. Age (34) isn't on his side, but Taylor could emerge as the lead back if Laurence Maroney struggles early on. Even still, leave Taylor for the wire in standard formats.

Joe McKnight | New York Jets | 5-foot-11, 194 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The agile rookie shrugged off an offseason ankle sprain to showcase his talents in a training camp scrimmage. He looked healthy and figures to have a mild role in the offense (likely a special teamer for now), unless an injury finds LaDainian Tomlinson, which has been a common occurrence in the past few years. McKnight shouldn't be considered in standard formats.

Julius Jones | Seattle Seahawks | 5-foot-10, 208 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Often injured, Jones hasn't played a full season in two years. He will be 29 years old before the season kicks off. The former Notre Dame rusher has to battle his way past Justin Forsett and a healthy Leon Washington (leg). Jones is, at best, a late-round flier pick in deep leagues (18-plus rounds).

Anthony Dixon | San Francisco 49ers | 6-foot-1, 233 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1353271770204-9170103

Fantasy tip: The punishing rookie rusher is battling veteran Brian Westbrook for backup duties to Frank Gore. We see Dixon as a potential touchdown vulture, but that's tough to bank on for fantasy purposes. Draft him as a sixth back or as a handcuff to Gore. 

Derrick Ward | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 5-foot-11, 228 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Ward will be 30 before the season begins, but he doesn't have nearly the mileage of most seven-year vets. He could be part of a hot-hand committee, at best, sharing time with Cadillac Williams. At worst, Ward is released by the team since Kareem Huggins has enjoyed a strong offseason. Ward is coming off a down year, but he is a multi-faceted contributor and deserves a late-round selection as a sixth back.

Bernard Scott | Cincinnati Bengals | 5-foot-10, 197 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Scott carried the ball 74 times last year for 321 yards (4.3 per carry) in 13 games. Should starter Cedric Benson find himself on the mend once again, Scott is next in line to tote the rock. Fantasy owners should handcuff Scott to Benson. Take a late-round chance on the second-year back if you're looking for a speculative sixth fantasy back.

Brian Westbrook | San Francisco 49ers | 5-foot-10, 203 pounds | 9th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The veteran was added by the 49ers, but his role isn't very clear. Starter Frank Gore is a good receiver, which may limit Westy's value. At best, he's worth a late-round flier in point-per-reception contests.

Leonard Weaver | Philadelphia Eagles | 6-foot, 250 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: A talented pass-catching fullback, Weaver averaged 4.6 yards per carry last year and scored four total times. He will see a decent number of goal line touches but has to contend with Mike Bell in this area of the field. Weaver isn't worth drafting in standard formats.

Peyton Hillis | Cleveland Browns | 6-foot-2, 250 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
1757662161361241810114

Fantasy tip: A quasi-fullback, Hillis averaged 4.9 yards carrying the ball as a Denver Bronco during the first two years of his career. An offseason deal sent him to Cleveland, where he needs an injury to either Montario Hardesty or Jerome Harrison before he sees significant playing time. Avoid him in all normal-sized leagues.

Brandon Jackson | Green Bay Packers | 5-foot-10, 216 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The 24-year-old Jackson sits behind Ryan Grant on the depth chart but could be pushed by rookie James Starks (hamstring). At best, Jackson is Green Bay's third-down back. For fantasy purposes, he is a shaky handcuff to Grant and probably should be left for the wire.

Jason Snelling | Atlanta Falcons | 5-foot-11, 223 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Snelling filled in well for injured starter Michael Turner last year by averaging 4.3 per tote and scoring five total times in 14 games (two starts). He is the top handcuff to Turner, whose workload is expected to be reduced this year. Jerious Norwood (hip) is still battling his way back from injury, so Snelling could have an increased role in 2010. Nevertheless, he isn't worth more than a late-round handcuff pick.

Rashad Jennings | Jacksonville Jaguars | 6-foot-1, 228 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2052458489984623291702150248

Fantasy tip: Maurice Jones-Drew's chief backup, Jennings averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his 2009 rookie season. He is a capable receiver but doesn't figure to see enough of a workload to be relevant to fantasy owners in 2010. He's a handcuff to MJD in deep leagues.

Brian Leonard | Cincinnati Bengals | 6-foot-1, 225 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The injury-prone Leonard (foot), who could wind up as Cincy's third-down back, suffered a midfoot injury, which may turn out to be a Lisfranc sprain. If this is the case, he will miss the 2010 season. Should he play, Leonard has mild value as a sixth back in point-per-reception setups.

Mike Tolbert | San Diego Chargers | 5-foot-9, 243 pounds | 3rd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
51911953453519251181550237

Fantasy tip: A load to bring down, Tolbert, a fullback, scored four times last year and could see a slight workload increase in 2010. He's efficient (5.9 yards per carry) and has respectable hands. Yet, he's not draftable.

Willie Parker | Washington Redskins | 5-foot-10, 212 pounds | 7th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Fast Willie is quickly sinking on the depth chart. He has reportedly fallen to No. 4 behind Ryan Torain, but this could be a motivational ploy. Either way, Parker's fantasy value is at an all-time low. Avoid him on draft day.

James Starks | Green Bay Packers | 6-foot-2, 218 pounds | Rookie

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
3777216366132814580114

Fantasy tip: We like Starks' chances to be a goal line back for the Packers this year, assuming he can return to health soon (hamstring). Brandon Jackson and improving his blocking skills stand in his way of being a third-down back. Don't bother drafting Starks in single-year leagues, though.

Maurice Morris | Detroit Lions | 5-foot-11, 216 pounds | 9th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The veteran back hasn't played a full season since 2006, and he is now third on the depth chart. Running back Kevin Smith (knee) is making strides in his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and rookie first-rounder Jahvid Best figures to start. Morris isn't worth considering in any format.

James Davis | Cleveland Browns | 5-foot-11, 218 pounds | 2nd year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: Entering Year 2, Davis is buried as the third back on the depth chart. He is coming off a shoulder separation that cost him all but two games in 2009. In his limited work, he was held to 1.7 yards per carry and 1.3 per reception; avoid him in all leagues.

Le'Ron McClain | Baltimore Ravens | 6-foot, 260 pounds | 4th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: The Ravens completely changed McClain's role in 2009 and made him more of a true fullback. He scored 11 total times in '08, compared to just twice last year. He doesn't touch the ball enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

Jacob Hester | San Diego Chargers | 5-foot-10, 203 pounds | 8th year

2010 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Run Att Run Yds Run TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Fantasy tip: San Diego has given Hester just 40 carries in two seasons. Behind rookie Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and fullback Mike Tolbert, Hester doesn't see enough looks to matter for fantasy leaguers.