2013 Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings
Running Backs Ranked 31-60by Russ Bliss (7/19/13)
31) BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
BGE wasn't bad as the Bengals featured RB in 2012, but he wasn't as good as he had been as part of the committee while in New England. Rushing TD's were harder to come by and his limitations as a receiver were in full display. BGE is likely to be the primary 2 down rushing back in 2013, but will give way to rookie Giovani Bernard in passing situations as Bernard is an excellent pass catching RB. There's even a chance if BGE struggles and Bernard shows well, BGE could find himself reduced to the role of being a short yardage and goal line RB. A very dicey pick as a RB3 this season unless he gets more goal line opportunities.
32) Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
2013 could be Ingram's final chance to prove he deserves to be the Saints lead RB. Both Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas have averaged more yards per carry than Ingram, but to be fair, opponents have known that when Ingram is in the game, they are more than likely running the ball whereas Sproles and Thomas get most of the rushing attempts from passing formations. The Saints have said they plan to run the ball more often in 2013 and that could mean a bigger offensive role for Ingram. Still he's dicey as anything more than a borderline RB3/4 and his best games are likeliest to come against weak opponents the Saints build an early lead on.
33) Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
Stacy has as much a chance to be the Rams primary RB as anyone. His competition, Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson, are both more suited to outside running than between the tackles. Stacy is a compact RB who can push the pile and break tackles. What he lacks is explosive potential. While it may be a full blown time share between the three RB's (with Richardson considered the favorite for 3rd down duties), in goal line situations, I expect Stacy to be the guy and the most likely for any potential regular fantasy value. He's also the most likely of the three to become the main RB due to his overall skill set.
34) Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Explosive showings as the 3rd down RB in the post-season allowed the Patriots to part ways with Danny Woodhead and give Vereen the job in 2013. Vereen is also a dynamic runner and while he won't challenge Stevan Ridley for early down carries, his abilities as a receiver and occasional rusher could provide him with enough fantasy value to be considered as a borderline RB3/4. In PPR formats, Vereen could be a regular as a flexed 3rd RB.
35) Andre Brown, New York Giants
While Brown acquitted himself well when given opportunities in 2012, it's expected that he will take a backseat to David Wilson in the Giants 2013 RB pecking order. Brown is initially thought to be in line for some inside carries while handling short yardage and goal line duties over Wilson. But if Wilson struggles or has any issues with ball security (a big no-no with Giants coach Tom Coughlin), Brown could find himself with a lot more playing time than expected. Brown is definitely considering as a RB4 on fantasy rosters.
36) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
While there is a chance that with a strong preseason Bernard could move into a full blown committee with BenJarvus Green-Elis in Cincinnati, it's believed that Bernard will start the 2013 season as the 3rd down RB and rushing complement to BGE. In PPR formats, Bernard could prove to be equal to, if not better than BGE in terms of fantasy value as Bernard is an excellent pass catching RB. He has speed and moves in the open field. Well worth considering as a RB4 with upside heading into fantasy drafts.
37) Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens
Thanks to strong performances towards the end of the regular season and into the post-season, Pierce has played his way into taking some of the offensive load from Ravens starting RB Ray Rice. While it would likely take a Rice injury for Pierce to have fantasy value, Pierce is worth monitoring and should be considered a strong candidate to be handcuffed to Rice in fantasy drafts.
38) Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas has surprisingly been running more with the first team over teammate Mark Ingram in OTA's but whether that really means he is in for a bigger offensive role is in question. When he is given chances to play, Thomas has always proved to be worthy of fantasy consideration. But between him, Ingram, and Darren Sproles, it's one of the hardest backfields to accurately predict on a week to week basis. I think the likeliest scenario is Ingram as the primary rusher, Sproles as the primary 3rd down RB, and Thomas as the top backup and change of pace to both as he is accomplished as both a runner and pass catcher. Despite never having been the Saints featured RB, Thomas has caught 39 passes or more in 3 of the last 4 seasons and has 188 receptions over the last 5 combined. Considering he's always just an injury away from being given a bigger offensive role, Thomas is a RB4/5 with a lot of upside to become fantasy relevant.
39) Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Tate is the mandatory handcuff to Arian Foster. When healthy, and given opportunities the last 2 seasons, Tate has been an effective RB worthy of starting fantasy consideration. While Foster's calf injury is expected to be fine by training camp, Tate is still someone worth considering as a RB4/5 as the Texans may decide to reduce Foster's workload some. Foster owners better not wait too long to grab Tate as the handcuff as he is worth the insurance.
40) Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
Woodhead gets to reprise his 3rd down and change of pace role in San Diego in 2013. He'll be behind oft-injured Ryan Mathews and while Woodhead is too small to become a featured RB if Mathews were to get injured again, he would likely be at least in a 50/50 split with Ronnie Brown. Woodhead is an excellent receiving RB and could find himself worth considering as a RB4 in PPR formats.
41) Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
After missing his entire rookie season in 2011 because of an Achilles injury, Leshoure started 14 games for the Lions in 2012 rushing for 798 yards and scoring 9 TD's. What he lacked was much of a burst as his longest run of the season was only 16 yards. He performed well, but it's to be wondered if he'll ever regain his pre-injury form and now that the Lions have brought in Reggie Bush to be their primary RB, Leshoure appears to be headed for short yardage and goal line duties more than getting the football with any regularity in 2013. It would likely take a Bush injury for Leshoure to get enough playing time to be fantasy relevant.
42) Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
The new regime in Buffalo has decided to scrap the RBBC between Jackson and C.J. Spiller and go with Spiller as their main guy, leaving Jackson to change of pace duties behind him. Spiller owners should strongly consider Jackson as a handcuff as Jackson has proven to be an effective fantasy RB when healthy and put in a lead role.
43) DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Williams figures to reprise his role as a part time player in a RBBC with Jonathan Stewart. But he could be in for an increased role as the primary RB for Carolina if Stewart's recovery from off-season surgeries to both of his ankles lingers on into the season. Williams is worth taking a flier on fantasy drafts but consistency will elude him no matter what his role.
44) Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans
Although Greene has rushed for over 1,000 yards in back to back seasons for the Jets, he's now behind Chris Johnson in Tennessee. Greene may carve out a role as a short yardage or goal line rusher, but unless Johnson is slow to get it going again in 2013, Greene isn't going to get a lot of playing time.
45) Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are likely to run more in 2013 than they have at any time under Andy Reid's tenure as head coach. And that could mean Brown has more fantasy value than you would usually expect for a backup RB. Other than a fumbling issue the Eagles and Brown are working hard on during the off-season, Brown was a fantasy surprise while LeSean McCoy was out with a concussion. Brown is a definite must have handcuff to McCoy.
46) Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams
Will miss week 1 of the regular season as he serves a league imposed 1 game suspension. Before that suspension though Pead was considered to be the front-runner for the Rams starting RB job. But he has opened the door for rookie sleeper Zac Stacy to lay claim to it before he is even active. Pead was a disappointment in 2012 and I do not believe him capable of being an interior "between the tackles" RB. There's a chance he surprises, but an equal chance he is just a backup.
47) Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
The addition of Ahmad Bradshaw by the Colts brings about an end to Ballard's fantasy relevance. Ballard will still get some playing time, but not enough to be fantasy worthy. Unless Bradshaw has a setback in his recovery from off-season foot surgery, Ballard won't get enough touches to make any impact.
48) Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
Rodgers just wasn't able to push Michael Turner for primary rushing duties the last couple of seasons so it's hard to imagine his playing time going up now that the Falcons have upgraded to Steven Jackson at RB. Jackson is a 3 down RB which further muddies Rodgers' outlook as even the 3rd down RB. Rodgers is nothing more than a handcuff to Jackson.
49) Michael Bush, Chicago Bears
Bush appeared to have carved out a niche as the Bears short yardage and goal line RB last season behind Matt Forte, but how he fits in 2013 could be a different story. New head coach Marc Trestman is expected to have a more pass oriented offense and that plays into Forte's strengths more than Bush's. Bush could be in line for a reduced offensive role as just a goal line vulture. In any case though, he will be the top backup to Forte and could be worth the handcuff in deeper leagues.
50) Joique Bell, Detroit Lions
The addition of Reggie Bush in Detroit has caused Bell to lose a lot of potential value. But he did show well in 2012 as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield so if anything were to happen to either Bush or Mikel Leshoure, Bell would step in and have the potential for fantasy relevance.
51) Johnathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers
Franklin is likely to provide some "lightning" to fellow rookie Eddie Lacy's "thunder" for the Packers in 2013. Lacy should be the Packers primary RB with Franklin a top change of pace guy. Franklin's blocking will show whether he gets a chance to be the 3rd down RB. While there was a lot of hype surrounding Franklin before the draft, and there are some who think he will challenge to be the Packers lead RB, I don't expect him to beat out Lacy.
52) Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
While Richardson showed well when given a chance for an offensive role last season, the Rams say he slated to be their 3rd down RB and not in the mix for their primary RB duties. That could change in training camp and preseason as his competition is fellow 2012 rookie Isaiah Pead and 2013 rookie Zac Stacy. For now though, Richardson isn't likely to get enough touches to be of fantasy consideration.
53) LaMichael James, San Francisco 49ers
James showed very well at the end of the 2012 season when he took over as Frank Gore's top backup after Kendall Hunter went down with a season ending Achilles injury in November. Well enough that I expect it would take a near miraculous recovery from Hunter for James not to be the favorite to be Gore's top backup and best handcuff option in 2013.
54) Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
While all the expectations are that Lamar Miller will do well in the featured role, we simply will not know until the regular season begins. If Miller proves to be everything said of him, Thomas's chance for fantasy relevance is slim. If Miller doesn't live up to expectations, there could a committee with Thomas providing the power complement to Miller's explosiveness.
55) Mike Goodson, New York Jets
It's unknown if Goodson's impending legal problems stemming from a drugs and weapons arrest in May will affect his 2013 season with the Jets or not. Before the arrest Goodson was considered likely to be the top backup and change of pace RB to Chris Ivory. Now it's unknown if his case will be heard before the start of the regular season or not. He could end up being fine to play during the season; he could be suspended by the league. It's unclear at this time.
56) Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Because of John Fox's loyalty and deference to veterans, Moreno appears to be the favorite for 3rd down duties over Ronnie Hillman and should be the top backup to Montee Ball. Moreno isn't a special talent anymore, but Peyton Manning makes many RB's look better than they are.
57) Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
Tolbert's role is completely determined by the health of the other RB's in Carolina. If Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are healthy, Tolbert is just an occasional goal line and situational 3rd down RB. And that would preclude him from having reliable fantasy value as he won't get enough touches to be relevant.
58) Justin Forsett, Jacksonville Jaguars
Signed by Jacksonville to be Maurice Jones-Drew's new top backup, Forsett is in an intriguing spot. MJD is not yet fully recovered from off-season foot surgery and there's no guarantee MJD will be by the start of the regular season. Forsett is the top handcuff to MJD as he has proven capable when given opportunities for a large offensive role in the past. But if MJD proves to be fine, Forsett will struggle to be on the playing field much.
59) Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys
Anointed as the top backup to injury-prone DeMarco Murray in Dallas, Randle just needs to be competent to beat out Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar to be Murray's handcuff in 2013. And since Murray comes with injury questions, Randle could get a chance to show what he can do in a prominent role at some point this season.
60) Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
Murray will battle Rashad Jennings to be Darren McFadden's top backup in 2013. Jennings was underwhelming when given a chance to be a starter in Jacksonville when Maurice Jones-Drew got injured, so it shouldn't take much for Murray to leap frog him. And given that McFadden has yet to stay healthy for a full 16 games in any of his 5 NFL seasons, the odds are that Murray will be given a chance to carry the football at some point this season. I like Murray as a handcuff to McFadden more than Jennings.
2013 Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings Part 1
2013 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks Rankings