Trent Richardson 2
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When I looked at the top five 2012 running backs I ranked Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, Isaiah Pead and Bernard Pierce as the top five. I was on the mark with Richardson and Martin. Wilson did not get enough opportunities to do his thing, but I still think good things will come. I totally missed the boat on Pead and Pierce was just decent. The biggest surprise was Alfred Morris. He came out of nowhere to become a top ten running back. Vick Ballard, Daryl Richardson and Bryce Brown also had some moments. All in all, not a bad class. Here is how I rank them for keeper leagues.
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1.  Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Richardson came in with the top slot, but will finish the season third in scoring. His injuries are troublesome and a major source of concern, but the upside is there. He is a gifted runner that is very capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. He has a great mix of power and speed. He will get the short yardage touchdowns and has the ability to break the long one as well. The gap has definitely been narrowed.
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2.  Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin is explosive. He reminds me a lot of Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s short (5’9″), but he is stocky, fast and powerful. He’s a load to bring down and when he gets to the second level, he’s gone. Martin will lead all rookies in total yardage. He only had a couple of duds on the year. Unfortunately, one came in Week 15 in a dream matchup with the New Orleans Saints. I think he remains a top five to seven back for years to come. I just see T-Rich as having more upside.
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3.  Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
Morris was drafted in the sixth round. He is a perfect fit for Washington’s system. He hit a little wall in the middle of the season, but rounded nicely back into form. He’s been the most consistent rookie running back. He’ll likely lead the class in rushing yards. Sustainability is a little more uncertain compared to the top two.
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4.  David Wilson, New York Giants
He could end up leapfrogging all of the backs if he is given the opportunity. His future is more uncertain that the other three. Hence, the fourth ranking. He is electric. However, he plays for a pass-first team. That’s when the offense isn’t a complete mess like it is right now. I still like his prospects. I just don’t want to go “all-in” until I know he’s the lead back.
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5.  Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
I think Ballard has more immediate value, but Richardson has a brighter future. Steven Jackson probably has one more year left in him. Ballard will likely always be part of a committee of sorts. Richardson should get the keys once S-Jax hangs it up.
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How do you rank the rookie running backs?
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So I had an interesting dilemma in my fantasy football keeper league. I had to decide if I wanted to retain LeGarrette Blount or Frank Gore. It’s not a PPR league, which evens the playing field. Do I go with the proven player or the young upstart?
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Frank Gore has had five straight seasons with 1300+ total yards. He has a track record of being one of the best running backs in the year. I have him ranked higher than Blount, which is on par with most rankings. The beauty of Gore is that if he gets shut down in the running game he can still make up for it in the passing game. That increases the odds of him having a good game, something that Luxbet Mobile can relate to.
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Plus,  Jim Harbaugh is committed to building the offense around Gore.
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He’s not without a downside though. Gore has missed nine games in the past three years, including five last year with a hip injury. While he hasn’t reached thirty, he is in the neighborhood. He has averaged 300 touches over the past five years, or 21.4 a game giving Gore some serious mileage.
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He’s unhappy about his contract as well.  He is saying the right things about not wanting to be a distraction to his teammates or coaches, and at least he is in camp unlike Chris Johnson, but it would not be a stretch to say that could weigh on his mind during the year.
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I would be surprised if the Niners paid the man. To me running back is the most replaceable position in football. With Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon appear ready to handle the load once Gore is gone. That has to factor in since this is a keeper league.
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Meanwhile Blount is 24 (25 in December). The Bucs did not make a splash in the NFL Draft or free agency to provide serious competition to Blount.
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Blount ran for 1007 yards on 201 carries (5.0 ypc) with six touchdowns. He was non-existent in the passing game, but that is less of an issue since this isn’t a PPR league. While it takes away from his total yardage numbers, I think he’ll do enough damage on the ground to make up for it.
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He’s a big back (6’0″, 245 lbs) with good speed, power, and even the ability to leap would-be tacklers.
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Plus, I prefer his fantasy playoffs match-ups with Jacksonville, Dallas, and Carolina over San Francisco’s of Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Seattle.
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I decided to keep Blount over Gore? Am I nuts? Feel free to speak your mind.
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Happy Birthday Heath!
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A commenter recently made a suggestion that Ahmad Bradshaw should be in my top 15 2011 fantasy football  running back rankings over Matt Forte.
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By no means would I dismiss the notion as I think it’s a valid assessment. So I decided to dig a little deeper into their production.
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Last year Forte was statistically the better back. He combined for 1616 yards (1069 rushing, 547 receiving) and ten touchdowns (seven rushing, three receiving). Ahmad Bradshaw had more rushing yards (1235) and nearly as many total yards (1549), but had two fewer touchdowns.
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Bradshaw comes with a little more uncertainty because we don’t know exactly where he’ll be playing next year. The Giants are expected to retain his services, but one never truly knows, especially in what is expected to be a crazy free agency period.
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Bradshaw has also had issues with his ankles and feet, which is a little concerning for a speed runner like Ahmad. He is healthy now, but can he hold up to another heavy workload like last year when he had 323 touches (276 carries, 47 receptions)? Prior to last year he combined for just 253 carries and 28 receptions in three year.
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Meanwhile Forte has been a workhorse. He has averaged 270.3 carries and 57 receptions in his three years without missing a game.  His carries and receptions have dipped in each of the past two years, but that isn’t unusual considering his decline coincided with Jay Cutler’s arrival. A running back with 288 touches like Forte had last year doesn’t really have much grounds to complain. His fantasy owners could have some beef, but it’s hard to not be pleased with his results.
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Bradshaw has scored seven and eight touchdowns in his two years with a key role for the Giants. Forte has reached double-digit combined touchdowns in two of his three years in the league.  Though I give Forte a slight edge in the touchdown department, I want to emphasize the word slight.
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Value won’t come into play with these two as they are currently 14th and 15th in ADP among running backs according to MockDraftCentral.
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It’s going to come down to preference when deciding between these two gifted running back. I prefer Forte, but completely understanding those in the Bradshaw camp.
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Which running back do yo prefer?
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