Top Ten Running Backs for 2009
This is my preseason top ten.
Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.
Click here for my Second Half rankings.
1. Adrian Peterson – All Day led the league in rushing and scored double-digit TDs again. Sure, the loss of Matt Birk will hurt, but Peterson shouldn’t miss a beat. He’s looking to add some muscle mass this offseason without losing any speed. A bigger AP with the same speed and quickness. Scary.
2. Michael Turner – Burner Turner did not disappoint in his first shot as the feature back. He struggled early against good defenses, but scored in seven of his last eight games. As Matt Ryan progresses at QB, it will become more difficult to key in on Turner.
3. Matt Forte - I love Forte’s versatility. As a rookie he had the third most receiving yards for a Running Back. Second if you discount Kevin Faulk, who isn’t a feature back. He had 1715 total yards and 12 combined TDs. Even if he has a 10% Sophomore slump dip in production, he’d still be good for over 1500 total yards and 10-11 TDs.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew – With Fred Taylor heading to New England, MJD should be huge in 2009. He’s always good for 400+ receiving yards and double-digit TDs. Give him 300-320 carries and you could be looking at nearly 2000 total yards and 15+ TDs.
5. Ronnie Brown - Last year Ronnie had 214 carries to Ricky Williams’ 160. I think the split will be even more in Ronnie’s favor next year. With Ronnie another year removed from his knee injury, he should be closer to the 2007 back that had 991 total yards and five combined TDs in seven games.
6. LaDainian Tomlinson - LT battled through a variety of ailments last year and still managed to produce 1536 total yards and 12 combined TDs. Not only do I think he’ll be healthy in ’09, I think he will be motivated. I don’t see pre-2008 LT, but a better version that last year’s model.
7. Clinton Portis – CP was severely overworked last year, but he still remains on the right side of 30. I see him producing similar numbers next year, only spaced out a whole lot better. Jim Zorn will do a better job managing Portis’ carries so he doesn’t wear down at the end of the year.
8. Brandon Jacobs - You would think Derrick Ward’s departure to Tampa Bay would have a significant impact on Jacobs’ value. I don’t think so. Ahmad Bradshaw will likely pick up most of the slack. As long as Jacobs can stay healthy, there isn’t any reason he couldn’t run for 1200+ yards and scored 18+ TDs.
9. DeAngelo Williams – You must think I’m crazy putting D-Will this low after leading all RBs in scoring last year. I’m sorry, but I don’t see another 1700 total yards from him. Furthermore, there is little to no chance he approaches 20 TDs again. Jonathan Stewart played a major role last year, and I think the split will be a little closer to 50/50 this year.
10. Steven Jackson - Steven Jackson’s strong finish (637 total yards and 4 combined TDs in his last five games) is sticking in my mind more than the most forgettable 19 games he had in 2007 and the first part of 2008. If he can stay healthy he has a chance to leapfrog several of the guys above him. I haven’t completely forgotten though, which is why he’s in the ten spot.
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