2012 Fantasy Running Back Rankings


When assembling the 2012 Fantasy Running Back Rankings recently, it dawned on me that we’re in a weird era. We don’t have an unquestioned No. 1 guy that has been atop the rankings for three years or so, like we did in the ‘90s with Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis, or in the ‘00s with Marshall Faulk or LaDainian Tomlinson. As a matter of fact, the history of No. 1 picks dating back to 1971 has been one littered with multi-year Fantasy kings.

I’ve made it clear that I don’t believe Arian Foster should be the No. 1 overall draft pick, as he is on most lists you’ll see (I don’t think I’ve seen one without him at No. 1). I just don’t think he has done enough to warrant that No. 1 slot. I understand that nearly everyone disagrees with me and the rest of my rankings may lose credibility because of it, but I like Ray Rice more, plain and simple. I was even in a mock draft Thursday night for RotoExperts.com, where QB Aaron Rodgers went with the No. 1 overall pick.

At least I’m not the only crazy person around.

Knowing that I have Foster behind Rice, I want you to know that it’s not by much, and I have LeSean McCoy behind both of them. This trio is superb by anyone’s standards, and if you end up with any of the three, I’d say you have a much better chance of winning your league than the other nine owners in a 12-team league.


Injuries Really Hurt These Rankings

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills - 2012 Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Fred Jackson was a terror on the ground and through the air last year — before breaking his leg. He totaled nearly 1,400 yards in 10 games. Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan

Just think if both Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were healthy this summer, entering training camp, rather than healing from season-ending knee injuries? How would the rankings look then? Peterson would likely be at the top, and I’d likely have Charles after Rice, with McCoy fifth.

Interesting, no?

But instead, we’re looking at a depleted running back group, especially when you add the injuries to Rashard Mendenhall  (knee) and Fred Jackson (broken leg). Jackson, if you recall, was making a great case for being a top-three pick after starting off with five 100-yard rushing games and six TDs in his first seven games.

To throw an even bigger wet blanket on the party, Tomlinson retired, which just sucks from a Fantasy fans standpoint, and Cedric Benson lost his starting gig.

Rookie RB Trent Richardson enters the league as one of the most anticipated rookie RBs since Darren McFadden, but then you remember, Run DMc is entering his fifth year – and he has 20 total touchdowns so far. I like Richardson, but as I discussed a few weeks ago, Richardson’s probably more like a top 15 running back than he is a top 10 one.

Doug Martin is expected to take over at tailback for the Buccaneers, and his skill in both the running and passing games signals a bright future ahead. But the Bucs were a train wreck last year and they have a college coach at the helm this year.

So as you go through the 2012 Fantasy Running Back rankings and you prepare for your draft, think of what could have been. Think of how stacked this group of running backs would have been if not for injury or age. There’s nothing you can do, of course – you still have to treat the position with as much respect in past years. Don’t get QB crazy or load up on wide receivers in the first three rounds.


Back in My Day, Running Backs Rocked!

Just realize that we’re in a down year. It happens. Not every year can be like 2003, when we had four 300-point Fantasy running backs, and 12 that scored at least 200 Fantasy points. (For perspective, Rice was the only 300-point scorer in 2011, there were only six that scored more than 200 points.)

We may never see a group of Fantasy running backs like we had in the early 2000s, with Shaun Alexander, Tiki Barber, Faulk, Eddie George, Ahman Green, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis, Curtis Martin, Clinton Portis, Fred Taylor, Tomlinson, Ricky Watters and Ricky Williams, to name a few.

Then again, who knows, 2013 could REALLY suck!

My 2012 Fantasy Football rankings are for standard non-PPR leagues, scoring four points for a touchdown pass, starting 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 DST. These rankings are powered by the fine folks at Four-Downs.com.


2012 Rookies: Top 30 Overall | QB | RB | WR | TE


RANKINGS: Top 60 | QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DST | Top 50 IDP


2012 Fantasy Running Back Rankings


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