These 2013 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings will be updated often throughout the spring and summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2013 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2013 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Bye: 5.
Adrian Peterson is unquestionably the No. 1 fantasy player this year. Someone on a network - I forget who it was - suggested that Arian Foster should be the top pick because Peterson's 2,097-yard campaign will wear him down. First of all, Peterson nearly broke the all-time rushing record coming off a nasty knee injury, so he's not wearing down. And second, Foster actually had more carries than Peterson last year.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Stats: 1,650 rushing yards. 36 catches. 250 receiving yards. 12 total TDs.
Projected 2012 Fantasy Points: 262. Projected 2012 PPR Fantasy Points: 298.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs. Bye: 10. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Jamaal Charles saw his first action since he suffered what many feared to be a serious foot injury in practice. Charles gained just 10 yards on seven carries against the Steelers. He also caught two balls for four receiving yards. He looked tentative and a bit slow. He also dropped a pass. Even though his foot injury was seen as minor, he could be suffering some lingering effects from it. I'm a bit concerned about Charles, but I'm not going to bump him down my rankings. He should be 100 percent soon.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: Great news for the Chiefs - two doctors have determined that Jamaal Charles just has a mild foot strain, and that he's day to day. It's safe to select him with your first-round fantasy pick.
AUG. 13 UPDATE: Jamaal Charles was carted off the field during Monday's practice. There was tons of panic on Twitter, but X-rays were negative. However, Adam Schefter said that "privately" there are some in the Chiefs' organization who are "concerned" about this situation. Charles is set to have an MRI soon. Stay tuned for updates.
AUG. 12 UPDATE: I saw this happen, but I was in such a daze from watching 15 football games in three days that I missed its importance. Jamaal Charles was given the only goal-line carry (with the starters) in the Chiefs' preseason opener. Forum member Centurion pointed this out to me. This is very crucial; if Charles continues to serve as the end-zone guy - and he converted the attempt - he could be top fantasy running back this year.
AUG. 11 UPDATE: Jamaal Charles saw three targets on the opening drive at New Orleans. He also carried the ball five times for 13 yards and a touchdown plunge from the 1-yard line. Charles is going to rack up a ridiculous amount of touches this year, and it could be argued that he should be the No. 2 fantasy pick behind Adrian Peterson.
Despite coming off a torn ACL, Jamaal Charles managed to rush for 1,509 yards on a 5.3 YPC clip in 2012. It's pretty nuts to think what he'll be able to do now that he's at full strength this year. Charles won't run as much because Andy Reid is on the sidelines, but he'll almost certainly set a career-high reception mark.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,240 rushing yards. 63 catches. 580 receiving yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 242. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 305.
Trent Richardson, RB, Browns. Bye: 10. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Trent Richardson, the other first-round rookie from the 2012 NFL Draft, was dominant when he was on the field at Indianapolis. He rushed for 31 yards on just seven carries. He also had a 10-yard reception. He should be locked in as a top-five fantasy pick.
AUG. 16 UPDATE: I heard that Trent Richardson had an excellent performance in this contest, so I couldn't wait to watch it. Indeed, Richardson dominated the Lions, as he showed off his power, speed and elusiveness. He rushed for 33 yards on just six carries, including a 17-yard run that he was able to bounce outside. Richardson looks completely healthy, so he can safely be chosen with a top-five fantasy selection.
JULY 26 UPDATE: Despite reports that Trent Richardson wouldn't be fully active during the early stages of training camp, the second-year back displayed great speed and agility during the first day of practice, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
JUNE 6 UPDATE: ESPN Cleveland reported that Trent Richardson won't be ready for training camp. Richardson has since refuted that story, but it's hard to believe him. Richardson has stacking injuries and should probably be avoided in the first two rounds of your draft.
MAY 30 UPDATE: Trent Richardson is going to be out for a couple of weeks with some sort of sore muscle. It's not a serious malady, but one has to wonder why he's always banged up. I'll be honest: If I end up drafting Richardson in the first round, I'll be pretty terrified that I won't even get 14 games out of him.
Trent Richardson battled through injuries and terrible quarterbacking during his rookie campaign, yet he still managed to score 12 touchdowns. Richardson will be better in 2013 as long as he's healthy, and there's no reason to think why he can't match his end zone total.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,320 rushing yards. 45 catches. 380 receiving yards. 12 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 242. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 287.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks. Bye: 12.
Marshawn Lynch never averaged better than 4.2 yards per carry prior to this past season. His YPC mark in 2012 was 5.0, thanks to Russell Wilson's rushing ability. There's no reason to think Lynch won't be any less dominant this year. A strong case could be made for him to be the No. 2 overall fantasy pick in regular leagues.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,450 rushing yards. 22 catches. 180 receiving yards. 13 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 241. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 263.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills. Bye: 12. AUG. 11 UPDATE: One of the Indianapolis announcers said that the team has a "new emphasis to stop the run." Interesting, but it didn't go too well when C.J. Spiller opened up with gains of 17 and 15 on his first two carries. He later fumbled on an exchange with E.J. Manuel, but that's not a big deal. The Bills said they will feed Spiller "until he throws up," and it appears as though they're keeping their word. Spiller has a very good chance of finishing as a top-five fantasy running back this year.
Chan Gailey is gone, so there's a better chance that Doug Marrone utilizes C.J. Spiller more often. Spiller could have a big year yardage-wise, but his touchdown chances will decrease with E.J. Manuel running into the end zone.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,280 rushing yards. 52 catches. 490 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 219. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 271.
Ray Rice, RB, Ravens. Bye: 8. AUG. 23 UPDATE: Ray Rice couldn't find any running room in the two contests prior to the Carolina matchup, but he trampled the Panthers, gaining 62 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. The score was important, as he remained in the game on the goal line. Bernard Pierce, meanwhile, managed just seven yards on 10 attempts. He also fumbled. I always found the notion that Rice shouldn't be considered a top-five fantasy player because of Pierce to be a ridiculous one. Pierce is a good back, but Rice is one of the top play-makers in the NFL. He'll get all of his touches.
AUG. 16 UPDATE: Ray Rice didn't have any running lanes against the Falcons, making it the second week in a row that he couldn't get anything going on the ground. Rice gained just 10 yards on eight carries, as the blocking simply wasn't there. A frustrated Rice even yelled at right tackle Michael Oher for missing a block in the second quarter, resulting in a 4-yard loss. On the bright side, Rice shared the team lead in targets with two.
JULY 29 UPDATE: Ray Rice has to be thrilled that fullback Vonta Leach has re-signed with the team. Leach is one of the top run-blocking fullbacks in football, so Rice (and Bernard Pierce) will benefit. This move shores up Rice's standing as a top-five fantasy player in most formats.
The Ravens decreased Ray Rice's touches last year. He had 291 carries and 76 catches in 2011 compared to 257 rushes and 61 receptions the following season. Bernard Pierce allowed that to happen, which is a good thing for Rice's longevity. It won't do you any good if you take him in a re-draft league this summer, however.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,080 rushing yards. 64 catches. 540 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 216. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 280.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans. Bye: 8. AUG. 9 UPDATE: Chris Johnson was given just two carries in his preseason debut. The first went for only a couple of yards, but the second was a 58-yard touchdown. Johnson received a big block from rookie guard Chance Warmack and then did the rest. He sprinted downfield and juked rookie safety Bacarri Rambo. Johnson, who tweeted "THANK GOD" when Tennessee drafted Warmack, is poised for a monstrous season behind this revamped offensive front. Even when he exited the contest, the Titans still ran behind Warmack quite frequently. Warmack was so good that he made Shonn Greene look like a decent running back.
Chris Johnson did so much dancing at the line of scrimmage this past season because his blocking was so poor. The Titans added guard Andy Levitre and tight end Delanie Walker via free agency to improve that. They then double up on guards with Chance Warmack at No. 10 overall. I don't see Johnson getting back to CJ2K status, but he'll be better than he was in 2012.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,350 rushing yards. 36 catches. 280 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 211. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 247.
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers. Bye: 5. AUG. 22 UPDATE: The Buccaneers have endured some internal issues this offseason. The latest problem is a staph infection that's been going around. Stud guard Carl Nicks has one and will be sidelined for a month as a consequence. Not having Nicks up front for the first couple of weeks will slightly damage Martin's potential.
AUG. 18 UPDATE: Doug Martin was knocked out of the second preseason game with a blow to the head. There was some concern about this, but Martin reportedly has passed all of his concussion tests. Greg Schiano told the media that Martin is "going to be fine."
Doug Martin was unbelievable as a rookie, rushing for 1,454 yards, catching 49 balls for 472 more yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. However, it should be noted that he found the end zone just twice after Thanksgiving weekend when Josh Freeman was in a complete tailspin.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,230 rushing yards. 45 catches. 390 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 210. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 255.
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins. Bye: 5.
Alfred Morris had a terrific rookie campaign, but there's reason to believe he'll be overvalued. First of all, Morris could have a sophomore slump, and Mike Shanahan could always pull his old antics and try out a new runner. More prominently, Robert Griffin may miss some time, which will allow opposing defenses to focus on Morris.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,350 rushing yards. 8 catches. 50 receiving yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 210. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 218.
Arian Foster, RB, Texans. Bye: 8. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Arian Foster gets a rare stock up, as he has been removed from the active/PUP list. Before you get too excited, however, Foster is dealing with numerous injuries and is a very poor bet to last all 16 games. I'd avoid him entirely in the first round. Let someone else deal with this headache.
AUG. 19 UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle's John McClain wrote that he's concerned about Arian Foster's Week 1 availability because FOster's back pain has spread to his legs. The Texans have no idea when he'll be returning to the field. It might be in your best interest to avoid Foster in your fantasy draft. Let someone else spend their first-round pick on him.
JULY 27 UPDATE: I wrote about Arian Foster yesterday, but I must note that the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday that there isn't a timeline for Houston's star back to be removed from the PUP list. Furthermore, Foster is still dealing with soreness in his calf. It's still possible for him to have a dominant fantasy season, but it's more than likely that he'll disappoint. Let someone else draft him in the top five.
JULY 26 UPDATE: Arian Foster didn't receive clearance to practice at the start of training camp because of a lingering calf injury. With Ben Tate coming off a great offseason, Foster is shaping up to have a disappointing 2013 campaign.
JUNE 19 UPDATE: Arian Foster is now hinting that there's a chance he won't be ready for training camp. It was once considered a given that he'd be ready come August, so something has changed. This situation is growing sketchier by the day.
MAY 29 UPDATE: Updating yesterday's item, Arian Foster is on crutches and is out until training camp. Foster should be ready for the season opener, but this is a bad omen for a running back who led the league in carries the year before and also has an extensive history of leg injuries.
MAY 28 UPDATE: Arian Foster suffered a calf strain during Wednesday's practice. It wasn't received as a big deal by the coaching staff or players, but injuries to running backs must be noted. I'm not dropping Foster in my rankings or anything, but it should be noted that the league leader in carries is already banged up.
I have mixed feelings about Arian Foster this year. On one hand, the front office signed stud fullback Greg Jones, which should help Foster's yards-per-carry average increase. On the other hand, Foster had more carries than any other running back in 2012. Backs who lead the league in that category usually struggle the following season.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Stats: 1,190 rushing yards. 34 catches. 250 receiving yards. 11 total TDs.
Projected 2013 Fantasy Points: 210. Projected 2013 PPR Fantasy Points: 244.
Walt, your grade on the Earl Michell pickup by SF is off completely. Yes while he isn't a big threat in terms of DT look at all the defensive tackles, san francisco has? its mainly dial and purcell who have been doing the work and they need somebody else on that line. So this is easily a C+ or B- grade Free agent. While Mitchell did deal with injuries recently, SF is adding to the depth and at this point its a good pickup.