Blog Entry

Position rankings: running backs

Posted on: July 19, 2010 7:23 pm

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on running backs.

Andy Benoit's top five
C. Johnson (US Presswire)
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Ray Rice, Ravens

3. Steven Jackson, Rams

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans

Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are both undersized but super powerful runners with breakaway speed. Both are dynamic in the open field. Both are good enough receivers to snag passes in full stride. And both are mean, mean blockers. Rice in particular is special – his running style reminds me of Emmitt Smith’s only with more quickness.

Jackson would also make a Top 5 Players Screwed On A Bad Team list. I can’t believe the Rams ran him into the ground in so many meaningless games last year.

Now to the Peterson-Johnson debate. First off, I’m not much of a numbers guy, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that Johnson outrushed Peterson by 623 yards last season. 623! People think Johnson is simply a homerun threat, but the reality is, because he has unparalleled initial quickness and lateral agility, he creates space between the tackles and in short-yardage situations. Oh, also, Johnson rarely fumbles.

Josh Katzowitz's top five

5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Steven Jackson, Rams

3. Ray Rice, Ravens

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans

Johnson is No. 1, end of discussion. OK, a little more discussion. I’m not saying Peterson is as good as Johnson, because he’s not. But Peterson has been one of the best backs in the league for three years; Johnson only two. (OK, this is a bit flimsy.) But take away Peterson’s fumbles, and the gap between the two shrinks. Also, if we’re talking about numbers, Peterson had 532 more rushing yards than Johnson in 2008. Plus, Johnson isn’t as good a blocker as Peterson. But yeah, no question, Johnson is No. 1 right now. If he misses part of training camp in his contract dispute, though, you have to wonder how that will affect him.

I like Rice just a little bit better than Jackson, simply because Rice is more productive in the pass game. Hell, his 78 catches last year tied for 19th among league leaders, ahead of Chad Ochocinco, Calvin Johnson and Donald Driver. You’d have to hope, at some point, that Jackson can get on a team with a chance to win something. The Rams teams for which he’s played are a combined 28-68. Yet, Jackson is about 500 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s club rushing record.

Since our lists are so similar, we could do a top-eight again. Say, 6. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2008); 7. San Francisco’s Frank Gore (a strong power runner who can break a tackle); and 8. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (this one is a little premature, but he could be the next great running back with his speed, his field-reading ability and the way he continues to gain yards after first contact. I like him quite a bit).

Andy’s rebuttal

I can’t put Charles top 8 just yet. He’s strictly an outside runner at this point. He racked up a lot of yards against bad run defenses late last season (143 against Buffalo, 154 against Cleveland and 259 against Denver). I don’t want this to come across as me hating on the guy – I love Charles’s acceleration and elusiveness – but I need to see a larger body of work.

My 6-8 looks like this: 6. Jonathan Stewart; 7. DeAngelo Williams; 8. Frank Gore. Stewart is a slightly more complete back than Williams. People think he’s just a between-the-tackles bruiser, but he actually has outstanding lateral agility and tempo change. Williams is as shifty as they come. Gore, who has the toughness and valor of a gladiator, plays downhill as well as anyone in the game.

I actually did a top 10 running backs list a few months ago for other websites. I had Cedric Benson at 9 and Rashard Mendenhall at 10. I love both guys’ initial burst. What surprised me is the amount of criticism I fielded for ignoring Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. I didn’t understand the criticism at first, but after reviewing the Dolphins offense closer in recent weeks, I can see where people are coming from. Williams and Brown are consummate pros when it comes to patience and operating within the confines of a system. They’re the best tandem in the game behind the Carolina guys. Agree/disagree?

Josh’s final word

Yeah, I’d have to agree. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a tandem that’s better than Williams and Brown – aside from Williams and Stewart, of course – and I can’t. I could see maybe Buffalo’s Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller entering that conversation after this year – you’d have to include Marshawn Lynch if he’s still around, I guess – but other than that, I’ve got nothing.

Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End | Wide Receiver)

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 8:06 am

Position rankings: running backs

Excellent to obtain planning to your weblog the moment yet again, it can be been months for me. Appropriately this submitting that i've been waited for so intensive.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:15 pm

Position rankings: running backs

I know it might look like Im being Biased because I am a cards fan, but I truly believe when these rankings are written 1yr from now Chris Wells will be in the top 5 list or just 1 outside of it.

Since: Apr 18, 2010
Posted on: July 21, 2010 4:59 am

Position rankings: running backs

This is such crap, CJ had 1 amazing season and then POOF people call him the best back in the league? shut your face. He never will run for 2k ever again NFL Def. are to smart and to good THEY WIll adjust just like they did for AP. It went from LT and AP debating who was the best and then the next year it was passing down to AP and now all of a sudden  CJ has 1 amazing season and he's the best? try doing it for a couple more seasons then talk about CJ being the best AP still has better numbers then CJ period. You want the Consistant back then its AP case closed 

Since: Sep 13, 2009
Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:09 am

Position rankings: running backs

I don't care how many years Turner has left in him and I don't care how young and how much of an upside Charles has. We're not talking about whos better for the next five years. We're talking about whos better now. Turner vs. Charles next season I think Turner will most likely have a better year if he stays healthy. I think Charles has a chance to do better than Turner though. If I had to pick a running back for next season and these two were the best available I would definitely take Turner.

Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: July 20, 2010 4:21 pm

Position rankings: running backs

   I haven't once thought about fantasy football since last season, so my mind is pretty rusty. Yeah I think Turner has a good year or two left in him. But I defintely have concerns about Turner accumulating wear and tear with his style. Once I get my brain back in fantasy mode and start studying up I won't be as stupid.

   But you people saying I am high on Charles just off of last years stats are plum stupid. I do not just judge players by stats, do any of you people actrually WATCH football and judge players with your own two eyes!? I have watched Charles a ton since his Texas days and believe in him from the amazing ability I see, not by just looking at his stats. And No I did not take Forte coming off his one good year, cause every time I watched him play he looked SLOW as shit. No I don't just randomly take one-year wonders. As for Steve Slaton, I never took him, but EVERYONE was pretty high on Slaton, and I'm sure you were too.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: July 20, 2010 2:44 pm

Position rankings: running backs

I would take Turner in a flash in the top 5-7 picks. I know he can't catch the ball but those touchdown totals are sweet. By the way for whoever asked me what side i'm on i'm on the side of the guy who is putting down Jamal Charles and telling him he's not even close to being as good as Michael Turner. There are always a bunch of guys who get drafted that I wouldn't even put on my list, Matt Forte was one last year. Sidney Rice is on mine this year, I will not draft Sidney Rice when you can easily draft another receiver like Greg Jennings. Rice finally had a good year, will he do it again?????? I'm not going to take that chance. Same with Jamal Charles and especially with Jerome Harrison.

Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: July 20, 2010 1:17 pm

Position rankings: running backs

Face palm.  Ugh.  I'll excuse your argument bc you wrote it pretty late. But if you look at the stats everything you assume about Turner is straight crazy talk.  Turner played 11 games last year totallying 900 yds, while fumbling twice as much Charles, but scoring 10 TDs.  After an injury plauged year and gaining weight he was used as a short ydg guy.  He at best would be a late round risky pick.  If you think otherwise, then welcome to my fantasy tourney.  Your invite is in the email.  Turner had 5 catches last season.  He's dynamic between the tackles, but one dimensional, whereas Charles lights it up everywhere.  If only he can solve the fumbles. JC wasn't made the starter until wk 10, in which he amassed 1,200 all purpose, 8TDs in just 8 gms.  If that's not statistical domination I dont know what is.  I just hope he doesn't have the same 3 yrs of unreal success his predecessor had only to turn into an unbelievable jerk. 

Since: Sep 23, 2007
Posted on: July 20, 2010 1:05 pm

Position rankings: running backs

No love for Frank Gore? He's better than Rice and Drew at least. The boy is a beast and imagine if he had good legs?

Since: Sep 13, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2010 12:30 pm

Position rankings: running backs

  I did forget about Gore. I guess subconsciously I already thought he was in the top five and I wasn't thinking about him.

If you think a guy who runs wild over porous run defenses at the end of last year AND will have to share time with a proven top back (abit a little older) like Jones is better and will out-produce M. Turner...I HOPE YOU'RE IN MY FANTASTY LEAGUE DUMBASS.
haha that's awesome. I hope he's in my draft also. I always draft proven players and no one year wonders. This guy probably spent 50 dollars on Matt Forte in an auction draft and spent a top 10 pick on Steve Slaton.

Bronco&husky whos side are you on!? Hes the one saying a one year wonder is going to do this. Michael Turner proved himself while he was behind LT and continued to do so in Atlanta. Jamal Charles ran for like 400 his rookie year and about 1200 last year. I'm not saying he sucks. I'm saying Turner has proven himself better.

Again Bronco&husky, you shouldn't be saying I hope hes in my fantasy league referring to me. You should be saying I hope you're in my fantasy league referring to this guy because hes the one going for the one shot wonder. I wouldn't say I won't take a risk on Charles over Turner but Turner has better proven himself. I've never though Forte was good. He barely had a 4 yard average his rookie year. Thats garbage. I think Steve Slaton is good he just had a bad season last year. Hes definitely not worth a top 10 pick though.

Since: Dec 17, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2010 11:45 am

Position rankings: running backs

I know that Johnson and Peterson will go 1 and 2 in fantasy drafts this year, but I would rather have Ray Rice simply because fantasy superstars are RARELY successful 2 years in a row. We shall see how the year unfolds...

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