Fantasy Football Preview – RB Rankings

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  1. LaDainian Tomlinson(Chargers)

-the biggest sure thing in all of fantasy football, Tomlinson put together arguably the greatest single-season performance in NFL history last season. An astounding 31 total TD’s virtually guaranteed victory for anyone who got lucky enough to draft him last season(editor’s note: I drafted Tomlinson third overall in my draft last season after Alexander and Johnson….needless to say I won my league easily). Of course counting on Tomlinson to duplicate those numbers is like saying you will win the Lotto twice….it just wont happen. However at a young 28, LT has a few big years left in him and another 25 TD’s sounds about right. If you don’t have the top pick in your draft, you can forget about selecting him. Either that or you have an absolute moron in your league that passes on him.

  1. Steven Jackson(Rams)-RISING

-some will be surprised I have him ranked over Larry Johnson but here is all you need to know: Jackson caught 90 passes to Johnson’s 41. Though Larry may be the better runner, Jackson is the better overall player. If you are in a points/reception league, then Jackson is even more of a sure thing over Johnson. Although the additions of Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael will surely steal some of Steven’s catches, look for another top statistical season from this fourth-year back. Depending on your league, you may be able to snag him as late as the fifth pick. Don’t hesitate if he is there.

  1. Larry Johnson(Chiefs)

-back-to-back season’s of heavy workloads, along with the threat of a possible holdout has knocked Johnson from the top spot in the fantasy rankings. Although I don’t believe the heavy toll on his body will make him hit a wall, I do believe that the weakening of the Kansas City O-Line will negatively impact his numbers. 15 TD’s is still possible but I think Johnson takes a step back this year. Don’t however downgrade him so much that you let him slip by you. Unless Steven Jackson, LT, or even Frank Gore are available, then you must take Johnson. Just don’t expect 2005 numbers ever again.

  1. Frank Gore(49ers)

-strongly considered ranking him over Johnson but there is always a risk of injury with Gore who has had both of his knees surgically repaired. บาคาร่า เค้าไพ่ When healthy however, he is an absolute beast who can run and catch with the best of them. Gore is playing on an improved ‘Niners team and will almost surely surpass his total of 9 TD’s. He probably won’t surpass his 1,600-plus rushing total due to the additions on offense but his overall production will make him a better producer than he was last season. Could be in line for an MVP-type season. An almost sure-thing.

Tier 2

  1. Shaun Alexander(Seahawks)-FALLING

-a broken left foot derailed Alexander on the heels of his record-breaking 2005 season. His 7 total TD’s was only a third of the 28 he scored in that incredible year. Shaun is somewhat of a question mark due to the injury and the fact he is 30 years old which typically is the age many RB’s begin to decline. I do believe he has one more good year left in him but don’t expect anything close to the 28 TD’s he put up in 2005. One of fantasy’s great TD scorers however, Alexander should still put up around 15 tallies this year. One caveat here is that if you are in a points/reception league, then you may want to snare Brian Westbrook instead due to the fact Alexander has never shown much as a receiver. Risk here but more than likely he will be decent.

  1. Brian Westbrook(Eagles)

-in a points/reception league, Westbrook is definitely more of an asset than 7th ranked Addai. However in non-points/reception league’s, the reverse is true. Westbrook is the best receiver in the RB group and is a terrific dual threat. Many grow frustrated with the fact he always seems to be questionable each week but if you can stomach the injury risk, than Westbrook is your guy. Has really stepped up his game and could still be improving. Without the injury risk, he is a top five back. Draft him and hope for the best.

  1. Joseph Addai(Colts)-RISING

-Addai’s coming out party went as smooth as could be last season as the Indianapolis front office didn’t hesitate in labeling Addai the starter once the off-season began. With Dominic Rhodes’ departure to Oakland, Addai will grab the lion’s share of carries. Questions about whether he can handle the pounding of a full load will knock his stock down a bit but be the smart player and aim for him over more known commodities such as Rudi Johnson and Willie Parker. A good receiver out of the backfield, Addai will help in points/reception leagues. A riser who could break down the door to the top five fraternity. The sky is the limit with this guy.

  1. Laurence Maroney(Patriots)

-another RB in the mold of Joseph Addai, Maroney has been granted the full-time gig in powerhouse NE. Maroney showed flashes of brilliance during his rookie season but seemed to, wear down as the season went on. Like Addai, there are questions whether Maroney can handle a full workload. He is more of an injury risk than his Indy counterpart but the sky is also the limit for him. NE loves to run the ball and if Coach/Yoda Bill Belichick believes he can handle the full time job, than who are we to argue. Draft with confidence.

  1. Rudi Johnson(Bengals)

-Mr. Consistency turned in another solid but unspectacular season in 2006, posting over 1,300 rushing yards with 12 TD’s which nearly matched his output from 2005. So with Johnson you pretty much know what you’re going to get. Another positive is Johnson’s durability as he pretty much has been injury -free since becoming the full-time starter back in 2004. Now for the negatives. Rudi is not a pass catcher by any means and thus is a liability in points/reception leagues. Also the drafting of rookie Kenny Irons signals that a possible sharing of the workload may be in order. It was no secret head coach Marvin Lewis craved more of a HR threat out of the running game and even though Johnson hasn’t done anything to lose the lion’s share of the carries, this development could hurt his value. Pass if you’re in a points/reception league unless he fall far.

  1. Willie Parker(Steelers)

-this may seem like an extremely low ranking for Parker after the monstrous season he had in 2006 when he tallied 13 TD’s while rushing for an insane 1,494 yards. However new coach Mike Tomlin has let it be known that he plans to find a goal-line back in the mold of Jerome Bettis. While Parker proved last season he could score from in close, it seems the Pittsburgh front office feels better with a bigger back running the ball in. It is entirely possible this plan will be scrapped by the time the season begins so monitor this situation closely. If he does get the goal-line work then bump him up in your rankings ahead of Johnson.

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