Sunday, July 8, 2007

Preseason Running Back Tiers

Last season it was a debate between 3 running backs on who the number 1 pick should be, but this year it can only be LT2. What is up to debate is the rest of the running backs. Some new top studs have emerged and the youngsters from last year have made their way up the board.
In my mind Steven Jackson has emerged as the second best back available in the draft due to the offense he is in and not carrying all the problems that LJ does. LJ is dealing with a contract issue, a trade discussion, having too many rush attempts, and having Herm Edwards as his coach. Gore jumped up the rankings this year despite losing Norv Turner as the Niners Offensive Coordinator. Although Norv is a great coach, i don't think losing him will be as big of a problem as many believe. The Niners added Darrell Jackson as a number 1 wide out, upgraded the offensive line, and have a healthy Vernon Davis to throw to in the TE position. Injury concerns and age have given me some concerns about Alexander and thus he rounds out the second tier.
The third tier is headlined by your stud PPR running backs in Westy and FWP. Westy is still the running and receiving game for the Eagles and the Steelers offense will still lean on Parker as the year goes on. Addai emerged as a solid running back last year and with the departure of Rhodes he becomes the man in the high powered Colts offense. Rudi Johnson is still the guy to carry the load for the Bengals and will get his TD's. Portis may lose some carries to Betts considering how well Betts ran last year, but if Portis is healthy he will be a stud.
The 4th tier starts with Henry who could be higher if we really new that he would get all the touches in the Denver offense. Shannahan has a way of messing with fantasy owners and who knows if Henry will get the majority of the touches. I like McGahee to have a big year in Baltimore with that great offensive line the Ravens have and the veteran Steve McNair at the helm. MJD would be higher and I like him for the long run, but all indications are that there will be three running backs getting touches in Jacksonville and so he is down the list. Benson finally is the starter in Chicago, but he has injury concerns and has yet to should an entire load if an NFL season.
The 5th tier consists of your top rookie running backs, guys who had bad seasons last year and are looking to rebound, and guys who may be in a bad situation. Lynch is a great back and I like him a lot, but that offensive line in Buffalo is horrid. Tatum Bell has impressed the coaches in Detroit and I expect him to get the starting nod while Kevin Jones is out, but he may go back to RBBC when KJ is healthy so there are some concerns there. I am not sure that Brandon Jacobs can be the man for the Giants and shoulder the entire year so I have him down on my list. Jamal Lewis did not have great seasons the past two with a great Baltimore line, so what will be different in Cleveland with a worse offensive line?
The 6th and 7th tiers are made up of the truly RBBC teams and guys that are back ups or in really bad spots. Right now no one knows who will be the starter in Carolina, but whoever it is will shoot up the board in my opinion. I think the loss of Parcells will effect MBIII as he was Parcells back and Jones is looking to be the number 1 as it is now. I want nothing to do with the Oakland situation or the Tennessee situation. The Green Bay RBBC is intriguing as I think whoever the starter is will have value, but it is hard to determine that at the moment.

Steven Jackson, STL
Larry Johnson, KAN
Frank Gore, SFO
Shaun Alexander, SEA

Brian Westbrook, PHI
Willie Parker, PIT
Joseph Addai, IND
Reggie Bush, NOR
Rudi Johnson, CIN
Clinton Portis, WAS

Travis Henry, DEN
Laurence Maroney, NEP
Willis McGahee, BAL
Edgerrin James, ARZ
Ronnie Brown, MIA
Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
Thomas Jones, NYJ
Cedric Benson, CHI

Marshawn Lynch, BUF
Cadillac Williams, TBB
Deuce McAlister, NO
Ahman Green, HOU
Adrian Peterson, MIN
Tatum Bell, DET
Chester Taylor, MIN
Fred Taylor, JAX
Julius Jones, DAL
Brandon Jacobs, NYG
Warrick Dunn, ATL
Jamal Lewis, CLE

Marion Barber III, DAL
DeAngelo Williams, CAR
Deshaun Foster, CAR
Vernand Morency, GBP
Chris Henry, TEN
Jerious Norwood, ATL
Lamont Jordan, OAK
Brandon Jackson, GBP
Lendale White, TEN

Ladell Betts, WAS
Michael Turner, SDG
Mike Bell, DEN
Leon Washington, NYJ
Reuben Droughns, NYG
Lorenzo Booker, MIA
Ron Dayne, DEN
Anthony Thomas, BUF
Adrian Peterson, CHI
Kenny Irons, CIN
Michael Bush, OAK
Jerome Harrison, CLE
DeDe Dorsey, IND

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