2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Tiers
August 23, 2012 by luckylester
Tier 1 – These three guys are at the top of my list. I would be really happy getting the last guy and having the better 2nd round pick. The way I figure you can get the last of these three guys almost guaranteed with the 5th or 6th pick (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Calvin Johnson usually slip in the top 6 as well). I don’t see a clear cut number one, but I do see enough from each one of these guys to consider them at #1.
Tier 2 – It’s odd that tier 2 is smaller than tier 1, but that’s the case here. Both Johnson and Forte could finish ahead of tier 1 guys, but the question marks that surround these two uber-talented runners drop them down a notch. Chris Johnson looks to become a dual threat this year (more receptions are in his future) which could help, but his struggles last year have to leave a little worry in your mind. While Matt Forte is one of the better dual threats in the league, the fact that Michael Bush (a solid dual threat in his own right, and bigger than Matt = goal line touches) is in Chicago and Jay Cutler has his old #1 WR means less action for Matt. I like both these guys, but not as much as 1-3.
Tier 3 – I do have a special place in my heart for McFadden. Dude is a beast. Here’s to hoping he stays healthy! If health was a guarantee I’d consider him at the same time as those tier 1 guys – but health has never been his bag. Murray’s upside is worth a pick, Jones-Drew’s holdout and teammates make me scared, but he’s always been great. Charles is one of the most talented runners in the league, but Hillis and a return from an ACL leave me wonering… AP is a steal if he ends up playing 13+ games, but if he doesn’t do much in the first 5 games, he is a risk early. Ryan Matthews could be great this season, but hurt already, likely out for the first two weeks – his injury history scares me away. I love Lynch, and maybe this is too low for him – but I just think the Hawks will struggle to have as much running success this season.
Tier 4 – Jackson may be safer than any pick in the tier above, but his upside is lower as well. I still think he has a nice season and helps bring home some fantasy championships. Sproles is a steal in PPRs, but not completely lost in flat yardage/score leagues. Who knew he was a rich man’s Reggie Bush? Wait, Reggie ran much better last season, and if he is healthy for 13-14 games, he could be a steal. Fred Jackson does it all as well, but CJ Spiller’s upside, and success after taking over for Fast-Fred last season, drops him on my list. Richardson is very good, I think he’s as good as advertised. Turner drafters need to get Quiz Rodger – I’d be afraid to draft Mike, but he’ll have a solid fantasy season most likely. Gore is a solid runner but lost a little late last season, and there are lots of mouthes to feed in San Fran. Still one of my favorites, but I don’t want to own him this yea unless I get him really late. Bradshaw is really an interesting beast, one hell of a runner, always dinged, but usually tough enough to run anyway. David Wilson could help keep Bradshaw fresh.
Tier 5 – Green-Ellis is solid, and might pay off for owners that wait until late to grab their 3rd RB. Hillis could end up with more touches than Jamaal Charles – more touchdowns as well. J-Stew is so talented, but too many RBs in Carolina for me to trust any one of them. Best is lightening in a bottle, unfortunately the bottle has cracks. McGahee could have a great year for Denver, but his old legs have question marks as well. Helu was great at times, but brittle enough to be injured right now and have Splinter Shanahan starting someone else. Greene might be a tricky pick late, as he might finally put it together as a sure-fire starter.
Tier 6 – This tier is full of question marks and upside and intrigue. Upside picks are Martin, Donald Brown, Wells, Mendenhall, Williams, David Wilson, and LeShoure. Steady picks are Ingram, Benson, Blount, and Michael Bush, lots of inbetweens, but all with question marks. Donald Brown has been moving up my list, as have Mendenhall and Doug Martin.
Tier 7 – I like Thomas, but the Saints seem intent on giving him moderate touches. Vareen and Royster could end up as starters and the other guys all have places on their squads. Biggest upside pick in this group is probably Vareen.
Tier 8 – Thomas scares me a little because Bush was so great and I like this Miller kid from Miami, but he had his moments and could end up being the guy at some point. I like Pead a lot, but Steven Jackson is a very healthy back. Taiwon Jones might be the best option behind a brittle McFadden, making him worthy of a draft spot.