Running backs are always the most wanted first round position. Unlike QB’s you need multiple RB’s. And unlike WR there aren’t over 100 starters at the position. So it is highly important to have a good RB committee. You must have a legitimate #1 RB to be successful. As long as an NFL RB is in a starting position they usually have success. So you need to weed out the guys who will lose carries to other guys and who don’t have very good offensive lines protecting them. Here are top RB’s for the 2011 season.

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Ray Rice
3. Arian Foster
4. Chris Johnson
5. LeSean McCoy
6. Jamaal Charles
7. Rashard Mendenhall
8. LaGarrette Blount
9. Michael Turner
10. Maurice Jones-Drew
11. Beanie Wells
12. Ahmad Bradshaw
13. Ryan Matthews
14. Matt Forte
15. Felix Jones
16. Darren McFadden
17. Shonn Greene
18. Daniel Thomas
19. Peyton Hillis
20. Knowshon Moreno
21. Jahvid Best
22. CJ Spiller
23. DeAngelo Williams
24. Frank Gore
25. Steven Jackson
26. James Starks
27. Reggie Bush
28. Tim Hightower
29. Mark Ingram
30. Marshawn Lynch
31. Ryan Grant
32. Jonathan Stewart
33. Fred Jackson
34. Montario Hardesty
35. Bernard Scott
36. Rashad Jennings
37. Pierre Thomas
38. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
39. Mike Tolbert
40. Cedric Benson
41. Delone Carter
42. LaDainian Tomlinson
43. Joseph Addai
44. Brandon Jacobs
45. Michael Bush

I know its not much of a reach to get Adrian Peterson at #2 overall in this year’s draft, but that’s kind of a steal if you have the #2 pick. Peterson had a down season last year. And with his talent he easily bounces back to being the #1 guy in fantasy football. He still has plenty of years left in his tank, and I believe that his biggest season is still yet to come.

Ray Rice will also have his biggest season. This is another guy who had a down year last year but came on very strong at the end. He is going to run like a beast and get plenty of passes. He is the complete package. Arian Foster scored the most points last year, but to be honest he kinda overachieved. Foster is still good, and that’s why he is my number 3 guy, but Ray Rice is simply better than him. After Foster comes back down to earth and Rice returns to form their isn’t a very big comparison between the two. Rice is that much better.

Yup I still have Chris Johnson at #4 because I believe he will be starting week 1. So much like Peyton Manning if he falls get him. If he falls out of the top 5 you need to get him. He was the best RB in the league 2 years ago and is still young. He does everything. Nobody runs quite like him, and he is great for PPR leagues. If there wasn’t a chance that he would miss a few weeks I would have him in the top 2 of my rankings. So for now just take him. Worst case scenario is that he misses some weeks. If that’s the case then you’ll just have to wait for his elite numbers to return.

I’ve got LeSean McCoy over Charles and Mendenhall. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Charles. Charles is as good as advertised. I just think some of these other guys are undervalued. Especially McCoy. LeSean scored the second most RB points last year behind Foster. So why did he drop? Is it the uncertainty of Vick? Well, you know by now that I don’t think Vick is going anywhere. And McCoy will just continue to get better and better. He hasn’t even come close to being the type of rusher he’s capable of being. Most of his points last year came through the air. So while he continues to get receiving yards expect his rushing yards to increase. The other mentioned guy, Mendenhall, is a solid first round pick too.

I have Blount much higher than where he is being drafted. If there is one thing you take away from any of my blogs this year make it this…..If you can draft Blount in round 3 you will make the playoffs. Blount is 3rd round pick that will put up 1st round numbers. Next year at this time he will be drafted in round 1. He is huge, strong, and powerful. He’s kind of like the football version of Mike Stanton. Expect him to put up major rushing yards on a young winning team that likes to pound the ball and control the clock to win.

So I have Michael Turner and Jones-Drew lower on my list than most sites. That doesn’t make them bad picks. In fact I like them both. I actually like 90% of all RB’s. My theory is that if your given the starting job, and you stay healthy, then you do well. Obviously the part that concerns me about both of these guys is the staying healthy part. Neither of them tend to do that. And that is why they have fallen down my board.

Beanie, Bradshaw, Matthews, Forte, Jones. All guys that I have higher on my list then where their average draft position is. Now that Beanie is by himself in the rushing game it is time for him to breakout. He is this year’s McFadden. Bradshaw is simply solid. Not elite, just solid. Forte is very good, but inconsistent. He puts up a few terrible weeks that can damage your team. If you know when to bench him your fine. Felix Jones is kinda under the same situation as Beanie, except he will still lose a few carries to some unknown guys. He isn’t quite as talented as Beanie, but is still ready to breakout. Speaking of McFadden, I don’t think he will repeat last year’s numbers. Be weary of him. He is not a good 1st round pick.

In my next group of guys there are some who are ready to have solid seasons, and there are some who are ready to decline. Greene solid. Thomas breakout. Hillis decline. Moreno solid. Best breakout. Spiller breakout. Williams decline. Gore decline. Jackson decline. Starks breakout. Greene I worry about health. Daniel Thomas is a great bargain considering he has as much upside as Ryan Matthews did last year. Matthews went in round 1 last year, so using a 6th round pick on Thomas is a great risk to take. Hillis is too risky to take in round 2, where he is being projected. Moreno is good, but is injury prone. Best and Spiller and good backs and should have pretty solid year’s. Spiller is good for PPR leagues. Not a big DeAngelo Williams fan. Gore and Jackson I haven’t liked for a few years. They are awful 2nd round picks. Starks I have ranked over Ryan Grant. I think Starks is a better back with more upside. Plus I don’t see Grant staying healthy.

I can see Reggie Bush and Tim Hightower having decent seasons. They make nice backups in new situations. Mark Ingram I’m iffy on. He is being drafted ahead of Daniel Thomas in most drafts, but I don’t see him having a better season. I just don’t think he is that great. Pretty simple.

The rest of these guys are only late round guys that you probably will never use anyways. If you are forced to use them then chances are you won’t be a playoff team anyways. I have a few guys in there like Hardesty, Scott, Jennings, and Carter that I like, but aren’t starters. If any of them ever get a starting role then they are must adds with plenty of value. For now I can’t expect any of them to start. Hardesty was a 2nd round pick in the NFL draft and has a lot of upside. If Hillis comes back down to earth then Hardesty could be a great 2nd half player. He is a guy I see breaking out in a few years, if not this year. It just depends on when he gets a starting role. Kind of like Michael Turner used to be.

Tight Ends tomorrow…..