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August 16, 2013
Rankings at this point will prefer those with more potential and a cleaner road to playing time. There are only a few running backs out there that carry the ball more than 75% of the time (like Adrian Peterson, C.J. Spiller, Alfred Morris). On the flip side, guys like Darren Sproles and Montee Ball are intriguing for different skill-sets yet will lose touches to other competent backs .
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30. Daryl Richardson (STL) The addition of Tavon Austin and the departure of Steven Jackson open up a great opportunity for Richardson. Vanderbilt rookie Zac Stacy will provide more competition than Isaiah Pead and his 1-game suspension, but Richardson is likely to start and can play all three downs.
29. Ahmad Bradshaw (IND) Recently removed from PUP, Bradshaw has potential to thrive in Indy’s offense. He might miss all of the preseason, but he has the potential to vastly outperform his draft position.
28. Montee Ball (DEN) Scoring opportunities and open holes in defenses trying to stop Peyton Manning make him intriguing. He will lose touches to at least 2 other players (Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee) and TDs are hard to predict.
27. Chris Ivory (NYJ) Ivory is back at practice with the Jets and benefits from being able to finish at the goal line and a complete dearth of talent on the Jets roster.
26. Shane Vereen (NE) Did his TD grab against Philly look familiar? Vereen gives Josh McDaniels great versatility and has the ability to reach 100 yards combined rushing and receiving each week.
25. Eddie Lacy (GB) I like his situation in Green Bay as the lead dog on 1st and 2nd down as well as at the goal line. He will lose opportunities to Franklin on passing downs, but his power and decisive running style give him a high ceiling in the Packers offense.
24. Giovani Bernard (CIN) The rookie from North Carolina gets the slight nod over Bama’s Lacy as the highest ranked rookie for now. As endearing as Green-Ellis is locally, he’s destined to lose this battle to the more diverse and explosive Bernard.
23. Darren Sproles (NO) The return of Sean Payton should mean a more balanced Saints attack, hopefully leading to more carries for Sproles circa 2011. He has over 100 targets each of the past two seasons despite playing only 13 games last year.
22. Le’Veon Bell (PIT) He should be a workhorse for Pittsburgh. The Steelers didn’t really replace Mike Wallace and I think they might struggle a bit offensively, however Bell should be the featured back with good goal line credentials if he can stay healthy.
21. Darren McFadden (OAK) Explosive runner with top 10 ability on a bad team. Also he’s about as reliable as Eric Gagne.
20. David Wilson (NYG) Andre Brown’s fumble in preseason game had to push Tom Coughlin’s RB needle even more in Wilson’s direction. He will lose some goal line carries to Brown, but Wilson should get a good chance to shine especially if the Giants’ top three receivers stay healthy.
19. Frank Gore (SF) Not the most exciting pick in the world and 30 years old, but still a guy you like to have around at the right price on an excellent team that will run.
18. Lamar Miller (MIA) The second-year back from Miami didn’t look great against Jacksonville in the first preseason game but is likely to start as a three-down player for the Dolphins.
17. DeMarco Murray (DAL) I really wanted to rank him lower due to injury history and trouble finding the endzone, but Murray will dominate too many carries in too good an offense if he stays on the field.
16. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) THE man on a really bad team. Jones-Drew should return healthy and be ready to go in the final year of his contract.
15. Matt Forte (CHI) Marc Trestman is likely to spread the ball around more in the passing game than the previous Bears’ regime. Forte is still a really good option as a low end RB1, high end RB2 (he would be ranked higher in PPR).
14. Reggie Bush (DET) He’s in a great situation in Detroit and should be a PPR monster.
13. Steven Jackson (ATL) S-Jax should be effective all over the place for the Falcons who might just be the best offense in football.
12. Stevan Ridley (NE) Ridley runs with reckless abandon and has a good chance to reach 1300 yards with a committed running attack in Foxborough.
11. Chris Johnson (TEN) Ex ‘Bama guard Chance Warmack leads an improved O-Line for the Titans and Johnson should rebound well after2012.
10. Alfred Morris (WAS) No reason to believe Morris can’t repeat his rookie performance as Shanahan showed he can stick to a bell cow last year. RGIII looks to be ready and the second year man from FAU is primed for a repeat performance.
9. Ray Rice (BAL) The presence of Bernard Pierce and wear on the tire pushes perennial stud Rice down a bit. Rice is still likely to provide a top 10 performance with top 5 potential.
8. Trent Richardson (CLE) T-Rich should enter this season healthier than he started 2012 and can do it all for the Browns. He’s still only 21.
7. LeSean McCoy (PHI) McCoy is a solid RB1 and could be a top 3 player in Kelly’s offense. Bryce Brown is a necessary handcuff to McCoy.
6. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) Lynch lived up to his nickname last year hitting almost 1600 yards for the Seahawks. He’s probably the most punishing finisher in the league.
5. Arian Foster (HOU) A lot of people may take issue with Foster ranked at 5, but he has the most capable second fiddle of any top back in Ben Tate. We all know what he can do rushing and receiving when healthy.
4. Jamaal Charles (KC) Andy Reid’s offense, an intelligent quarterback, and a healthy start to the season should bring big numbers for Charles who has averaged 5.8 YPC for his career.
3. C.J. Spiller (BUF) It’s finally Spiller’s show in Buffalo and he has the ability to go off for 150+ yards combined any given week.
2. Doug Martin (TB) The Muscle Hamster (although he prefers Dougernator or Muscle & Hustle, Deadspin, 2/4/13) can do everything well for the Bucs and their poor defense should necessitate Schiano being aggressive with him into the 4th quarter.
1. Adrian Peterson (MIN) Incumbent No. 1 RB, cyborg and bigger than Hasselhoff in Germany, AP should go No. 1 in all drafts.