This week’s edition of WTT takes a look at fantasy gold, also known as the runningback position. Such a premium is placed on runningbacks in fantasy football leagues that they generally dominate the first two rounds of a fantasy draft.
Last week, WTT broke down the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
WTT for June 27, 2007: Runningbacks
Thanks to Haze owner Blaine Clancy for contributing to these rankings. I did the odd numbers, Blaine took the even ones, and here we have it:
- LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers — McNeil: No brainer. LT2 has been on the top of my big board for several seasons now, and I do not forsee a change at the top this season.
- Larry Johnson, Chiefs — Clancy: Steven Jackson is younger than LJ, but as far as playing age, they are both very similar. They both broke onto the scene in limited roles in the fall of 2004 (SJax 134 rushes, LJ 120), then in 2005 they both assumed full-time roles (SJax 254, LJ 336). 2006 was much of the same (SJ 346, LJ 416). Johnson has been given more carries so that might play a role, but I think that Johnson is going to have a stellar season this year. Steven Jackson has one great season so far — to say he can repeat that performance is an uncertainty. Larry Johnson has proven he can have back-to-back good seasons. I think that the RBs are position correctly.
- Steven Jackson, Rams — McNeil: If SJax is not No. 2, he is no doubt No. 3. He has become a multi-dimensional threat, as he runs strong and catches passes out of the backfield. He is a rising stud, supplanting Shaun Alexander as a top-3 guy.
- Shaun Alexander, Seahawks — Clancy: He was hurt basically all of 2006. In 2005, he was at the top of his game. I expect that after the top-3 backs this is where the drop off in performance will begin. Losing Darrell Jackson hurts Seattle’s offense, but even so, I think that they will have enough weapons to make Alexander’s life easier. I think 1200 yards and 13 TDs are not out of the question.
- Frank Gore, 49ers — McNeil: Gore burst onto the scene last year despite durability and talent questions. The 49ers improved on offense in the offseason, which should help Gore. If he can correct fumbling issues, he should see more redzone opportunities. I doubt he runs for 1600 yards again, but he could end up being a more productive player.
- Joseph Addai, Colts — Clancy: Like Gore, Addai announced his authority in the fantasy football world last season. Dominic Rhodes is out in Indy, so Addai will see the bulk of the carries. The Colts’ offense will be as potent as ever. Expect Addai to have numbers similar to Edge during his tenure in Indy.
- Willie Parker, Steelers — McNeil: Fast Willie Parker succeeded in his first season as an every-down back, and fantasy owners should expect more of the same this year. He is extremely explosive and capable of 50+ yard runs, but also was effective enough in the redzone last season to keep touchdown vultures Najeh Davenport and Verron Haynes on the bench.
- Brian Westbrook, Eagles — Clancy: There are a couple players that could fill this spot, but none have the dual-threat capabilities Westbrook possesses. Westy had a fantastic fantasy season in 2006, and will look to do more of the same in 2007 if he can stay healthy.
- Rudi Johnson, Bengals — McNeil: Rudi has been one of the most consistent fantasy performers in recent years. He plays on a powerful offense, headlined by Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson, and serves as the feature back of that offense. With Chris Perry likely to start the season on the PUP list, Rudi has no competition in the backfield and figures to have another solid season.
- Travis Henry, Broncos — Clancy: Henry was in the top-10 in rushing yards last year, without the benefit of Denver’s offensive line. Henry will best his 2006 performance in yards and touchdowns. His only downside is that he is getting older (29-years-old), so durability issues are a concern.
Next week on WTT: Wide receivers