We went around the table to figure out who the No. 2 overall choice should be, and after the discussion, we have a new No. 2 RB in our rankings. We saw plenty of player movement up and down the ranks as the new staff members sprinkled their opinions into the mix. As a result, I'm confident the second version is much stronger than the first.
|1. Adrian Peterson
|Still the consensus No. 1 pick. His owners should be praying for a Brett Favre return -- once the team sees how awful Favre is at this stage, "All Day" could get 25 carries a game.|
|2. Michael Turner||Falcons|
| After a spirited discussion by our writers, Turner emerges victorious as the No. 2 player in our rankings. Will he manage to pay dividends after you've paid such a high price?
|3. Matt Forte||Bears|
| Forte drops one spot to three, due mainly to my lower opinion of his fantasy stock in 2009. Kevin Jones is finally healthy and could easily cut into Forte's work.
|4. Maurice Jones-Drew
| Despite showing up at No. 2 on three lists, MJD slots in at four as a couple of our guys remain very skeptical. With no competition for carries, Jones-Drew is my choice for No. 2 overall.
|5. DeAngelo Williams
| If you play in a league that retroactively counts 2008 stats, Williams is money. Depending on who you talk to, he could be just as good this year. Showing up as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 10, we feature a wide variety of opinions on the guy.
|6. Steven Jackson
| As much disagreement as we have on Williams, Jackson inspires even more, ranging from No. 3 to No. 14 on our lists. I think he's due for a stellar bounce-back season with the new coaching staff that's in place.
|7. Frank Gore||49ers|
| Many speculated the 49ers would bring in a solid backup RB, in order to keep Gore fresh and healthy. Instead, they spent a mid-round pick on Glen Coffee. Twenty touches a game looks like a lock for Gore yet again.
|8. Chris Johnson
|Just outside the top-10 RBs last year, Johnson benefits from a stacked offensive line. With several new weapons in the passing game, he should also see less crowded lanes. I could definitely see Johnson in the top five by next year.|
|9. Clinton Portis||Redskins|
|He's been money in the bank, and there's no reason to cash out now. Portis' week-to-week consistency makes him a nice pick as your RB1. If you can pair him with an elite WR, all the better.|
|10. LaDainian Tomlinson||Chargers|
|It's amazing that Tomlinson shows up this late in our rankings. Even with last year's "off" numbers, he still ended the season as the seventh-best RB. With his considerable upside, his value as a late-first round pick could lead you to a title.|
|11. Brian Westbrook||Eagles|
| With the addition of LeSean McCoy to the backfield, we've soured a bit on Captain Questionable. With his ankle surgery calling his health into question yet again, Westbrook carries too much risk to be your RB1.
|12. Steve Slaton
| There were many highly-touted running backs selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Slaton, the mid-round pick out of West Virginia, outrushed them all, finishing with more yards than even top-three fantasy pick Matt Forte.
|13. Brandon Jacobs||Giants|
| After 2007, many questioned Jacobs' goal line prowess when he only managed four TDs in 200-plus carries. Fifteen TDs later, Jacobs seems like a solid second-round pick and excellent RB2.
|14. Marion Barber||Cowboys|
| He might not get the carries a top back usually receives, but he does an awful lot when he does get his hands on the ball. A renewed focus on the running game could send Barber back to RB1 status.
|15. Pierre Thomas
| After doing an amazing job with only 129 carries last year, many envision a breakthrough season for Thomas. I'd exercise caution -- realize that he's option 1A at RB in a pass-first offense.
|16. Ronnie Brown
| Now here's an RB2 I can get behind. Brown is due to take on a bigger workload at the expense of Ricky Williams. This and the continued use of the Wildcat offense should take him from a top-20 RB in 2008 to a potential top-10 RB in 2009.
|17. Darren McFadden
|If he can come out on top of the pile of serviceable Raiders RBs, McFadden will have a huge season. Even behind a poor offensive line, Oakland finished the season as the 10th-best rushing attack in the league. Doubling his 142 touches would make McFadden a potential RB1.|
|18. Kevin Smith||Lions|
| In the midst of their 0-16 season, the Lions were able to give Smith 275 touches as the rookie RB finished the season as a top-20 RB. And seriously, the Lions can't be any worse, right?
|19. Larry Johnson
|Johnson, who will turn 30 during this season, will be hard-pressed to reclaim status as an elite running back. He hasn't topped 200 caries since 2006, and now Todd Haley brings a pass-heavy offense to Kansas City|
|20. Ryan Grant
| A breakout 2007 had Grant high on fantasy lists heading into last season. He then proceeded to average under four yards per carry and score just five TDs. Even if you don't believe in his 2007, he was good enough last year to warrant this spot.
|21. Joseph Addai||Colts|
| With Connecticut RB Donald Brown now in tow, Addai should see far fewer touches than he's used to. With the added aspect of coming back from injury, most are pessimistic at the former top-five pick's chances of a rebound.
|22. Thomas Jones
| He scored twice in 2007 and 15 times in 2008. Expect the TDs (and Jones' fantasy value) to come way down in 2009. Remember, the Jets traded up to select Shonn Greene in this year's draft.
|23. Reggie Bush||Saints|
| Those that look at Bush's final stat lines the last two years probably see this as too high to select him. Those that have visions of Bush's huge first-half last year find this conservative. That upside makes him a great RB2 this late.
|24. Knowshon Moreno
| The coaching staff sees Moreno as a three-down back. The front office spent a high first-round pick on him. Moreno certainly has the talent to be a top back, and it seems like he'll get the opportunity to impress early and often.
|25. Felix Jones
| Snyder's claim that Jones could rocket up our rankings rung true. Electric when he has the ball, Jones was able to bowl over fantasy owners after just 30 carries.
|26. Willie Parker
| It's time to work former first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall into the game plan. Without 300 carries, Parker's stock drops significantly.
|27. Jonathan Stewart||Panthers|
| Even as the second option in the running game, Stewart turned in a successful rookie season by scoring 10 TDs. Look for him to take on a bit more work this year.
|28. Beanie Wells||Cardinals|
| The always-smiling RB from Ohio St. should be the lead dog in a committee with Tim Hightower. He'll get 200 carries and should be a great pick in TD-heavy leagues.
|29. Marshawn Lynch
| Seems low? He'll miss the first three games of the season after being suspended by commissioner Goodell. And his backup (Fred Jackson) was as good as or better than Lynch last year.
|30. Derrick Ward
| Ward was a top-25 back last year as the second option with the Giants. With a new contract and a new team, you would figure he'd rise, but he'll still have competition for carries.
|31. Cedric Benson||Bengals|
| Benson survived the offseason without the Bengals bringing in much competition. If he can rack up 250-300 carries while keeping the job, he'll have excellent draft value.
|32. Jamal Lewis
| After not doing a whole lot with his 300+ touches last year, I would expect Lewis to lose a lot of time to backup Jerome Harrison.
|33. LenDale White
| Chris Johnson should see more work, at the expense of White. The week-to-week fluctuation (if he doesn't get TDs, he's worthless) makes him a tough backup to own.
|34. Rashard Mendenhall||Steelers|
| Last year's injury has quelled some of the hype surrounding Mendenhall, but his talent is very real, and he'll be undervalued this year after 2008's lost campaign.
|35. Ray Rice
| He'll see the most work in the passing game, and Rice is well-positioned to be the lead runner in the Baltimore committee this year.
|36. Darren Sproles
| A must-add for Tomlinson owners, Sproles will see his value skyrocket if LT2's injury bug carries over into 2009. The team didn't franchise Sproles to have him sit around.
|37. Donald Brown
| If Brown can repeat Joseph Addai's trick of performing like an RB1 as a rookie in a timeshare, he'll be the steal of the draft.
|38. Leon Washington||Jets|
| While Thomas Jones was putting together an outstanding season, Washington checked in as a top-30 back at season's end. Might this be a little low?
|39. Ahmad Bradshaw
| With Ward in Tampa, Bradshaw is in line to inherit the 220+ touches left behind. Playing with an elite offensive line, this makes Bradshaw a bona fide sleeper.
|40. Julius Jones
| Expected to be the lead back in a committee, Jones should produce consistently solid numbers for a Seattle team looking to run more than in years past.
41. Earnest Graham, Bucaneers
42. Fred Jackson, Bills
43. LeRon McClain, Ravens
44. Willis McGahee, Ravens
45. Chester Taylor, Vikings
46. Fred Taylor, Patriots
47. Jerious Norwood, Falcons
48. Tim Hightower, Cardinals
49. Sammy Morris, Patriots
50. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
51. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
52. Michael Bush, Raiders
53. Jerome Harrison, Browns
54. Ricky Williams, Dolphins
55. Kevin Faulk, Patriots
56. Shonn Greene, Jets
57. Laurence Maroney, Patriots
58. Greg Jones, Jaguars
59. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks
60. Brandon Jackson, Packers
61. Maurice Morris, Lions
62. Dominic Rhodes, Bills
63. Tashard Choice, Cowboys
64. Mewelde Moore, Steelers
65. Kevin Jones, Bears
66. Ladell Betts, Redskins
67. Justin Fargas, Raiders
68. Correll Buckhalter, Broncos
69. Chris Brown, Texans
70. Cadillac Williams, Bucs
71. Glen Coffee, Niners
72. LaMont Jordan, Broncos
73. Antonio Pittman, Rams
74. Brian Leonard, Bengals
75. Mike Hart, Colts
76. Ryan Torain, Broncos
77. Edgerrin James, Free Agent
78. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
79. James Davis, Browns
80. Deuce McAllister, Free Agent