Fantasy Football 2012 RB Rankings

Running Back Rankings – 2012 Fantasy Football

AUTHOR:  Wally D.

TIER 1 Running Backs

  • LeSean McCoy (PHIL)
    McCoy and Rice are 1a and 1b to me. However, LeSean seems to be the second coming of the Brian Westbrook glory days. McCoy is a no-brainer for a top 3 pick.
  • Ray Rice (BALT)
    Finishing 1b on my list is Ray Rice. Drafting Ray will bring tons of fantasy security as your #1 pick continues to be a TD Battering Ram in 2012.
  • Chris Johnson (TENN)
    Guess who’s back, back again… Heard it hear first… C.J. is back in the top 3.
  • Arian Foster (HOUS)
    Most experts have Arian Foster in the top 3. I’m gonna go out on a small branch and state that Arian should finish 4th or 5th this year. I must have missed my chance to buy that ticket for the TEXANS bandwagon.
  • Adrian Peterson (MINN)
    For the past few years, A.P. has been the consensus #1 overall pick. After a rip-tearing injury issue, Peterson now becomes a “gamble” that could pay huge dividends to the fantasy risk taker.  You must take Toby Gerhart as a handcuff if you draft Peterson.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew (JACK)
    Still holding out are we? As of this blog, Jones-Drew wants mo’ money. Eventually one side will cave, and Maurice will be the featured RB in the Jacksonville backfield. Another early gamble that could “break” but more than likely will “Make” your fantasy team.
    • UPDATE:  MJD has signed and should be ready to dominate beginning Week 2.  Since this guy did not get the contract he wanted, look for Jones-Drew to run with anger and determination in 2012.  Feel free to draft in the 2nd – 4th round of your Fantasy Draft.
  • DeMarco Murray (DALL)
    A ton to gain from having the Cowboys starting Running Back on your team. Murray could end up being a workhorse with high upside and should be a safe, low end RB1 for you this season.

TIER 2 Running Backs

  • Matt Forte (CHIC)
    Before Michael Bush: Top Tier, heck top 5. Now, with Michael Bush’s potential to vulture the goal line carries…. argh. Enjoy the new contract Matt – you will definitely be a part in Da’ Bears 2012 Super Bowl Run. 🙂
  • Darren McFadden (OAKL)
    Mr. McFadden needs to make it through another season or two without a “Q” or “D” by his name for Wally D. to put him in the Top Tier. (Q = Questionable, D = Doubtful)
  • Fred Jackson (BUFF)
    Fred had a run of bad luck with injuries last year… However, a healthy 16 game starting Fred Jackson bumps him up to a Tier 1 RB.
  • Marshawn Lynch (SEAT)
    Another “IF HEALTHY” kind of a guy.  I really like Lynch as a 16 game season RB2 this season.
  • Jamaal Charles (K.C.)
    Peyton Hillis may steal some carries. However, if Jamaal is truly 100% after last years injuries, he could be a pleasant surprise in 2012.
  • Steven Jackson (ST.L)
    Fantasy Stud on a Fantasy Dud football team. Definitely worth a roster spot as a RB2 on your fantasy team, but just not sure how wide this guy’s shoulders are to carry the RAMS again this year.
  • Willis McGahee (DENV)
    Can I call this guy a sleeper?  I feel very confident in having Willis as my RB2 (If he stays healthy of course).  With all of the focus on Peyton Manning in Denver, this guy is going to slip under the radar and slip past defenders.  McGahee looks great in the Preseason and I expect that performance to transfer over to the regular season.
  • Doug Martin (T.B.)
    So… my first rookie on the board. Once L. Blount steps aside, Martin will be poised for a strong 2nd half of the season.
  • Michael Turner (ATLA)
    This should be the last year to rely on Turner as a starter for your fantasy teams.  We are looking at about 2-3 yards per carry and a pile of dust.  However, if the Red Zone opportunities are there, Turner could be a low end RB2 – so I will keep him in Tier 2 for now…

TIER 3 Running Backs

  • Trent Richardson (CLEV)
    This Rookie has potential and has the upside to be a Tier 1 RB…  but not one of my favorite picks of the 2012 Fantasy Draft.  A) He has been hurt most of the preseason and B) He plays for the Cleveland Browns.
  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis (CINC)
    The Cincinnati Law Firm is the starting Running Back…  Decent RB3 candidate.
  • Stevan Ridley (N.E.)
    One of my “Sleeper” picks, “Ridley’s Believe it or Not” could end up performing as a RB2.
  • Cedric Benson (G.B.)
    Ced Benson can be a workhorse, and I have a feeling Green Bay will lean on this guy a little bit more than expected.  Consider this guy a safe RB3 with Tier 2 potential.
  • Frank Gore (S.F.)
    I used to be a spokesperson on Frank Gore’s fantasy relevance.  I think I may have drafted him within the first couple of rounds a few times.  However, every year it seemed that the big “Q” tag accompanied his Injury Status almost every week.  Gore could very well surprise me and put a full 16 game season together – and S.F. is a run-first team.  Unfortunately, I have been there done that with the Gore-monster.  As a backup RB for your team?  Sure thing.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw (NYGT)
    Why do I have a bad feeling about this guy?  Maybe I’m in denial.  Draft him as a RB3 or RB4.  Let’s leave it at Bradshaw will be a good backup Running Back for your fantasy team.

TIER 4 Running Backs

  • Ryan Matthews (S.D.)
    Here is my Fantasy Football 2012 Running Back BUST.  I have to admit, that as of this blog, he is still questionable for Week 1 participation.  Matthews had a great year in 2011, but the rest of his career hasn’t been all that great.  I see this current injury limiting Matthews all year.  My advice, let someone else take Matthews.  FYI:  I am a big Ronnie Brown Fan and will go out on a limb and say that Brown out produces Matthews this fantasy season.  Heard it here first!
  • Reggie Bush (MIAM)
    RB4, definitely.  I do not see a lot of offense from the Fish this year.  Maybe bump Bush up a bit in PPR leagues?  Nah.
  • Jonathan Stewart (CARO)
    I am just not a fan of picking Carolina Running Backs.  It seems that a lot of the goal line carries go to QB Cam Newton – throw in DeAngelo Williams’ share of the carries and Stewart seems to be a mid-round draft pick at best.
  • Shonn Greene (NYJT)
    Don’t be fooled by this guy.  The JETS are a mess.  Super Sad Face.
  • Darren Sproles (N.O.)
    Repeat 2011 performance?  Maybe.  Draft as a Bye-Week Fill-in.

SLEEPER Running Backs

    If you can figure out Shanahan’s Shenanigans and decipher if Helu, Royster or Morris will be the primary ball-carrier, you could enjoy a steal of the draft.  If RBBC takes place, well, crud.
  • Donald Brown (INDI)
    I think, he is the Indianapolis starter.  Take a chance at RB4 or RB5.  You never know!
  • Ryan Williams (ARIZ)
    If he can get healthy, look for a strong 2nd half of the season.
  • Mikel LeShoure (DETR)
    This guy could turn into a fantasy STUD… After he serves his NFL Suspension and if he fully recovers from injury.  :
  • Jonathan Dwyer (PITT)
    Take this guy as a late round flyer.  Wally D. is proclaiming RB3 potential – maybe more if Mendenhall stays sidelined for a long period of time.
Thank you for letting me entertain you with my Fantasy Football 2012 Running Back Rankings.  I am sure that there will be a few surprises this year that I missed in my rankings, but feel this list should help produce you a good Running Back base for your Fantasy Team.
Don’t forget to follow Wally D. on Twitter for random Fantasy Football Thoughts in 2012 and please visit my Fantasy Football Website:, updated periodically throughout the year!
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