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Running Backs

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SI PLAYER RANKINGS FOR 2009 with 2008 stats

RUSHING YDS. PER GAME

100-YD. GAMES

RECEPTIONS

RECEIVING YDS. PER GAME

TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS

BYE WEEK

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

110.0

10

21

7.8

10

9

2. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

94.7

8

22

7.6

20

4

3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

51.5

2

62

35.3

14

7

4. Steve Slaton, Texans

80.1

4

50

23.6

10

10

5. Michael Turner, Falcons

106.2

8

6

2.6

17

4

6. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

69.4

2

52

26.6

12

5

7. Steven Jackson, Rams

86.8

4

40

31.6

8

9

8. Matt Forte, Bears

77.4

3

63

29.8

12

5

9. Brian Westbrook, Eagles

66.9

3

54

28.7

14

4

10. Clinton Portis, Redskins

92.9

6

28

13.6

9

8

11. Brandon Jacobs, Giants

83.8

4

6

2.8

15

10

12. Frank Gore, 49ers

74.0

3

43

26.6

8

6

13. Ryan Grant, Packers

75.2

4

18

7.3

5

5

14. Joseph Addai, Colts

45.3

1

25

17.2

7

6

15. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins

57.3

3

33

15.9

10

6

16. Chris Johnson, Titans

81.9

4

43

17.3

10

7

17. Marion Barber, Cowboys

59.0

3

52

27.8

9

6

18. Thomas Jones, Jets

82.0

5

36

12.9

15

9

19. Marshawn Lynch, Bills

69.1

3

47

20.0

9

9

20. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

52.3

2

8

2.9

10

4

21. Felix Jones, Cowboys

44.3

0

2

1.7

3

6

22. Kevin Smith, Lions

61.0

2

39

17.9

8

7

23. Julius Jones, Seahawks

46.5

2

14

4.4

2

7

24. Jamal Lewis, Browns

62.6

0

23

11.1

4

9

25. Derrick Ward, Buccaneers

64.1

2

41

24.0

2

8

26. Willie Parker, Steelers

71.9

4

3

1.2

5

8

27. LenDale White, Titans

48.3

2

5

1.0

15

7

28. Pierre Thomas, Saints

41.7

1

31

18.9

12

5

29. Ray Rice, Ravens

34.9

1

33

21.0

0

7

30. Chris Wells, Cardinals*

119.7

8

8

4.7

8

4

31. Reggie Bush, Saints

40.4

0

52

44.0

6

5

32. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos*

107.7

7

33

30.2

18

7

33. Darren McFadden, Raiders

38.4

1

29

21.9

4

9

34. Cedric Benson, Bengals

62.3

3

20

15.4

2

8

35. Larry Johnson, Chiefs

72.8

3

12

6.2

5

8

36. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks

10.8

0

0

0

8

7

37. Justin Fargas, Raiders

60.9

1

10

3.7

1

9

38. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers

56.3

2

23

17.4

4

8

39. Leon Washington, Jets

28.0

0

47

22.2

8

9

40. Fred Jackson, Bills

35.7

1

37

19.8

3

9

41. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

22.3

1

27

17.0

1

8

42. Donald Brown, Colts*

160.2

11

21

9.6

18

6

43. Jerious Norwood, Falcons

30.6

0

36

21.1

6

4

44. Willis McGahee, Ravens

51.6

3

24

13.3

7

7

45. Glen Coffee, 49ers*

98.8

5

16

8.4

11

6

46. Shonn Greene, Jets*

142.3

13

8

3.8

20

9

47. Darren Sproles, Chargers

20.6

1

29

21.4

6

9

48. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers

14.5

0

2

4.3

0

8

49. Ricky Williams, Dolphins

41.2

1

29

13.7

5

6

50. Tim Hightower, Cardinals

24.9

0

34

14.8

10

4

51. Fred Taylor, Patriots

42.8

1

16

7.5

1

8

52. LeSean McCoy, Eagles*

114.5

6

32

23.5

21

4

53. James Davis, Browns*

57.8

2

14

9.5

11

9

54. Chester Taylor, Vikings

24.9

0

45

24.9

6

9

55. Andre Brown, Giants*

59.0

1

29

23.8

9

10

56. Maurice Morris, Lions

44.2

2

19

10.5

2

7

57. Tashard Choice, Cowboys

29.5

0

21

11.6

2

6

58. Kenneth Darby, Rams

14.0

0

19

18.3

0

9

59. Laurence Maroney, Patriots

31.0

0

0

0

0

8

60. Kevin Faulk, Patriots

33.8

0

58

32.4

6

8

61. Jerome Harrison, Browns

16.4

0

12

7.7

2

9

62. LaMont Jordan, Broncos

45.4

0

0

0

4

7

63. Sammy Morris, Patriots

55.9

2

17

12.4

7

8

64. Le'Ron McClain, Ravens

56.4

1

19

7.7

11

7

*Rookie (college statistics)

Talking Points

• If you get the top pick in your draft, don't overthink it. Take Adrian Peterson. Please.

• Don't let the presence of Jonathan Stewart in the Panthers' backfield keep you from using a high pick on DeAngelo Williams. Carolina will run the ball enough to keep both backs busy.

BUYER BEWARE

• Why isn't Michael Turner, who performed so well last year, rated even higher than No. 5? Look at the Falcons' schedule: Eagles, Giants, Jets, Pats, Redskins.... He'll be seeing a lot of tough run defenses.

• Matt Forte has actually been going No. 1 in some mock drafts, but I see his workload going down with Jay Cutler behind center in Chicago and a healthy Kevin Jones as his relief option.

• I'm not as high on second-year man Chris Johnson as most people, who expect he'll take over the Titans' backfield. LenDale White will still get plenty of work.

OVERRATED

• Marion Barber dropped in my ratings because of what Felix Jones showed in 2008 before he got hurt. Jones will get the ball plenty between the 20s.

• Thomas Jones isn't going to do as well as he did last year for the Jets. New coach Rex Ryan will have a Ravens-style RB rotation that will include Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene.

• Whenever Detroit made good use of Kevin Smith last season, he got the job done. In games in which he had 20 or more carries, he averaged close to 100 yards.

• Why is Beanie Wells rated ahead of fellow rookie Knowshon Moreno, even though Wells was taken 19 spots later in the NFL draft? Because Moreno is joining a Broncos offense that looks like it could be a mess.

• Three seasons ago Larry Johnson was a top two fantasy back. This year he isn't even a lock to make the Chiefs.

SLEEPER

• T.J. Duckett is a great value pick. He had more rushing TDs last year than Marion Barber and Frank Gore. Also, Seattle's new coordinator, Greg Knapp, who knows Duckett from Atlanta, directed offenses that were No. 1 in rushing from 2004 to '06.

• Earnest Graham was always an accidental starter in Tampa Bay. It isn't a promising sign for him that Derrick Ward was the Bucs' big free-agent acquisition.

• The Colts will use Donald Brown. When a team drafts a back in the first round, it's usually a bad sign for the incumbent.

• No one in Baltimore's committee backfield is worth taking all that high, but if you dive in, remember that the pecking order has changed. Last year it was Willis McGahee with a side of (Ray) Rice; now it will be the other way around.

• The Dolphins' drafting Pat White is not good news for Ricky Williams. The former West Virginia QB should take some of Williams's snaps in the wildcat formation.

SLEEPER

• LeSean McCoy is the backup with the best chance of scoring big. He has Brian Westbrook--like skills, and given Westbrook's injury history, it's easy to imagine the rookie falling into a lot of playing time.

• Giants rookie Andre Brown is a guy I'd take a flier on. Many assume that the departed Derrick Ward's carries will go to Ahmad Bradshaw. I would bet that this fourth-round pick beats out Bradshaw.

• Le'Ron McClain looked good last year when he got a shot at tailback. Now he's back at fullback—at least until someone gets hurt.

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PHOTO

GREG NELSON (SLATON)

ON THE RISE • Steve Slaton has young legs and clear ownership of the Texans' backfield. With a year of experience running behind Houston's zone blocking scheme, he's primed for a breakout season.

PHOTO

KEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES (TURNER)

PHOTO

RONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (BARBER)

PHOTO

ROD MAR (DUCKETT)

PHOTO

DAVID BERGMAN (MCCOY)