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Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 10 Running Backs for 2013

by Photo of Scott Davis

We continue our fantasy football series with a look at 10 draft-worthy running backs

Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 10 Running Backs for 2013

In our last installment of Fantasy Football Rankings, we looked at the top ten fantasy quarterbacks entering the 2013 season. Fantasy football is different, however, because it's almost completely about a player's tangible qualities. Intangible qualities, like hustle, determination, etc. may shine through occasionally to help a player avoid a tackle or sack, rush or receive a few extra yards, but more often than not, it's just about stats. When it comes down it, if a player doesn't produce gaudy stat lines, they won't mean much in fantasy football. Big stats -- thrown, rushed, or received yards, touchdowns -- they get you points.

In this installment, we'll look at the top ten running backs for fantasy football. The running back position in the NFL is a top-heavy category with lots of elite players who can put any team in contention for a fantasy title. However, after those elite few, the rest of the rankings get cloudy with less talent. Let's have a look.

1.) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Peterson came back from a torn ACL last season and broke the 2,000 yards rushing category. Furthermore, his 2,097 yards were almost 400 more than his previous high of 1,760 yards. He's Minnesota's top option by a long shot, and while he doesn't accumulate the most touchdowns, his insane, consistent yardage makes him a must-draft.

2.) Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Slightly disconcerting: Foster's yardage per carry has dropped the last three years. The positive: Foster ran the ball for 15 touchdowns last season, most in the NFL. Those little end-zone celebrations are worth quite a bit in fantasy football.

3.) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Lynch has dealt with health issues before, but last season appeared to be a break-out of sorts. He was third in the NFL in total rushing yards with 1,590, he scored 11 touchdowns, and was third in yards per game with an average of 99 per outing. Health and consistency are they key issues with Lynch.

4.) Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

Morris was something of a revelation for the 'Skins, turning in the second most rushed yards and second most touchdowns in the NFL in his rookie year. Morris can plow through people and he's tough to bring down. However, he doesn't go out for many passes and he's not as quick as some running backs, which means defenses may adjust to his runs.

5.) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

After missing most of 2011, Charles bounced back in 2012 in a big way, gaining over 1,500 rushing yards and going for 5.3 yards per carry. He's not much of a receiver or a scorer, but high yardage is always worth something in the NFL.

6.) Doug Martin, Tamba Bay Buccaneers

In his rookie season, Martin managed just shy of 1,500 yards, snagged 11 touchdowns, and gave up the ball rarely with just one fumble. Some worry that he'll suffer a sophomore slump as defenses adjust to him; others think he might be able to improve and add to his repertoire.

7.) Steven Ridley, New England Patriots

Ridley had a break-out season last year, taking his rushed yards from the 400s in his rookie season to 1,263 last season and scoring 11 more touchdowns his sophomore year. With New England losing Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, not to mention the absence of Rob Gronkowski, Ridley could become even more featured this year.

8.) Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Rice's rushing yards dropped last season, as did his touchdowns. However, Rice is a reliable player who rarely gets injured, rarely fumbles the ball, and now, with Baltimore losing some of its offensive weapons like Anquan Boldin, may see more touches this season out of the backfield.

9.) C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

Spiller saw lots of touches, lots of yards, and lots of touchdowns last season when Fred Jackson went down early on. However, injury problems and Jackson's returns diminished Spiller's worth. He's still a good draft option, but his numbers last season may be slightly skewed.

10.) LaSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

McCoy had an alarming drop-off in the rushing department, with his rushed yards dropping by almost 500, and his touchdowns dropping from 17 to 2. He's still a good receiver, and a bounce-back season could make last season a simple blemish.

Sleeper Picks

- Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns - Richardson showed explosive moments in his rookie season, and with some health concerns hopefully aside, could have an even better year in 2013. His rushing yards were a bit low at 950, but he's a touchdown machine, scoring 12 as a rookie.

- Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons - Jackson won't see a ton of touches with a talented, versatile Falcons offense, but when he does, he's a reliable receiver, good for 1,000-1,400 yards a season.

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