NEW: 2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 60 Running Backs (Beazley)
A running back has not repeated as the top scorer since 2007.
As you know, I love trends. As an example, the worst-to-first trend in the NFL is something that has held true since the divisions expanded in 2002 thanks to the Washington Redskins keeping that streak alive last year.
That being said, I will not be drafting Adrian Peterson with the No. 1 overall pick.
The Muscle Hamster tops my list as my projected top fantasy RB this season. There are plenty of reasons to love Martin. He finished second in the NFL behind AP in yards from scrimmage last season and is a three-down back. Martin also has the ability to break the long run and he should have an easier time this season with a healthy offensive line.
2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
I'm not expecting a huge dropoff for Peterson in terms of production this season. I just can't ignore recent trends. Drafting Peterson or Martin with the No. 1 pick is a win in my book, so I won't blame anyone for trying to break the trend and going with AP. Also another interesting stat in regards to Peterson that you can't overlook is that with all RBs who rush for 2,000 yards, the following year there is a huge dropoff.
Our last 2,000-yard rusher, Chris Johnson only managed to run for 1,364 the next year. In fact, of all NFL RB's who rushed for 2,000 yards, Barry Sanders is the only one to even reach 1,400 yards the following year.
The one thing that is certain this season, is that in any order these are going to be the first three RBs taken off the board. Of the three, Foster scares me the most. Foster left a game last season with a heart condition. He now states, "As of now, I have no complications with my blood pumper." This still is a big red flag for me.
Luckily, Peterson and Foster are 1-2 on 80 percent of people's draft boards, so even if I draw the No. 3 slot on draft day, I'm still getting my man Doug.
The next batch of running backs is all about preference at this point. If I have the No. 4 slot on draft day, I am taking Detroit's Calvin Johnson, not a RB. If I had to take a RB, I would go with Lynch.
I think Seattle's offense took a huge step forward this offseason by getting Percy Harvin. If Russell Wilson continues to play like he did last year, the Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC this year. Lynch should be a lock to have another big season with double-digit touchdowns.
I love C.J. Spiller heading into this season. I believe he is going to improve on last year's numbers, which was 1,700-plus total yards and 8 touchdowns. Spiller is an every-down back, and finally will be given the shot to be a full-time starter this year.
In PPR leagues, I would rank Spiller ahead of Lynch at No. 4.
Charles has the ability to take it to the house on every play. I know Andy Reid is going to find ways to get Charles the ball more just like he did with LeSean McCoy in Philly. I think Charles is going to have a monster season, and is a dark horse to finish near the top in scoring amongst all running backs. He doesn't have a lot of competition either, which is a huge plus.
Rice was somewhat of a disappointment last year. He had only four 100-yard games and only finished with 1,143 yards rushing last season. Rice is still one of the best backs in football, but he has some healthy competition there with Bernard Pierce, which scares me a lot heading into the year. I don't really see a way the Ravens can keep Pierce off the field.
8. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Johnson just finished outside the top 12 among running backs last year, but I expect a huge rebound season for him. The Titans addressed a huge need in the offseason — fixing their interior line by signing Andy Levitre from Buffalo and drafting Alabama's Chance Warmack. This should definitely open some holes for Johnson.
CJ had only six rushing touchdowns last season and only one of those was inside the five-yard line: 16, 83, 80, 17, 94 and 2. I'm not too overly concerned with the Shonn Greene signing. Greene is going to be used in short yardage like they used Jamie Harper last season. He will vulture some touchdowns for sure.
I think with an improved OLine, and a whole offseason under Dowell Loggains as OC, Johnson could be a steal on draft day.
Richardson failed to reach 1,000 yards last season, but surprisingly was third in receptions amongst the top-tier RBs. Richardson was money for fantasy owners down the stretch and into the fantasy playoffs last year recording six of his eleven touchdowns from Weeks 12 to 15. I expect a big season ahead for Richardson. Big downside to T-Rich is that he plays for Cleveland, which has arguably the worst offense in the NFL.
10. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
McCoy is going to get overlooked on draft day, mainly because of the numbers he put up last season. He failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark, but he also missed four games due to a concussion. McCoy is going to be a huge part of the Eagles offense next year.