With fantasy football drafts just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the top 10 running backs for the 2013 season. Since the quarterback position is so deep this year it’s going to be even more important to pay attention to running backs early in your draft. The top ten running backs will likely be off the board after the first 12 picks of most drafts, so if you want some top name guys you better be ready to use your first two picks on running backs.
1. Adrian Peterson
What Peterson did last year was nothing short of amazing and in my mind was one of the most impressive seasons in sports history. Not only did he successfully come back early from his ACL surgery, but he had over 2,300 total yards and found the end zone 13 times. Now that Percy Harvin is a member of the Seahawks, the Vikings are going to rely on Peterson even more and as long as he can stay healthy he should have another monster year. We have Peterson in a tier all by himself and he should be the first player drafted in all drafts this year.
2. Arian Foster
I know there have been a lot question marks around Foster’s health this off season, but we think he will be more than ready for week 1. His averages per touch were down last year, but I think he will get back on track for the Texans in 2013. The thing I like the most about Foster though is his potential for finding the end zone. He had a total of 17 touchdowns last year and the Texans should put a lot of points on the board again in 2013.
3. Doug Martin
We were huge fans of Martin coming into last year, but he surpassed our expectations and then some in 2012. He took over the starting gig from pretty much day 1 and the Buccaneers showed a lot of faith in their rookie running back by giving him a ton of touches. The Tampa Bay offense seems to be headed in the right direction and Martin is a huge reason for why I think that offense will have success this year.
4. Marshawn Lynch
Lynch continues to live up to his “BeastMode” nickname and I see no reason why he can’t have another great year. He totaled almost 1800 total yards last year and found the end zone a total of 12 times. With the addition of Harvin this could take away some touches that would normally belong to Lynch, but there will still be plenty to go around. The Seahawks offense has a ton of weapons and they should put plenty of points on this board and this should lead to a lot of goal line carries for Lynch.
5. Jamaal Charles
I used to shy away from running backs that have had major knee injuries, but with what Charles and Peterson were able to do last year I am starting to change how I view these situations. Charles certainly looked like the Charles of old and the Chiefs offense has a lot more upside this year with the addition of Alex Smith. He had a career high with over 300 touches so it looks like the Chiefs aren’t afraid to give the little guy a full workload and at this point I see no reason why Charles shouldn’t be drafted in the middle of the first round.
6. C.J. Spiller
It’s pretty amazing what Spiller was able to do in limited touches last year and I think he should see closer to 300 touches in 2013. He averaged 6 yards per carry last year and 12.1 yards per catch and he has the potential of a big play every time he touches the ball. The only downsides are that he will probably still be splitting some touches with Jackson and he will more than likely not get too much goal line work. Even though he does have some question marks the Bills don’t have that many offenses weapons, so they are going to have to turn to Spiller to help move the ball.
7. LeSean McCoy
McCoy had an injury plagued season in 2012, but there is huge potential for a bounce back year. There has been a ton of talk about what Chip Kelly is going to bring to the Eagles and how the offense could be rejuvenated this year. When you look at all of their weapons it’s hard not to buy into the hype since they have the pieces to run a Chip Kelly type of offense. This makes McCoy an interesting pick in the first round and as long as he can stay healthy he should have a great year.
8. Ray Rice
All thing considered Rice had a decent year in 2012, but the big question mark for him this year is how many touches will he get? His touches were down last year and there has been a lot of talk about how many carries Bernard Pierce could get in 2013. All that being said though Rice is still the man for Baltimore and they are going to rely on him early and often. Also, let’s not forget that he racked up 61 catches last year so this makes him even more appealing in PPR leagues.
9. Alfred Morris
Morris surprised a lot of people last year with what he was able to do as a rookie for the Redskins. He had just under 1800 total yards and he was able to get into the end zone 13 times. You have to always be a little scared of any running back that plays for Shanahan since he has been known to throw some curve balls, but I can’t imagine that they would take any carries away from Morris. The young Redskins offense has a ton of upside and I am excited to see what they are able to do this year. Look for them to score plenty of points and with Morris getting the goal lines he should easily be able to get double digit touchdowns again in 2013.
10. Trent Richardson
The Browns don’t have many weapons on offense and this is a good and bad thing for Richardson. It’s good because this means he will get a ton of touches, but it’s bad because the defense knows that Richardson is one of the only guys they have to worry about. He is one of the only true workhorse running backs that remains in fantasy football and while I don’t think he will average a ton of yards per touch he should still have solid fantasy value.