Re: 2011 Top RBs Fantasy Football
1. Adrian Peterson
2. Chris Johnson
3. Jamaal Charles
4. Arian Foster
5. Ray Rice
6. Maurice Jones-Drew
7. Darren McFadden
8. Rashard Mendenhall
9. LeSean McCoy
10. Matt Forte
The bottom half could of this list is completely interchangeable. I'm real high on McFadden and think a lot of people are overlooking him, which is great for auction leagues. In snake drafts, I've seen him go as early as 5th overall and as late as the end of the 3rd round. He can usually be had in the early second. If he's there, I say grab him.
Now, most people feel the top four RB's (at least, the general consensus of such) is interchangeable as well. This is a fatal mistake, I say. If you have the first four picks overall, you need to play it smart and play it safe. Don't reach; you'll have plenty of other rounds to do that.
Adrian Peterson gets my vote as the absolute safest pick in any draft, and why wouldn't he? The guy has proven he can produce top numbers regardless of the offensive philosophy the Vikings go in. More important, he's been a 1,000+ yard rusher for the past four years that he's been in the league and no one is there to contest him for carries. This year, they seem to want to revert back to the run: all the more reason to take All Day. He's #1.
Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, and Arian Foster are next in line. I'm sure a lot of people here will facepalm at the though of Foster fourth overall, but again, in the top four picks, you need to play it safe rather than shoot for what seems to be the sexy pick of the year. Of the three, I don't think there's any question that Chris Johnson has proven that he too can carry your team. Also, much like AP, there is no question who will be carrying the rock 99% of the time. He's been a 1,000+ yard rusher for every year he's been in the league too (3). He's a safe pick and the uncontested #2.
Jamaal Charles and Aaron Foster now fall into the category of some risk. Sure, they've both put up top numbers last year (and Charles the year before as well), but honestly we still aren't sure what we have in Arian. The Texans may want to go to a running back-by-committee approach. Granted, the Chiefs do this as well, but at this point, we know what we're going to get out of Charles. Arian's performance last year will be hard to reproduce, and while he likely will have another great season, we aren't sure just "how great" it'll be. This is why I have Charles rated above Foster.
While Ray Rice also fits my bill for a "safe first round pick," his yards per touch are significantly lower than the others. He does, however, make up for by getting more touches than the other players. The addition of Leach also helps his case. You should be totally comfortable if you have to "settle" for Rice at #5, especially in PPR leagues.
-Credit to False Start
for this signature-