by Inside the Redzone staff – JF and Michael Taylor
1. Arian Foster, Hou. – Arian Foster beats out Adrian Peterson because of his supporting cast. With Schaub and Andre Johnson keeping the opposing defenses honest, Foster should be able to see plenty of room and carries this year.
2. Adrian Peterson, MN – Peterson is the best RB in the league, but with a new QB (McNabb) or a rookie QB (Ponder) and an underperforming OL last year, Peterson is not going to be the top fantasy RB this year. Peterson should get a lot of carries while the Vikings are still in the game, but stopping him will be the focal point for opposing defenses. Also, the Vikings are changing their offensive scheme, so look for more 2 TE packages and an offense that looks more like the Falcons.
3. Chris Johnson, Ten – Johnson is going to be running into the same problem with Jake Locker at QB this year. With a new coaching staff on hand, they should be focused on giving Johnson as many touches as possible.
4. Jamaal Charles, KC – Charles is a home run hitter and averaged over 6 yards per carry last year. Charles will be the focal point with Thomas Jones getting older and not being used as much. Look for Charles to have his touches increase throughout the year.
5. LeSean McCoy, Phi – Look for McCoy to become more of a focal point in the Eagles offense this year. Teams are more focused on containing Vick and the two big play WR’s (Jeremy Maclin & DeSean Jackson), which helps McCoy in the receiving game as well.
6. Ray Rice, Bal – Rice is finally the main man in Baltimore. The biggest issue fantasy owners had was his lack of goal line carries. With Willis McGahee being released should only help Rice’s fantasy numbers.
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac – MJD’s biggest issue was the lack of touchdown production. MJD went from 16 total touchdowns in ’09 to 7 in ’10 (in 14 games). Look for MJD to rebound from a sub-par ’10 campaign.
8. Rashard Mendenhall, Pit – Mendenhall will again be the featured back in the Steelers run heavy offense. Out of the 13 rushing TD’s last year 9 of them came within a few yards of the goal line. The Steelers will need to fix some issues in the O-Line to help Mendenhall be more effective.
9. Michael Turner, Atl – Turner had a productive year last year but slowed late into the season. That might be a carryover from an injury plagued 2009 campaign. Look for some of the running lanes to open a little more this year with the addition of Julio Jones to the passing game. The Falcons need to sure up the offensive line to help Turner build on his numbers.
10. Darren McFadden, Oak – DMC was limited his first two years in the league and last showed what he can really do when healthy. The Raiders O-Line is not that good and could be losing its best lineman (Robert Gallery) in the offseason. If the Raiders can get consistent play out of QB Jason Campbell, it will help with the power running game head coach Hugh Jackson likes to play.
11. Frank Gore, SF – The biggest question mark on Gore is how has his hip healed and will it hold up. When healthy, he is a Top 10 RB and would even push to be in the Top 5. The other question mark is what kind of offense the 49ers will be running this year.
12. Steven Jackson, StL – Jackson is one of the better all around RB’s in the league. He has been the focus point of the offense for years and that won’t change. But the Rams finally found a QB (Sam Bradford) to take some of that pressure off of Jackson. If Jackson can stay healthy look for his productions to increase.
13. DeAngelo Williams, Car – DeAngelo resigned with the Panthers making for the best 1-2 RB combos in the NFL. DeAngelo has proven that he can be one of the top RB’s in the league when given the ball and when he stays healthy. I think the Panthers will do a better job splitting the carries between Williams (60%) and Stewart (40%) this year to keep both of them healthy.
14. Peyton Hillis, Cle – Hillis had a breakout year last year for the Browns, but wore down towards the end of the season, even with only getting single digit carries the first couple weeks of the season. Montario Hardesty should be back from a torn ACL to offer some relief for Hillis.
15. Matt Forte, Chi – Forte rushed for over 1,000 yards and 6 TD’s last year with a below average offensive line. With Mike Martz’s pass happy offense, look for Forte to continue to put up similar production on the ground and maybe increase his receiving stats.
16. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG – Bradshaw had a breakout season once he over took the starting spot from Brandon Jacobs. Look for Bradshaw to get more carries as the main ball carrier for the Giants. He should see some decent running room with teams more focused on Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham.
17. LeGarrette Blount, TB – Blount was able to rack up 1,000 yards and 6 TD’s in only 13 games. Blount really didn’t start to see a lot of carries till week 8, when he went off for 120 yards and 2 TD’s against Arizona. Look for Blount to be the main ball carrier for the Bucs and build on his numbers from last year.
18. Ryan Mathews, SD – Mathews didn’t live up to the hype he had going into his rookie season. He missed 4 games last year and had single digit carries in 5 other games. On the positive side he did put up 675 rushing yards and 7 TD’s in limited action. Norv Turner likes to run the ball so look for Mathews to increase his yards, if he can stay healthy.
19. Knowshon Moreno, Den – Knowshon missed 3 games last year and wasn’t productive in the last 3 games of the season. A new run first type offensive philosophy being installed in Denver should only improve on his numbers, if he can stay on the field.
20. Felix Jones, Dal – Will benefit the most of Marion Barber’s departure. Jones will get most of the work and is always a home run threat when he gets the ball. Be sure to handcuff with Choice if you got the extra roster spot.