Rotisserie by the Numbers: Fantasy Football Running Backs 26-50

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 12: Running back Jonathan Stewart #28 of the Carolina Panthers warms up for play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 12, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

You will need more than two good running backs to win your fantasy football league this year.

If you think drafting Adrian Peterson in the first round and Brandon Jacobs in the second will wrap up a playoff spot for you, think again, Vermeil. There are byes in the NFL, remember? There are injuries in the NFL, remember? And there are times when coaching staffs, opposing defenses, and Mother Nature hold running backs to 20-yard games, remember?

You should have at least three solid starting running backs on your fantasy roster, and preferably four if you can somehow pull it off. Round out your RB crop with the real backup of one of your starters or a young No. 2 guy who could turn into a starter later in the season and you are all set.

Coming on the heels of last week’s Top 25 RB column, here are the next best 25 running backs in fantasy football for 2009.


26. LenDale White (Tennessee Titans)

He scored 15 touchdowns last year, and that was before he swore off tequila.


27. Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)

Rumbled for 836 yards and 10 scores in his rookie year despite not getting the ball as much as DeAngelo Williams did.


28. Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

You have to feel for Ward. He left the New York Giants in part to get away from splitting carries with Brandon Jacobs, and now he has to share playing time with Ernest Graham and Cadillac Williams.


29. Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers)

"Fast Willie" dropped a couple mph in 2008 on his way to his first year without 1,000 yards since 2004.


30. Leon Washington (New York Jets)

More relentless than Slipknot and more dangerous than a Slipknot mosh pit, Washington should see his yards and touchdowns escalate under the Rex Ryan regime.


31. Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts)

The Colts have gotten tired of Addai’s injury-prone, half-speed act, which is why they drafted a running back in the first round.


32. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals)

If his 3.5 yards per carry in 2008 or his checkered past doesn’t excite you, keep in mind he will get more carries in Cincinnati than anybody else.


33. Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens)

He is the most talented and most versatile back in Baltimore’s three-headed attack.


34. Jamal Lewis (Cleveland Browns)

He has not lost a step, he has lost a staircase. New coach Eric Mangini will not live with his two-yards-and-fall-down routine too long.


35. Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts)

I thought the Connecticut Huskies churned out basketball players, not football players. Well, let’s hope Brown turns out to be as good fantasy-wise as Ray Allen and Ben Gordon.


36. Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills)

Will be Buffalo’s starting tailback for the first three games while Marshawn Lynch serves his suspension.


37. Julius Jones (Seattle Seahawks)

He made nobody forget about Shaun Alexander last year, and now he has to contend with Edgerrin James taking his carries and he has no Walter Jones blocking for him.


38. Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys)

If he does not get hamstrung by his hamstring again, Jones could have a super sophomore season.


39. Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers)

One Ray Lewis tackle broke his shoulder and broke the hearts of fantasy owners everywhere last season. Let’s hope this battering ram gets a second chance to shine in 2009.


40. Ernest Graham (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

He could end up being Tampa’s No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 running back. The jury is out.


41. Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins)

Now that he has stopped trying to be the next Cheech or Chong, Williams could give fantasy owners 800 yards and six touchdowns if things go well.


42. Darren Sproles (San Diego Chargers)

He is the West Coast version of Leon Washington. Maybe better.


43. Willis McGahee (Baltimore Ravens)

One game he will run for 100 yards, the next game he will miss with a knee injury, the next game he will score a TD, then the next he will miss with torn toenail, and so on, and so on ...


44. Fred Taylor (New England Patriots)

Laurence Maroney is as reliable as a weatherman, and Sammy Morris is no prize, so it looks like Tom Brady will be handing off to the veteran Taylor more times than any other Pats back.


45. Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants)

Not sure if he can run for 1,000 yards like Ward did in the same role last season, but Bradshaw is an underrated runner with big-play ability.


46. Justin Fargas (Oakland Raiders)

With Fargas, Darren McFadden, and Michael Bush in the running back rotation, when is Oakland going to have time to throw enough bombs to keep owner Al Davis happy?


47. Tim Hightower (Arizona Cardinals)

Hightower scored 10 touchdowns in his first pro season. His vote of confidence? Arizona drafted Beanie Wells in the first round.


48. James Davis (Cleveland Browns)

Should be Cleveland’s starting running back at some point of the season whenever Lewis gets demoted.


49. Le’Ron McClain (Baltimore Ravens)

McClain is Baltimore’s best goal line option, but his carries outside of the scoring area might go down because he is shifting to fullback.


50. Correll Buckhalter (Denver Broncos)

Rookie phenom Knowshon Moreno’s knee injury opens the door for Bukhalter to get some serious carries during the first month of the season.


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