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Ladd Biro’s Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 50 Running Backs

LADD BIRO ARCHIVE
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RNK NAME TM RUSH YD TD REC YD REC TD COMMENT
1 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 1335 17 441 1 The gold standard of NFL backs. Durability and multi-dimensionalism make him the safest, surest #1 pick.
2 Priest Holmes KC 892 14 187 1 When Canton builds a fantasy wing, he'll get the naming rights. Will be #1 again if he stays healthy. Must handcuff with L. Johnson.
3 Shaun Alexander SEA 1696 16 170 4 Watch him race past 2,000 yards on his way to a monster payday.
4 Edgerrin James IND 1548 9 483 0 If he could just convince Peyton to run from the one, he'd be at the head of the class. Just hitting the prime of his career, he's playing for a new contract, too.
5 Deuce McAllister NO 1074 9 228 0 Offensive changes should make him the focus once again. Last of the blue-chip fantasy RBs.
6 Jamal Lewis BAL 1006 7 116 0 In the prime of his career, his legal problems in the past (we hope), Jamal should romp again through the AFC Central.
7 Corey Dillon NE 1635 12 103 1 Just hit the dreaded 30, but still on his second wind with the Pats. Will continue to carry the load this year.
8 Ahman Green GB 1163 7 275 1 Sure, there are OL issues, but he's still an elite back who will reward his owners handsomely.
9 Willis McGahee BUF 1128 13 169 0 He'll be the workhorse, no doubt; but with defenses showing no respect for his QB, he may not have much room to run.
10 Tiki Barber NYG 1518 13 578 2 Why can't he repeat his '04 performance? The offense still revolves around him.
11 Rudi Johnson CIN 1457 12 84 0 Workhorse back for an offense expected to explode in '05. May share some of the load with Chris Perry, though.
12 Julius Jones DAL 819 7 109 0 Was Emmitt-like when in the line-up last year; but can he hold up for 16 games?
13 Kevin Jones DET 1133 5 180 1 Getting out of the blocks earlier will help the second-year back increase his totals in'05.
14 Domanick Davis HOU 1180 13 596 1 A solid runner and receiver, but you can't ride him to a fantasy title.
15 Clinton Portis WAS 1315 5 235 2 Hampered by a pathetic offense, he'll still be a terrific #2 fantasy back.
16 Michael Bennett MIN 276 1 207 1 I've reluctantly downgraded my top sleeper candidate due to his recent neck injury, but still believe he'll significantly out-perform his draft position and end up among the top RBs.
17 Brian Westbrook PHI 812 3 703 6 With Buckhalter's season-ending injury, Westbrook moves up. He'll make an excellent No. 2 RB.
18 Curtis Martin NYJ 1697 12 245 2 The ageless wonder will continue to defy the odds, though I wouldn't bet on another rushing title.
19 Steven Jackson STL 673 4 189 0 He'd be 10 slots higher if I believed Martz trusted him as an every-down back. Faulk won't disappear either.
20 Carnell Williams TB * * * * He wasn't taken this high to ride the pine. Will lose some touches to Pittman, but fewer as the year goes on.
RNK NAME TM RUSH YD TD REC YD REC TD COMMENT
21 LaMont Jordan OAK 479 2 112 0 Life on the West coast will be sweet for Jordan. But Zack Crockett will poach his goal-line carries.
22 Warrick Dunn ATL 1106 9 293 0 Perpetually-underrated back will continue to fly, and run, below the radar.
23 J.J. Arrington ARI * * * * Another promising rookie stepping into a wide-open backfield.
24 Ronnie Brown MIA * * * * Has a four-week head-start on Ricky to secure the starting job, and won't relinquish it this decade.
25 DeShaun Foster CAR 255 2 76 0 It's his job to lose; so if he can just stay healthy, he'll pay big dividends.
26 Mike Anderson DEN 0 0 0 0 Shanahan has declared him the starter. Which means he's just as likely to be #4 by opening day. Looks great so far, though.
27 Cedric Benson CHI * * * * Finally signed, it won't take long for him to shove Thomas Jones aside.
28 Chris Brown TEN 1067 6 147 0 I'm more concerned about Travis Henry outplaying him than the injury bug. Caveat draftor.
29 Larry Johnson KC 581 9 278 2 Priest's owners can't afford to let him go elsewhere. Others shouldn't let Priest's owners get him.
30 Fred Taylor JAX 1224 2 345 1 Just when you thought it was safe to draft Taylor again, another injury makes Fragile Freddy too hot to handle.
31 Jerome Bettis PIT 941 13 46 0 May miss the first game or two due to calf injury, but will return to the starting lineup immediately due to Duce Staley's knee injury. Like '04, the Bus will see plenty of yardage this season to go along with his short TD runs.
32 Ricky Williams MIA 0 0 0 0 If you can wait four weeks, the payoff could be enormous. By then, he should be flying high in another uniform; perhaps the Jags'.
33 Travis Henry BUF 326 0 45 0 The minute Brown stubs his toe, Travis will steal his job.
34 Tatum Bell DEN 396 3 80 0 Only thrill-seekers and fantasy virgins take Denver RBs high in the draft.
35 Mewelde Moore MIN 379 0 238 0 Bennett's neck injury gives Moore a chance to start in Week 1. Conspiracy theorists and Bennett skeptics believe he'll keep the job even after the starter returns.
36 Kevan Barlow SF 822 7 212 0 Last year's bust is this year's placeholder. Will be lucky to start 8 games.
37 Lee Suggs CLE 744 2 178 1 Sprained ankle has him out indefinitely and gives Droughns a better shot at sharing the starting role.
38 Marshall Faulk STL 774 3 310 1 Martz won't let him rot on the sidelines. May do more damage as a receiver than runner.
39 Reuben Droughns CLE 1240 6 241 2 2004's fantasy darling has a chance to shine while Suggs is sidelined. But unlikely to hold onto the starting role all season.
40 Thomas Jones CHI 948 7 427 0 Another team, another lost starting job. But not until Benson gets rolling.
RNK NAME TM RUSH YD TD REC YD REC TD COMMENT
41 Duce Staley PIT 830 1 55 0 All set to reclaim the lead role, but arthroscopic knee surgery puts everything in doubt. Best to let someone else take the chance, since the Bus will poach his goal-line touches anyway.
42 Maurice Morris SEA 126 0 53 0 If Alexander is injured, the hard-running Morris will rack up nice stats.
43 Najeh Davenport GB 359 2 33 0 Important handcuff for Ahman Green owners.
44 T.J. Duckett ATL 509 8 15 0 Still just the third most-productive runner in Atlanta.
45 Eric Shelton CAR * * * * A solid sleeper candidate if Foster can't stay on the field.
46 Derrick Blaylock NYJ 539 8 244 1 Great potential if Curtis would just act his age.
47 Dominic Rhodes IND 254 1 24 0 Always looks great in relief of the Edge. Another backup worth a roster spot.
48 Frank Gore SF * * * * Rookie could easily take 49ers' starting job. But will anyone notice?
49 Chester Taylor BAL 714 2 184 0 Had a chance to shine in '04 while Lewis missed time, but didn't. Worth drafting only as Jamal insurance.
50 Willie Parker PIT 186 0 16 0 Will get the start in Week 1 as the Bus and Staley are idled. The deepest of deep sleepers, Parker has the speed to make an impact.

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