ICYMI: NFL Fantasy Football Preview: Tier 1 Running Backs

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Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

6. Marshawn Lynch- The biggest reason Marshawn Lynch fell out of my top 5 for RB’s in 2013 is because of Percy Harvin. If you look at the points per game last season early on, Adrian Peterson struggled to get yards and TD’s and it wasn’t all because Leslie Frazier was easing A.P. back into the gameplan. The other reason Marshawn Lynch will fall out of the top 5 this season is simply because he had career highs last season in yards per carry (5.0) and total carries (315), and I expect both numbers to drop significantly next season. His career high in yards per carry before last season was 4.2. All of that being said, if Marshawn Lynch pulls off his best Shaun Alexander impression and finds the end zone 2x as much as he did a year ago, (11 TDs last season) he could prove me wrong.

Sep 30, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Everbank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

7. Maurice Jones-Drew- Ok well this one is a coin flip. There’s no question MJD will be back in full force next season and there is no reason to think that he won’t return to the top of the list of elite RB’s in fantasy football. Except for one, his injury proneness. Can MJD stay on the field for 16 games this year? I’m going to go ahead and put him closer into the category of frontrunner for Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL in 2013 and it should make him a prime RB option in fantasy.

Dec 23, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) catches a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

8. Jamaal Charles- Before the end of 2013 we may be having a completely different conversation about this guy. And to be honest with you, it entirely depends on Andy Reid. To me, it’s entirely probable that LeSean McCoy was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs along with Reid, in the form of Jamaal Charles. He’s the big play threat out of the backfield that every west coast offense loves and I fully expect Charles, assuming he stays healthy, to have career numbers this season in Andy Reid’s new system.

Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) carries the ball in the second quarter of the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

9. Stevan Ridley- Besides Doug Martin and Alfred Morris, only Stevan Ridley had a more breakout season a year ago. He seemingly took over the starting job for the New England Patriots and became a TD machine in the red zone almost immediately. This season we should see a lot of the same from Ridley and although the surprise factor is gone, he still has the big play explosiveness to remain on this level of Tier 1 RB’s and the stability he has in New England is what made the difference between having him on this list and not including the 6th round draft pick from 2012, Alfred Morris.

May 14, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

10. Matt Forte- I may or may not be going out on a limb on this one, but in my opinion I can’t ignore the guy’s talent. Look for Forte to have a bounce back season after last year, if he can stay healthy, and he should be a prime sleeper option to take as your second RB in the later rounds of this years fantasy drafts. He’ll be doubted because of his injury proneness and the mere presence of Michael Bush but don’t be fooled, the Bears would prefer to make use of that big contract and have Matt Forte, not Jay Cutler, carry the Bears into the playoffs in 2013 and benefit all of those who take a chance on him in fantasy this season.

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