- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
Here are my latest running back rankings for the upcoming fantasy football season, based on ESPN standard performance scoring for 2007.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson: The easy No. 1 overall pick in most fantasy leagues for the 2007 season. Set to deliver another terrific season of all-around fantasy numbers.
2. Larry Johnson: Some people want to move him out of this spot to "shake things up." I need better reasons than comparisons to Jamal Anderson's past workload. The offensive line also has dealt adequately with changes before.
3. Steven Jackson: Reception totals will be down in a more balanced passing game, but Jackson will carry most fantasy teams deep into the postseason.
4. Frank Gore: Touchdown numbers will rise as the team improves around him and he gets to finish off more scoring drives. He'll be the focal point of an offense that will improve in 2007.
5. Willie Parker: Don't expect too much of a drop in touchdown totals, because the Steelers haven't found the ideal physical runner to complement him yet. He'll come through with another outstanding fantasy season.
6. Brian Westbrook: He's the top playmaker on the Eagles, and will continue to provide his fantasy owners with outstanding all-around production. Ultra-tough for his size, he has proved he can play through pain.
7. Joseph Addai: The starting job is now his, and he should become a complete fantasy standout who catches passes and finishes off many Colts' drives with short scoring runs.
8. Rudi Johnson: The safe pick. Johnson is set to provide his fantasy owners with yet another season of 1,300-plus rushing yards and double-digit rushing scores.
9. Shaun Alexander: Until I know more information for sure about his foot, Alexander drops out of my top five. He said it still might be cracked, Mike Holmgren said it's not, but we don't know anything for certain.
10. Reggie Bush: In leagues that award points for receptions, Bush is going to be an elite player and top-five pick for 2007. Bush will come through with a major breakthrough year.
11. Travis Henry: This season, the Broncos clearly will go with one running back, and Mike Shanahan won't get his usual chances to frustrate fantasy owners.
12. Willis McGahee: The best seasons of his career begin in 2007, as McGahee becomes the crux of the Baltimore offense. He's the power runner the Ravens have needed since Jamal Lewis started to decline.
13. Ronnie Brown: When Miami stabilizes its quarterback situation, Brown will see a rise in point-per-reception leagues, as he should start to flash his receiving skills more in 2007.
14. Deuce McAllister: He'll be a fine finisher on many scoring drives for one of the NFL's best offenses, and the yardage totals will be good again.
15. Maurice Jones-Drew: He's an ideal No. 2 fantasy running back. The touchdown numbers will be outstanding again, even if they drop just a bit.
16. Cedric Benson: This is the year when he flourishes or completely falls on his face. I say he benefits from a regular workload and scores at least eight touchdowns.
17. Laurence Maroney: More opportunity doesn't instantly translate into outstanding production in this case. I want real proof that Maroney can handle being a featured running back. I believe he will be inconsistent.
18. Thomas Jones: I could be undervaluing him here. Jones is going to be a very reliable fantasy starter with the Jets.
19. Edgerrin James: He should be more dependable than he was in 2006, as there will be a concerted effort in Arizona to improve the running game.
20. Marshawn Lynch: The upside and versatility are apparent, and all he has to do is seize an opportunity to start right away. Lynch will be a good No. 2 fantasy running back in his rookie year.
21. Marion Barber III: He's simply the better of the two Dallas running backs, and that will become more clear in 2007, when he delivers even more quality fantasy outings.
22. Clinton Portis: He's going to share carries with another highly productive runner in Ladell Betts. While that might keep Portis healthy, it will hurt his overall fantasy production.
23. Brandon Jacobs: A superb value pick after the third round, Jacobs is going to become a very good No. 2 fantasy starter this year. We all know he can score, but he's going to show us more in 2007.
24. Ahman Green: When he shows his best years are definitely behind him, the Texans will realize they still have problems at running back.
25. Carnell Williams: He still can be a quality fantasy starter, and Cadillac will be a fine value selection if he can stay healthy this year.
26. Jamal Lewis: He should post decent overall numbers this year in Cleveland, and should come through with respectable touchdown totals.
27. DeAngelo Williams: This is the year when he takes the starting job for good and begins his rise to fantasy stardom.
28. Chester Taylor: He still will catch a healthy amount of passes and won't get overworked like he was last year, so Taylor should be a good flex player even though his value has taken an obvious hit.
29. Fred Taylor: The yardage totals are still quite good, but he simply doesn't score often enough.
30. Adrian Peterson: The upside is obvious, but he won't be rushed into a prime role and Peterson won't explode often enough to be a quality fantasy starter in his rookie year.
31. Ladell Betts: He can provide you with some pretty good outings even if he shares touches with Portis, and an injury can always lead to more playing time.
32. Julius Jones: He's going to have to battle hard to keep Marion Barber III from vaulting past him on the depth chart for good.
33. Vernand Morency: He isn't cut out to carry a heavy load, but he has the speed and confidence to come through with some quality fantasy performances.
34. Jerious Norwood: A sleeper who will explode more often this season, even if he shares touches.
35. LaMont Jordan: He can perform respectably if he stays healthy.
36. Warrick Dunn: His days as a decent fantasy starter definitely are numbered.
37. Tatum Bell: If Kevin Jones isn't healthy, he'll have some decent outings.
38. DeShaun Foster: About to be pushed into a secondary role, always an injury risk.
39. LenDale White: Has a great opportunity, but doesn't look like he is ready for it.
40. Kevin Jones: Offseason signings by Detroit make me very wary of his foot problem.
41. Brandon Jackson
42. Chris Henry
43. Corey Dillon
44. Reuben Droughns
45. Anthony Thomas
46. Mike Bell
47. Michael Turner
48. Dominic Rhodes
49. Leon Washington
50. T.J. Duckett
Scott Engel breaks down the draft and fantasy impact for players in the non-skill position.