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Top 30 running backs for 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Nathan Zegura will share a snapshot of their rankings in January to give owners something to ponder.

Top 30 running backs for 2013
Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard
Nathan Zegura
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN 1. Adrian Peterson, MIN 1. Adrian Peterson, MIN
2. Arian Foster, HOU 2. Arian Foster, HOU 2. Arian Foster, HOU
3. Marshawn Lynch, SEA 3. Marshawn Lynch, SEA 3. Marshawn Lynch, SEA
4. Ray Rice, BAL 4. Trent Richardson, CLE 4. Jamaal Charles, KC
5. C.J. Spiller, BUF 5. Ray Rice, BAL 5. Trent Richardson, CLE
6. Doug Martin, TB 6. Doug Martin, TB 6. Doug Martin, TB
7. Trent Richardson, CLE 7. Jamaal Charles, KC 7. C.J. Spiller, BUF
8. LeSean McCoy, PHI 8. Alfred Morris, WAS 8. Ray Rice, BAL
9. Jamaal Charles, KC 9. LeSean McCoy, PHI 9. Alfred Morris, WAS
10. Alfred Morris, WAS 10. C.J. Spiller, BUF 10. LeSean McCoy, PHI
11. Stevan Ridley, NE 11. Stevan Ridley, NE 11. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
12. DeMarco Murray, DAL 12. Chris Johnson, TEN 12. Chris Johnson, TEN
13. Chris Johnson, TEN 13. DeMarco Murray, DAL 13. Stevan Ridley, NE
14. Matt Forte, CHI 14. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC 14. DeMarco Murray, DAL
15. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC 15. Matt Forte, CHI 15. Matt Forte, CHI
16. Darren McFadden, OAK 16. Frank Gore, SF 16. Darren McFadden, OAK
17. Frank Gore, SF 17. Darren McFadden, OAK 17. Frank Gore, SF
18. Darren Sproles, NO 18. Mikel Leshoure, DET 18. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN
19. Ryan Mathews, SD 19. Reggie Bush, MIA 19. Steven Jackson, STL
20. Mikel Leshoure, DET 20. Darren Sproles, NO 20. Darren Sproles, NO
21. Steven Jackson, STL 21. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG 21. Ryan Mathews, SD
22. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN 22. Ryan Mathews, SD 22. Mikel Leshoure, DET
23. Reggie Bush, MIA 23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN 23. Reggie Bush, MIA
24. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG 24. Vick Ballard, IND 24. Vick Ballard, IND
25. Vick Ballard, IND 25. Steven Jackson, STL 25. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
26. Shonn Greene, NYJ 26. Shonn Greene, NYJ 26. David Wilson, NYG
27. Willis McGahee, DEN 27. Knowshon Moreno, DEN 27. Shonn Greene, NYJ
28. Jonathan Stewart, CAR 28. Jonathan Stewart, CAR 28. Willis McGahee, DEN
29. David Wilson, NYG 29. David Wilson, NYG 29. Jonathan Stewart, CAR
30. Mark Ingram, NO 30. Mark Ingram, NO 30. Mark Ingram, NO
Fantasy owners are going to have a tough decision to make on the order of running backs after Peterson and Foster. ... Lynch is the easy choice at No. 3 because in two years as the starter for Seattle he scored 25 total touchdowns with over 1,400 total yards in each season. ... Rice loses value with the potential increase in workload for Bernard Pierce next year, but he still has 25 total touchdowns the past two seasons and at least 1,500 total yards in each of the past four years. ... Spiller is in my Top 5 because of his upside. Fred Jackson could be gone, and Spiller averaged 6.0 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per catch last season. ... I like McCoy and Charles, who will be tied together because of the Andy Reid connection. McCoy is a little safer because of his track record, but the new coach in Philadelphia will determine if he stays ranked behind Charles. I love Charles' upside with Reid, who had three primary running backs during his tenure with the Eagles (Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and McCoy) who combined for six 1,000-yard rushing seasons, seven 1,500 total-yard seasons, nine seasons with at least 50 catches and five seasons with 10 total touchdowns. ... After Morris, who had an impressive rookie campaign, the guessing game sets in with which No. 2 running back to gamble on. Can Ridley repeat as a Bill Belichick running back? Can Murray, McFadden or Mathews stay healthy? How will Jones-Drew do coming off foot surgery? Are Gore and Jackson going to break down? ... You'll have to gamble on one or two of these guys because starting in Round 4 next year -- after the run on running back ends -- finding quality talent could be hard to do. -- Jamey Eisenberg
It's clear at the top between Peterson and Foster, though I could be swayed to push Foster down after such a heavy workload in 2012. ... Owners should have supreme confidence in 2012 rookies Richardson and Martin, both of whom should be effective with a year of work under their belts. Keep in mind with Martin, 33 percent of his Fantasy point totals came in consecutive games (Weeks 8 and 9) while Richardson had a little more consistency. Richardson also played with a broken rib and should be able to do better than 3.6 yards per carry. ... I'm still a fan of Jones-Drew, expecting him to be healthy in time for training camp, be it in Jacksonville or somewhere else. In a perfect world he ends up in a place such as Atlanta, which gets to face some historicially weak run defenses. But even if he stays with the Jags, he should get back to quality statistics. ... After Forte (15th ranked running back), things get ugly quickly at the position. Aiming to get two of the Top 15 running backs on Draft Day is a must in my opinion. ... It was interesting that the three of us like McFadden and Gore at 16th and 17th, basically representing the last two backs you'd be satisfied having as your second back. ... If there's a guy we all have ranked in the mid-late 20s who could ascend inside the top 20s, it's Wilson. He has exceptional speed and potential on a team with a solid offense (late last season notwithstanding) -- if he can learn to pass protect, he'll be one of a handful of backs owners will be happy to target as a No. 2 option with a pick in Round 4 or 5. Until then, he's probably more of a Round 6 or 7 choice. The same goes for Ballard in Indianapolis. -- Dave Richard
It has been a long time since I have felt so good about the Top 16 Fantasy running backs headed into a season. In fact, I think we will see many owners go back to the old RB-RB formula in the first two rounds of 2013 Fantasy drafts. ... Peterson is my clear top option after his remarkable 2012 season and is ahead of Foster, who I am definitely a little concerned about given that he has touched the ball 431 times in 18 games in 2012. ... I really like the runners from Lynch (consistent touches and production) through Morris and this group will likely have some shifts over the next few weeks/months based on some off-season moves. ... I do think Bernard Pierce will be playing a big role for the Ravens in 2013 and that could cut into Rice's overall production, which is why he is down at No.8. ... McCoy, MJD, Johnson, Ridley, Murray and Forte all have top 10 potential, but injuries and system will have a lot to do with where that talented group ends up. ...McFadden will finally be able to be drafted at a palatable spot and the fact that the Raiders jettisoned Greg Knapp will do wonders for him. ... After the Top 16 we do have some real question marks but plenty of upside. Mathews will go late enough in drafts that he can't torpedo your season and will have a reasonable chance at being a decent value. ... It will be very interesting to see what happens in New York because if the team turns the reigns over the Wilson, he could really climb up the rankings. ... There will also be a lot of movement in the rankings this offseason for running back, depending upon how some of these committees (Carolina, Miami, New York, Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans) shake out, we could end up with 20 or so backs with a good chance to shoulder the majority of the load for their respective teams, which would be great news for owners. -- Nathan Zegura

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Player News
Earl Thomas on bad shoulder: 'I'll still play fearless'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:50 pm ET) Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who dislocated his shoulder in the NFC Championship Game, could remain limited in practice this week ahead of the Super Bowl, reports the Seattle Times. But he said he won't be thinking about the injury against the Patriots.

"When I come alive nothing is limited,’’ he said. “I’ll still play fearless, throw my body around, and let whatever happens, happens.’’

Thomas did allow that he might have to rely more on his teammates.

“My mindset is I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates,’’ he said. “This is the first game I’m going to have to trust them because of my injury. So I really, really, really trust my teammates, and that’s what I’m banking on, my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.’’

It's unclear if Thomas will need offseason surgery.

The Seahawks are 1-point underdogs after opening as 2.5-point favorites.


Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck pondering retirement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:17 pm ET) Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told ESPN.com he's not sure if he'll retire or return for a 17th season. Hasselbeck, 39, appeared in four games this season and played well, posting a 102.6 passer rating.

He's set to hit unrestricted free agency.


Colts expected to part ways with center A.Q. Shipley
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:11 pm ET) Colts center A.Q. Shipley is headed for unrestricted free agency, and the team is expected to let him go, reports ESPN.com. 

"Shipley went from starting in Week 1 to losing his starting job, to being inactive, to being the third-string center," the report said. "All without any explanation from coach Chuck Pagano or anybody in the front office."

Shipley, 28, has played in 45 career games, starting 19.


Report: Dolphins aim to re-sign TE Charles Clay
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:57 pm ET) The Dolphins have privately indicated they want to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay and will make him an offer in coming weeks, reports the Miami Herald. Clay caught 58 passes for 605 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games this season.

Miami also is high on Clay's backup, Dion Sims, who's signed through 2016, the paper said.


Browns extremely thin -- and short -- at wide receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:19 pm ET) With wideout Josh Gordon facing a one-year suspension, the Browns are dangerously thin at receiver entering 2015. ESPN.com notes the Browns have two returning slot receivers in Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel and "an undersized situational receiver" in 5-10 Travis Benjamin.

Miles Austin is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after catching 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Tight end Jordan Cameron also is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

Hawkins, a 5-7, 180-pounder, led the team with 63 grabs for 824 yards, with two touchdowns. Cleveland failed to add a wideout in last year's draft but almost certainly must address the position in the 2015 draft.


Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas to practice this week
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:43 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told SiriusXM NFL Radio that cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) and safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) will practice this week and should be "good to go" for the Super Bowl. Both got hurt in the NFC Championship Game.

Seattle is a 1-point underdog to the Patriots after opening as a 2.5-point favorite.


New optimism regarding Justin Blackmon's potential return
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:48 pm ET) A lot of people inside the NFL are optimistic Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon is "overcoming his issues" and will be back in the league in 2015, reports Fox Sports. Blackmon got suspended in November 2013 following his third violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.

He checked into a treatment facility last September. General manager Dave Caldwell said recently he hopes Blackmon wins reinstatement, but is not counting on it.


Reports: Josh Gordon tests positive again, facing 1-year ban
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:55 pm ET) Browns wideout Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol and "now will be subject to a one-year banishment," sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Gordon was suspended for the first 10 games this season for a repeat violation of the league's drug policy.

Pro Football Talk reports that because of Gordon's past DUI, alcohol was one of the substances for which he was being tested. The website said a one-year suspension is likely a "done deal."

The Browns also suspended Gordon for missing a Saturday walkthrough before the regular-season finale, and CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported then the Browns might be ready to part ways with the ultra-talented 23-year-old.

The Browns released the following statement regarding the news: 

"Clearly we are very disappointed to hear the latest report regarding Josh. At this point, due to the confidential nature of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, we have not been made aware by the league of a failed test. We are in the process of gathering more information and will provide further comment at the appropriate time."


Report: Jordan Cameron expected to leave via free agency
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:14 pm ET) Browns tight end Jordan Cameron is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and ESPNCleveland.com does not expect him to re-sign with Cleveland. A concussion and shoulder injury limited Cameron to 10 games this season.

The 26-year-old caught 24 passes for 424 yards and two touchdowns after a breakout 2013 season in which he made 80 grabs for 917 yards and seven scores.


Pats C Bryan Stork showing 'no noticeable signs of injury'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:53 pm ET) Patriots starting center Bryan Stork, who missed the AFC title game with a knee injury, practiced Sunday and "continues to show no noticeable signs of injury," reports ESPN.com. The rookie is on track to play in the Super Bowl.

New England is a 1-point favorite over Seattle after opening as a 2.5-point underdog.


 
 
 
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