2009 Rookie Running Back Rankings – Post Draft 1

04/27/2009 2:26 am by in Fantasy Football Articles

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With the 2009 NFL Draft now in the rear view, it’s time to freshly rank the 2009 Rookie Running Backs. The main objective here is to breakdown these rushers from a dynasty perspective, but I will also address redraft values as well. Here we go.

Updated Last: 6/19/09

 

1. Chris Wells | # 28 | Cardinals

Height: 6-1, Weight: 237 | Date of Birth: 8/7/88 | College: Ohio State

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2006
104
576
5.5
7
2
16
0
2007
274
1,609
5.9
15
5
21
0
2008
207
1,197
5.8
8
8
47
0

Fantasy: [6/19/09] Knowshon Moreno was our clear No. 1 rookie running back before the Jay Cutler trade, but Chris Wells owns the spot now. We still like Moreno a lot, especially for the future, but Wells is getting inserted into an insanely productive offensive attack and they want to run the football more in the coming years. Wells could easily rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie and he might just score 8-10 touchdowns. Moreno might struggle to reach those kind of numbers with Cutler in Chicago, but it’s possible that Denver’s passing attack could surprise. Don’t be surprised if both Wells and Moreno end up getting drafted in the top 12 overall in 2010 yearly leagues.

Fantasy: [4/28/09] Chris "Beanie" Wells landed in the IDEAL situation. Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt comes from the Pittsburgh Steelers system, which means he wants to run the football between-the-tackles. Make no mistake, Arizona is still going to sling the rock, but Whisenhunt now has his workhorse and he will surely use him! Knowshon Moreno is still my number one overall ranked rookie in this 2009 rookie running back class, but as I said above, I like both Moreno and Wells a ton and firmly believe that both can be top 10 fantasy running backs of the future. Wells only ran a 4.59 at the Combine, but he reportedly clocked between 4.34 and 4.46 at his Pro Day… at his size, even 4.46 is plenty fast!

Player Comparison: Michael Turner

Forty Time: reportedly 4.34-4.46 at Pro Day | 4.59 Combine time View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

2. Knowshon Moreno | # 24 | Broncos

Height: 5-11, Weight: 217 | Date of Birth: 7/16/87 | College: Georgia

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2007
248
1,334
5.4
14
20
253
0
2008
250
1,400
5.6
16
33
392
2

Fantasy: [6/19/09] Again, as stated above, before Jay Cutler was traded to Chicago, Knowshon Moreno was our No. 1 ranked rookie running back from this 2009 class. We still have him closely behind Chris Wells, but Wells just seems like the safer bet (for 2009 at least). Monitor the current Brandon Marshall situation. Marshall wants out of Denver and is demanding a trade. Denver already destroyed a lot of their offensive attack by trading away Cutler, but if they lose Marshall, that Denver rushing attack will struggle badly in 2009. That said, we don’t see Marshall leaving, but will he hold out? For now, we still think that Moreno will have a very productive rookie season – We predict that he will enter 2010 yearly drafts as a top 12 overall pick.

Fantasy: [4/28/09] I admit that I was a bit shocked when this selection was first announced, as the Broncos have addressed the running back position quite a bit this off-season. The team recently brought in LaMont Jordan, Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington, and that was with Peyton Hillis, Selvin Young and Ryan Torain already on the roster. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Ryan Torain quite a bit as far as talent goes, but the organization apparently isn’t all that high on him and the rest of the backs listed above do not threaten Moreno’s value one bit! Think of those six rushers that I just mentioned above as peripheral competition. The Broncos took KnoMo at No. 12 overall, so don’t worry about his future in Denver! He could share carries out of the gate, but that could be a good thing, as the rookie will finish strong if he waits until week three or four to kick things into high gear. So how good can KnoMo be? If you ask me, the Georgia product is a beast-in-the-making and quite possibly the next LaDainian Tomlinson. He has low mileage and he has put on the necessary weight that a runner needs in order to survive in this league. He did weigh 207 pounds in college, but the future stud gained about seven quality pounds heading into the NFL Combine, which puts him at DeAngelo Williams weight (217) — Moreno is now the perfect size at 5-11, 217. In 2008, the Georgia running back produced three 3TD-performances, rushed for over 100 yards seven times and scored in every single regular season game but two. So we have to talk about his forty time now. Many fear that Moreno isn’t fast enough, as he only ran a 4.63 forty at the Combine and a 4.6 at his Pro Day, but that doesn’t matter. Why? Frank Gore ran a 4.65 at his combine in 2005 and Terrell Davis ran a 4.72 in 1995 – Moreno is plenty quick and he will get faster in his new skin. The added weight is more important than a touch faster combine time. Do not listen to those who are concerned with his speed, instead take full advantage! Moreno really could be the next big thing at the running back position. Both Chris Wells and Moreno could be top 5-10 fantasy backs of the future.

Player Comparison: LaDainian Tomlinson

Forty Time: 4.60 Pro Day | 4.63 Combine time View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

 

3. Shonn Greene | #23 | Jets

Height: 5-11, Weight: 235 | Date of Birth: 8/1/85 | College: Iowa

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2005
37
173
4.7
1
0
0
0
2006
32
205
6.4
1
3
23
0
2008
307
1,850
6.0
20
8
49
0

Fantasy: [6/19/09] Recent reports suggest that the Jets might consider trading Thomas Jones, but sources also suggest that the team would only consider such a move if Shonn Greene proves he is everything the team thought he was. The Jets had Greene listed as their number one ranked running back on draft day, so the opportunity is there for the rookie, especially for the future. Greene couldn’t have landed in a better spot for the long-term. As for just 2009, Greene has a shot to be one of the best rookie rushers from this class — He has that much talent. Call us crazy, but 3-4 rookie runners from this 2009 class could end up being top 25 overall fantasy players in just 1-2 seasons. Greene is easily one of those guys!

Fantasy: [4/28/09] Shonn Greene has been my dark horse since January, but as I said even back then, it’s hard to be a sleeper when you rush for 1,850 yards and score 20 touchdowns in your final season in college. As you will see, Greene missed the entire 2007 season. He worked at a furniture store in order to pay for school tuition at Kirkwood Community College. After raising his GPA, Greene then transferred to Iowa and instantly became a star. In 2008, the runner hit the 100-yard mark during every single 2008 contest. That’s right, Greene rushed for over 100 yards in all 13 games! He scored in every single game but one and scored 14 times in his final six outings. He has all the measurables and is the perfect size for the NFL at 5-11, 235 pounds and is in the ideal long-term situation with the Jets. The Jets couldn’t have had a more powerful draft moving up to select quarterback Mark Sanchez, and landing Greene was absolutely ridiculous. Both are the future of that Jets franchise and everyone in New York knows it! According to NJ.com, the Jets "could hardly contain themselves" when RB Shonn Greene was still on the board after day one of the 2009 NFL Draft. Last Saturday night, after rounds one and two of the 2009 NFL Draft, and into Sunday morning, the Jets organization reportedly determined by a unanimous vote that they had to do whatever needed to be done to land Greene. They actually traded up to get him with the very first pick of day two (which was the start of round three). Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn had Greene rated as his top running back prospect out of all of the 2009 running back class. Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly praised Greene’s vision and compared him Curtis Martin. "This is a special talent," Ryan said. "We want to run the football and this guy gives us that kind of ‘ground and pound’ that we’re looking for." This running back looks like Ronnie Brown in-the-making (before his ACL tear). He might just be this year’s Chris Johnson, meaning when all is said and done he could be the biggest steal from 2009 fantasy football rookie drafts. Trade up to get this guy at your 1.04! To prove that we’re walking the walk on this one, we just traded up in our 2009 FFX Dynasty Expert Rookie Draft to draft Greene. This is a pure dynasty league and we traded Joseph Addai, Lee Evans, Miles Austin, Zach Miller for the 1.06, which landed us Greene, and we also received Ben Roethlisberger and a second-round rookie selection. That’s how much we like Greene in 2009 and beyond!

Player Comparison: Ronnie Brown

Forty Time: 4.50 Pro Day | 4.63 Combine time View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3

 

4. LeSean McCoy | # 25 | Eagles

Height: 5-11, Weight: 197 | Date of Birth: 7/12/88 | College: Pittsburgh

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2007
276
1,328
4.8
14
33
244
1
2008
308
1,488
4.8
21
32
305
0

Fantasy: [6/19/09] Brian Westbrook (ankle surgery) is expected to be ready for the 2009 regular season, but that could change. If it does, LeSean McCoy will climb dynasty and redraft ADPs like crazy. Even if Westy is ready for 2009, McCoy is our No. 4 ranked rookie runner entering 2009. As for the future, the sky is the limit for McCoy. We can see McCoy eventually being a second-round fantasy pick in future years.

Fantasy: [5/3/09] Landing with the Eagles will probably end up being a good thing for McCoy’s future value, but if Brian Wesbrook can stay relatively healthy this upcoming season, the rookie might not have a huge impact in his first NFL campaign. McCoy is a must-have for Westy owners entering ’09, but Shonn Greene is easily worth more in our eyes at this point in the off-season. We could actually make a case for McCoy going ahead of Donald Brown, though.

Player Comparison: DeAngelo Williams

Forty Time: 4.45 projection (DNP Combine) | View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

 

4. Donald Brown | #34 | Colts

Height: 5-10, Weight: 208 | Date of Birth: 4/11/87 | College: Connecticut

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2006
161
896
5.6
7
13
66
2
2007
170
821
4.8
8
14
85
0
2008
367
2,083
5.7
18
21
125
0

Fantasy: [5/2/09] Donald Brown is a tough guy to rank right now. He is certainly a must-own for Joseph Addai owners, but we’re not so sure Addai is eventually going to lose his job to Brown. The 5-10 runner is a solid talent, and solid enough to rank ahead of McCoy, but it’s close. Addai is extremely underrated heading into 2009, and Brown-only owners might be getting a little too excited about the immediate future. Brown could be the future in Indy, we’re not going to say that it isn’t possible, but Addai is still very young and has really only had one bad season so far in his young career. Although, if Brown falls to bargain value in your upcoming 2009 fantasy football draft, take full advantage. Dynasty league owners should probably expect to have to overpay to land the guy (so, we say take Shonn Greene instead) and redraft league owners better not even think about taking Brown near where you’d take Addai.

Player Comparison: Derrick Ward

Forty Time: 4.51 Combine time | View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2

 

6. Bernard Scott | #3 | Bengals

Height: 5-10, Weight: 200 | Date of Birth: 2/10/1984 | College: Abilene Christian

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2007
251
2,165
8.62
35
46
565
4
2008
266
2,156
8.10
28
47
826
6

Fantasy: [5/3/09] Bernard Scott is a boom or bust pick heading into 2009 fantasy football rookie drafts. The guy is insanely talented and couldn’t have landed in a better situation, as Cedric Benson is really the only standing in Scott’s way in Cincy. Scott has had a lot of off-the-field problems, though, which is the biggest negative attached to his name. He played for four colleges and was reportedly arrested five times. If you ignore all of that, the kid is a possible stud-in-the-making. He won the Division II equivalent to the Heisman in 2008 and finished his college career having rushed for at least 100 yards in 17 consecutive contests. He went over the 200-yard mark in four of his final six college outings and set college records by rushing for 292 yards and seven touchdowns in Abilene Christian’s 93-68 victory over West Texas A&M. Scott has amazing hands, averaging over 17 yards per catch on 47 receptions in 2008. He also racked up 5,712 rush/rec yards and 73TDs in just his last two college seasons.

Do we really need to say more? The risk is present, no question, but that risk is low considering Scott is falling into the third-round in early 2009 fantasy football rookie drafts. He is almost all upside at that value! We just took him with the 3.08 pick in our live 2009 expert rookie draft, but to be honest, we’re going to start targeting him in the second-round in future expert rookie drafts just to ensure we land him. Again, a guy with his past and track record is going to come with some risk, but investing, given the cost, is an easy call if you ask me.

Player Comparison: Steven Jackson

Forty Time: 4.56 Combine time | View Times

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2

 

7. James Davis | #1 | Browns

Height: 5-11, Weight: 210 | Date of Birth: 1/1/1986 | College: Clemson

Stats
Rushing
Year
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
REC
YDS
TD
2005
165
879
5.3
9
19
152
0
2006
203
1,187
5.5
17
6
115
0
2007
214
1,064
5.0
10
12
51
2
2008
171
751
4.4
11
14
123
0

Fantasy: [5/10/09] James Davis is a good running back. He has solid speed (4.45-4.49) and has a nose for the end zone (47 touchdowns in four seasons). He knifes his way through rushing lanes like a beast and is very capable between the tackles. Davis, selected by the Browns with the No. 195 overall pick, landed in the perfect situation. Only Jamal Lewis, who turns 30 before the 2009 season kicks off, is standing in his way. Lewis will almost certainly start Week 1 if healthy, but Davis has a good shot at being the future of that Cleveland rushing attack. While we would like to see Davis put on a good 7-10 quality pounds, the Clemson product has the makings of a full-time NFL rusher.
Davis almost entered the 2008 NFL Draft after his 1,064-yard junior season, but he decided to return to Clemson for his senior season to again split carries with C.J. Spiller. Despite sharing carries with another stud running back, Davis still had a good season and posted three multiple-TD performances. NFL teams let Davis drop in the 2009 NFL Draft — Well, don’t let him fall in your 2009 fantasy football rookie drafts. He is worth a late first-round grab without question. While he is certainly no lock to succeed, very few backs ever are, there is no reason that this kid can’t be this year’s monster-steal when all is said and done (think Chris Johnson last year).

Player Comparison: Reggie Bush

Forty Time: 4.45-4.49 at Pro Day

Video Footage: Clip 1 | Clip 2



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17 Comments so far

  1. Smitty April 27th, 2009 2:26 am

    Other rankings and fantasy takes are welcome, so feel free to post!

  2. Scorpion April 28th, 2009 10:49 am

    McCoy!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. Smitty April 28th, 2009 5:31 pm

    I’m telling you, this running back class will turn out to be one of the strongest in years! So many are down on this group because of lack of speed. Mistake!

  4. Z April 28th, 2009 7:24 pm

    Solid evaluation , A+ (like usually ).

  5. North End Dirtdogs April 28th, 2009 7:31 pm

    On a funny side note, during the 1st Donald Brown clip above, if you watch the ESPN Bottom Line, it says OSU Coach says Chris Wells out (foot). Kinda funny.

  6. r7w7b7 April 28th, 2009 8:28 pm

    Nice evaluations Smitty! I agree this is a very good rookie class. I don’t really see that much value in Rashad Jennings due to his situation in Jacksonville. I believe I do have a sleeper RB for everyone! James Davis from Clemson, drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 21st pick in the 6th round. Davis has good size at 5’11″ and 218 pounds, and has good enough quickness despite running a 4.6 at the combine. Davis is also in a very favorable situation in Cleveland, where he is only one Jamal “twinkletoes” Lewis injury away from a significant amount of carries. I see Davis going in the late 2nd to early 3rd round of a rookie dynasty draft. Good drafting everyone!

  7. Smitty May 2nd, 2009 5:05 am

    r7w7b7:

    Bernard Scott (CIN) bumped Jennings out.

  8. LS2throwed May 3rd, 2009 5:24 pm

    Scott is tremendous potential in the 3rd round, but he does possess so much risk being a knuckle head, he makes Chris Henry look like a jay walker, Scott’s troubles are well documented back to HS.

    He’s a guy I’d probably sell high on if he really started to tear it up, he strikes me as an Antonio Bryant type, filled with so much talent, but I don’t know if he’ll have a long career in the NFL without running into the same troubles.

    I am taking advantage of the landing spots for these backs, and looking to target James Davis, Jennings, and Scott all in the early 3rd if possible and hope that one turns into a keeper.

  9. Smitty May 4th, 2009 8:17 pm

    Yea, James Davis really is being overlooked by many. He probably is right up there with Scott above.

  10. [...] Greene hasn’t become a household name in fantasy football just yet since being drafted on the second day kept him out of the early round festivities, but we’ll see how long that lasts. [...]

  11. Smitty May 10th, 2009 3:44 am

    Again, there are no locks with rookie running backs, and given that I’m excited about probably 7 rookie RBs this year, at least a couple will disappoint I’m sure of it. That’s just the way it is.

    - Moreno and Wells are almost locks to be studs IMO. Of course injury could change that..

    - Greene and McCoy and even Brown all have similar upside and similar risk… things have to fall into place for players in these kinds of situations, but I like Greene’s 2009 best and he has huge, huge upside for the future if he can stay healthy and work hard to become an every-down back. That part is key. McCoy has a bright future, but his breakout could be at least a year away. Brown… given the DeAngelo/Stewart situation we all just witnessed in 2008, I’m not too hopeful about Brown busting out anytime soon. He could, I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but remember that JJ Arrington was easily as good a prospect coming out of college, if not better… don’t forget that when you start loading up on rookie runners. As high as I am on this rookie class, we’re bound to have at least 1-2 Arringtons in this group of 7 really good rookie running back prospects. The trick is trying to land the right ones. I do feel this class will produce a handful of future fantasy studs, though.

    - Scott and Davis have the most risk, but both could easily be top 3-4 in terms of rookie running backs if everything plays out perfectly for them. One will likely fail, but I’m hopeful one of the two of these guys gets a shot, stays healthy and has a great rookie season…

  12. CK2139 May 16th, 2009 11:02 am

    Thanks for telling me about B. Scott! I grab him up at 1-10(my third pick) in my dyanasty league, I didn’t think he would be there at 2-9. plus S. Greene fell to me at 1-5… I feel like its Christmas in May.

  13. Smitty May 18th, 2009 1:51 am

    Nice work, CK2139! We will keep it coming!

  14. gelat0 May 28th, 2009 12:03 am

    Agree with your rankings great job!, I would probably swap Davis and Scott since Jamal Lewis is older than Cedric Benson, and Lewis is already having injury issues and it is only May.. Another guy in a similar situation as Scott and Davis is Arian Foster.. I do not think Slaton is big enough to withstand a 17 week pounding, and we all know Chris Brown is good but has major trouble staying healthy.. With that said Foster is the only RB with full time NFL size on the Texans roster and was projected as a 2nd round pick in the 2007 draft had he come out.. The film on this guy is impressive..

  15. gelat0 May 28th, 2009 12:06 am
  16. Smitty May 30th, 2009 4:38 am

    Arian Foster is becoming a dark horse for a lot of people right now. He is in a quietly good situation I think.

  17. [...] he has a 60-percent success rate, he’s a huge success. Keep that in mind when you are upset that we thought Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno and several other rookie running backs were better than Ari….You Might Also Like:8 Reasons NOT to take Arian Foster First OverallMaking a Case For Taking Ray [...]

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