Note: These rankings are for seasonal leagues and will be updated each month throughout the offseason.
1) Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) - He and Adrian Peterson are the two best backs in football, and Johnson had the better year with 2,006 yards rushing and 14 rushing touchdowns. He also added 503 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
2) Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) - Pretty amazing the bar he has set that 1,383 yards rushing, 436 yards receiving and 18 rushing touchdowns would be considered disappointing. He was the second highest scoring player in fantasy football.
3) Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) - I am sure many people thought he would be the third highest scoring back in fantasy football. He does it all with 1,339 yards rushing, 78 receptions, 702 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. The only downer is that backup RB Willis McGahee took away 14 touchdowns.
4) Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) - He finally had his breakout rushing year with his first 1,000-yard-plus season (1,391 yards), plus 53 receptions, 374 yards and 16 touchdowns.
5) Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) - He was limited by injuries in '09; had he played a full 16-game schedule, he would have produced 1,267 yards. He still scored 10 touchdowns in 11 games. There was nothing career-threatening about his injury, so I expect him to bounce back.
6) Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) - I am finally not a Gore hater. After ranking him out of the top 10 the last couple of years, he showed me what I wanted to see: 13 touchdowns to go with those 1,120 yards rushing, 52 receptions and 406 receiving yards.
7) Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) - He is the primary carrier, and he rebounded from 1,203 rushing yards in 2008 to 1,253 yards rushing on 30 fewer carries and scored 11 touchdowns, six more than 2008. His only drawback is that they do not throw him the ball; he has 43 receptions the last two seasons combined.
8) Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) - He plays on a 1-15 team, but you have to give him props for 1,416 yards rushing, 51 receptions, 322 yards and four touchdowns. If he could just score more, he would rank even higher.
9) Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals) - The old saying is, "I am from Missouri, show me." Benson had 1,251 yards rushing and six touchdowns. The good thing is they give him the ball 25 to 30 times; the bad thing is he had only 17 catches for 111 yards.
10) DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) - I have him a little lower because of the emergence of backup Jonathan Stewart. Williams had 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games, but Stewart came on like a monster at the end of the year. I think they will both be viable fantasy running backs, but you never like to see a backup that good.
11) Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) - He had 1,063 yards rushing in his final 13 games and scored eight touchdowns. The Steelers want to become a running team again in 2010, which should benefit Mendenhall.
12) Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs) - He really came on in the second half of the season after Larry Johnson was released. He had 658 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his final four games. He should really benefit from new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
13) Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos) - His 947 yards rushing, 213 yards receiving and nine touchdowns make for a very nice rookie campaign. He should be even better next year, although it has to be a concern that WR Brandon Marshall may be traded.
14) Thomas Jones (New York Jets) - Full disclosure: I had him ranked way too low last year. He was one of my biggest misses in 2009. It is too bad he is not younger; he was sixth among running backs in fantasy points this year, with 1,402 yards rushing and 14 rushing touchdowns, but he will be 32 years old next year. He plays behind a great line and on a run first team, but you have to be concerned about the age and backup second-year RB Shonn Greene waiting in the wings.
15) Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers) - I personally think he is the more special running back between him and Williams, and with 1,133 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns, he is going to demand more playing time.
16) Chris Wells (Arizona Cardinals) - This guy really came on in the second half of the season and finished with 793 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns. The big question is does he or Tim Hightower start? And is QB Kurt Warner going to be back next year?
17) Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys) - Jerry Jones owns the team, and he did not draft Jones in the first round to ride the bench. He had a lot more carries in the second half of the season and the playoffs, and I would be shocked if he is not starting next year.
18) Justin Forsett (Seattle Seahawks) - Fantasy Owners know this guy for his 619 yards rushing, 5.4 yards per carry and four touchdowns to go along with his 41 receptions, 350 yards and one receiving touchdown. New head coach Pete Carroll is not going to go with Julius Jones next year, and the rest of the NFL world is going to find out who Justin Forsett is. I think he has the potential to be 2010's Ray Rice.
19) Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts) - The Colts rank 32nd in rushing yards, and he has Donald Brown stealing carries. The only good thing was 51 receptions, 366 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns, but I think he loses more time to Brown in 2010.
20) Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) - The biggest disappointment from 2009, he did manage 929 yards rushing, 57 receptions, 477 yards receiving and four touchdowns. I hope that he can bounce back, but he is a very weak No. 2 running back given the Bears' offensive line situation.
21) Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins) - He is technically a free agent this year, so we are going to have to update this as it goes along, but Ricky Williams is 32 years old, and I can't imagine they will not try to bring Brown back for 2010. He would rank higher if he could stay healthy.
22) Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) - Even though he was not the starter, he scored more fantasy points than starter Brandon Jacobs and had 778 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. The way things went last year; I think he is the better play, even though Jacobs is the bigger name.
23) Willis McGahee (Baltimore Ravens) - Rice stole all the yards, but McGahee had 14 touchdowns. My only concern is that the same thing happened to Chris Johnson last year with LenDale White, and in 2009, Johnson took both the yards and the touchdowns. If McGahee does not score touchdowns, he has no value.
24) Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) - I was hoping for bigger things, but he was hurt in training camp and just never recovered. I would like to see him play a full 16 games before I am ready to write him off as a viable back. He is buried in a running back by committee situation, which hurts.
25) Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys) - I think he is still going to have value, just as all three Dallas backs were playable this year, but he is going to see a lot fewer carries and will be in for short yardage and touchdowns.
26) Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins) - It was good to see him with 1,121 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, but he is a free agent, and I'm not sure if the Dolphins will bring back the 32-year-old or some other team will outbid him them for his services. He could move up depending on what happens with he and Brown.
27) Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills) - It is hard to rank a player when a new head coach, Chan Gailey, is barely hired, but he had 1,062 yards rushing, 46 receptions, 371 yards receiving and four touchdowns. If Gailey names him the starter, he will surely elevate in our rankings.
28) LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers) - The only thing that kept him viable was 12 rushing touchdowns; he gained only 730 yards on 3.3 yards per carry. The end is near for one of the most productive backs in NFL history.
29) Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants) - Arguably the second biggest running back disappointment from 2009, he ranked 30th among running backs with just 835 yards rushing and six touchdowns. That is down from 15 in 2008. I would expect a small bounce-back, but he is no longer a must start each week.
30) Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins) - I am not certain he is going to be back. The good news is he had success with Mike Shanahan in Denver, but he needs to be wearing a uniform if he is going to produce.
31) Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - He had a nice comeback from serious injury with 821 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns.
32) Shonn Greene (New York Jets) - If you draft Thomas Jones, you must handcuff him with Greene. If Jones suffers an injury next year, Greene could be a top 15 running back.
33) LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) - I think he will eventually be the starter depending on what happens with Brian Westbrook, but head coach Andy Reid does not dial up the run game enough for him to be viable on a consistent basis.
34) Jerome Harrison (Cleveland Browns) - Again, not consistent enough. He had 286 yards rushing in one game but disappeared in a lot of others. I would rather just be able to depend on 80 yards than have to guess when he explodes.
35) Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo Bills) - Again, we will revisit him when new coach, Chan Gailey, comments on the situation. He was the backup to end the season, and we are ranking him as such.
36) Michael Bush (Oakland Raiders) - The Raiders have an underrated running game, but it is spread between three different backs. Even though Darren McFadden is the first round pick, I think Bush has the most potential to be an every down running back.
37) Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts) - Brown is the victim of being one of many weapons in an explosive offense. He could see more touches in his second year.
38) Steve Slaton (Houston Texans) - I do not think he is going to be the starter, but more of a third down running back. Houston's backfield will be something to keep an eye on this offseason.
39) Sammy Morris (New England Patriots) - When he is healthy, he seems to be head coach Bill Belichick's favorite. The problem is that he is never healthy. Laurence Maroney cannot seem to go more than two weeks without being in the doghouse.
40) Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints) - He can be a good play in PPR leagues, but he just does not see the ball enough to be an every week starter.
The Next 20
41) Tim Hightower (Arizona Cardinals)
42) Laurence Maroney (New England Patriots)
43) Kevin Smith (Detroit Lions)
44) Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders)
45) Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
46) Correll Buckhalter (Denver Broncos)
47) Glen Coffee (San Francisco 49ers)
48) Darren Sproles (San Diego Chargers)
49) Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers)
50) Chester Taylor (Minnesota Vikings)
51) Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles)
52) Larry Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals)
53) Mike Bell (New Orleans Saints)
54) Chris Jennings (Cleveland Browns)
55) Justin Fargas (Oakland Raiders)
56) LenDale White (Tennessee Titans)
57) Julius Jones (Seattle Seahawks)
58) Brandon Jackson (Green Bay Packers)
59) Arian Foster (Houston Texans)
60) Brian Scott (Cincinnati Bengals)