From the highly controversial author who has previously pointed out that rushing success is irrelevant in today's NFL, I'm going to go on record stating that Elite Running Backs are a waste of money.
Let's take our top 5 fantasy RBs for example. In order, it was Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis, AP, Jamaal Charles, and Chris Johnson. All-Pro Foster led the Houston Texans to a mighty 6-10 record. Peyton Hillis led the Browns to an unstoppable 5-11 record. The untackleable AP led the mighty mighty Vikings to a 6-10 record.
All Pro Jamaal Charles helped the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and the Playoffs, getting eliminated in the first round because some genius had the smart idea that they had to run more than pass and so they only scored 7 points. Now note, of these teams, Charles is the only one with a winning record but that's because guess what? They got a Pro Bowl QB in Matt Cassel (27 TDs vs 7 INTs, pretty good year I'd say).
And lastly Chris Johnson of the Titans. Nobody can stop Chris Johnson. Nobody. That's why their record was 6-10. How can anyone stop the run?
There you have it. Top 5 RBs and the only one not on a sucky team is the one with the Pro Bowl QB.
Out of curiosity, let's see who the top fantasy QB is? Hey, it's Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl MVP.
So like I said, rushing success is irrelevant. Throw the damn ball (and let the pass open up the run).
This year, we got Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and Frank Gore as our top fantasy RBs.
Chris Johnson has an absolutely amazing year, rushing for over 2000 yards and causing a big argument - who's better, Johnson or Adrian Peterson? That's a lot of yards. Did the Titans a lot of good. 8-8. Playoffs? Well...
AP is #2. Yes, the Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game. But guess what? It wasn't because of Adrian Peterson. It was because of Brett Lorenzo Favre throwing for 33 TDs vs 7 INTs. Peterson's best year was the year before when he led the NFL in rushing yardage and the Vikings went one and out in the Playoffs because they couldn't throw the ball.
MJD is #3 and took the Jaguars all the way to a 7-9 record.
4th is Ray Rice who took the 9-7 Ravens all the way to the AFC Championship Game where they only scored 3 points because Flacco sucked and you know what? Rushing really doesn't score points. (Points win ball games). But we already know that.
Frank Gore's #5 and watched the Playoffs on TV at home with the rest of the 8-8 49ers. Is there anyone here who still wants to pay big money for a Running Back? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?
Oh, guess who the top 2 Fantasy QBs were in that year? Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, respectively. Rodgers went one and out but Brees famously hoisted the SB trophy.
DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Thomas Jones were your top 5 for 2008.
Wlliams took the 12-4 Panthers all the way to the Playoffs where they got their asses handed to them by the Arizona Cardinals 33-13. Ouch! Why did they lose so badly? Well, their QB (the most important guy on the Offense) sucked. The top RB in the NFL just couldn't do shit because as I've already stated, you win games by scoring more points than your opponent. Rushing leads to punts. Passing is how points are scored.
Michael Turner led the 11-5 Falcons to the Wild Card game where they got beaten by those same Cardinals. What happened? Well, Michael Turner only got 42 rushing yards while Kurt Warner on the other team threw a 42 yard TD to Larry Fitzgerald and a 71 yard TD to Boldin. Passing, folks. That's how you score points. Oh, I've already said that.
This is weird. In 2008, the top 3 RBs were in the Playoffs. Very different from '10 and '09. But that's how it goes. Adrian Peterson took the 10-6 Vikings to the Wild Card game where they put the game in AP's hands. Great hands, no doubt, and 2 TD runs. But passing > rushing and even though the Vikings held Brian Westbrook to only 38 yards on 20 carries, they lost 26-14 because the Eagles coach knows that to win games, you throw the damn ball. McNabb lit them up. One and done.
da Bears. Missed the Playoffs with a 9-7 record. Poor Matt Forte. What a wasted year.
And lastly, we all know the story of the 2008 Jets. Favre did well and the Jets won. Favre sucked and the Jets lost. Rushing? Well, that doesn't have much bearing on the game. Oh, Thomas Jones was the RB just in case you were wondering.
So there you have it. The past 3 years. I could go further but I'm heading out to see a play in a few minutes. Who won the SB? Well, the team with the #1 D.
Like I've been saying - the most important thing is an elite D. Then an elite QB. RB? Well, you don't want to spend too much money on them as with a salary cap, spend it on defenders instead. It really doesn't matter who's back there. Rushing success is irrelevant to the success of your team.