This week we will look at the consistently consistent running backs. The Top 40 most consistent running backs and the number of Quality Games Earned each year are listed below.
I’m going to break these Top 40 into four tiers, analyze each tier and provide some insight on the players within each tier.
Tier One: The Elite (Ranked 1 – 8)
First, let’s identify the Triple-Doubles group, which includes five of the top eight. They include Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson and Frank Gore. Every Fantasy owner who had Rice and MJD on their team knows how well they did. However, it may surprise Fantasy owners to see Chris Johnson on this list after his poor start to the 2011 season. Gore and Jackson were on almost all of my teams in 2011, as they were great values in most of my drafts.
Adrian Peterson missed double-digits since he only played in 12 games. However, he still earned nine Quality Games in 2011. LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster have earned 28 and 27 Quality Games respectively over the past two seasons and would rank first and second as a result.
Tier Two: The Above Average (Ranked 9 – 15)
The second tier includes LaDainian Tomlinson, who is at the end of his career. He really should not be considered an option in the Fantasy mainstream any more.
Matt Forte, Michael Turner and Ahmad Bradshaw are all solid Fantasy backs. They have improved their consistency over the past couple of seasons with double-digit Quality Games each year.
Rashard Mendenhall would have joined the last group but injuries and poor performance dropped him down to only eight Quality Games in 2011. He should rebound in 2012, but I’m not sure I’ll be grabbing him for any of my teams.
Darren Sproles vaulted to nearly the top of the 2011 consistency standings and should be a top pick in PPR leagues in 2012. However, since half of his Quality Games were accrued this season, it’s hard to call him consistently consistent just yet.
Tier Three: The Average (Ranked 16 – 25)
This group is quite a menagerie of Fantasy players. Some are solid players like Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Fred Jackson, Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden. Jackson was a perfect 10 for 10 in Quality Games until an injury ended his season. McFadden was also off to a good start until injuries did him in.
Players like Michael Bush and Jonathan Stewart showed off their consistency potential when given the chance this season.
Cedric Benson and Joseph Addai are players who used to be talented but are slowly becoming inconsistent and thus, forgotten on draft day.
Tier Four: The Others (Ranked 26 – 40)
The bottom tier includes players that need to be separated out and identified as top players from last season that should continue to improve on their 2011 success. These players include Ryan Mathews, Beanie Wells and Jahvid Best. Mathews really broke out in 2011, with 12 Quality Games. He ended the season near the top of the Fantasy rankings in both total points and consistency. Wells earned eight Quality Games and showed flashes of greatness before tailing off near the end of the season. Before his injury, Best was five for six for an 83-percent QSR in 2011, and he earned 10 Quality Games the season before. He’s going to be a great value pick in most drafts in 2012.
There are your most consistent running backs over the past three seasons. Keep this information handy as you prepare for your 2012 Fantasy drafts. Consistency is good but consistently consistent is great!
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