Reggie Bush is the team's big name and RB receiving threat, but Thomas still managed over 900 rushing and receiving yards on 129 attempts and 31 receptions. If the kid gets 200 touches this year, look out. If your league factors in receiving yards too, Thomas offers yet another bonus. Look for a great season in an explosive offense. If Reggie Bush gets hurt again (which he is as I write this), Thomas could end up a top 5 RB by season's end.
- Kevin Smith, DET - Smith heads into his sophomore season as the Lions feature back. Rudi Johnson is gone and Smith slimmed down over the summer so he can improve his outside running game. While he didn't light it up last season, he put up 1261 yards with 39 receptions and 8 TDs. Expect those numbers to climb, including double digit scores. The team's QB situation is still a mess and the run will be emphasized all season.
- Marion Barber, DAL - I'm not, nor have I ever been a big fan of Barber's. He's simply not feature back material. This season he will be part of a three-headed RBBC with a healthy Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. However, Barber is still the go-to-guy and had 1300 yards, 52 receptions and 9 TDs in 2008.
- Clinton Portis, WAS - Each year I think the legs will fall off this guy and each year he proves me wrong. Though not entirely. Portis is certainly consistent, averaging 1265 rushing yards and 316 receiving yards over the last three seasons. He started 2008 strong, leading the league with seven TDs and almost 1000 yards at the halfway mark. But as I predicted, his legs fell off in the second half where he scored only two more times and sported a YPC under three down the stretch when fantasy teams needed him most. My recommendation, if he starts hot again, sell him high and let some other team watch his legs liquefy.
- Ronnie Brown, MIA - I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth just writing his name here. However, he had 1170 total yards, 33 receptions, and 10 scores despite the presence of Ricky Williams.
- Darren McFadden, OAK - Remember last year when everyone jumped on this kid like the second coming of Adrian Peterson? No. I don't blame you for erasing that memory. Well Darren is healthy this year and he has pressure to perform with Bush and Fargas behind him. Look for him to start fulfilling some of those expectations this season, especially if Jeff Garcia takes over for the floundering JaMarcus Russell at QB.
- Marshawn Lynch, BUF- He's suspended for the season's first three games which opens the door for Fred Jackson, but Lynch is still working out with the first team, so make of that what you will. I'm avoiding him this year unless he falls drastically.
- Knowshon Moreno, DEN - The rookie will split carries with Lamont Jordan and Correll Buckhalter, but Moreno will ultimately be the featured back, and he has good hands. I expect 40 plus receptions, a good 1000+ yards and close to double-digit TDs.
- Thomas Jones, NYJ - Jones had a career year for the Jets last season, and if not for the arrival of rookie Shonn Greene I'd have him much higher. However, Jones has eclipsed 30 years of age, and the Jets will be phasing him out since Greene is a younger version of T.J.
- Reggie Bush, NOS - He's a reception machine, he handles returns and despite his rash of injuries he's usually good for 1000 yards and close to double digit TDs.
- Derrick Ward, TBB - Ward gets his first chance to be the feature back, but he'll split carries with Earnest Graham. Still he's a solid pass-catching back on a run-first team, with no deep threat QB, so short passes will abound.
- Brandon Jacobs, NYG - He's not a big PPR threat but he's still a solid feature RB who can put up lots of yards and find the end-zone about once a game on average.
- Ryan Grant, GBP - Grant had high expectations last season, but a pre-season injury seemed to slow him out the gate. He still ended up with respectable yardage, but did not figure into the passing game. Look for a strong comeback effort in 2009.
- Donald Brown, IND - My bold prediction here is Brown proves more fantasy worthy than Addai in 2009. I expect at least 1000 total yards, 9 TDs and 40 receptions.
- Joseph Addai, IND
- Shonn Greene, NYJ
- Jonathan Stewart, CAR
- LenDale White, TEN
- Cedric Benson, CIN
- Felix Jones, DAL
- Chris "Beanie" Wells, ARI
- Earnest Graham, TBB
- Fred Jackson, BUF
- Willie Parker, PIT
- Ray Rice, BAL
- Willis McGahee, BAL
- Larry Johnson, KCC
- Darren Sproles, SDG - See below.
- Leon Washington, NYJ - See below.
- LeSean McCoy, PHI
- Jerious Norwood, ATL -See below.
- Chester Taylor, MIN
- Jamal Lewis, CLE
- Julius Jones, SEA
- Tim Hightower, ARI
- Ricky Williams, MIA
- LeRon McClain, BAL
- Laurence Maroney, NEP
- Fred Taylor, NEP
--PPR RB Spotlight--
Here is the shortlist of names to figure into your rankings and draft strategy if your league also includes points for return yards. Also included are key back-ups.
Leon Washington, NYJ - Was the 12th highest scoring PPR fantasy RB in 2008. Washington's numbers are fairly consistent year after year.
Darren Sproles, SDG - LT's back up was the 18th overall RB in PPR scoring in 2008.
Jerious Norwood, ATL - Michael Turner's RB2 was 20th overall in PPR scoring last season.
Kevin Faulk, NEP - Year after year, Faulk is a quietly productive fantasy option. He ranked 25th overall.
Other guys to remember, Chester Taylor, Dominic Rhodes, Mewelde Moore. Any of these guys can sneak in solid fantasy numbers in PPR leagues. So check your league settings, do some research, then slaughter your league-mates who only scratched the surface and didn't do their homework like you are doing RIGHT NOW!