Finding the right running back is half the battle. First-round picks can get injured or fail to meet expectations, so there aren’t any sure things. If you land three quality running backs that meet projections you should feel fortunate.
1. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia ($50): Shady can go the distance, but he can also fill up a stat sheet.
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City ($48): Don’t expect 19 TDs again this season (only five in 2012) but he’s a stud.
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota ($45): Didn’t duplicate MVP 2012 numbers but still good in a “down” year (1,266 yards, 11 TDs).
4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay ($43): Packers’ every-down back should improve on 1,178-yard, 11-TD season.
5. Matt Forte, Chicago ($40): The dual threat posted a career-best 1,339 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns.
6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas ($38): Put it all together last year (1,121 rushing yards; 53 receptions and 10 TDs).
7. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh ($38): Coming off a solid rookie season (860 yards in 13 games, 8 TDs).
8. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle ($37): Typical season (1,257 rushing yards, 14 TDs).
9. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay ($36): Don’t forget he ran for 1,454 yards and 12 TDs two years ago.
10. Arian Foster, Houston ($35): An obvious injury risk but should return to form with a 1,300-yard, 12-TD season.
11. Zac Stacy, St. Louis ($35): If he improves on solid stats last year (973 yards, 8 TDs), he could be a difference-maker.
12. Alfred Morris, Wash. ($35): His only flaw is that he’s not a pass catcher; last year had 1,275 rushing yards, 7 TDs.
13. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati ($34): Scored 8 TDs last year; should reach double digits this season.
14. Montee Ball, Denver ($30): Still has much to prove; ran for only 560 yards, 4 TDs.
15. Chris Johnson, N.Y. Jets ($24): With something to prove to a new team, Johnson is coming off another 1,000-yard season.
16. Frank Gore, San Francisco ($24): Some question his age but he continues to produce.
17. Ryan Mathews, San Diego ($22): Former underachiever posted a solid season (1,255 rushing yards, 7 TDs).
18. Andre Ellington, Arizona ($22): With more carries he could nearly double last year’s rookie stats (652 yard, 3 TDs).
19. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee ($22): Titans rookie is expected to have a shot at 1,000 yards in his debut.
20. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo ($20): Capable of some huge games but has never scored many TDs (has averaged five the past three years).
21. Ben Tate, Cleveland ($18): Always showed promise as Arian Foster’s backup; now a starter in Cleveland.
22. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville ($18): Peterson’s former understudy on everyone’s sleeper list now that he’s starting.
23. Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland ($18): With Darren McFadden lurking, nothing is guaranteed but MJD could prosper with Raiders.
24. Reggie Bush, Detroit ($18): Always chips in a lot of ways but it’s uncertain where he fits in new Detroit system.
25. Joique Bell, Detroit ($16): The new offense could enable Bell to be one of this year’s breakout players.
26. Rashard Jennings, N.Y. Giants ($14): Raiders remarkably let him go after he ran for 733 yards and six TDs.
27. Stevan Ridley, New England ($12): Isn’t your typical running back but has scored 19 TDs the past two seasons.
28. Ray Rice, Baltimore ($12): Is slowing down but an old war horse you never count out.
29. Knowshon Moreno, Miami ($12): Don’t expect him to come close to surprising stats he notched last year in Denver.
30. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis ($8): Playing at Alabama and being selected high in draft are only reasons he’s still in top 30.
Others: 31. Devonta Freeman, Atl.; 32. DeAngelo Williams, Car.; 33. Shane Vereen, NE: 34. Fred Jackson, Buff.; 35. Pierre Thomas NO; 36. Steven Jackson, Atl.; 37. Lamar Miller, Mia.; 38. Danny Woodhead, SD; 39. Terrance West, Clev.; 40. Jeremy Hill, Cin; 41. Darren Sproles, Phil; 42. Carlsos Hyde, SF; 43. Chris Ivory, NYJ; 44. Darren McFadden, Oak.; 45. Bernard Pierce, Balt.; 46. Khiry Robinson, NO; 47. Christine Michael, Sea.; 48. LeGarrette Blount, Pitt.; 49. Stepfan Taylor, NO; 50. Tre Mason, St. Louis.