Ezra Shaw / Getty Images
Dolphins running back Ricky Williams found immense fantasy success in 2002, despite the lack of a solid quarterback.


Fantasy footballers want all the information possible to help determine the stock of running backs. After all, chances are you'll be investing your first-round pick in the position. Whether it's trends, depth-chart movement or personnel changes, there are a number of different components that can impact a runner's value.

An effective quarterback isn't one of them.

Sure, Edgerrin James benefitted from the presence of Peyton Manning during his time in Indianapolis, and life was much easier for Emmitt Smith in Dallas with Troy Aikman under center. But the absence of a reliable signal-caller is no reason to pass on an otherwise talented back. The proof of this statement is evident when looking back at some of the most productive seasons at the position during the Super Bowl era.

So before you pass on the likes of Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Kevin Smith or Darren McFadden in your fantasy football draft because of their team's unattractive quarterback situation, check out these 10 running backs who recorded monster numbers despite the presence of a productive field general.

Running back Washington Redskins (2008) Quarterback

Clinton Portis
Injuries hurt Portis' numbers down the stretch, but he was the best running back in fantasy football during the first half of the season. He finished in the top 10 in points among runners on NFL.com, posting 1,705 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns. That was despite the fact that Campbell posted a mediocre 3,245 passing yards and failed to throw a single touchdown pass in five of his final 12 starts.
Jason Campbell


Running back Minnesota Vikings (2007) Quarterback

Adrian Peterson
Peterson put up solid statistics in his rookie season with 1,609 scrimmage yards and 13 total touchdowns, but he received little help from Minnesota quarterbacks. Jackson started a total of 12 games, finishing with a dreadful 1,911 passing yards, 12 total touchdowns and 15 turnovers. Imagine what Peterson can do with a legitimate quarterback, say someone like Brett Favre (wink, wink), at the helm?
Tarvaris Jackson


Running back San Francisco 49ers (2006) Quarterback

Frank Gore
Gore totaled an impressive 61 receptions, 2,180 scrimmage yards (21st all-time) and scored nine touchdowns in what was a breakout season under former coordinator Norv Turner. Gore did it all with the unimpressive Smith at the helm of the offense. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, Smith threw for 2,890 yards with 18 total touchdowns and recorded 21 turnovers.
Alex Smith


Running back Baltimore Ravens (2003) Quarterback

Jamal Lewis
Lewis rushed for an incredible 2,066 yards (2nd all-time), recorded 2,271 scrimmage yards (10th all-time) and scored 14 times in what was the best season of his career. Boller, who started nine times, threw for 1,260 yards with seven touchdowns and 14 turnovers. Anthony Wright (1,199 yards, 9 TDs, 8 INTs) also saw time under center for the Ravens, but he wasn't overly effective in the spot, either.
Kyle Boller


Running back Miami Dolphins (2002) Quarterback

Ricky Williams
Like the aforementioned Gore, Williams broke out under the guidance of Turner with 1,853 rushing yards (12th all-time), 2,216 scrimmage yards (17th all-time) and 17 total touchdowns. His emergence into the fantasy forefront was accomplished with Fiedler and Ray Lucas at the quarterback position. That duo combined for 3,069 passing yards, 18 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.
Jay Fiedler


Running back Washington Redskins (1996) Quarterback

Terry Allen
Allen might have been better known for his knee problems, but he did have a few superb statistical seasons for fantasy footballers. One of his best came with the Redskins, as he rushed for 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns (T-14th all-time). His quarterback at the time was Frerotte, who threw for a respectable 3,453 yards but had just 12 touchdown passes and finished with 15 turnovers that season.
Gus Frerotte


Running back Los Angeles Raiders (1985) Quarterback

Marcus Allen
Allen was a statistical monster for much of his illustrious career, but his best season came with little help from the quarterback position. Allen totaled 2,314 scrimmage yards (7th all-time) and 14 total touchdowns in 1985. Meanwhile, Wilson threw for 2,608 yards with 16 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. He finished his career with more interceptions (102) than total touchdowns (91).
Marc Wilson


Running back Los Angeles Rams (1984) Quarterback

Eric Dickerson
Dickerson broke (and still holds) the NFL record for rushing yards in a single season with 2,105 and totaled 2,244 scrimmage yards (12th all-time) in just his second NFL season. Those numbers came despite the futile contributions of quarterbacks Jeff Kemp (13 starts) and Vince Farrago (three starts), who combined to throw for an unimpressive 2,338 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Jeff Kemp


Running back Houston Oilers (1980) Quarterback

Earl Campbell
One of Campbell's best seasons came in 1980, as he posted 1,934 rushing yards (6th all-time) and 13 touchdown runs. What it didn't include was a solid quarterback under center. Stabler, who was far past his prime in what was his first season with the Oilers, threw for 3,202 yards, 13 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also fumbled seven times.
Ken Stabler


Running back Chicago Bears (1977) Quarterback

Walter Payton
Payton, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, rushed for a career best 1,852 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns in 14 games during his third season. "Sweetness" received very little help from Avellini, who threw for 2,004 yards with 11 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The quarterback finished his pro football career with 33 touchdown passes and 69 interceptions.
Bob Avellini


Have a burning question for Michael Fabiano on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section below or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com!

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