by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
While there is no question who belongs in the Top 5 spots of any running back rankings, after that things get awfully questionable. With a lot of teams moving towards timeshares, finding dependable options are becoming more and more difficult. Who are the running backs we should target? Who should we avoid? Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:
- Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
- Eddie Lacey – Green Bay Packers
- Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans
- Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks
- Demarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions
- Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
- Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans
- Toby Gerhart – Jacksonville Jaguars
- Rashad Jennings – New York Giants
- Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins
- C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
- Joique Bell – Detroit Lions
- Chris Johnson – New York Jets
- Knowshon Moreno – Miami Dolphins
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
- Ben Tate – Cleveland Browns
- Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers
- Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts
- Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
- There are some surprising names in our Top 10, potentially including Zac Stacy, Arian Foster and Doug Martin. They all have some sort of risk, whether it is injury or playing time, but they all also have significant upside. If Foster and Martin were coming off healthy seasons there would be little doubt about their potential and their inclusion this high.
- As for Stacy, it is easy to overlook his success last season (1,141 total yards and 8 TD). If you want to point towards his 3.9 yards per carry as a knock, it was a poor December (3.2 YPC) that really hurt him. He was at 4.6 in October and 4.2 in November, so it’s possibly he simply wore down. The addition of Tre Mason should help keep him fresh, but also shouldn’t hinder him overall. With a questionable passing game, would it really be surprising to see the Rams leaning on the run once again?
- Surprised to see Marshawn Lynch outside the Top 10? We discussed the risks involved in selecting him earlier this preseason, so much sure to check it out by clicking here. http://rotoprofessor.com/football/?p=8704
- There is a lot of hype surrounding Le’Veon Bell, but it’s hard to overlook his 3.5 YPC average from his rookie season. Yes, he also is a factor in the passing game, which helps, but the risk of needing a significant number of touches helps to limit his value. While we want to believe he’s going to get 20-25 touches every single game, it’s just not a guarantee.
- Will the 49ers start to transition away from Frank Gore? They have the depth, whether it’s the newly drafted Carlos Hyde or Marcus Lattimore, and Gore is on the wrong side of 30. While he’s been a steady option throughout his career, his value is going to start regressing.
- Ben Tate is getting a lot of hype, but would it be surprising if Terrence West quickly surpasses him on the depth chart? There’s a lot of risk, and it’s going to be tough to trust him as more than a FLEX option.
- Was Knowshon Moreno’s success a product of Peyton Manning? Well, if it was then it’s a major selling point for Montee Ball this season. As for Moreno himself, there’s a good chance that he shares time with Lamar Miller (with Daniel Thomas also in mix) and that’s going to limit his appeal.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: