Updated 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 30 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Running back position has already been hit with a few injuries, like Vick Ballard and Kendall Hunter, though nothing that as sent significant shock waves through the rankings.  The bigger factor is the suspension to Ray Rice, sending him spiraling down a bit.  Let’s take a look at how things currently shape up:

 

  1. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Lesean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
  4. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  5. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
  6. Arian Foster – Houston Texans
  7. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
  8. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
  9. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  10. Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams
  11. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks
  12. Demarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
  13. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  14. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions
  15. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals
  16. Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans
  17. Toby Gerhart – Jacksonville Jaguars
  18. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants
  19. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins
  20. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills
  21. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
  22. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions
  23. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
  24. Chris Johnson – New York Jets
  25. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
  26. Ben Tate – Cleveland Browns
  27. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers
  28. Knowshon Moreno – Miami Dolphins
  29. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts
  30. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills

 

Thoughts:

  • We would think that a healthy Doug Martin would be a must use, potentially elite running back wouldn’t we?  However, as we have discussed (click here for the article), the Buccaneers appear primed to go with a committee in the backfield.  It’s surprising, given the history of Lovie Smith with Matt Forte, but there’s definitely risk involved.
  • David Wilson has been cleared, but does that mean he could actually emerge as the lead back over Rashad Jennings?  It’s unlikely, especially given his history of fumbling issues.  Jennings is still the back to target and should be a solid RB2 in all formats.
  • Ray Rice’s two-game suspension obviously drops him down the rankings, but it’s not as bad as it could be.  We’ve already discussed why there’s a good chance Bernard Pierce doesn’t emerge in his absence (click here to view) and a healthy Rice should still have the upside of a RB1.  Will he get there in just 14 games?  Probably not, but with the suspension and reduced cost, he’s a player that’s well worth the risk.
  • We were concerned with Marshawn Lynch to begin with, now we are throwing a holdout into the mix?  The risk is really starting to outweigh the reward at this point, don’t you think?
  • While there’s a lot of upside to Ben Tate, we have to keep in mind that he’s not even a guarantee to open the season as the Brown’s lead back (which we discussed here).  Considering the cost on draft day, Terrance West is seeming like the much better draft day investment.  The fact is that the two could easily share time, with Tate’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield giving him a slight edge on the rankings.
  • Vick Ballard has been lost for the season, but does that mean we have more faith in Trent Richardson?  Absolutely not, it just makes potential sleepers into Chris Rainey and Dan Herron.

*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide!!  The guide comes complete with projections of over 350 players, expended rankings, sleepers, and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day).  For just $6 you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league and one lucky subscriber will win a free autographed Brett Favre 8×10!  For more information and to place your order, click here. ***

Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 15 Defenses
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 15 Kickers

7 comments

  1. Mike says:

    Hi, I am in a 12 team keeper league and I’m not sure who to keep. I have the 1st pick of the draft and also not sure who to draft.

    1. Jamal Charles or AP (McCoy is another team’s keeper)?

    2. Should I keep Demarius Thomas in Round 2 or Levon Bell in round 7?

    Thank you,
    -Mike

    • 1) I’d definitely go Charles every time

      2) I’d say Bell offers significantly more value at that spot. You should be able to get a similar type wide receiver in the second round

  2. Patrick says:

    I keep hearing Montee Ball’s name being thrown around as a darkhorse candidate for top 10, and indeed he’s in your top 10. Are we really expecting him to be a 1:1 replacement for Knowshon Moreno’s production last year? The Broncos went out and invested in another wide receiver in the offseason…will the run game be what it was last year?

    • Mike says:

      The broncos last year clearly ran up the score a lot, they devoted a lot of the teams offense to getting peyton those records, not taking away from those records, but the team made that a big goal. This year you have to assume between Manning being another year older and the team not chasing those records that they will shift even heavier towards the run. Ball is way more talented than Moreno and if he has figured out how to pass block should easily be a true bell collar back and give defenses the difficult choice of who to try and contain. I think ball goes top 5 this year.

    • I think Mike summed it up really well! While I don’t believe in Ball as a Top 5, it’s impossible to think Manning replicates last year’s numbers. A step back in his production will mean more dependence on the running game. Given his talent, it’s easy to imagine him as a Top 10 back.

  3. Adam says:

    Based on what you’ve seen from Knowshon Moreno and Trent Richardson so far in the preseason (I know we shouldn’t put that much stock into preseason production), are both guys still worth owning over a guy like Mark Ingram who has looked really good?

    • Like you said, it’s tough to put too much stock in the preseason. The problem with Ingram is how many touches is he going to get, thanks to the presence of Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas.

      The other two still have higher potential, but are bigger risks. I wouldn’t draft either Moreno or Richardson as a starter, but would prefer them to Ingram as a bench option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *