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:
- Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
- Lesean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
- Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans
- Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
- Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
- 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
- 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
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
- Chris Johnson – New York Jets
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
- Ben Tate – Cleveland Browns
- Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers
- Knowshon Moreno – Miami Dolphins
- Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts
- Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
- 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.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: