The third, and perhaps most important edition of our positional rankings is here. While quarterbacks get both the fame and the fortune in the NFL, running backs are the stars in our fake-format. Fantasy championships are won by hitting on a mid-to-late round running back, while many seasons come to end when one’s RB1 hits the IR. Hopefully, we can help you as we breakdown the running back position from number one, to sixty-five for 10-to-14 team standard leagues:
The two most common mistake we have seen in both drafts and mocks is overreaching for rookie running backs, and selecting a mid-round running back in the third round out of need. Upside is great, but I find it unlikely Lacy, Bernard, Ball or Bell (before injury) justify being selected in the top-40. Ball will get touchdowns but I am not convinced he will get volume, Lacy has limited upside as a running back in Green Bay, and Bernard, who we believe will be the best, will still fend off touches from the law firm.
TIer 1: AP, Foster, Spiller, Martin, Lynch, Rice, Charles, McCoy, Morris (Rd1)
Tier 2: TRich, S. Jax, Forte, MJD, Ridley, CJ(2?)K (Rd2)
Tier 3: Gore, David Wilson, Murray, Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller, DMC, Sproles (late 3rd-6th)
Tier 4: Mathews, Ivory, Bradshaw, Bernard, D Rich, Mendenhall, Ball, Lacy (late 6th-8th round)
Tier 5: Andre Brown, Mark Ingram, Vereen, Deangelo Williams (Rd 8)
Tier 6: BJGE, Bernard Pierce, Fred Jax, Bryce Brown, Tate, Woodhead, Redman, Dwyer, Pierre Thomas, Isaiah Pead (Rd 9-11)
Tier 7: Mike Bush, J. Franklin, Leveon Bell, Daniel Thomas (late rounds)
Tier 8: The rest (latest rounds: handcuffs, flyers)
Overvalued: Trent Richardson, Montee Ball, Eddie Lacy, Vick Ballard, Shane Vereen, Darren McFadden. BJGE.
Trent Richardson, his 3.6 YPC and has health question-marks. He ranks behind top-tiered WR’s. Ball and Lacy were discussed earlier, but one more point hyped college backs are historically overdrafted in fantasy. Vick Ballard has low RB2 upside, and is a backup to Bradshaw. Shane Vereen is great for a PPR, but has limited upside and I question whether he will have week-to-week consistency based on gameplan. BJGE also has low upside, and will cede volume to a more talented back in Bernard. McFadden, another over-hyped college star running back, is unlikely to play a full season, and simply an average back.
Undervalued: CJ Spiller, Maurice Jones-Drew, Daryl Richardson DeAngelo Williams, Pierre Thomas, Ronnie Hillman, Fred Jackson, Daniel Thomas, Isaac Redman, Kendall Hunter, Joique Bell.
I love CJ Spiller. There is a solid possibility he finishes as the top player in the game for 2013. There is no need to worry about Bills getting down big, as Spiller is an important cog in the passing game as well. Every report for MJD has been positive, and he is worthy of a mid-second round pick and is an absolute steal in the early-third. Daryl Richardson is a mid-to-late round pick who, under Jeff Fisher, could emerge as a RB1. We have a feeling Pead’s suspension will help him emerge in St. Lou and explode upon the fantasy landscape. Jonathan Stewart’s status seems in doubt and DeAngelo Williams is a talented back who could be a solid RB2 or flex option. Expect Isaac Redman, Pierre Thomas and Ronnie Hillman to receive the most carries in their offenses and are attractive flex options, specifically in 14-team leagues. Fred Jackson is very talented and is a solid RB4 who could be a high-end RB2 if Spiller were to be injured. It’s hard to buy the hyperbole out of Dolphins’ camp that Daniel Thomas could split carries with Lamar Miller, but he will get goal-line carries and perhaps double-digit touches. Joique Bell was a secret-PPR monster last season and we believe he is Reggie Bush’s handcuff, as is the case with Kendall Hunter to Frank Gore.
If you have any questions/comments regarding these ranks, tweet and follow us @manwithaspreads ! Expect the WR ranks tomorrow and overall rankings being posted on Saturday. Happy drafting!