2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs

Now time to discuss the most vital position in fantasy football, and ironically one of the least vital positions in real football, running backs. This is the third part of a 5-part annual series, and the running back portion is often the most anticipated. Fantasypros.com is a great resource, and we are pulling the Expert Consensus Rankings from them, as well as the Average Draft Position. We also have point totals over replacement-level for both 10 and 14-team leagues. These are not point per reception totals, but as you can tell below we value the consistency that pass-catchers provide. Here are our ranks:

ECR Rank   Player Name  Position  Rk Team   Bye Week  ADP  Y! 14 Y! 10
2 LeSean McCoy RB 1 PHI 7 1 8.8 6.8
1 Jamaal Charles RB 2 KC 6 2 8.5 6.5
4 Matt Forte RB 3 CHI 9 4 8.4 6.4
3 Adrian Peterson RB 4 MIN 10 3 7.9 5.9
5 Eddie Lacy RB 5 GB 9 5 6.9 4.9
18 Giovani Bernard RB 6 CIN 4 22 6.1 4.1
12 Montee Ball RB 7 DEN 4 13 6.1 4.1
11 DeMarco Murray RB 8 DAL 11 14 6.1 4.1
14 Arian Foster RB 9 HOU 10 11 6.2 4.2
15 Le’Veon Bell RB 10 PIT 12 16 6 4
9 Marshawn Lynch RB 11 SEA 4 8 6.1 4.1
22 Alfred Morris RB 12 WAS 10 23 5.2 3.2
29 Andre Ellington RB 13 ARI 4 32 4.4 2.4
26 Zac Stacy RB 14 STL 4 25 5.2 3.2
23 Doug Martin RB 15 TB 7 21 4.8 2.8
30 C.J. Spiller RB 16 BUF 9 35 4 2
58 Bishop Sankey RB 17 TEN 9 51 4.3 2.3
41 Toby Gerhart RB 18 JAC 11 53 3.6 1.6
38 Reggie Bush RB 19 DET 9 30 3.6 1.6
47 Frank Gore RB 20 SF 8 46 3.4 1.4
55 Joique Bell RB 21 DET 9 70 3.4 1.4
34 Ryan Mathews RB 22 SD 10 36 3.1 1.1
42 Rashad Jennings RB 23 NYG 8 52 3.2 1.2
57 Chris Johnson RB 24 NYJ 11 55 3.2 1.2
67 Trent Richardson RB 25 IND 10 69 3.3 1.3
54 Ben Tate RB 26 CLE 4 54 2.8 0.8
51 Shane Vereen RB 27 NE 10 58 3 1
62 Steven Jackson RB 28 ATL 9 77 2.1 0.1
71 Ray Rice RB 29 BAL 11 65 2.5 0.5
69 Stevan Ridley RB 30 NE 10 76 2.8 0.8
85 Lamar Miller RB 31 MIA 5 106 2.1 0.1
81 Pierre Thomas RB 32 NO 6 89 2 0
89 Fred Jackson RB 33 BUF 9 98 2.1 0.1
88 Maurice Jones-Drew RB 34 OAK 5 85 1.6 -0.4
111 Terrance West RB 35 CLE 4 113 0.2 -1.8
107 Knowshon Moreno RB 36 MIA 5 94 1 -1
105 Bernard Pierce RB 37 BAL 11 118 0.2 -1.8
103 DeAngelo Williams RB 38 CAR 12 112 1 -1
130 Khiry Robinson RB 39 NO 6 116 0.6 -1.4
141 Devonta Freeman RB 40 ATL 9 154 -0.9 -2.9
102 Darren Sproles RB 41 PHI 7 96 0 -2
106 Danny Woodhead RB 42 SD 10 108 0.1 -1.9
160 Carlos Hyde RB 43 SF 8 145 -2.6 -4.6
113 Christopher Ivory RB 44 NYJ 11 129 -0.5 -2.5
137 Christine Michael RB 45 SEA 4 152 -1.4 -3.4
148 LeGarrette Blount RB 46 PIT 12 136 -1.5 -3.5
170 Ahmad Bradshaw RB 47 IND 10 184 -2.7 -4.7
104 Darren McFadden RB 48 OAK 5 119 -0.9 -2.9
224 James White RB 49 NE 10 215 -3.4 -5.4
193 Andre Williams RB 50 NYG 8 206 -3 -5
119 Jeremy Hill RB 51 CIN 4 127 -0.6 -2.6
138 Jonathan Stewart RB 52 CAR 12 179 -1.9 -3.9
168 Roy Helu RB 53 WAS 10 218 -2.3 -4.3
183 C.J. Anderson RB 54 DEN 4 209 -2.4 -4.4
186 Lance Dunbar RB 55 DAL 11 219 -2.6 -4.6

Tier 1: LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy

Tier 2: Giovani Bernard, Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray, Arian Foster, Le’Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch

Tier 3: Alfred Morris, Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, CJ Spiller, Bishop Sankey

Tier 4: Toby Gerhart, Reggie Bush, Frank Gore, Joique Bell, Ryan Mathews, Rashad Jennings, Chris Johnson, Trent Richardson, Ben Tate, Shane Vereen

Tier 5: Steven Jackson, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, Lamar Miller, Pierre Thomas, Fred Jackson, MJD, 

Tier 6: Terrance West, Knowshon Moreno, Bernard Pierce, DeAngelo Williams, Khiry Robinson, DeVonta Freeman, Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, Carlos Hyde, Chris Ivory, Christine Michael, LeGarrette Blount, Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren McFadden, James White, Andre Williams, Jeremy Hill, Jonathan Stewart, Roy Helu, CJ Anderson, Lance Dunbar

Overvalued: Arian Foster, Le’Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris, Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, Toby Gerhart, Reggie Bush, Rashad Jennings.

Generally, I find the entire position of running back over-valued. The running back position has evolved in recent years, and I do not trust backs who are: injury-prone, old, or do not  have pass-catching capabilities. The wide receiver position has much greater consistency. DeMarco Murray, AJ Green, Brandon Marshall and Marshawn Lynch; who would you trust? I take the wideouts every time and have no issues with a WR-WR strategy. I will talk about each player since RB is an important position. Foster is being taken too early for my liking, I’d prefer a WR early-second. Le’Veon Bell had a 3.5 YPC and will share the workload with Blount. Morris has bricks for fingers and with a new regime could lose time to pass-catcher extraordinare Roy Helu. Lynch does not offer the versatility of pass-catching, and will cede carries to Christine Michael in likely his last year in Seattle. I do not trust Zac Stacy, and think his job is less secure than the public. Doug Martin is vastly overrated due to one or two outlier performances in 2012. Reggie Bush is the 2nd best RB on his team. Jennings and Gerhart are being overvalued, do not provide much, if any upside, and are not very good football players on not very good football teams.

Undervalued: Matt Forte, Giovani Bernard, Bishop Sankey, Joique Bell, Terrance West, Bernard Pierce, Steven Jackson, Khiry Robinson, Carlos Hyde, Christine Michael, LeGarrette Blount, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lance Dunbar

Generally, RBs are being over-valued, which causes this list to be littered with RBs second on the depth chart. I find the best strategy to stack your WR position, while accumulating RB quantity. Matt Forte is my pick to be the top fantasy player for 2014; although he is not tops on my board because of injury concerns. I love Giovani Bernard and I see him as a Ray Rice-at-his-peak kind of player. A special talent. Although I have seen very little of Bishop Sankey, I like his value and the fact that Shonn Greene is terrible. Steven Jackson is a bargain at his current price, although I don’t love selecting him. The last six names are all talented individuals who could inherit the workload, making them a bargain at their current prices.

 

Hope you enjoy the new look site. Tweet your questions to @manwithaspreads

 

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