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|
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.
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