Last time, I covered the Fantasy QB Rankings. Now we move on to the most important position in Fantasy: The Running Back. The RB is easily the most crucial part of a fantasy team, and almost all fantasy league champions have at least one top 10 RB. And so now, here are my early rankings for RB.
1. Lesean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles I know some of you are surprised to see Lesean McCoy at number one. After all, Jamaal Charles finished number one by a large margin in fantasy points by an RB last year. And Darren Sproles was brought in this offseason. But calm down. Darren Sproles will be 31 by the time the season starts. And Lesean McCoy has finished as a top-2 RB twice in the last three years. This will be the year he takes the mantle as the top fantasy RB.
2. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears Our second RB in this ranking who is entering Year 2 in a new Coach’s system. Before the arrival of Marc Trestman, Forte frequently faced 8 and 9-man fronts, and subsequently got frequently injured. However, with the arrival of Trestman, Forte avoided the injury bug and boy, did he produce. He set career highs in total yards, rushing TDs, and receptions. The Bears also have arguably the best receiving duo in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, to give Forte easier front sevens to work with. Forte should have an even better encore to his career year.
3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, And now he have our No. 1 fantasy rusher from 2013. So why is he at number 3? Well first off, Charles DID score 19 touchdowns last year. Even for Charles, that’s a hard number to repeat. And Andy Reid has been notorious for frustrating fantasy owners in the past. With another year for Alex Smith to grow into the scheme, Andy Reid should return to his old tricks. As it was for other Reid RBs, the year-to-year totals will be there for Charles, but week-to-week will be frustrating to own.
4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers A Packer as a top-5 RB? This would have sounded outrageous just last year, when the Packers were a passing team with little to no run support. Then Aaron Rodgers got hurt, and Eddie Lacy carried the team to a playoff berth. You can bet that the Packers will want to run the ball more with Lacy after that. In his second year, Lacy should finish as a top-5 RB.
5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings You’d think a RB with Peterson’s track record and the new influence of Norv Turner would be higher on the list. But keep in mind that Peterson is 29, which is dangerously close to 30, the break down age of RBs. Peterson also has lots of wear and tear on his body, having come back from an ACL tear in 2011 and several other injuries in 2013. But we’ve learned never to doubt Peterson, and so Peterson still ranks as a top-5 RB for 2014.
6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks As hard is it may seem to believe, Lynch is still only 28 years old. It seems like he has been in the league for forever. Maybe Lynch is due for a breakdown, as he has north of 1,700 carries and is getting up there in age. However, Lynch is as solid a candidate as any for a 1,000 yard, 10 TD season with the run-heavy Seattle Seahawks.
7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2013 was a season to forget for Martin, as he missed most of the season with injury, and even before that, was ineffective on the field. He only averaged 3.6 yards per carry for 6 games. However, this is still Martin’s third year in the league, and he is relatively young for an RB. He should rebound this year as he had the entire offseason to heal up, and should thrive in Jeff Tedford’s offense.
8. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
We finally got to see what Murray can do when healthy. Last year, he came up big for the Cowboys and for fantasy owners, totaling 1,471 total yards, 10 total TDs, and 53 receptions, ranking him as a top-10 RB in PPR formats. He should be motivated to perform again in a contract year.
9. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
We get into the part of the rankings where these names are not worth 1st round picks here. Ball is a potential breakout candidate. His ball security issues have been greatly exaggerated, and he is a hard-rushing downhill runner. In Peyton Manning’s Offense, Ball should put up numbers similar to what Knowshon Moreno out up last year.
10. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
This is the big gamble of the rankings. Foster could return to top-tier RB status, or he could just as easily flame out. Foster is still recovering from back surgery, and missed several games in 2013 due this injury. Now the Texans have a new coach, new QB, and several other changes. These changes could revitalize Foster, or Foster’s age, injury history, and career carries could lead to his inevitable breakdown.
Do you agree with these rankings? Disagree? Comment below on what you think.
This article is part of the Fantasy Football Positional Rankings Series. Rankings on WRs and TEs will come soon.
All statistics credits go to NFL.com