2014 Early Fantasy Football Top-20 Rankings: RB Edition

Article Written By: Andre Datyelian

Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

This is part two of my post-Super bowl rankings I decided to share for this coming season. Whether you’re in a dynasty league looking to make moves, in a very early re-draft league, or just studying early to be ahead of your opponents this list should help you. If you missed part one, CLICK HERE.

 Pending any injuries, this should be an accurate list of rankings.

2014 RB Rankings

Jamaal Charles He’s my choice for the top pick in this coming seasons draft. Not only did he finish number one overall in fantasy last year but he also has a coach who trusts him at the goal line, which racked up his stats. I may be biased because he won me two leagues last year but he is still an amazing choice. Numbers don’t lie in fantasy.
LeSean McCoy I wish I had more stock of Shady last season because of Chip Kelly’s run first offense. He’s still young and he could end up number one overall this year.
Adrian Peterson AP is no doubt the best running back in the league, with everything going against him in terms of injuries and a struggling team, going between so many QB’s last season, he still put up first round numbers. I, in no doubt, would not mind getting him with the third pick.
Marshawn Lynch He’s another pick that I would love to have. He also has the capability to end number one overall in fantasy. He is very consistent every season; my only worry is his spirit still in beast mode after winning the Super bowl?
Matt Forte My final running back that I believe could finish number one overall is Forte. Not only can he run wild in the open field with his big receivers (Marshal, Jeffery) blocking for him but he also catches a lot of balls. Like Charles, he now has the goal-line back role. He solidifies having a top five pick as having a top 5 RB.
Eddie Lacy What’s not to like about Lacy? He’s guaranteed a lot of touches as the every down back. He’s proven he can carry the load without Rodgers there. When the box lightens up because of Rodgers presence, he may lose some touches but he’ll have way more running room.
Doug Martin He had a rough start to his season and couldn’t gain yards anywhere but he was also playing with Freeman, who was cut by Tampa. Martin ended his season even rougher with a bad injury. Under new coach Lovie Smith, he should get more touches and used more effectively. This could just be what happened to Forte his second season. Let’s try to not overreact to a sophomore slump.
Le’Veon Bell Another rookie running back how gained control his teams backfield. He’s now the every down back and he will be getting a lot of touches both on the ground and through the air. By volume, he should have a solid year.
Alfred Morris Morris had a great year with his yardage. You could expect about a hundred yards per game. What limited his fantasy stats is the lack of touchdowns and his inability to work the pass game.
DeMarco Murray Murray had very efficient stats even with the low volume he received under the Dallas regime. If the Cowboys can get a 50/50 split between the pass and run, he could be a strong RB to own.
Arian Foster He is another possible comeback player. Last year, he basically rested all season, as he played in a very limited role. Under the new system, and Ben Tate more than likely gone, makes the situation nicely set up for a comeback but I give him one more year of relevance.
Giovanni Bernard Another rookie who stepped up last season, even with limited touches, he made a big impact on the field and fantasy line-ups, especially if you’re in PPR leagues. Another person who I expect to improve, thanks to their new offensive coordinator who sticks by the run and will keep the offense balanced. The only reason he’s not higher is because of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who still gets the goal-line role, even if he’s not the best back on the team.
Zac Stacy He’s the last rookie on my list but it’s highly impressive, especially since last years draft was supposedly weak. He was the workhorse in St. Louis and again his volume will bring in the points weekly.
Ray Rice I expect a big comeback season from Rice. He played with a hip injury most of the season, didn’t get his usual catch total, plus his line was terrible. The only reason I don’t have him ranked higher is because Bernard Pierce always lurks close behind, stealing carries.
Reggie Bush Bush had a very good season last year, the only problem is he can’t be counted on for a full season and is usually inconsistent.
Ryan Matthews Matthews’s finally fixed his fumbling issue and although he’s another back with a low volume of touches, he still managed to put great fantasy numbers. I expect his role to grow a little more and on a more high-powered offense, another year in, I would trust him as a low-end RB-1.
CJ Spiller Spiller still has talent but the new coaching staff still split Jackson and him. While Jackson played well, he should eventually drop off with being 33 now. This would increase Spiller’s volume, plus let’s not forget he did not play at 100% last year.
Frank Gore A back that continues to not make spectacular plays but somehow puts up the fantasy numbers. His downturn maybe soon but I’d trust him until I see him fall off.
Shane Vereen I like Vereen in a full season. Especially in PPR leagues because for some reason, people still match up with him using linebackers. If Ridley and Blount leave, he may get a lot more carries instead of just being a third down back.
Ben Tate Finally, being a free agent, this power back should flourish in a system where he’s the starter.

This coming season, it would be smart to target running backs early and often in the draft. Although there may be a lot of talent, if last year taught us anything, that it’s the position with the most busts and harder to replace your stud RB’s.

Tune in soon for my Wide Receiver’s rankings.

Posted in NFL

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