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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL FINAL RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

We move onto the final 2014 fantasy football running back rankings which will likely same close to the same as 2015 training camp nears.

1.  DeMarco Murray:  The only knock on Murray was his previous inability to stay healthy but he finally gutted through 16 games in 2014 with spectacular results as he rushed for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Murray also was a gem in the passing games in catching 57 passes.  There is nothing the guy can't do but counting on two straight 16-game seasons in 2015 might be stretching things a bit.  You will be buying very high.
2.  Le'Veon Bell:  Even including Murray, no running back was more productive the last two months of the season than Le'Veon Bell.  Bell trailed only Matt Forte in receptions with 83 and also rushed for 1,361 yards as he made irrelevant all the earlier talk of LeGarrette Blount taking work away.  Here to stay as a top-3 pick.
3.  Matt Forte:  Caught a crazy 102 passes last season as Forte is the supreme pass-receiving back in the NFL.  Unfortunately the rushing game fell a bit short as he picked up only 1,038 yards and 6 scores.  That was more a result of the Bears having to come from behind with the passing game often last season so don't knock Forte too much.  He is inching up there in age however. 
4.  LeSean McCoy:  Rushing average dropped almost a full yard as McCoy's ridiculous workload in 2013 came back to bite him.  Also McCoy caught only 28 passes which took some bite out of his PPR value.  There has been a ton of work on this slight back's legs the last two seasons so tread carefully.
5.  Jamaal Charles:  Barely squeaked past 1,000 rushing yards and the development of Knile Davis stole some of Charles' thunder.  A drop to only 40 receptions was also disappointing.  Unlike McCoy however, Charles has not been overworked so he could easily bounce back to top tier status.
6.  Eddie Lacy:  The numbers were there at the end but Lacy's 2014 season was frustrating at times due to injury and some ugly games.  The power back continues to carry some durability concerns and 8 rushing touchdowns was a disappointment but Lacy's presence in a monstrous Green Bay offense keeps him as a clear RB 1.
7.  Jeremy Hill:  Always favor youth at running back which is why power back Hill should be ranked ahead of Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster.  The Bengals clearly have their main back as the rookie out of LSU rumbled for 1,124 yards and 9 scores despite not getting a lot of work early on. 
8.  Justin Forsett:  The best value of all running backs in 2014, Forsett worked from behind Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to storm the NFL with some ridiculous games the second half of the season on the way to 1,266 yards and 8 touchdowns while also chipping in with 44 catches.  Replicating that performance in 2015 might be tough but Forsett has clearly earned the starting role in a run-heavy offense.
9.  Marshawn Lynch:  Won't be back with Seattle but just when we were ready to write him off, Lynch had a top five running back season as he continues to run with unmatched power.  The wheels remain a threat to come off at a moment's notice. 
10. Arian Foster:  Told you all to buy low on Foster this season and that helped me get to the Experts League finals as the Houston Texans veteran was better than any other runner not named DeMarco Murray or Le'Veon Bell this season.  Foster is now turning 28 though and still fought through numerous injuries that cost him two games.  Am moving away now for 2015. 
11. Adrian Peterson:  50/50 whether or not Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota as he could end up anywhere if cut loose.  Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon would split work again if that does take place. 
12. C.J. Anderson:  There is no doubt Anderson was possibly the biggest pickup in November who ended up on more than a few winning rosters.  However we won't dive fully in yet due to the ongoing fluidity of the Denver backfield.  Keep in mind that both Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman are still in the picture.
13. Lamar Miller:  Earned the clear starting running back spot for the Miami Dolphins with very solid running down the stretch of the season.  Also chipped in a decent 38 catches. 
14. Andre Ellington:  The ability is not in question here as Ellington is a running/receiving dynamo.  Health is however as Ellington couldn't hold up under all the extra carries in 2014.  Something to watch.
15. Mark Ingram:  Had his best season by far in 2014 as Ingram finally unleashed his power running and developed some decent receiving skills.  Could have priced himself out of New Orleans though. 
16. Joique Bell:  Reggie Bush looks shot and Bell was every bit a useful high-end RB 2 the second half of 2014. 
17. Alfred Morris:  Obviously you knock Morris down a bit in PPR formats as he is useless catching passes but he remains in his prime as a solid power runner. 
18. Jonathan Stewart:  Like in Detroit, Jonathan Stewart seems to have finally nudged out a veteran runner in DeAngelo Williams.  Was terrific the second half of 2014 once he got healthy. 
19. Tre Mason:  Receiving could use some work but the big-play Mason quickly made us all forget Zac Stacy. 
20. Frank Gore:  The ageless veteran keeps on going but the show has to end soon for Frank Gore. 
21. Rashad Jennings:  Tough to figure how the New York Giants workload shapes up next season as Jennings was good when he played but rookie Andre Williams did more than enough to justify inclusion. 
22. Andre Williams:  See above.
23. Chris Ivory:  Look for the Jets to cut Chris Johnson which means Chris Ivory will get the lion's share of the work in a power-back mode. 
24. Terrance West:  Could be Isaiah Crowell or West getting the bulk of the work in 2015 or they could split.  Remains a tough situation to predict. 
25. Latavius Murray:  Has big-time speed and has solid receiving ability.  Murray should be a decent sleeper given the opportunity at hand for him next season.
26. Denard Robinson:  Like with Andre Ellington, Robinson is a very good runner who may not be able to withstand a full workload. 
27. Ryan Matthews:  The guy can't ever stay healthy which is the story of his career.  Has allowed Branden Oliver to be a factor for 2015.
28. Doug Martin:  Finished 2014 strong but Martin has been a bust for two seasons now.  Needs a new home to possibly unleash his rookie ability. 
29. Devonta Freeman:  Look for Freeman to get a shot at the starting spot as the Atlanta Falcons will likely cut loose the finished Steven Jackson. 
30. C.J. Spiller:  We can't ever figure out the riddle that is C.J. Spiller so good luck trying. 
31. Bishop Sankey:  Was not impressed at all but the Tennessee Titans rookie.  Usually a first-year back shows right away what they can do and Sankey failed to who us much of anything. 
32. Ahmad Bradshaw:  Will get a crack to resume his main role in the Indianapolis Colts offense next season but Trent Richardson and Daniel Herron remain. 
33. Shane Vereen:  Use only in PPR formats as Stevan Ridley should be back to reprise main running responsibilities. 
34. Stevan Ridley:  See above.
35. Darren Sproles:  Just for PPR leagues only as Sproles is not used as much as a runner in the Eagles offense.



 

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