Fantasy Football Draft 2014 Rankings: Power Ranking The Top Fantasy Running Backs
Running backs are the bread and butter in fantasy leagues. They often get you the most points and can lead your team to the Promised Land if you pick wisely.
With 2014 fantasy football drafts underway, let’s take a look at the top running backs to choose from. Click here for the Top 10 fantasy quarterbacks.
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1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City – Charles thrived under head coach Andy Reid in his first season, rushing for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, but it was his 70 receptions seven receiving touchdowns that separated him from the rest of the pack. Charles is the Mr. Do It All under Reid’s system, and he gets you a ton of extra points in PPR leagues. Takeaway the one season where Charles got hurt and he’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards in four straight seasons and has 17 rushing touchdowns in his last two. Charles should be the first running back taken off the board and does make a case for first overall.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia – McCoy is the main piece in a Philadelphia offense that was the best rushing offense in the league last season and had a Top 10 passing offense. McCoy set a new career high last year with 314 carries and topped 50 receptions for the third time in four seasons. With no DeSean Jackson, McCoy is certainly going to get the ball even more. McCoy is a big play waiting to happen and is as explosive a player as any in the league. You know what you’re getting with the Eagles RB, a player who is just hitting his prime at 25 years old.
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota – I was one of those guys who was burned for not drafting Peterson after his injury. Maybe I’ll get burned again for making him my No. 3 running back, but he’s carried the ball a ton and you have to wonder if he’s going to start wearing down. Still, Peterson is worth a first round pick because it’s hard to argue with double-digit touchdowns every season and over 1,000 yards each season except for the year he got hurt. It’s also important to note that Norv Turner is running the show, a coach who usually helps RBs stay at the top of their game. Remember LaDainian Tomlinson?
4. Matt Forte, Chicago – Not a flashy running back and sometimes widely underrated, Forte has been nothing but consistent to fantasy owners. No reason to back down now. Forte rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season for the third time in four years and set a new career high with nine touchdowns. Forte also set a career high with 74 receptions and 594 receiving yards. As Jay Cutler gets more consistent and takes advantage of his elite receiving weapons, Forte’s stock is only going to improve. Get him while you still can.
5. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay – It’s been a long time since the Packers had a workhorse running back they could rely on consistently. Lacy seems to be that guy, as he rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 games last season. Keep in mind that Lacy was a rookie last year and struggled at times to stay healthy. Now, with a healthy Aaron Rodgers leading the way and a year under Lacy’s belt, his numbers should be through the roof. Lacy rounds out the Top Five of elite running backs. Make sure you get one of these guys on your team, as we start getting into more of the risks.
6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas – Murray has had a hard time staying healthy for much of his career, but he showed last season what he’s truly capable of doing. Murray scored at least one touchdown in seven games and set a new career high with 1,121 yards. Really one of the more consistent Cowboys and a player the coaching staff is going to depend on to take pressure off of Tony Romo, Murray is going to get the rock plenty of times this year. Entering just his fourth season in the league, this could very well be Murray’s breakout season that puts him in the elite class of running backs. Don’t turn down the Cowboys workhorse if given the chance.
7. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh – Running backs and Pittsburgh go together like peanut butter and jelly. No matter how soft the NFL gets, the Steelers are going to remain old school and prefer to pound the ball down their opponents’ throat. As a rookie last season, Bell rushed for 860 yards and eight touchdowns, while hauling in 45 receptions for 399 yards. Bell is only going to get the ball more in his second season and as the Steelers improve and don’t have to throw the ball 100 times due to early deficits, taking Bell early in the second round is going to pay off in a big way.
8. Montee Ball, Denver – No Knowshon Moreno, no problem for the Broncos. Ball will slide into the starting roll, which makes him a reliable option for fantasy owners. Ball only carried the ball 120 times last season as a rookie, but came away with 559 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes on 27 targets for 145 yards. You always have to consider the starting running back for an offensive juggernaut of a team such as the Denver Broncos. Ball is going to get his chances to score touchdowns, which should put a smile on your face.
9. Arian Foster, Houston – It wasn’t that long ago when we were arguing whether to draft Foster or Peterson with the first overall pick. Sorry, after Foster’s 542-yard season and the lack of quarterback production for the Texans, I just can’t put him in that same class any longer. Defenses are going to key in on Foster and make somebody else beat them. Who? Case Keenum? Yeah, right. Not to mention Foster’s lengthy injury history should raise red flags as well. Foster is still a Top 10 back and there’s value to taking him in the third round or so, but don’t be that guy who wastes an early pick on a question mark of a player.
10. Alfred Morris, Washington – Morris doesn’t get the huge headlines, but he’s rushed for 2,800 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two seasons on a team with not a lot of weapons. Now, the Redskins have Jackson at wide receiver, which should help take some of the attention away from Morris and allow bigger plays. The only thing holding Morris back from being an elite running back is the fact he’s caught just 20 passes in his career. If Morris can be more of a receiving option and help out owners in PPR leagues, you’re looking a Top 5 RB you can get at a Top 10 price.