Fantasy Football Draft 2014: Running Back Draft Strategy
Which Running Backs to Look for in Every Round of Your Draft
August 15, 2014
The fantasy football draft season is upon us, and that means that we owners are spending lots of time analyzing our strategies for the big day. One position that’s always a main concern when you’re on the clock--especially early--is running back, so we’ll be taking a closer look at which names you’re likely to be seeing at certain points in the draft. The better you know what to expect, the better you can gauge which players you want to pick up, so on that note let’s check out some of the scenarios and strategy you’ll be encountering at the RB position in your draft.
Round 1: At the top of your draft this year--just like most years past--you’ll see a frantic run on RB names, but it shouldn’t be as bad as usual. Depending on your league settings, the top five or six players will likely all be running backs, than you’ll start seeing some deviation.
The top five off the board should be Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy. Owners should consider themselves lucky to get any one of those players, as they’ll make fine anchors as top picks. Beyond that, you probably won’t see too many other RB names in the first round (save possibly for Marshawn Lynch or maybe even DeMarco Murray) as the run on Jimmy Graham and the top WR names begins.
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Round 2: In the 10-20 range, you’ll see a few more RBs come off as the second tier begins. Along with Murray and Lynch, Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard, Le’Veon Bell and Andre Ellington are in play here.
Value-wise, we really like Bernard in this range. He’s set to get a heavy workload in Cincinnati this season and should be able to deliver No. 1-level numbers consistently. There’s a bit of a red flag on Bell, as he may have his carries eaten up by a committee approach in Pittsburgh. Tread lightly there.
Round 3: Here’s where things start getting a little dicey, but there’s still some value to be had. You should have at least one RB by now (for instance, if you veered off to pick up Peyton Manning), and be looking for your second. Arian Foster, Zac Stacy, Alfred Morris, Toby Gerhart and Doug Martin will all be in play during the 20-30 range. Of those, none really jumps out as a must-have guy but Morris and Martin should be serviceable enough to get by as solid No. 2s. Foster is a good grab as well, but you’ve got to be concerned about his health.
Round 4: Here’s where you’re looking for a flex or a backup option, as you should have your top two RB names taken care of by now. The 30-40 range may feature names like Ryan Mathews, Reggie Bush and C.J. Spiller, but likely will be filled out by WR pickups. That said, Mathews, Bush or Spiller are great flex options and may even perform well enough for RB2 purposes if you’re in a bind.
Round 5 and Beyond: As you fill out your bench, there are a few names to keep an eye out for as the draft drags on. Joique Bell, Frank Gore, Shane Vereen, and Lamar Miller will all go in the Round 5-6 range and should make okay backups. If you’re an optimist, you can also look for Trent Richardson down there, too.
One other pick we like a little later in the draft is the Jets’ Chris Johnson, who should put up flex-level numbers for most of the season.
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