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2014 Rankings: Top-200 | Top-200 (Half-PPR) |  Top-200 (PPR) | QB | RB | RB (PPR)| WR | WR (PPR) | TE | TE (PPR) | K | DST | IDP Rankings: Top-100 | DL | DB | LB

So we’ve finally arrived at what many consider the Cadillac of rankings– the running back position. Though, I don’t really get the car association, seeing as how there are several other makes I’d rather own. I’d even consider some Kia’s, but that might be my half-Koreaness (is that a thing?) coming into play. Which might make it raycess. Who knows. What I do know is that Kia stands for Keeping It Awesome, and that’s all that matters. So here we are, ranking the running backs, and the first thing that I think of is a little boy’s village being attacked by a vicious tiger named Chaka Khan Shere Khan. During the attack, he gets lost in a jungle and ends up meeting a wise bear and black panther, who both talk. Which sounds like a good acid trip. Or the plot to The Jungle Book. Why this is the first thing that came to mind is the more interesting subject, but I have no idea how to tackle it. So this whole thing will have to stand on its own. Yeah, I have no clue either. Rankings forward!

AP does stand for Advance Placement in some cases…: There was a time and place where I thought about having both Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy as the number one overall running back, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. We’ll discuss this a bit more as the off-season progresses, but to very quickly comment, I just don’t like the Chiefs OL and the chance for McCoy to once again have a career year enough to pick them over the once perennial number one pick in fantasy football. As an added note, it’s pretty obvious that the first three picks are the best to have in standard leagues this year, and furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised that if the league’s best rusher in 2014 came from any of the tier 1 names.

Tier 2 is 2 risky. See what I did there?: There’s a lot to like in tier 2, but every single player comes with a question mark. Can DeMarco Murray stay healthy enough and stop running sideways to finally give us a top-3 season that he’s capable of? Can Doug Martin not do what he did last year? Can Ryan Matthews progress from his career season? How about Zac Stacy? Can he survive playing against the two most physical defenses and still produce elite numbers? Ray Lewis is retired, so we can rule out Stacy having to survive a stabbing. What happens to Alfred Morris‘ production with a new system and Roy Helu considered a competent third down option? Are Montee Ball and Giovani Benard ready to take the reigns and run away with the starting gig? You get the point by now…every single guy in this tier could provide you with elite fantasy numbers or morph into a David Wilson-like substance and destroy any semblance of a competitive team.

Interesting situations: I’m liking Bishop Sankey a bit this season, as the situation is tailor-made for a rookie running back (run happy innovative coaching staff and system, lack of any true competition, etc.), but as the off-season progresses, his value could inflate past the nice RB-3 option he is now. Frank Gore looked really old late last season, and that’s reflected in the rankings. Carlos Hyde, to me, seems like Gore 2.0, which also sounds like a terrible internet horror film. I’m not excited with Toby Gerhart and Ben Tate, but you could do worse. The thing is, you could do a lot better too. Sounds like my ex. And with Ray Rice beating up fiancée’s and such, I would hide your women. Also, I would keep an eye on Lorenzo Taliaferro, seeing as how Benard Pierce did even worse than Rice last year, which seems impossible. And yeah, I still don’t like Trent Richardson, and I’m pretty sure everyone is tired of waiting for Lamar Miller to show up. Well, at least I am. And with Arian Foster‘s back surgery and statements hinting at a RBBC approach, Andre Brown could be an interesting name. Also, I trust Steven Jackson as far as I can throw him (Hint: my back would give out, so it would probably be at a negative distance), so Devonte Freeman might be an interesting flier…


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  1. Sankey's Horcrux says:
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    What’s up with your tiers? Are you saying you see little difference between Reggie Bush/Sankey and Andre Brown/McFadden? And same with Percy Havin and Baltimore Steve Smith? You really don’t care who falls to you out of those guys?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Sankey’s Horcrux: I’m not sure how others build their tiers, but mine are meant to convey a grouping of players from which you can expect similar output. Combined with my rankings, an easy way of explaining things is: if Reggie Bush is already taken, I’d feel comfortable selecting Sankey and expecting to come close to that value.

      Specifically with Percy Harvin and Steve Smith, same thing. You are weighing Harvin’s injury risk with Smith’s age and move to a more ‘slot’ position. Different algebra, but they should be close in terms of value in a vacuum.

      So exactly like you said, if one is taken and the other falls to you, I’d feel okay about it.

  2. Hey Jay – do you see your top-6 as all belonging on the same tier? Peterson/Charles/McCoy are almost valuable enough to have their own tier (although I can also see grouping the ‘expected’ first rounders all in a tier 1).

    Love your article though – especially where you’ve slotted Foster. Can’t believe the early mocks/rankings are slotting him into an early second ADP.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Sean V: I do. In fact, if someone went Matt Forte number one overall, I wouldn’t argue against it. And I believe in a strong year from Lacy. I think they are all close enough to warrant the same tier.

      And yeah, I don’t’ like Arian Foster’s situation at all.

  3. SMLV1 says:
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    So I should Drop Miller for Ivory, A.Brown, McFadden and/or Woodhead? Hard for me to do when Miller has the starting job all to himself.

    Also on my other team – Drop D. Williams and P. Thomas for Ivory and McFadden?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @SMLV1: As of now, I think that offense is very suspect. These rankings are fluid, and as we get closer to the season, I might move him up. As of now, if someone wants hold, since he has hype from Moreno going down, I’m okay with it. But as the rankings suggest, I think all four of those guys can out-produce him. If I remember, Woodhead was a RB21 in standard leagues last season… which surprised me.

  4. Nimrod says:
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    Sorry if I missed it but what is the number after the team mean?

    • Zar says:
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      @Nimrod: That would be the player’s Bye week.

  5. Zar says:
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    So Jay, was this your 99th article or your 101st article?

    I read somewhere that Ben Tate might be in a Running Back by Committee approach this year, at least initially. Does that hurt his value or Terrance West’s value much?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Zar: I think based on posting, it was my 100th… OR my 143rd. Heh. But I wanted to give a shout out to my baseball homies, so it’s okay to bend the rules.

      As for the Cleveland situation, yeah, they are saying RBBC… and while I think Tate is a low-end RB-3 option, I’d rather go for a higher ceiling / lower floor situation. Maybe a Carlos Hyde or Christine Michael…

  6. Jay, I dig the tiered rankings. Nice job. My one question is Lynch as a top-tier RB. Beast Mode has carried the ball an average of 300 times the past 3 years. That’s not counting catches or post-season touches. Seems like a lotta wear and tear on a guy’s body. Doesn’t scare you?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      A little, but with him, I’ll stop believing when it happens. I do think that Christine Michael will get a bigger role, but I think we still see top tier numbers from him.

  7. JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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    Jay, have a keeper question for you. I own both Bush and Bell. It’s a 16 team league…scoring settings are 15 yards per point and 0.25 PPR. Bush will cost me $14 and Bell $10. I’m kinda torn since both are pretty even imo. I guess my gut is telling me Bell because with it only being 0.25 PPR td’s still pay the bills…but at the same time can’t go wrong with Bush either it seems. Which would you prefer? FWIW in that format Bush scored 149.30 last year and Bell 143.18. Thanks!

  8. IUPAC says:
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    First time doing a deep league slow draft, just finished yesterday. 14 teams, 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE/DSt/PK. My roster looks like:

    QB: Ryan
    RB: McCoy, Ellington, Woodhead, Michael, Taylor
    WR: Cobb, Floyd, Hilton, Williams, Stills, Douglas
    TE: Clay
    D/ST: Den
    K: Bailey

    I was thinking about maybe packaging Woodhead and Hilton for a RB, but then again we only start 2RB’s and with no flex, I need my WRs. What do you think?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      I actually like this team a lot. I’d hold for now.

Comments are closed.