So we’re back at it, loosely going over 2014 while also looking forward to 2015. It’s an interesting exercise, if only because it’s the most excercise I’ve gotten in a while. Also, seeing as how the 2014 season seems like a while ago, yet 2015 looking so far away, we’re stuck in this sort of buffer zone where the biggest news item of the day is Steven Jackson getting released. But hey, at least we’re not talking about deflategate. Today, we’ll cover running backs, and while we do, also remember that these are way-too-early rankings. I mean, consider how volatile they are, as we already have a new starting quarterback for the Texans in Ryan Mallet. Oh, wait a second…that’s probably the worst example I could have used.

 

A lot of familiar faces in the top-5, with the most noticeable changes coming with the exit of Eddie Lacy and LeSean McCoy and the entrance of Le’Veon Bell and DeMarco Murray. Murray’s ranking seems like the one with the most variables, as we really don’t know where he’ll end up, and there’s always a risk for injury. Or just having, like, an 89 fumble year. I like Forte just a bit more going into the season, asĀ Bell’s looming suspension might be up to four games. I might be ranking Adrian Peterson too high, but it’s not like he was injured or ineffective. He just beat his child, so there’s that, I guess. He won’t be on any of my teams, but I think he could certainly be a top-5 contributor.

 

There were a lot of changes in this tier, mostly because I whiffed on my Ryan Mathews and Zac Stacy rankings. Some of that terribleness (word?) was offset by ranking Murray, Bell, and Marshawn Lynch higher than my peers, so hopefully that balanced things out. I love C.J. Anderson going into next season, and wouldn’t be surprised to see him match all that Montee Ball love that I skipped out on last year. Lynch isn’t getting any younger, but there aren’t any fading signs yet. Ellington and Foster represent injury risks, and in other news, sky is blue, grass is green.

 

With Stacy pulling a Doug Martin, Tre Mason looks to have what it takes to be a lead back. Though, I thought the same of Stacy, which probably means Benjamin Cunningham will be a top-10 starter next season. If you notice something, Ball still hadn’t been ranked in my 2014 rankings, so that was a nice win, and I also ended up ranking Bernard quite lower than my peers. That, of course, was offset by the fact that C.J. Spiller, Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush, and Shane Vereen were all big misses. I could argue that Spiller and Bush had injury issues, and Vereen was basically weaponized by Bill BelichickĀ to troll fantasy players, but they still ruined plenty of RB2’s and Flex’s. Next season’s “mid-tier” does look interesting, with Lamar Miller, Justin Forsett, Alfred Morris, and Mark Ingram rounding out the “I’ve been around a while, will still be pretty effective, but won’t be elite” mold, while the upside of Mason, Latavius Murray, and Carlos Hyde are there for your “high-risk/high-reward” plays. Overall, the group feels safer than last years, but that could just be hindsight talking and the entire group will completely explode in spectacular fashion. Much in the same way Ryan Mathew’s obliques do.