Fantasy football players must remember that running back is the most volatile position in fantasy, and often times is the most vital come draft day. Injuries will happen, and they could happen to anybody. Waiver pickups become very important at the running back position, but the draft is still the best place to find the guy that could carry a team to victory. This year I have moved from a standard league to a PPR (points per reception) league, so my rankings have changed quite a bit. However, instead of taking a running backs early I hope to scoop up several running backs in the fourth through ninth round, as you may have read last week. So, these are my ranking for running backs, and they may seem a bit different than most guys out there, but that’s just because I have some big time gut feelings about guys this year.
1. Matt Forte (Bears): As far as PPR goes I have to throw Forte on top of the heap this year because he will catch balls. A lot of them most likely, and he is going to get a lot of work on a strong offense. I could see him averaging more than 21 points a week.
2. Adrian Peterson (Vikings): Peterson is an athletic freak, and the Vikings offense has improved significantly from last season. This will take the pressure off of Peterson, and he won’t see nearly as many eight and nine man boxes. I think he should average more than 20 points a game. Plus Norv Turner said that he will likely utilize Peterson as more of a receiver.
3. Jamaal Charles (Chiefs): Charles is certainly a beast from a receptions standpoint. However, he scored 19 touchdowns last year. I don’t think that will be sustainable for another season. He will still be an elite option, but I don’t think he’ll be the top dog this year. Charles will be shortly behind Peterson with slightly less than 20 points a game.
4. LeSean McCoy (Eagles): The biggest tool in Chip Kelly’s crazy up tempo offense, he should be poised for yet another solid season. However, the addition of Darren Sproles could see a reduction in receptions for McCoy, which worries me just a bit. Shady should roll for about 19.5 points per week this year.
5. Arian Foster (Texans): I’m always a sucker for a redemption story, and this year Foster is my go-to guy for that. I think he still has gas in the tank, and not having Ben Tate breathing down his neck should help. An average of a hair over 18 points per week would not surprise me.
6. Le’Veon Bell (Steelers): Despite a shaky offensive line, I think that Bell should see double-digit touchdowns for sure, and he could be a strong safety valve for Big Ben. He should be nearly averaging 18 points per game this year.
7. Gio Bernard (Bengals): Bernard is the man this year in Cincinnati, and he proved last year to be a tremendous talent. He is one of the reason’s that Andy Dalton exploded last year. The box definitely won’t be loaded with AJ Green roaming deep, so Bernard should be a great weapon that averages nearly 18 points a game.
8. CJ Spiller (Bills); Projecting Spiller to have a breakout season bit me in the keister last year, but I am going to predict it again. He is so talented, and there is no way that Fred Jackson is going to eat into that once again. I think that the Bills are finally going to give him the all out chance that he deserves. Expect him to average more than 17 points per game.
9. Montee Ball (Broncos): Here is where I expect running backs to drop off significantly from this point, and anyone from here to about No. 20 could easily shuffle quite a bit, and there isn’t much of a difference in points. Ball should be the man in Denver once he returns from his appendectomy, and then he’ll average more than 15.5 points per game.
10. Eddie Lacy (Packers): I am not nearly as high on Eddie Lacy as most fantasy football players or analysts. Lacy runs much like Peterson (with reckless abandon), but doesn’t have Peterson’s freakishness. I think there is a good chance that Lacy will be banged up a lot, and will come on and off the field a lot. This will likely mean he will average about 15 points per game.
11. Reggie Bush
12. Rashad Jennings
13. Ben Tate
14. Zac Stacy
15. Shane Vereen
16. Demarco Murray
17. Toby Gerhardt
18. Frank Gore
19. Marshawn Lynch
20. Chris Johnson
21. Trent Richardson
22. Maurice Jones-Drew
23. DeAngelo Williams
24. Ray Rice
25. Joique Bell
Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list will be that Marshawn Lynch is at No. 19. I think that Lynch is going to fall off this year. I just have a gut feeling that he is going to flame out. Be sure to handcuff him with his backups if you end up taking him, or avoid him all together like I will. Thanks again for reading, and be sure to check out for wide receiver rankings next week.