The last few seasons of fantasy you literally had to be a psychic (like me) to guess what the hell was going with our ball carriers. Depending on which top guy you picked you could’ve seen your season crumble in a few weeks or flourish. Obviously that always clutch pick of Peterson came back to swat you in the ass…. and testes. Bellcows rotated & constant injury made us learn names like Zurlon Tipton. (Continued Below the rankings)
The problem with backs are that you have no security. They are more likely to suffer a season ending injury than any other position & they feel other positions injuries more than anyone else. If a tackle gets hurt the running game to that side suffers. If the QB gets hurt they will stack the box against the runner. I have such a fear of injury at this position I have a variable in my projections that lower a back for every touch they get. RB’s touch the ball &/or block on 80%+ of theirs plays, lots of hits. WR’s run around & actually “take hits” on 5-10 plays per game, 1/20th of their snaps. Probabilities say your RB will get hurt before your WR. This is another reason I say go WR/WR and fill your late rounds with RB fliers. Last season in my shark league I did this & ended up with Dez, Patterson (I know), but picked up RB’s like Hill, Bradshaw, Fred Jackson in rounds 6-10. RB’s are now pawns to be streamed like kickers or QB’s if don’t get a “sure thing”.
What all this soapboxing means is that we have to be as safe as possible when picking RB’s, especially in the first few rounds. The quickest way to lose your season is by not getting top round production from your top round draft pick. Taking an early round back will more likely break your team then make your team. That’s why it makes sense to weigh injuries into your RB predictions more than any other position. Injuries like pulled hammies & groins are notorious re-offenders. Broken legs, dislocated shoulders, & such are usually one time boo boos. Doing your due diligence at this position will pay off!
Charles’ number one, no surprise. He is awesome with a great line & finally what looks to be a passing game. If he can get through the line untouched a few more times this season he will outshine everyone, again. If I have to be honest I think Charles will be Tier 1 & 2.
Now for the batshit crazy stuff.
Looking at my rankings you will notice right away that I have put Sophomore back Jeremy Hill at my #2 position. Remember that last year Hill wasn’t even the #1 guy, he was behind a much ballyhooed Geo Bernard. It wasn’t until week 9 that he actually got the nod & the rushes. From that point forward he scored 6TDs & multiple 100+yrd games. The other major factor last year was a weak WR core. AJ Green only really played a few games in common. Marvin Jones who missed all of 2014 had 10TDs in 2013, is back & will be 2 tiers better than Mohamed Sanu was last year. This means that the defense will have to play some light front lines which will give Hill the space he needs to break off some huge runs. He is also 6’1″ 240lbs & will get the goal line touches. His only draw back (although the can catch) is lack of threat in the passing game but if you Geo why screw around.
Many will see Peterson at #3 and baulk. The one thing that people are forgetting about is that Teddy Bridgewater is a real weapon. He has Wallace, Rudolph, & Johnson in what could be a very good passing game. Defenses will still stack the box against Adrian which will force less productive rushes & more successful passing plays. This has made me rank every other Viking starter higher.
I’ve moved Abdulah from my previous #11 spot into my top 5. He is getting his shot & other top backs are getting suspended & looking bad. I look at him like I did about Hill last year minus the fantasy pre-draft hype. Hill had to wait, @AmmerGuapo won’t. A great passing game will open run lanes for this talented runner. He will also be a key part to the passing game getting great matchups against slow linebackers. Expect TD’s by land, air & somehow sea.
Le’Veon Bell’s two game suspension is 1/8th of his season with no points. He is a badass & will do well but his backup, DeAngelo Williams will do well & get some rushes when Bell comes back. Don’t draft Bell from last year. Draft the Bell missing two games with a decent backup & lots of WR weapons to lean on. Don’t forget the Steelers face one of the toughest run defense schedules & the Steelers D suck balls. The offense will have to throw to stay in games which again isn’t going to help Bell’s numbers.
I’ve been up & down on Lacy this pre-season and have landed on up. The loss of his star WR’s and a team that is really a running team regardless the highlight reel, Lacy will get career rushing attempts. He is a great runner but I have one major fear, INJURY. He’s had two major injuries in high school & college & other than a concussion in the pros, has beaten the odds. My psychic feeling tells me his time is up though. Whether it’s two games & nagging for 4 or out for the season I see an issue in his legs. He runs with his feet too close together versus other big backs like Lynch who have a wide base. If you get Lacy I beg you to get Starks a round earlier than you should. Starks is still a strong back & could be a breakout if my Lacy prediction is correct.
C.J. Anderson gets this spot only because he is the starter. If it was the back up he would be here. The Offensive scheme is great for a back & having Manning play-action scaring the crap out of DBs will keep the box light. Coach likes to run & Peyton’s arm is falling off.
If I could count on Lamar Miller to get 20 rushes a game I would have him in my top 5. He is a great back that had his light bulb go on mid-season & has grown with his QB. Better QB play & a more seasoned WR group will help keep defenses balanced. Wish I had something sexy to say here but 16 15 rushes a game won’t be sexy just good.
I know people are crapping on McCoy but I’m not seeing it. I think he will be an above average back but yes, his big fantasy days are behind him. I do like his offensive system & expect his value to increase as we get closer to the season. He isn’t sharing reps & can play in all aspects of the offense. This is a great conservative play if you get stuck at any point.
I have Beast Mode at my #15 spot but am very close to dropping him further. Aside from the massive rushing attempt numbers, age, & nagging injuries for the last 3 years Marshawn hasn’t been that good recently. His last 6 regular season games saw him with 10+ points only ONE time. Add this to the fact he has a horrible practice ethic (he doesn’t really practice) & the offensive line is in a shambles & you have a recipe for a back to get hurt fast. I’m a Seahawk fan & it kills me to write this but from what I’ve seen in the last two seasons I think Lynch is spent. I have him at #15 to hedge my bets but you won’t ever see me drafting him. Sorry Beastmode.
I had Randle as my #6 early but no have him in the twenties now. The issue is the Cowboys aren’t bluffin’ about using a 3 back rotation. The preseason has seen this playout with Randle being sub-average. Dunbar looked great & will take the short & goalline rushes. That is about all I can count on. McFadden looks good behind that big ass line but how long can you count on him? Just one more reason to collect lower ADP backs & stream them.
Foster will be healthy faster than everyone expects. He is a vegan who takes his health very seriously. Guys like that heal faster. He may be more fragile but damn it if he doesn’t heal like an alien. Spend a middle flier on him.
I wanted to put Blount in the top 10 but he is very dog house prone. If he can keep on the straight & narrow he could be a doozy. The cat is mean & can play down hill ball. If Gray does well & stays out of the dog house then he could be a top 10.
The 20-50 spots are where the fantasy gold is. Spending a dollar on a lottery ticket & getting a top tier RB. Rather than getting an extra Kicker & QB spend those spots on late RBs. Guys like Fred Jackson, Duke Johnson, Asiata, Sproles, Oliver, and big name handcuffs like Davis, Starks, & Turbin.
I know I’m asking a lot to get you to see RBs as pawns instead of Kings but the stats & spirits say so.