The 2015 Infallible Fantasy Football Rankings (RB)

We will rank 20 running backs this time around because there are just that many options. And that’s not as much of a good thing as you’d like to think. In fact, the number of feature backs has gone well below 10 as there are plenty of guys with star power and situational value (like when their team is up several scores), but there’s only a handful of guys that are used early and often in all facets of the game. Yet this is for PPR drafts, so know that there will be guys that aren’t ranked as high as you might think because they don’t get touches in the passing game even if they are essentially feature backs on their respective teams.

  1. Jamaal Charles. So there are other guys that get carries (Knile Davis) and usurp catches out of the backfield (De’Anthony Thomas). But even if his usage rate is down, scores will always be available to the guy that is a real threat every time he’s started. With a little bit of help at receiver, the pass game will be a little better. And that should only help the run game even more.
  2. Adrian Peterson. Cue the jokes about child abuse (even though it’s not really a funny subject). While he’s never going to win Man of the Year in the NFL, Peterson will be a force in the league assuming he comes back in the kind of shape we are accustomed to seeing. Bridgewater should be better this year, but there’s still no sure thing on offense quite like All Day.

    Funny? Or not funny but still kinda funny?
    Funny? Or not funny but still kinda funny?
  3. Eddie Lacy. You can tell me that he’s going to fall off after so many carries last year, but the Packers will find a way around that and still get the best out of him. He’s a decent threat in the passing game and should be a good guy to have over the course of the entire season. Having the best QB in the game leading his team doesn’t hurt his potential as a fantasy monster.
  4. C.J. Anderson. Is he Montee Ball of the last two years? Is he any of the other backs of the past couple years to run for the Broncos? Well, after he became the lead back for Denver things went smoothly. Anderson was a beast on the ground and through the air. And those receiving numbers are what will make him most versatile and dangerously important for PPR drafts. Provided Peyton Manning has the arm strength that he showed prior to his postseason run, then the receiving numbers will be up. If not, the rushing numbers might be up that much more.
  5. DeMarco Murray. The system is better for Murray to get the ball, but will he fit the system. And will he get the ball? For all the questionable guys that are getting paid to catch the ball in Philly, there’s plenty of options to run it. And more importantly, there’s plenty of options to catch it out of the backfield. Still, Murray is likely to get his fair share of rush yards and catches assuming the QB play is up to par. Don’t expect a season like the last.
  6. LeSean McCoy. Not sure who’s going to be throwing the ball to him. But the dude can flat out play (even if he can’t tip). Now if only Percy Harvin would show out the way we know he can and the Bills defense can give the Buffalo offense a chance to play slow and decisively. If McCoy proves durable enough, there’s a chance he gets close to 1400 yards on the ground.

    Pay it forward. Not backwards.
    Pay it forward. Not backwards.
  7. Marshawn Lynch. Every year we expect Lynch the regress. And every year he comes back with a bigger performance. Will this be the year? I think so. And not because he’s losing a step, but because Russell Wilson will throw the ball a little more and Jimmy Graham is expected to add a dimension this team hasn’t had before.
  8. Le’Veon Bell. Okay, you might laugh at this spot. But anyone who is anyone knows that the fantasy season is just like the actual season, and playing every game counts. Like C.J. Anderson last year and countless backs before him, the team playing the best at the end of the year is usually the one that wins. All I’m saying is, don’t draft Bell too high and then put yourself in position to have no chance to even get into the playoffs because you have only one guy worth starting the majority of the season.
  9. Matt Forte. After 102 catches last season, you’d think he’d be higher. But with this whole offense questionable, it’s tough to determine how they might come out this year. And after the low yards per carry last year it’s not crazy to assume that trend will continue. Still, Forte is a bulk back who will get tons of opportunities to score points (just maybe not touchdowns).
  10. Jeremy Hill. When Giovani Bernard went down last year Hill took over and never looked back. He might not have tons of versatility, but it’s not he’s got a golden arm quarterback to get him the ball. The Bengals have long been a running team in a running division. And both Ohio teams will continue to go against the grain. If Hill can get in the endzone often, he might be even higher by the end of this season.
  11. Lamar Miller. A lot of this depends on quarterback play. But Miller was very good last year even as fantasy owners had trouble trusting the guy. He’s a fast guy with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and the durability to play the majority of his teams’ snaps. Getting some scores might send Miller over the top.
  12. Justin Forsett. One good year isn’t everything. But after seeing Forsett after last season continue to work, there’s little doubt he can match the previous season even at his advanced age. And with Marc Trestman calling the plays, he’s likely to get plenty of looks in the short passing game. Don’t expect huge numbers, but don’t think he will disappear either.
  13. Alfred Morris. He doesn’t play passing downs. But he runs a lot. The only problem for Washington last season was that they were down more often than not and running wasn’t a great option. If Griffin can improve (or just not be the worst QB in the league) then there’s a chance Morris might have more value. He’s the best talent they have with Jackson sidelined.
  14. Melvin Gordon. With all the uncertainty surrounding rookie RBs in past years it’s difficult to trust this based solely on Gordon, but then when you consider the QB with him in the backfield it makes sense. He’s a big guy that should get a lot of work in an offense that will likely score a healthy amount of points.
  15. Carlos Hyde. Kaepernick has been shaky at best if recent history and with all the defections within the last year, it’s Hyde that will make the biggest difference on offense. Reggie Bush might steal some catches, but Hyde will get the kind of work Frank Gore did in his best years. Just not sure we will see the kind of production that Gore was able to amass.
  16. Mark Ingram. He was good last year. Not Heisman good, but he was good. And CJ Spiller joining him in the backfield won’t do much to change his workload carrying the ball. He’s a change of pace guy that will get his carries. The bigger question mark will be how long the Saints offense stays on the field with all the impending turnovers and lack of big play threats.
  17. Joseph Randle. No one is expecting Randle to come in and be DeMarco Murray. But it’s fair to say that no one is expecting his to fall flat on his face and give way to Darren McFadden either. In his limited work last year, Randle was very good and should be an adequate replacement for last season’s rushing leader. Provided he gets some receptions, he might be much higher.
  18. Frank Gore. We all thought Gore was done before last year. He was splitting time with everyone and many were waiting for him to get hurt. But it hasn’t happened and this season will offer a big chance to get in the endzone lots with an explosive offense. Depending upon his workload (and there’s no one to really push him), then Gore could see more than 1,000 yards and even possibly double-digit scores.
  19. Jonathan Stewart. Who else is there in Carolina? Stewart has been the better back for a while. DeAngelo Williams always looked better on paper. But this year offers no real second option. So provided he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, Jonathan Stewart could have some very good numbers (especially if the passing game continues to make strides).
  20. Andre Ellington. Last year saw a regression in Ellington’s run game. But there’s no denying his ability to make plays. If the Cardinals offensive line can step up, then there’s a very real chance he becomes the guy that everyone thought he was last season. Having a healthy Carson Palmer back in the fold will only make things easier.

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