Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: the Running back fear factor

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The top ten Fantasy Football running backs are a mix of old favorites and dangerous newbies. Feast or famine in the NFL. Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.

[Part one - Finding depth at Running Back]



Here are the top ten running backs for fantasy football. Next to each, I’ll put where ESPN also ranks them overall in terms of where in a draft they should be selected.

1) Adrian Peterson (1)
2) LeSean McCoy (2)
3) Jamaal Charles (3)
4) Matt Forte (4)
5) Marshawn Lynch (5)
6) Eddie Lacy (6)
7) Doug Martin (9)
8) Arian Foster (11)
9) Zac Stacy (13)
10) DeMarco Murray (14)

So the top ten running backs are all expected to go within the top fifteen overall selections. This is pretty normal, but the names here are surprising. After the top five, there are question marks for even these first-round picks. Eddie Lacy has only done it for one year; Doug Martin had a down season last year; Arian Foster can’t stay healthy; Zac Stacy is still a pretty big unknown and Murray is more of an injury risk than Foster.

I don’t like the depth at running back for the 2014 season, but I don’t like the top either!

The way to handle RBs this season may be a bit counter-intuitive. If I don’t have a top five pick or can’t afford any of the top five in an auction, it may be smarter to hold off on backs and grab the top QBs and WRs. Then, rather than roster four backs, instead draft seven or eight. The more tickets you have, the better your chances are to win the lottery.

With that technique though, it is important to target guys who are either more talented than teammates who are stealing carries (and thus may be due for a big uptick in chances) or have a clear starting job but may lack elite abilities. My later targets with this draft style would be guys like Andre Ellington or Steven Jackson. It would also be smart to pile up on backups who could see themselves atop the depth chart with some struggles from the starter. These are players like Bernard Pierce, Donald Brown, McFadden and Ivory who you mentioned, Lamar Miller, etc. This is the largest group of potential in the draft at the running back position…which I suppose says something about where we are.

The only other option I see is to make sure you get one of those top five guys! In an auction, I might consider spending half my budget and grabbing two!



Besides being the most frustrating position to solidify on a fantasy roster, now the top ten running backs are really just a top five. I find it curious that ESPN recommends drafting all of the top five running backs with the first five picks of any draft. Yes, yes, you need to grab a top runner if possible and available, but they don’t score as much as a quarterback. Aaron Rodgers or Jamaal Charles? Give me Rodgers every time. I don’t trust running backs. Period.

I love your idea of stocking a roster with up to seven running backs, but you’d have to do a ton of research to determine who is actually worth selecting. I know you love that kind of thing, but for me I’ll stick to the top ten. I have to throw spears at ESPN’s list however, because spots six through ten are full of question marks. I mentioned this on Wednesday, but it’s not the players themselves who scare me, its their teams. Tampa Bay, Houston, and Dallas scare the crap out of me.

Running backs ranked 11 – 15 by ESPN:

11) Le’Veon Bell
12) Alfred Morris
13) Montee Ball
14) Giovani Bernard
15) Reggie Bush

Take a peak at backs ranked eleven through fifteen. So much better! These players are on teams you can rely on. Pittsburgh, Denver, Cincinnati, and Detroit all have a solid history of offensive success over the last three seasons or more. I’d also like to note how awesome it is to see Reggie Bush climb back into the elite tier of runners. But regardless of name recognition I’ll be saving my auction dollars. Go ahead, overpay and draft your running backs too early. I like my odds with waiting.

[If you missed Part one - Finding depth at running back]

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Running Backs Adrian Peterson ESPN Fantasy Football NFL Sports Debate

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