RB Tiers

In my earlier article about building your draft board, I spoke about building out a series of tiers for each position. Part 1 focused on the QBs. We’ll now look at the Running Back position.

The Elite:

Can you really ever doubt AP? The man is a beast. Sure he’s 31 and has had roughly one million carries, but I’m not betting against him. I see him getting his double digit touchdowns as usual this season. Todd Gurley is a special athlete. I love his skill, and potential. The thing I don’t love? The Rams offense. I’m slightly worried we’ll see more three and outs than we’d like, but Gurley could still impact the game if he gets his 20+ carries. Finally, I LOVE David Johnson. He reminds me of a slightly bigger bodied Matt Forte. He can run between the tackles despite his upright style and make just about every catch out of the backfield. He could explode this season in that offense. With the WR weapons they have, teams won’t be able to stack the box to stop him as much.

Would be Elites if Not For a Question Mark or Two:

Lamar Miller, what’s not to love? Great vision and excellent pass catcher. Often times last season the Dolphins would feed him plenty in the first half only to starve him in the 2nd. Despite that, he still managed to put up respectable numbers. Enter Bill O’Brien’s Texans. They lead the league in rushing attempts over the past 2 years. Oh yea, the Texans signed Miller in the offseason. Devonta Freeman, last year’s leading standard scoring back, will more than likely see his touches drop with Tevin Coleman healthy. However, he’ll still catch plenty of passes and should be the Falcons’ main goal-line back. A lot of people want to put Zeke in the top 10. I just can’t. I know it’s a great situation in Dallas with that stud offensive line and their proclivity to make a back into a bell cow, but I just can’t. I think he’ll be great, but that’s a crowded group as well. Fragile McFadden and Alf Morris are lingering around and it just makes me wonder if they’ll bring their new rookie along slower than some expect. If Le’Veon Bell wasn’t suspended for the first 3 games, he’d be my number one back, even coming off that huge injury last year. He’s that good, and I love him in that Steeler offense. I expect DeAngelo Williams to keep the seat warm for him, and then it’s on. I’ll admit, I could go either way on Charles this year coming off injury. All reports have been positive and Reid loves to feed him, but I can’t help but think Ware and West will help shoulder some of the workload, thus lowering his ceiling.

Still Happy to Have Them as Your #1 RB:

I really like all 4 of these guys. Yes, even fat Eddie. Ingram is vastly underrated and wouldn’t surprise me if he finished in the top 10 if he can stay healthy. McCoy has the job pretty much all to himself with plenty of touches (are we really going to be worried about Reggie Bush? Of course not). He can obviously catch it and I think the Bills’ offense will be much-improved, opening things up for him. By all accounts, Eddie’s not so fat anymore. He’s looking lean and mean, and I expect his numbers to be closer to his 2014 campaign, rather that his disastrous 2015. In that offense, he’ll get his. Martin finished 2015 2nd in carries, and 2nd in yards and yet I feel like he’s not appreciated as much as he should be. By me included! The #3 scoring back from last season could finish in the top 3 again and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

Now We’re Into #2 RB Territory:

Here’s where it starts to get a little dicey. Rawls could blow up like he did last year, but he is coming off surgery, is a little unproven, and reports out of Seattle are saying Christine Michael has been looking great and isn’t going anywhere. In Oakland, Murray has all the makings of a feature back, but just couldn’t quite get it going last season. Enter DeAndre Washington and things get a little murkier for Latavius’ usage. Anderson had every opportunity to succeed last year and proceeded to let every fantasy owner down. He gets another chance this year to make good on that potential. For the first time in his career, Matt Forte is on a team other than the Bears. Although he has Powell behind him, I still look for Forte to get at least 800–1000 yards, and another 50 catches or so. More than enough for your RB2. Gore could be a steal this year. The offense will surely be improved with a healthy Luck and look for reliable Frank to get his carries and yards as usual. He just missed the top 10 in standard scoring last year and a repeat is definitely possible.

Getting Rougher but Opportunity is There:

Hill COULD have a big year, but that’s what we said last year too. Can he finally take advantage of his talent? A lot of folks out there are hating on Langford. With his situation and talent, I bet he finishes in the top 12.

Could Have a Couple Lottery Tickets in Here:

I’m very interested to see if the Giants continue to use Jennings effectively this season like they started to at the end of last year. If so, he could be great value in the middle rounds. With the new injury to Dion Lewis, I think Blount could score 10 times. Mark it. Call me crazy, but I think Foster could put up some good numbers in Miami’s offense. Obviously, the main questions are, can he stay healthy, and could Ajayi force the Dolphin’s hand in the matter? Will the Titans commit to Murray, or is rookie Derrick Henry the real deal?

Not Holding Out Much Hope:

Yuck. I think at this point I’d rather draft some rookies and see what shakes out. Guys like Henry and Washington could be nice lottery tickets.

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