2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Rankings (Part 1)

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With the 2015 NFL season less than 3 months away, it’s time to start doing prep work for your fantasy football draft. Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down every position with a primer, rankings, sleepers, busts, and rookies.

Below are my 2015 running back rankings based on Yahoo’s standard settings plus .5 PPR.

Running Back Rankings

1. ) Adrian Peterson, Vikings – The fact that he’s been out of football for a year worries me a little, but the fact that he’s Adrian Peterson makes me feel better about it. The Vikings have a potentially good QB, an O-line that should be better this year, and a new receiver that should stretch the field (Mike Wallace). Throw in the fact that AP is motivated to prove he’s still great and targeting 2,500 rushing yards… There is no one I’d rather have at RB.

2.) Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – He’s going to miss the first two games of the season, but he averaged 22.3 fantasy points per game last season so should put up plenty of value in his 14 games. The Steelers could have one of the best offenses in the league this year and Bell will be a huge part of it once his suspension is over.

3.) Eddie Lacy, Packers – The best offense in football and a QB that will keep defenses from ever throwing up an 8-man front. Lacy’s stats improved across the board in his 2nd season and should continue to get better in year 3. The Packers have a great O-line, the best QB in the league, and a running back who is just coming into his prime. Lacy could push for the best fantasy back this year.

4.) Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – He’s never averaged under 5 yards per carry in his career, but the last two years were his lowest YPC at 5.0. Charles is going to be 29 this season which is generally the year RB start to decline so there is a little concern about what he has left in the tank. Despite having his lowest YPC of his career, Charles had his 2nd highest TD total with 14. He’s a unique talent who may be able to continue his top tier production, but I’m worried enough to drop him out of the top three.

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5.) Matt Forte, Bears – This may seem to be a homer pick, but Forte deserves every bit of his ranking. He has the most yards from scrimmage in the NFL over the last three seasons even though he gets little press for it. Forte is nearing the end of his run going into his 29-year-old season, but he should have at least one more year in the sun. The Bears new HC John Fox wants to build the offense around the running game which should mean good things for Forte. He’s one of the best receiving backs in the league and will get 75-ish catches this season with potentially more rushing yards and TDs in the Bears new power offense.

6.) Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – His new contract could lead to a less motivated Marshawn, but I don’t think it will. He’s always run with power and aggression. If Lynch keeps getting 20+ carries per game, he’ll keep putting up top 10 fantasy lines. Lynch has been surprisingly durable and is one of the safest bets for the 10+ points per week in the league.

7.) Arian Foster, Texans – He missed 3 games last year, but still finished as the 5th highest scoring fantasy back and his fantasy point per game average (22.4) was the 2nd highest in the league. If Foster could stay healthy for a full season he’s got a chance to be the top scoring RB in the league. Though at 28 years old, the odds of Foster making it through the year in one piece are slim. Even if he missed a few games, he’s all but a lock for a top ten finish among RBs. The Texans ran the ball more than any team in the league last season (34.5) and barring a long-term injury Foster will be among the top fantasy backs in 2015.