2015 Fantasy Football: Running Back Rankings (Part 1)

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8. ) Jeremy Hill, Bengals – Once the Bengals took the shackles off Hill in the 2nd half of the season he was a beast. He averaged 5.1 YPC on the season and had 7 of his 10 TDs over the last 9 games. If the Bengals give Hill a legitimate shot to be their primary RB (20+ carries), he’s all but a lock for double-digit TDs and a top 10 finish among fantasy RBs this season.

9. ) C.J. Anderson. Broncos – Once the Broncos realized that Peyton Manning‘s arm was wearing down, they switched to a run heavy attack based around Anderson and he excelled in the work-horse role. After taking over as the lead RB, Anderson had 8 TDs in the last 6 games of the regular season. There is a new coaching staff in Denver so we don’t know exactly how Anderson will be used, but after his success last year he should be a big part of the offense from week 1 on.

10.) LeSean McCoy, Bills – Two years removed from an elite season and is joining a team that has serious O-line problems on the right side and one of the worst QB situations in the league. There just aren’t going to be the same running lanes for McCoy that he had in Philly. I thought the Bills were a run-first type team but they only averaged 25 rushing attempts per game last year which was 20th in the league. McCoy is a talented player who is still only 27 and can catch the ball out of the backfield with the best of them, but he could lose red zone carries to reliable veteran Fred Jackson. There are too many question marks for me to spend a pick on McCoy before the back-end of round 2.

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11.) Melvin Gordon, Chargers – The total package of acceleration, power, vision and breakaway speed. Just as importantly for Gordon, the Chargers have only 3rd down back Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown and his 2.6 YPC, and the diminutive Branden Oliver with him on the depth chart. Gordon has virtually no competition for playing time and with 20+ touches per game could easily be a top ten fantasy back.

12.) DeMarco Murray, Eagles – The track record for RBs coming off 449 touch seasons isn’t great. The fact that Murray also left the best offensive line in the league and may be splitting carries with Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles won’t help either. I still think Murray is one of the most talented RBs in the league, but his situation just isn’t as good as it was with the Cowboys. When you consider that last year was the only season in his career that he was healthy enough to play 16 games, it just adds to the risk of taking Murray in the 1st round.

13.) Frank Gore, Colts – Has been remarkably consistent with 10 consecutive seasons of 4+ YPC and now finds himself on a team with an elite passing game for the first time in his career. When mediocre backs like Daniel Herron can have success running the ball, then a pro like Gore could have a monster season. Though I would feel way better about Gore’s chances this year if he wasn’t 32 years old. Most RBs show a significant decline after 29 years old, but Gore looked like the same guy last season as he did five years ago. Also the Colts have very little behind Gore on the depth chart except middling backups like Herron and Ballard. If Gore stays healthy he should have as many carries as he can handle against defenses focused on stopping the pass. It sounds crazy, but Gore could have the best season of his career at 32 years old.