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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football - Running Back Rankings

While you can argue selecting a QB with the first pick in a fantasy football draft, by doing so you are putting yourself at a major disadvantage because your RB1 will most likely look like an RB2.  You might see 8, 9 or 10 running backs selected in the 1st round of a 12 team draft and by the time your 2nd pick roles around, we might be talking about the 14th or 15 RB off the board! 

Sure you can get lucky, and find this seasons Le'Veon Bell, but to bank of that is a recipe for disaster.  Bell was a 3rd round pick in most leagues last year during draft season, and is now a top 3 pick.  Bell finished with the 2nd most rushing yards (1,361) in the NFL last season, behind DeMarco Murray's 1,845. Bell was also one of two RBs with 100+ targets, joining Matt Forte.  Bell's 83 receptions were 19 shy of Forte, but he gained 854 yards, 46 more than Forte.  His 11 total touchdowns was good for 6th among RBs.  Bell's suspension could see him drop in the 1st round, but he should be worth the risk!

Jeremy Hill made tremendous strides in the rookie season, surpassing Giovani Bernard as the Cincinnati Bengals top back.  Last year it was Bernard who was highly sought after in fantasy football drafts.  Hill averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 222 attempts, going for 1,124 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Only Jamaal Charles, Lamar Miller and Justin Forsett averaged 5+ YPC and gained 1,000 yards last season. 

Eight other rookie running backs gained at least 500 yards, including Jerick McKinnon, who filled in for Adrian Peterson.  With AP returning to the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnon's value has disappeared.  Brandon Oliver also had some rookie success, but the San Diego Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead is set to return for injury.

The New York Giants Andre Williams scored 7 rushing TDs while Rashad Jennings recovered from injury, but he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, gaining 721 yards as a rookie.  With Shane Vereen in town and a healthy Jennings, Williams will have a hard time repeating that success.

According to Fantasy Football Calculator ADP, by the end of the 2nd round, 12 running backs will be off the board.  Are you going to double up on backs?  Or are you willing to play the waiting game and rely on a rookie as your RB2?

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