When it comes to Fantasy Football no position has won more trophies for Fantasy Owners than the Running Backs have over the last 20 years. Yes, it’s a Passing league now. And yes, QB friendly PPR League’s have given scoring a whole new dimension. Between the tackles though, can still be the place to drive your opponents into oblivion. Selecting a Top 5 in this category is a daunting task. There is simply just too much talent. Unlike the TE group from yesterday I am going to expand the RB and WR rankings to a Top 10. Seeing as you will usually have two starting at RB this is a no brainer right?
When choosing a Fantasy RB there are a multitude of elements to consider before setting your strategy in stone. In a PPR League your RB1 and RB2 should be complimentary. There is also the ever important Hand Cuff should your work horse RB get injured. Regardless of what priority you have placed on your Running Back selection it is highly unlikely that Rounds 1 & 2 will pass without you snagging one of these top backs. Don’t be surprised if this list doesn’t look like every other Fantasy Prediction out there. The THF Fantasy Engine we use to create these lists has its own algorithm. I’ve been using this formula in Fantasy successfully for many years.
#10 – DeMarco Murray – Philadelphia Eagles
Despite flying the coop from the Division rival Dallas Cowboys to a Philadelphia team who have some serious depth at RB and despite playing behind a suspect Offensive Line signs point towards Murray having a big year for the Eagles. Chip Kelly has a vision and running between the tackles is part of it. Prediction: 1,289 Rush YDS, 8 TD, 201 REC Yards and 2 REC TD
#9 Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens
The talk in Baltimore is that Forsett’s workload will increase this year with an attempt to give Joe Flacco some space in the passing game. With the Ravens bringing back every starting offensive lineman from last year expect Justin Forsett to match last year’s impressive numbers. Prediction: 1,179 Rush YDS, 9 TD, 347 REC YDS, 2 REC TD
#8 C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos
There is little doubt that C.J. Anderson sits atop the Depth Chart in Denver. Montee Ball was usurped after dealing with some injuries and in Anderson Peyton Manning found the cure to releasing pressure in the secondary with a heavy dose of Play Action. It is quite probable that Anderson could find himself higher in the rankings on the back end of 2015 schedule with new Head Coach Gary Kubiak looking to give Manning’s arm more mileage. Prediction: 1,364 Rush YDS, 7 TD, 277 REC YDS, 3 REC TD
#7 Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
After an electric rookie season Lacy had people thinking Sophomore slump early in 2014. He was virtually invisible through the first four games. If you were smart and kept him after that it was a worthwhile investment I’m sure you would agree. As long as he stays concussion free he will be breaking tackles on his way to becoming a Fantasy Force in 2015. The Packers were just outisde of the top 10 rushing attacks last year at 11th even with that slow start out the gates by Lacy. He’s proven to be good catching passes out of the backfield. Considering he is receiving them from one of the best and is on the top offense in football I don’t think it’s far fetched for him end up amongst the top Running Backs in Fantasy Football period. Prediction: 1,401 Rush YDS, 10 TD, 319 REC YDS, 3 REC TD
#6 Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals
After Giovani Bernard went down last season with a hip injury there was a narrow opening for Jeremy Hill to squeeze through. He broke through in a huge way averaging over 5 yards per carry and never looking back again. Hue Jackson did decide to try the two-headed approach with Hill and Bernard, however the latter never was quite the same finishing out 2014. 2015 is a new year and Hue is still talking about a balanced approach. With Hill running behind one of the best Offensive Lines in the NFL it is only a matter of time before Jackson does what is best for his team and gives the
Lions Bengals share of the load to his top talent back. Jeremy Hill is a rising fantasy star that will only get better this season. Prediction: 1,375 Rush YDS, 7 TD, 266 REC YDS, 1 REC TD
#5 Matt Forte – Chicago Bears
In 2014 Matt Forte was one of two NFL Running Backs that were in the vicinity of a 1000/1000 season. Since Roger Craig first accomplished the feat in 1985 only Marshall Faulk has matched such a season doing so with the St. Louis Rams in 1999 as part of “The Greatest Show On Turf.” Although there is another back on this list who was also close it is Forte that year after is a PPR Behemoth. Conditions in Chicago have changed but Matt Forte is the same hard nosed runner who has hands that never seem to fail. With new Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase coming over from the Broncos why would we expect anything but the usual from Mr. Forte. Prediction: 1,183 Rush YDS, 8 TD, 561 REC YDS, 1 REC TD
#4 Beast Mode – Seattle Seahawks
The epitome of tough, Marshawn Lynch if the featured back on the best Rushing Team in the NFL. Looking to run his streak of double-digit Touchdowns to 4 in a row there is no stopping the man even if you take away his Skittles. Injury is always a concern for him to miss a start or two but it’s not enough to even think twice about skipping him in the draft. As far as can’t miss picks go Lynch is right there. We don’t see him slowing down this year so why over think it? Prediction: 1,247 Rush YDS, 10 TD, 334 REC YDS, 2 REC TD
#3 Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
We all know what All Day has dealt with off the field. He is looking to put it behind him having served his suspension. Things are actually looking up for Minnesota behind the first real talent the Vikings have seen since Brett Favre led them to the playoffs. With almost a full season to let his body rest this bodes well for Adrian Peterson. A solid line, young talent and one of the best Offensive Coordinators in the game in Norv Turner Peterson will return to his old form again. Don’t overthink this one! Prediction: 1,626 Rush YDS, 11 TD, 188 REC YD, 1 REC TD
#2 Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
We all know that Jamaal Charles is one of the most dangerous guys on the field. When he can stay on the field. He’s savvy, he’s fast. He can block for Alex Smith and he can sure find that hole. Basically Charles can do it all. It’s the reason why each year he’s one of the best Fantasy backs out there. With Andy Reid finally amassing the talent he has wanted on the offensive side of the ball the Chiefs will really have a chance to go deep in the playoffs again. They are going to rely on Charles to get there too. Prediction: 1,367 Rush YDS, 11 TD, 427 REC YDS, 6 REC TD
#1 Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s going to miss the first two games. Say it out loud. He’s going to miss two games. Ok. Now let it go. Grab DeAngelo Williams and tough it out. This kid is legit. The real deal. And the Pittsburgh Steelers know they are not a Defense first football team any longer. Those days are past. The day of a Top 10 WR and RB on the field at the same time are very real though. Antonio Brown will be drafted almost as high as Mr. Bell in many leagues. Do yourself a favor though and don’t be deterred by his suspension. Think of it as him getting a little extra rest before destroying the other teams Defensive Plan every week. They have the line, the skill players and coaches that know what to do with all of it. Prediction: 1,220 Rush YDS, 9 TD, 626 REC YDS, 3 REC TD
With so much talent at the Running Back position don’t fret when you don’t see names on this list you think should be there. Most Fantasy Leagues you will have two starting RB each week. So in a 10 team league that is 20 top players. We are talking about the creme de creme here. Stay tuned for an abundance of coverage at this position before the season starts. Next week will be rookie and sleeper RB’s.
Don’t see a player on this list that you feel belongs? Tell me about it. Reply in the comments here or hit me up on Twitter.