Quite a few changes have occurred in our running back rankings list over the past couple of weeks. Youngsters David Wilson and Eddie Lacy both get a huge boost heading into the final week of drafts as injuries to their teammates have seemingly cleared the path for large workloads. Arian Foster has yo-yoed around the top tier with question about his health emerging, but at no point did he leave that elite group.
We’ll lay out the tiers with a couple of quick notes and jump into the tiered running back rankings for the 2013 fantasy football season. As always, special thanks go to FantasyPros.com for providing the rankings platform and widget.
Like most, Adrian Peterson tops our rankings, but that is by no means a mandate to take him as the No. 1 overall pick. Honestly, we could make a case for any one of the top-8 backs to be the best rusher in fantasy. It all personal preference and while AP’s consistency year-to-year puts him at the top of the list, each player has demonstrated upside to be fantasy’s most valuable player.
Beyond the elite tier, our second tier is loaded with talent but also some questions remain. Will Alfred Morris fall victim to the Shannahanigans. Can MJD and Trent Richardson stay healthy? Can Matt Forte cut into the goal-line work? Will Chris Johnson ever be consistent again? Is David Wilson the real deal?
Tier three closes the bankable RB2s in our eyes. In a standard league, we hope to have at least two of the top-20 backs on our squad. That’s not to say that value won’t be had in the next group, but the risk is there for each to really disappoint. Eddie Lacy is a really intriguing name here. The offense is stacked and now with DuJaun Harris out of the way, he’s locked in to a work-horse role to start the season. Expect veterans Frank Gore and Steven Jackson to continue to provide steady production week-in and week-out.
The next two tiers are is where the major risk-reward players fall. Confidence in a hefty amount of early-season work is the common thread among these rushers, but they are likely either unproven (Lamar Miller, Montee Ball) or have disappointed in the recent past (DMC, Ryan Mathews, Demarco Murray, Deangelo Williams). If one of these guys is the third running back on your roster, you are in good position entering the season.
Like the names above, there’s irsk in each selection, but with potentially great rewards. Darryl Richardson, Shane Vereen and Gio Bernard all posses the talent to be impact players, but with a potentially limited role. Ahmad Bradshaw and Rashard Mendenhall warrant consideration based on workload, but it is a leap of faith with either to player to expect a full 16 games of good health.
Tier Six and Beyond
It’s all fliers at this point in the rankings. Team needs often dictate which of these options that will be right for your team. If you are a believer in handcuffing your running backs, then this is a good spot to go and grab that guy. A couple of player like Mark Ingram and Bilal Powell will have opportunity to earn themselves a bigger share of their team’s carries, but most of these players need an injury or two to be more than a flex consideration on a week-to-week basis.
Fantasy Football Tiered Running Back Rankings