Preseason RB PPR Rankings for 2014
The following Preseason RB PPR Rankings are based on a standard 1 point PPR scoring system in a 12 team league. I can’t stress enough how important it is to fully understand your league’s scoring system, as it can have major effects on your draft preparation. The following Preseason RB PPR Rankings will be updated prior to the Labor Day Weekend, as many drafts will be taking place then.
By: Brad Jerde
1. Adrian Peterson (MIN): The best running back in the NFL, now with the benefit of Norv Turner’s use of RBs in the passing attack. All Day says 2,500 yards rushing and 500 receiving this year…are you going to tell him he can’t? I’m not.
2. Jamaal Charles (KC): Averaging 5.6 yards per rush for his career. Toss in that catching another 70 passes is realistic since Alex Smith has no one else to throw to…seriously, have you seen the KC receivers lately?
3. Matt Forte (CHI): Caught 74 passes last year, and I see no reason why he can’t catch 70+ again; if he can stay healthy. Factor in about 1,250 yards rushing and you have a solid RB1 in PPR formats.
4. LeSean McCoy (PHI): Might see a reduction in catches with Sproles in town, but Chip Kelly will still get him the ball, especially in the Red Zone. Update: Shady rushed 4 times for 24 yards (6.0 YPC) and caught two passes for 26 yards and a TD in the Eagles 3rd Preseason game on 8/22. He left the game due to a thumb injury, but X-rays were negative.
5. Giovani Bernard (CIN): Was used in almost 25 % of Red Zone touches last year, and I project him for 60 catches; while the Law Firm takes a back seat and watches Gio’s sophomore season.
6. Eddie Lacy (GB): Neared 1,200 yards rushing last year after spending the first half of the season figuring things out (a problem with Alabama graduates for some reason); Rodgers is an equal-opportunity distributor, so he should catch at least 40 out of the backfield.
7. Montee Ball (DEN): Word around the campfire is that Ball is doing well in Pass Protection in camp this year…that is all you need to know. If Manning likes him, we like him; he’ll get plenty of opportunities to catch the ball…and Manning seems to be in the Red Zone quite a bit.
8. DeMarco Murray (DAL): Receptions keep going up; caught over 50 passes last year, and scored 10 TD. Averages almost 5 yards/carry for his career (4.95). He just has to stay healthy.
9. Andre Ellington (ARI): Looks to be the main guy out of the backfield this season, and is exciting to watch. He has good hands; I’ve got him penciled in for 50+ catches this season.
10. Arian Foster (HOU): Injuries are a concern, but we are only one year removed from looking at this guy as a top 2-3 RB in either format. Could catch 50 balls in O’Brien’s offense.
11. Zac Stacy (STL): Rushed for over 600 yards in the second half last year and is the guy in the backfield for the Rams, although there is hype building for the rookie Tre Mason. He’s a three-down back, and I have him projected for 40+ catches.
12. Doug Martin (TB): The injury to the rookie Charles Sims leaves Martin with essentially no one behind him; should do well in the passing game with McCown behind center and Tedford calling the plays.
13. CJ Spiller (BUF): If he can stay healthy—a big if—the sky is the limit for Spiller. Can easily pull in 50 catches and rush for 1000 yards.
14. Le’Veon Bell (PIT): Another back that can eclipse the 1000 yard mark and 40+ catches. Update: Bell and fellow running mate LeGarrette Blount were arrested on Wednesday (8/20) and charged with possession of marijuana. Reports are that Bell may also be charged with DUI. This won’t affect my rankings for now, but a suspension is a possibility. Both played in Pittsburgh’s 3rd Preseason game on Thursday 8/22.
15. Reggie Bush (DET): The Bush/Bell tandem in Detroit may account for over 100 receptions, depending on how Stafford distributes the ball, and if Bush can stay healthy.
16. Joique Bell (DET): See above. There are going to be plenty of targets for the Detroit RBs, and Bell tends to get the ball inside the 5 yard line.
18. Shane Vereen (NE): PPR Gold. Vereen might as well be a TE or WR…he may not reach 500 yards rushing, but if he can stay on the field all season, he should catch between 60 and 70 passes.
19. Toby Gerhart (JAX): Chad Henne or the rookie Bortles? Either can hand the ball off presumably, and both will have to check down often. Gerhart averaged 5 YPC in Minnesota, but is behind a much worse offensive line in Jacksonville.
20. Chris Johnson (NYJ): Not CJ2K any more…but the Jets play several teams that are not good against the run, and he is more than capable of creating big plays if he gets the ball in space. Should catch 40+ passes. He’s a starter and a steal at his current 7th round ADP.
21. Rashad Jennings (NYG): With David Wilson retiring, and behind a better OL than the Raiders (although still not very good), Jennings stands to approach the 1000 yard rushing mark—with 40+ receptions. He could be a solid RB2.
22. Ben Tate (CLE): Another starter with a current ADP in the 7th round, and the ability to reach 1000 yards rushing and 40 receptions.
23. Pierre Thomas (NO): Almost caught 80 passes (77) with Sproles in the same backfield last year. With Sproles in Philly, he might surpass 80 this season. Another steal at his current 8th round ADP.
24. Alfred Morris (WSH): Morris is not much of an option in the pass game out of the backfield, but even in a PPR format, a 1200 yard rusher can only fall so far. Certainly a solid RB2 on any fantasy team.
25. Ryan Mathews (SD): Another 1200 yard rusher last season, and is a check-down option for Rivers as long as he is on the field.
26. Bishop Sankey R (TEN): The Titans went all-in with their 2nd round pick this year after taking 6’ 7” Taylor Lewan in the first round to help shore up the offensive line. Looks like it is his job to lose, with Shonn Greene the only viable option behind him.
27. Frank Gore (SF): Rushed for 1100 yards last year and got more than 20% of Red Zone touches. Rookie Carlos Hyde may steal some carries, and more likely catches; but for now Gore is the starter.
28. Ray Rice (BAL): Big disappointment last season for owners, and is suspended for the first two games, but the OL has improved. Look for a bounce back into fantasy relevancy this season.
30. Steven Jackson (ATL): Will begin the season as the starter in Atlanta, but there is mounting talk about the rookie Devonta Freeman, and Jackson has spent training camp nursing a hamstring injury.
31. Maurice Jones-Drew (OAK): Probably RBBC in Oakland, but my guess is MJD will be used more in the passing attack, with 40 catches a possibility depending on his ability to stay healthy.
32. Knowshon Moreno (MIA): If he begins the season fully recovered from the knee injury, Moreno will probably get the bulk of the Red Zone looks in Miami.
33. Danny Woodhead (SD): Had 600+ yards receiving last year, and is another target for Rivers, but will share time with Mathews.
34. Carlos Hyde R (SF): The top-rated RB in this year’s draft, Hyde will start behind Gore; but is generating a lot of discussion heading into the season. My guess is he has more receptions but less rushing yards than Gore out of the backfield.
35. Darren Sproles (PHI): Sproles landed in perhaps the best place possible for him in Philly. There is plenty of room for both Sproles and McCoy in Chip Kelly’s offense. 50-60 receptions is definitely a possibility. Update: Sproles rushed 6 times for 33 yards and a TD (5.5 YPC), and caught 1 pass for 4 yards in the Steelers 3rd Preseason game on Thursday 8/22.
36. Devonta Freeman R (ATL): The rookie is generating a buzz in Atlanta, particularly with Steven Jackson not on the practice field. He will have to be able to block for Matt Ryan to see significant playing time over Jackson or Jaquizz Rodgers, but the Falcons like what they see so far.
37. Fred Jackson (BUF): Still sharing touches with Spiller…Jackson is more consistent but Spiller is more explosive; both have injury concerns and Jackson will see more Red Zone touches.
38. Trent Richardson (IND): I don’t like him—and you can’t make me—but someone has to carry the ball in Indy. Bradshaw will get his chances too, but I’m avoiding this backfield entirely.
39. Jeremy Hill R (CIN): Another rookie RB getting a great deal of attention. May end up sharing some touches with Bernard…while the Law Firm watches them both.
40. Roy Helu (WSH): Essentially the handcuff for Alfred Morris. His touches will be limited as long as Morris is healthy.
41. Terrance West R (CLE): Drafted as the RB of the future in Cleveland, will have to prove himself once the QB situation is straightened out.
42. Andre Williams R (NYG): Another strong rookie RB, will bide his time behind Jennings to start the season.
43. Darren McFadden (OAK): The other half of the RBBC in Oakland, behind a bad OL. May technically be the starter, but McFadden always seems to be more hype than production.
44. Ahmad Bradshaw (IND): He’s a better back with a better attitude in my opinion than T-Rich when healthy, but Pagano hasn’t called me for my opinion either.
45. Stevan Ridley (NE): It’s hard to tell how long he remains in Belichick’s doghouse, but if he can hang onto the ball he could see the bulk of Red Zone carries.
46. James White R (NE): If Ridley can’t hang on to the ball, or if the damage has already been done in Belichick’s mind, White has shown that he is ready to go. Being able to pass protect goes a long way when playing behind Brady.
47. Khiry Robinson (NO): It goes something like this: If Pierre Thomas is on the field, the Saints are going to pass. If Mark Ingram or Khiry Robinson are on the field, they are going to run. Basically. I think Robinson gets the better of this platoon by season’s end.
49. Donald Brown (SD): Averaged 5.3 YPC last season, and his number was called in nearly a third of Red Zone plays. Is ready to stand in if Mathews can’t stay healthy…a very real possibility.
50. Knile Davis (KC): Handcuff for Jamaal Charles…if you are able to draft Charles, make sure you scoop up Davis near the end of the draft as well.
51. DeAngelo Williams (CAR): Thought I forgot about the backfield in Carolina? I tried, and so should you.
52. Shonn Greene (TEN): Coming off a knee injury that ended his season last year, it appears as though most believe that the rookie Sankey will win the starting role. I’m with them.
53. Dri Archer R (PIT): May find himself alone in the backfield if both Bell and Blount end up with a suspension, although that may only be a game or two and looks increasingly unlikely—at least this season. Otherwise, Archer amounts to a standard “change of pace-type” rusher. Update: Archer had no rushes, but did catch 3 passes for 14 yards in the Steelers 3rd Preseason game on Thursday 8/22.
54. Mark Ingram (NO): If the Saints aren’t passing, and Robinson doesn’t get the better of the platoon, then you are left with Ingram. He doesn’t really catch the ball, so his value is relatively minimized in a PPR format.
55. LeGarrette Blount (PIT): Blount looks to play a role similar to the one he had in New England, which means he may steal some goal line carries from Bell. Update: As mentioned earlier, Blount and Le’Veon Bell were arrested Wednesday (8/20) and charged with possession of marijuana. My rankings are unchanged as of now, but you may want to keep an eye on the story as it develops.
56. Jerick McKinnon R (MIN): Matt Asiata is probably going to be second on the depth chart in Minnesota, but the Vikings are going to find ways to use McKinnon, a versatile rookie that played both QB and RB in college.
57. Jonathan Grimes (HOU): Grimes has emerged as the backup RB in Houston with Tate moving on. Considering Foster’s injury history, he is worth a roster spot in most formats.
58. Jonathan Stewart (CAR): It is difficult to even type the words “handcuff to DeAngelo Williams” without laughing…but, there you go.
59. Tre Mason R (STL): The rookie from Auburn was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year last season, and may be the best example of a true handcuff playing behind Stacy. Make no mistake…Stacy is the starter in St. Louis.
60. James Starks (GB): Starks will have a limited role playing behind Eddie Lacy, consider him a handcuff as well.
61. Jonathan Dwyer (ARI): Will likely see some goal line carries playing behind Ellington.
62. Chris Ivory (NYJ): Rushed for more than 800 yards last season, and should be ready to step in if Chris Johnson has any problems.
63. Ronnie Hillman (DEN): It appears as though Hillman is the frontrunner to back up Montee Ball…but I believe we have been down this road before; One thing is for sure: You have to be able to pass protect if you are going to be in the same backfield as Peyton Manning.
64. CJ Anderson (DEN): At this point Anderson and Hillman are essentially interchangeable…see above.
65. Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL): Caught almost 40 balls last year, but doesn’t rush for many yards. It will be interesting to see how he is used with the rookie Freeman in town, particularly if Jackson can’t stay healthy.
66. Christine Michael (SEA): Lynch is still the man (I’m not sure about the Beast part though) in Seattle, and Michael has had some issues with pass protection and hanging on to the football; but he will have some opportunities, which will include the passing game.
67. Ka’Deem Carey R (CHI): Will back up Forte, and has the ability to make for a solid handcuff.
68. Jordan Todman (JAX): Had his number called a fair amount in the Red Zone last season, although he only came away with 3 TDs. Had less than 400 combined yards last year, but over 100 of those yards were through the air.
69. Theo Riddick (DET): Should be ready to step in should anything happen to either half of the aforementioned Bush/Bell tandem for the Lions.
70. Brandon Bolden (NE): Since no one but Belichick knows what Belichik plans to do besides Belichick, it is a good idea to keep any potential RB in New England on your radar—particularly for short-yardage and goal-line situations.
71. Bilal Powell (NYJ): Ivory will most likely be second on the depth chart this year, but Powell had almost 1000 combined yards (969) and averaged 4.0 YPC a season ago.
72. Chris Ogbonnaya (CLE): Had more yards through the air than on the ground last season, but did average 5.0 YPC. The veteran will be ready for the backup role if the rookie is not.
73. Storm Johnson R (JAX): Rookie 7th round pick in 2014 will have a chance to overtake Todman’s spot on the depth chart.
74. Marcel Reece (OAK): Over 800 yards receiving the last two seasons in limited duty, will likely be behind both MJD and McFadden awaiting opportunity.
75. Mike James (TB): Martin’s handcuff…has done well when given an opportunity.
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