Before we get too deep into our Fantasy Football 2015 Running Back Rankings, I thought it would be good to look back at some of the more interesting stories of last year and this past offseason.
In other words, we have to look at some points where you’ll have to make some major decisions over. I’ll share my opinions, but once you look at the rankings, you’ll know what I think already.
We’re going to talk about some of the free agency moves, as well as some interesting trades and roster changes made because of the 2015 NFL Draft.
What Can We Learn From Last Year
Let’s look at some of the major stories that have unfolded from last summer to now, and decide how it affects our game going forward.
Le’Veon Bell Plays Awesome, Gets Suspended: Bell played well enough to be the No. 1 overall pick this season, in spite of the fact he rushed for just 3.5 yards per carry in 2013. He’s suspended for three games this season, though, so we have to decide if his points-per-game over 13 games (possibly more after appeal) is worth a first-round pick. I say yes, it is, because you’re still going to be able to use your RB3 in his place for those first three games. (By the way, draft DeAngelo Williams late!)Adrian Peterson Loses a Year, Returns for 2015: A.P. played just one game last season before he was suspended for what turned out to be the rest of the season. He’s back, but he’s also another year older, so is he worth a first-round pick? I say yes, he is. The fact the Vikings now have a developing quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, and a decent No. 1 receiver in Mike Wallace, makes me think Peterson will have more room to run than normal. And he’s likely pissed with something to prove. We like A.P. when he has something to prove.
DeMarco Murray Goes to Philly: What did we learn from last season with Murray? We learned he’s as good as we thought he was, but he finally stayed healthy enough for it to make him a Fantasy stud for the entire season. Applying that for 2015, we should a) Remember that he is oft-injured, so be quick to draft Ryan Mathews as his backup, and b) Another oft-injured RB like C.J. Spiller could also turn in an amazing year out of the blue. Projected talent is more important than projected health in many cases. That brings us to the Darren McFadden running behind the Cowboys’ offensive line. (Really though, I like Joseph Randle even more.)
With all of those issues at the top of the rankings, who’s the first overall pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues?
Montee Ball was a Bust, But C.J. Anderson is a Stud?: Do we not remember all of crazy hype placed on Ball’s Fantasy value last summer? Have we learned nothing? I have Anderson as an RB2 in a world where most writers have him as an top-10 RB. I’d rather have a more proven player like Lamar Miller – and I’ll get Ball as a sleeper later on.
Frank Gore Moves to Indianapolis: Sure, Gore’s an old man, but he’s an old man that’s still playing at a high level, and he has great hands for a running back that have not been used enough in recent years. He joins the Colts, with a ton of weapons, but since he’s the main tailback, he’ll feed about as much as Andrew Luck does, and Gore will get worked into this passing game often. He’s an RB2 that could finish with a top-10 Fantasy back if things go right.
Can Todd Gurley Rebound From a Knee Injury in Time?: He likely would have been a top five pick had he not suffered a torn ACL from last fall at Georgia. He has a chance of starting camp on the PUP List, but he’d be able to return at any time after that. He’s obviously a gamble as an RB2, but if you load up on star wide receivers early, you could afford to take gambles like this later, since you’ll be drafting several RBs in a row.
Fantasy Football 2015 Running Backs Rankings
These rankings are based on standard non-PPR leagues. You can also check out our 2015 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings here.
As you can see, there’s a lot of talent outside of that top 20 group, so don’t be freaked out if you don’t land two guys in that group. Meanwhile, make sure you load up on this position before waiting beyond the top 40 players in our Fantasy Football 2015 Running Back Rankings.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.