Fantasy Football: The Top 60 Running Backs On The Board!

For years, the most popular strategy in fantasy football was to draft your running backs early. They can put up big numbers both rushing and receiving and the quality at the top was in much greater shortage. But as anyone who has played the last few years can attest, there are fewer every down backs in the NFL and the lifespan for top-points potential amongst NFL running backs is often unpredictable.
So proceed with caution. To help you on Draft Day, here’s our guide to Fantasy Football Running Backs.

1. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers – There is no clear cut No. 1 in 2015, but you can’t go wrong making this young star one of the top 3 picks in the draft. In his sophomore season, he emerged not only as a top rushing back, but also as a receiving option. In Green Bay’s offense, he’s going to put up points and in some weeks he may be a monster play.
Draft zone: First round, top five picks
Strategy: Simply put, if you like him, take him. If he lasts beyond No. 3, you’ve got a steal.

2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers – He would be the No. 1 had it not been for his two-game suspension to start the season. But in the bruising NFL, a lot of running backs will miss at least two games. Bite the bullet and take him. For a majority of the year, you won’t be disappointed. He’s a focal point for the Pittsburgh offense.
Draft zone: First round, second to late first round.
Strategy: The suspension will scare some owners off, which is the scenario where Bell drops to a late first rounder. If he’s there, you definitely should grab him and make sure that RB depth is the first bench spot you address.

3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings – Yes, Peterson has some age on him. But he’s also had a year off and has been a monster rusher when on the field. And with a young QB (Teddy Bridgewater), they will run a lot and Peterson will be the beneficiary of some dump off passes. I like Peterson being able to hold off Father Time for another year.
Draft zone: Early to mid-first round
Strategy: After Lacy and Bell are off the board, the other three first round RBs all have some age and miles on them. But Peterson is coming off a year-long suspension and time to heal from 2013. I’d give him first look.

4. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks – Yeah, he’s getting up there in age. Yeah, the last two years people have been predicting a drop-off. But when you look at the Seahawks, there’s no doubt he’s the guy. He’s bruising and brutal and the go-to at the goal line. Even if his yards fall off, he’ll still get plenty of goal-line looks.
Draft zone: Mid-to-late first round
Strategy: It all depends on your viewpoint. He will break down at some point, but hasn’t as of yet. I see him going as high as No. 4 but no later than No. 8.

5. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs – He and Lynch are interchangeable and no one will fault you for drafting one over the other. There’s even a faction that might have Charles No. 1 overall on their draft board. But Charles is a year older, is showing more signs of getting nicked up and Knile Davis looked solid in spelling Charles last year, offering a backup option. That’s the sole reason I take Lynch over Charles is the fact that Davis could eat into some carries.
Draft zone: Early-to-late first round.
Strategy: How much faith do you put into a RB turning 29 during the season to continue to put up the stats he has over his career? He’ll still be solid, but a minor drop off due to time share and/or injury could happen.

6. CJ Anderson, Denver Broncos – He came on late for the Broncos last year and is now on everyone’s radar. Though they have a crowded backfield, Anderson is clearly No. 1 going into the season. Anderson should benefit from an offense keeping teams off balance and can make dump off passes into something.
Draft zone: End of first round to second round.
Strategy: Could go as early as No. 7 overall, but is more than likely to go at the end of the first round or very early in the second round.

7. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears – How much does a new coaching regime affect Forte? Let’s be honest, under Mark Trestman, Forte put up ginormous stats as a receiver, but there weren’t many 100 yard rushing days. Will the Bears still use him that way? Will the heavy burden he’s been carrying take its toll? Many are predicting a drop off for this onetime Top 5 pick.
Draft zone: Late first round to mid-second round.
Strategy: Jay Cutler is still the quarterback and you have a new offensive scheme. Don’t be the guy who takes him in the first, but don’t get scared off from taking him in the second.

8. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles – He had a huge year in Dallas and now he’s in Chip Kelly’s offense. He may cut back on rushing touches and likely won’t lead the league in rushing, but he may see more catches.
Draft zone: Late first round to mid-second round.
Strategy: Less risk than Forte, but Philadelphia also has many more options, which means there could be some off weeks. You will not be faulted for taking him 9 or 10, but early second round is probably a more likely option.

9. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals – He claimed the starting role late in the year, in part because of performance but also because of a Giovani Bernard injury. A time share is the only thing holding Hill from being higher. But if he’s getting the bulk of the touches, he’s a second rounder that could have first round value.
Draft zone: Second rounder to early third round.
Strategy: Hill could be a star-in-the-making in his second season, plus he’s the favorite to get goal-line work. Of the RBs left on the board, he has the most upside. Look for him going as early as 11 or 12, but more than likely around 15-17 and if he lasts to the third round, grab him.

10. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens – Came out of nowhere to have a huge year for the Ravens after being a career journeyman. This Ravens team has no Torrey Smith (he’s now with San Francisco) and Steve Smith is in his final year. Look for the ground attack to really lead the way, with Forsett at the front.
Draft zone: Second rounder to third rounder
Strategy: There’s still some concern that last year was a fluke, and with fewer passing options to scare defenses, opponents could zero in on the rushing game. Someone may draft him way early, taking him in the early second, but you should feel safe taking him in the late second or getting a steal in the third.

11. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills – Shady’s not in Philly anymore … far from it. Buffalo have young receivers, a marginal offensive line and Matt Cassell at QB. McCoy will get a chance to run often, but even in Philly he was starting to show signs of a rushing drop off last year.
Draft zone: Late first round to third round.
Strategy: Someone may take him late first round based on his past work, but don’t be that guy. Shady McCoy benefitted from a balanced, high flying offense, but Buffalo is the furthest thing from that. Let someone else take McCoy unless he falls to you in the third.

12. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins – Not flashy, does not catch a lot of passes, and the Redskins are not a great offense. But he does run, and run a lot. He’s a solid No. 2, even in a bad offense.
Draft zone: Late second round to third round.
Strategy: Probably not someone you’re targeting, but should be a solid if not spectacular No. 2 RB and would be a good RB to target in the third round if you went for another position in the first two rounds.

13. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints – Finally had his breakout year in 2014. If he can stay healthy, he should get the bulk of the carries in New Orleans and may put up some big games.
Draft zone: Third round
Strategy: He’s even more of a goal line option now that Jimmy Graham is gone. Look for his TDs to go up, his rushing to remain about the same. Is a solid No. 2 running back for owners who draft another position in the first two rounds.

14. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers – He came on late and did enough to let the 49ers say farewell to Frank Gore. Even with the addition of Reggie Bush, he’ll be given every opportunity to win the job. With a new regime, the Niners may rely on the run a little more as well.
Draft zone: Third to fourth round
Strategy: Probably a stretch to take him before the late third round, but should be fine as a fourth round pick.

15. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins – Will this be the year Lamar Miller finally claims the Dolphins RB spot and keeps it? His inconsistency has driven fantasy owners nuts.
Draft zone: Third to fourth round.
Strategy: He’s the ultimate boom or bust. But with the Dolphins young offense now having a few years under the belt, perhaps he finally sticks as the band’s main threat. Take him in the fourth unless you have a good feeling.

16. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts – He’s got age on him and the Colts have relied less and less on the run in the last couple of years. Is that the offense or the lack of a runner they had faith in? Gore should help, and could quietly put together a great year.
Draft zone: Fourth round
Strategy: Every year, everyone expects that Frank Gore will finally slide. But being in an offense where he’s not the top option and with a chance to play for something meaningful at year’s end could re-energize Gore. He’s a solid No. 3 RB and a low end No. 2 RB. Get him in the fourth, you’ll be happy. If he falls lower, you should be ecstatic.

17. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders – Looked like the real deal after the Raiders got past the McFadden/Jones-Drew experiment last year. Raiders could be a much improved team, especially on offense and Murray’s emergence could lead the way.
Draft zone: Fourth or Fifth Round
Strategy: Here’s your first sleeper pick. Most won’t target Raiders players on offense, but here’s one you should try to get. Projected as a fifth rounder, but might be worth snatching up a little earlier.

18. Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers – Hello rookie. Welcome to the NFL. Gordon looked like the real deal in college and should get every shot to start from the get-go. There’s no more Ryan Mathews. Branden Oliver might help out early and Danny Woodhead is primarily a third-down back. Look for Gordon to step right in and start immediately.
Draft zone: Fourth or Fifth Round
Strategy: With rookies, you never know what you’re going to get. And with Woodhead healthy, look for Gordon to be more of a two-down back. But he has the potential to be explosive. Take him in the fourth, you might be a little nervous. Grab him in the fifth, you should have no jitters.

19. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams – See Melvin Gordon, but add in the fact that he’s coming off a serious injury and may not be the starter until a few weeks into the season. Tre Mason is solid, but the Rams didn’t draft Gurley to sit the bench. Once healthy, he may surpass Gordon.
Draft zone: Fourth or Fifth Round
Strategy: Here’s a great choice to grab as your first No. 3 RB. He will eventually be the guy in St. Louis and the offense is built to run. Gurley is explosive and could be the next big running back once back at full strength. He could make up for any top pick shortcomings or give you leverage to make a deal.

20. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions – Goes into the season as the No. 1 RB, but there is competition even with Reggie Bush gone. Will the Lions rely more on the running game this year? I have a feeling they’ll be throwing even more, in which case Bell comes off the field.
Draft zone: Fifth Round
Strategy: He may go in the fourth, but is more likely to be a solid fifth round running back.

21. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants – A chaotic early season adjustment period for a new offense followed by injuries kind of hurt Jennings’ 2014 season, but when healthy, especially late, he performed. He’s undervalued right now.
Draft Zone: Fifth Round to Sixth Round
Strategy: Here’s another sleeper for you. He’s projected for sixth or seventh rounds, but should be taken higher. These are the kind of fliers that can win or lose championships.

22. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals – In his first shot at full-time duty, Ellington’s season was cut short by injury. The biggest concern here is if he can stay healthy … and he needs to as there’s not much on the bench behind him.
Draft Zone: Fifth to Sixth Round
Strategy: At this point, most guys left have a knock on them. For Ellington, it’s his health. Don’t count on him as your regular starter, but he’s a decent option for bye week backup or injury replacement.

23. James Stewart, Carolina Panthers – See Andre Ellington. He has several years of injury concerns, but saw a 2014 resurgence once he finally hit the field at mid-season. Now he’s the unquestioned starter.
Draft Zone: Fifth to Sixth Round
Strategy: Certainly capable of putting up decent stats if healthy, but that’s a big “If.” I’d let someone else take him.

24. Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys – He kind of wins the Cowboys starting job by default. They have a great offensive line, but how well can the unproven Randle perform?
Draft Zone: Fifth to Sixth Round
Strategy: This is a “Potential” pick. He’s got all the tools for success there, but does he have the talent to drive it home. Take him as a flier. You could even draft him ahead of Stewart or Ellington.

25. Gio Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals – Was the starter until injuries and Jeremy Hill’s success found him scrambling for time. In only his third year in the league, he still has a lot to offer. And it’s not out of the question that it could go back to a time share.
Draft Zone: Sixth Round
Strategy: This is a nice handcuff pick, with the idea that he could be a monster if he reclaimed the starting job.

26. Arian Foster, Houston Texans – After a rebound year in 2014, a significant injury is going to claim a good portion of his 2015. But don’t forget this guy, especially if your RB corps is not what you were hoping, when it comes to the middle rounds.
Draft zone: Sixth to Eighth round.
Strategy: If you land Foster, you could be getting a late round, playoff stretch steal. He likely won’t play until after half the season is done, but he would be a great person to stash for late bye weeks and injury replacements.

27. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots – Who is the Patriots’ running back? Blount has a suspension to fulfill first, but with no Stevan Ridley (Jets) or Shane Vereen (Giants) to contend with, look for him to reclaim his goal line threat status once he returns.
Draft zone: Sixth or Seventh Round
Strategy: Will have some huge games in 2015, but because of how the Patriots operate, you may not know when. It’s a complete gamble with Blount.

28. CJ Spiller, New Orleans Saints – Hey Drew Brees, meet your new Darren Sproles. Spiller always had great offensive potential and moving to a team with a big time offense should only make him more attractive.
Draft Zone: Sixth or Seventh Round
Strategy: The Saints missed Sproles last year, and Spiller should fill that void with younger legs and a chance to prove himself. If your league has points for receptions, take him earlier than later.

29. Chris Ivory, New York Jets – Has emerged as the Jets starter and should continue to put up solid numbers. Depending on the matchup, he shouldn’t kill you if you have to play him on a bye week.
Draft zone: Seventh to Ninth Round
Strategy: He’s the best of the rest. If you’re hurting for depth, you can take him in the seventh, but you’re better off waiting until the eighth or even the ninth if he falls.

30. Tevin Coleman / Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons – Someone has to win the job in Atlanta and they do like to run more than you think. Coleman is an unproven rookie and Freeman looked good when given a shot as a backup last year.
Draft zone: Seventh to Ninth Round
Strategy: Wait and see who wins the job. The winner will likely put up better stats than Ivory and maybe others. But the loser will also get plenty of looks.

Best of the rest:

31. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans – With Foster out, Blue will get the majority of snaps in a shaky Houston offense.
32. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills – Fred Jackson is Fred Jackson. They like him, they use him and McCoy may be the guy, but Jackson will get his looks.
33. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams – Will likely get the start until Gurley is ready. Even after Gurley takes the starting spot, Mason will still see touches.
34. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots – Looked like the starter at one point last year. Could still be.
35. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns – He’s the frontrunner for the starting job, but a crowded backfield and the likelihood they’ll be playing from behind limits his upside.
36. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Bucs – A late season audition looked good. He’ll battle Doug Martin for the starting job.
37. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions – May not be the starter, but has looked solid in pre-season and this speedster will get his looks.
38. TJ Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars – Look for the rook to win the starting job at some point.

39. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles – They didn’t sign him to a big deal to ride the bench. He’ll be worked into the offense somehow.
40. Stevan Ridley, New York Jets – After a significant injury, will play second fiddle to Chris Ivory.
41. Trent Richardson, Oakland Raiders – Of course he’s a Raider. Will he get another chance or is he taking up a bench spot?
42. Monte Ball, Denver Broncos – Was a first rounder last year, but injuries and ineffectiveness killed his season. Lots of talent, but CJ Anderson currently has the reins.
43. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs – He’s a Jamaal Charles injury away from being a factor.
44. Shane Vereen, New York Giants – A definite weapon, but will he be anything more than a third down back?
45. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Strictly a third down back who will get his points on receptions.
46. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucs – Oh Doug Martin, what happened? He may be given a chance to start, but Charles Sims was pushing him for time last year.
47. Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers – His best days are behind him and injuries are now a concern. He’s not expected to be the lead back going into the year, so he could be a nice surprise.
48. David Cobb / Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans – Horrific looking offense and one of these guys will win the starting job.
49. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys – A bigger name than Randle, but can he get on the field.
50. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings – Last year’s time share starter now is a capable Peterson backup.
51. Boom Herron, Indianapolis Colts – Ended up as the starter last year and could see time if Gore goes down.
52. Lorenzo Taliafero, Baltimore Ravens – Looked decent when given a shot last year. If Forsett fails to replicate, he could get the call.
53. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars – Looked decent in a late season run last year, but is more likely meant to be part of a rotation of running backs.
54. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions – Came out of nowhere as a receiving threat and TD stealer last year. Unlikely to replicate stats, but still an option.
55. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers – Will likely start first two games while Bell’s on suspension, but not sure how many looks he’ll get once Bell returns.
56. Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers – First up if Gordon fails to live up to expectations.
57. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals – With Ellington’s injury history, he better be ready.
58. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns – Rookie with upside and no locked in starter.

59. Khiry Robinson, New Orleans Saints – May see his output affected by the arrival of CJ Spiller.
60. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins – Goal line threat and would be the guy if Morris got hurt.

*****What are your top running backs to draft this NFL season, and who are some of the red-flag RBs that won’t make your squad? Feel free to comment below!!

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