ESPN Power Rankings: Running Back Edition Week 2


Welcome to our Fantasy Football series! This is where we will break down rankings, just for you.

Today the position we are covering is running back and if you take our help you could stack your fantasy roster with useful pieces!

Aug 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

10. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Someone needs to remind Bell that he’s 244 pounds. His running style just isn’t as punishing as it should be. Every time he hurdles a potential tackler, he sends a message that he’s not thrilled with physical play. The numbers prove it too: Bell’s 1.58 yards after contact per rush in 2013 was 26th among RBs. That’s not high enough for a guy who generates his kind of power. The upside of Bell’s smaller-back skills is that he’s a terrific pass catcher; his 8.9 yards per catch last season ranked ninth among running backs who snagged at least 40 passes. He’ll again be an attractive option in PPR leagues.

9. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

Murray has every skill you want in a fantasy back. He’s big, he’s fast, he can catch and he was third among all qualified RBs with 5.2 yards per carry in 2013. So why don’t we rank him higher than 10th? Injuries. Broken ankle, sprained wrist, sprained ankle, sprained knee — Murray has often earned a “questionable” tag even when he played. When he is 100 percent, the Cowboys have proved they’re willing to give Murray a big-time workload. He averaged 21.3 touches per game after Week 10 last year. That’s RB1 material … if he can stay healthy.

8. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

If you’re looking for a cautionary tale about not overreacting to one great season, here it is. As a rookie in 2012, Martin was tied for second in fantasy points among RBs. But last season he produced few big plays, barely participated in the passing game and tore a shoulder labrum in Week 7 that landed him on IR. Durability concerns aside, Martin’s size/speed combo hasn’t gone anywhere. His talent and Lovie Smith’s propensity for conservative offenses could be a match made in fantasy heaven. Just be wary that sometimes even really good RBs can go — and stay — awry.

7. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

If we were going purely on skills, Foster would be ranked in the top five. He’s the NFL’s best current example of a one-cut stallion who can turn the faintest crack of daylight into a big gain. But it makes sense to use caution with a player who averaged 371.7 touches from 2010 to 2012 and is coming off serious back surgery. Word is that Foster will be healthy by training camp, and the Texans have good reason to emphasize the run. So perhaps a bounce-back season is in store, but the prospect of an injury-related decline is daunting.

6. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

The NFL’s offensive rookie of the year in 2013 was this 230-pound ball of thunder with soft receiving hands who carried the Packers while Aaron Rodgers was out with a broken clavicle. Lacy’s running style is reminiscent of Larry Johnson’s, and you’ll recall that LJ had a dominant fantasy stretch in the mid-2000s. In truth, Lacy has a combination of talent and every-down opportunity that could make him the No. 1 player in fantasy by season’s end. The reason we don’t quite rank him there? He’s done it for only one season.

5. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks

Lynch took off in Seattle last season and was a big piece of the Seahawks Superbowl season. Lynch is now 28 and after carrying the ball 300 + times last season, his durability and age could be an issue.

4. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears

Matt Forte never lets down the Bears. He is a force to be reckoned with in the running game and passing game and with 74 receptions last year he was a PPR stud. But with the addition of Santonio Holmes in the offseason Forte could see a drop in receptions as Cutler will look to push the ball down field.

3. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles

Despite the presence of Darren Sproles, LeSean McCoy is still a RB1 in Chip Kelly’s wide open offense.

2. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs

Charles is the very definition of a fantasy stud, especially in the PPR format. Charles should put up over 1,300 yards, 15 total touchdowns with 50 + receptions in 2014.

1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings

Peterson is automatically ranked number one for the simple fact that he is Adrian Peterson. However, Peterson’s durability has been a question and there’s a possibility that his career is going to take a slide down from here. Peterson has missed a fair amount of time down the stretch in two of his past three seasons and recently passed the ominous 2,000-carry plateau. But this wouldn’t be the first time Peterson defied a “conventional wisdom.”  In each of his seven NFL seasons he has scored double-digit touchdowns and finished below 1,400 total yards only once. Trust us when we say that he won’t be falling off any cliff in his age-29 season. You can 100% pick Peterson as your number one with confidence.