On to running backs where there is a lot more that is going to change over the course of training camps than at QB. Today as I’m writing this Kenneth Dixon was ruled out for the season by Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh. News is going to affect things almost daily as we move closer to the season. So, every set of rankings is a snapshot of one’s thoughts. This one will be laid out similar to the QBs, with tiers and analysis, but I do want to point one thing out. When talking about players I will refer to two things in similar ways: 1) RB1, RB2,.., 2) RB 1, RB 2, RB 3,… The former I will use to denote where they sit on your depth chart (top 12 RB1, 13-24 RB2), with the latter I’ll denote rank (David Johnson is most people’s RB 1). I wanted to point that out as I didn’t really do that much in my QB post. Without further ado, here are my RB rankings…
Key: Player (Team | My Rank | Overall ADP | Positional ADP | Positional Difference)
Good, but Definitely a Step Down Tier
My top five is the current consensus top five. That makes me a bit anxious, because how often are we as a fantasy community collectively right to that extent. That said, I’m not sure who’s more worthy of a spot in the top five than those currently there. Miller is where I hold out hope against hope that the TD luck turns around. I’ll probably talk myself down on Miller this year with the QB situation the way it is, but he’s more than talented enough to be in the top half of RB1s, but will he get the workload, and will he be able to convert chances. Outside of Miller though, my top eight all fall within the ADP RB1 range.
High Volume Starters Tier (ft. Tevin Coleman)
Solid RB2 Tier
As we work our way to the fringe RB1 range, we start to see the agreement between me and ADP start to subside a bit. Let’s start with Freeman. I think the offense is going to regress and I think Coleman is going to see more overall touches. I still think his range is 6-14 so I might be a bit conservative in his rank even in my own eyes, but I think the others above him have greater opportunity. In the RB2 tier, let’s quickly address West. With Dixon going down I think West is solidly a fantasy starter, and with Flacco reportedly having back issues the workload could get ridiculous. Back at the top of the tier I’m a full 12 spots higher on both Martin and Perkins. I know why Martin’s value is depressed, a three-game suspension, an inconsistency in his results throughout his career, and Jeremy McNichols. The suspension is worrisome, but he has high RB1 upside and probably sits high in the RB2s for his average result. As for Perkins, he’s the starter, and his competition is Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, Shaun Draughn, and rookie Wayne Gallman. Darkwa is a serviceable option but doesn’t have the upside that Perkins has. Vereen is an always intriguing option because of his extreme usefulness in the passing game, but he’s proven unreliable and inconsistent week to week in his career. I’m a big fan of Draughn and don’t completely understand why he never got his fair shake, but he seems destined to be the 4th string wherever he happens to be playing. Gallman might be the second most talented back on the roster, but he doesn’t have the explosiveness or upside that Perkins has. Maybe this is a committee which would make me wrong on Perkins by at least a dozen spots and probably 20+, but with Rashad Jennings leaving 180 or so rushes behind in New York I’ll back Perkins as the lead back in the offense and a very solid RB2. The rest are off but in the same tier and I don’t find my position unassailable nor the ADP ranks without some merit.
Nominal Starters and Interesting 2s Tier
Rob Kelley (WAS | 34 | 102 | 38 | -4), Christian McCaffrey (CAR | 35 | 38 | 15 | +20), Theo Riddick (DET | 36 | 98 | 36 | 0)
Upside RB3s and good RB2s Tier
Let’s start with the Carolina pair. I think McCaffrey is going to be a useful player, and have him rated as an RB3, but I think Stewart is still the top ball carrier in Carolina. That said, I think McCaffrey has enough impact to limit the upside for either player in that offense. I have Mixon and Hill generally reversed, and @JoeGoodberry has me worried that I’m going to wrong about the Bengals backs. I’m trying not to be a broken drum from piece to piece, but I’ve adjusted both and will probably reluctantly be extremely lukewarm on everyone in the Bengals backfield. With that o-line that may not be the worst thing. Thompson is going to get receiving work this season and the turnover at WR and the shakiness of the Reed situation certainly won’t hurt his role.
I tried to stick to players that were over 12 off in tier 3 and over 20 spots difference in tier 4. I’ve found that I’m repeating a lot of arguments from an earlier post I made on my blog and that’s not helpful and leaves me just feeling stale while writing. So, I’ll give you two more tiers that gets you through all players being drafted in the top 70 RBs right now for you to digest and make fun of. Players with bolded and underlined ADP data were not in the top 261 overall or top 70 RBs.
Good 2s, Upside Longshots, and Some Players I Kind of Like
Jalen Richard (OAK | 55 | 207 | 64 | -9), Jon Williams (BUF | 56 | 190 | 58 | -2), DeAndre Washington (OAK | 57 | 211 | 66 | -9), Adrian Peterson (NO | 58 | 68 | 27 |+31), Kareem Hunt (KC | 59 | 104 | 39 | +20), Jacquizz Rodgers (TB | 60 | 185 | 57 | +3), T.J. Yeldon (JAC | 61 | 203 | 63 | -2), Robert Turbin (IND | 62 | 262 | 71 | -9), Branden Oliver (LAC | 63 | 262 | 71 | -8), Jamaal Williams (GB | 64 | 158 | 51 | +13), Aaron Jones (GB | 65 | 262 | 71 | -6), Darren McFadden (DAL | 66 | 262 | 70 | -4)
2s and 3s and 4s… Oh My!!
Jerrick McKinnon (MIN | 67 | 235 | 68 | -1), Rex Burkhead (NE | 68 | 198 | 62 | +6), Lorenzo Taliaferro (BAL | 69 | 262 | 71 | -2), Chris Ivory (JAX | 70 | 262 | 71 | -1), Ryan Mathews (PHI | 71 | 262 | 71 | 0), Marlon Mack (IND | 72| 173 | 55 | +17), Tim Hightower (SF | 73 | 262 | 71 | +2), Jeremy Langford (CHI | 74 | 262 | 71 | +3), D’Onta Foreman (HOU | 75 | 193 | 59 | +16), Damien Williams (MIA | 76 | 262 | 71 | +5), Andre Ellington (ARI | 77 | 262 | 71 | +6), Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR | 78 | 262 | 71 | +7), Elijah McGuire (NYJ | 79 | 262 | 71 | +8), Tyler Ervin (HOU | 80 | 262 | 71 | +9), Charcandrick West (KC | 81 | 262 | 71 | +10), Kyle Juszczyk (SF | 82 | 262 | 71 | +11)
There we are, my running back positional ranks and there is still quite of bit of disagreement between my ranks and ADP. That said, I think the gap will bridge as we work through camp injuries and new as we start to weed out the total conjecture and bullshit and replace it with partial conjecture, partial news, and bullshit.
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