4.1 – 2015 RB Preseason Top 10

I tried to put this off, since RB this year seems like more of a crap-shoot than other years. I think the top5 are pretty set, but the next 5-10 RB are a bit more mobile in their place in the rankings.

  1. Leveon Bell
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Eddie Lacy
  5. Marshawn Lynch
  6. Matt Forte
  7. Jeremy Hill
  8. CJ Anderson
  9. DeMarco Murray
  10. Arian Foster

Tier 1

The studs. These guys can be the backbone of your squad. Consistently bringing home those sweet, sweet points and even carrying your team some weeks.

  • Leveon Bell

The best RB and easy #1 if not for the little matter of his suspension. If its only 2 games, draft with confidence, but if its 4 games, then the situation gets a little stickier. If your league’s playoffs are 2 rounds, 2 weeks each, and doesnt play the last week of the season, your regular season is probably 12 games. Its really hard to take someone #1 overall knowing that you wont have them for 33% of the season. Suspension aside, Leveon is a fantastic RB. Watching him run, it’s as if he is gliding on the field, yet he is decisive runner who almost always generates positive yardage. A capable receiver and no real talent behind him on the depth chart, he’s one of the few three-down backs left in the NFL. The rest of the PIT offense is no joke either, with Brown, Bryant, and Ben keeping defenses honest through the air. Nothing suggests in his history or usage suggests an injury risk, but he did suffer a nasty looking hyperextended knee near the end of last season. With the offseason and suspension games, he should be recovered by the time he hits the field.

  • Adrian Peterson

Purple Jesus himself. Currently pouting about his situation, but Im going to assume he is staying in MIN where he’ll still play to the best of his ability. Im not sure if I totally buy into the narrative of AP, the victim of a league trying to protect its image, now back with a vengeance, but how many players do you know get a year off not due to injury? There used be a time not too long ago when this man would shoulder the entire MIN offense and drag that load to the endzone and into fantasy owners hearts. With Bridgewater’s continued ascension and a nice WR corp of Wallace, Johnson, and Wright (plus Rudolph), this may be the most balanced offense AP will have been a part of. If he was demolishing defenses when they were stacking the box against him, the thought of AP on an offense where defenses dont have that option is tantalizing. He is a little older, was a high usage back in years past, and has suffered a torn ACL, not to mention no one knows how his year off has affected him, but I think the upside of him on this offense far outweighs any injury-risk he carries.

  • Jamaal Charles

Last season was a bit of a roller coaster for Charles. Missed some time to injury to start, was great when he came back, but then faded horribly at the very end. Without doubt, he is one of the premier home run threats in the league, able to take it coast-to-coast in the blink of an eye. In space, he can break ankles with his sharp cuts that free him up for those big runs. Kelce returns and the addition of Maclin is a much-needed receiving upgrade. Smith continues to refuse to throw deep, while that wont stretch a defense, it does mean Charles is an option on those dumpoffs and screens. Handcuffing Charles with Knile Davis is a necessity because when Charles sits, Knile has shown to be a great play in his own right.

  • Eddie Lacy

Ol’ Jelly Roll Lacy. Starks steals carries, but it seems to have saved some wear on Lacy’s body, letting him continue to abuse defenders late into the season. With Rodgers, Nelson, and Cobb, the pass game will always come first in GB, but Lacy is a strong balancing force. Able to get the tough yards, he is another option down in the redzone that GB so often finds itself in. His ability as a pass-catcher is another bonus.

Tier 2

These two Im not so sure about, but it didnt feel right to rank them any lower. Vets with some questions, they should still make for solid first rounders.

  • Marshawn Lynch

With Marshawn, you always wonder when the wheels are going to fall off. With his punishing running style and high volume of carries, wear and tear is a legitimate concern. The loss of Unger is a serious concern for potential Lynch owners. The arrival of Graham could mean less cracks at the endzone, but could also mean more room for Marshawn to run. The read-option with Wilson is still a potent weapon for the SEA offense. Still, he and the running game should continue to be the focal point of SEA’s offense this season.

  • Matt Forte

The 100+ catches he had last year were a godsend in PPR formats. With a new coaching staff in place, it’s still a mystery what this offense will look like. With Jeffery and Bennett are solid receivers, but this offense goes as Jay Cutler goes. I’m still haunted by all those negative and minimal gain runs that Forte had last season to feel comfortable spending a high pick on him this season. To me, he comes off as a back who can excel when his teammates set him up, but when asked to create on his own he struggles. If the new coaching regime can tidy up the CHI offense, Forte definitely has a chance to shine as he has a skillset that can be used in a multitude of ways.

Tier 3

The yung bloods. These two offer exciting potential with the only thing holding them back their short track record. They could be steals if they fall into the 2nd round.

  • Jeremy Hill

I cant believe this Hill, Odell, and Landry were teammates in college just two seasons ago. Hill is a nasty runner who can beat you with his speed and his power. Gio is more suited for a complementary role, where he gets the ball in space and can create from there. Hill strikes me more as a back you can hand it off to 25 times a game and he can grind out yards as well as break off chunks of yards. This yung blood should be plenty fun to have on your team this season.

  • CJ Anderson

Another nasty RB from Cal. With five 20+ point games in the last eight last season, CJ can put up monster box scores. It’s yet to be seen if Montee Ball and/or Ronnie Hillman cut into his carries, but I think he’s proven himself capable of carrying this offense on the ground. With General Manning at the helm, you can be confidant CJ will be running in plenty of favorable situations.

Tier 4

These two have had great fantasy success, but certain big questions make them hard to recommend highly.

  • DeMarco Murray

Had he had a more reasonable workload last season, he probably would have been ranked higher, but with 400 (!!!) carries (and ~50 catches), it’s almost a certainty that his performance will suffer this season. Already injury prone, the red flag is very bright with him. While any move from the dream that is running behind that DAL OL would be a downgrade, moving to the Eagles wouldnt have been as severe as a move to most other teams if not for PHL jettisoning pieces of their once formidable OL. The presence of Mathews and Sproles may actually be beneficial to Murray, helping him shoulder the RB work and keeping him fresher. When healthy, Murray has a power-speed combination that makes him one of the best backs in the league, but how long he’ll hold up is anyone’s guess.

  • Arian Foster

Foster probably deserves to be ranked higher based on talent alone, but his propensity for injury makes it impossible to trust him for a full season. A perfect fit for the scheme that HOU runs, when he was healthy last year, he was excellent. Alfred Blue who had some good games filling in for Foster when he was hurt is the likely handcuff here. If you do draft Foster, you have to account for the probable time that Foster will miss due to injury and take less riskier players at other positions to balance out your team.

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