Once again, youth reigned supreme in the world of running backs. Well, that and Cyborg AD-28000 had one of the best seasons in the history of football. The running-game landscape continued its trend of being less prevalent to the passing counterpart, but this year's crop does seem to be a little deeper than last year.
As mentioned in the first sentence, the youth movement continued and teams are becoming more inclined to take their chances on a rookie in the draft. Quite frankly, it makes too much sense not to. Young backs will have cheaper contracts to allow teams to use their cap space elsewhere and it's obviously a plus to not have a guy that has been getting tackled 1,000 times by 250-pound freak athletes over the past three years. Last season, C.J. Spiller, Alfred Morris, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson and Stevan Ridley were five of the top 11 fantasy backs and were still on their rookie deals.
This year, there are going to be a slew of rookies that could have their chance to shine right off the bat. Montee Ball headlines the group and he'll be off the board in the first 40 picks of any league that matters, but the crop can run pretty deep.
Conversely, you might find that I'm a little bit lower on most of the older backs. Steven Jackson not withstanding. There are just too many concerns with older backs and all those miles on the tires make it all the more likely their production goes down or they get hurt.
We'll be back tomorrow with part two, but here is how I rank the top 25 backs for PPR leagues. Obviously, these are subject to many changes:
Other rankings so far:
|1||Adrian Peterson||His 1,322 rushing yards in the second half would have ranked seventh on the year|
|2||Doug Martin||TB's D should be better and Martin Scoreseasy will be a focal point; 49 receptions last year|
|3||Arian Foster||Slightly worried about the hamstring issues and Ben Tate|
|4||C.J. Spiller||C.J Thriller and his 6.0 YPC from last year should be extremely busy with a rookie at QB|
|5||Ray Rice||He was second among RBs with 61 catches, but Bernard Pierce is a threat for touches|
|6||LeSean McCoy||Chip and Eagles are going to run a ton, but Bryce Brown is still there|
|7||Trent Richardson||As long as he can avoid injury, he'll be an absolute workhorse with plenty of receptions|
|8||Steven Jackson||A perfect fit for the Falcons and should be a safe bet for 40 catches and 10+ TD if healthy|
|9||Matt Forte||Receptions should come in bunches with Marc Trestman calling the shots|
|10||Marshawn Lynch||The receptions won't be there, but Seattle is going to score a ton of points this year|
|11||Jamaal Charles||Andy Reid turned LeSean McCoy into a stud and should do the same with JC|
|12||Alfred Morris||He ranked second in rushing yards and rushing TDs|
|13||Chris Johnson||An improved offensive line has to help his cause and his schedule is nice|
|14||Reggie Bush||If not for the concern of injuries, Bush would crack the top 10 of PPR rankings|
|16||DeMarco Murray||Cowboys were 31st in rushing last year and hopefully that changes for Murray's sake|
|17||David Wilson||Yards are going to be there, but Andre Brown should vulture some scores|
|18||Darren Sproles||Sean Payton says he'll run more, which could end up dropping Sproles' 75 receptions|
|19||Chris Ivory||He looks to be in line for a featured gig and nobody can call him a sleeper at this point|
|20||Stevan Ridley||Shane Vereen's 18 touches in the two playoff games is a bit scary, especially with Ridley's fumbling issues|
|21||Lamar Miller||He says he's rushing for 1,500 yards; talk is cheap, but the opportunity is there|
|22||Montee Ball||Remember when Joseph Addai was a beast? Montee could be that guy|
|23||Maurice Jones-Drew||It's tough to count on a guy with injury concerns while on a terrible offense|
|24||Frank Gore||He turned 30 this week and with his 2,226 career touches, the end is near|
|25||Le'Veon Bell||Huge opportunity for him to get tons of touches for the Steelers|