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Early 2014 Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Kylan Easterling takes an early look into the running back position for the 2014 season.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Fantasy football has long been a running back driven league, but that is starting to change. Gone are the days when running backs carried the ball 25-30 times a game, week in and week out. Football is now about spreading the field to maximize its advantages and using multiple backs to attack defenses. Offenses are using more and more three and four wide receiver sets and quarterbacks are throwing the ball more than ever. More passing means less running, but that does not mean that running backs have any less of value. Especially when you can find running backs who stay on the field and contribute via the passing game. Below is the way too early fantasy football running back rankings. They will be updated throughout the summer as injuries and team news presents itself.

*Also, make sure you handcuff you starting running backs. Whoever your #1 and #2 running backs are, make sure you grab their backups. Nothing can ruin a fantasy season quicker than losing your #1 RB and not having his replacement. I don’t care if these backups sit on your bench all year long; they will be worth it if they are ever needed.

Tier 1 (These players are the reason snake drafts were invented. If you get one of these players your opponent needs two guys just to keep up)

1. LeSean McCoy

2. Jamaal Charles

3. Adrian Peterson

Analysis- These players can really be put in any order and you can’t go wrong. McCoy and Charles get the edge due to their age, injury history and ability to contribute to their offense in the passing game. All three are elite talents and should contend for fantasy football’s MVP award. All three could lead the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns so it’s really about personal preference. If you want to put Adrian Peterson number 1 overall go right ahead, I will not argue with you.

Tier 2 (Elite running backs who can carry the load for any fantasy team)

4.Eddie Lacy

5. Marshawn Lynch

6. Matt Forte

7. Doug Martin

8. Zac Stacy

9. Arian Foster

10. Montee Ball

11. DeMarco Murray

12. Alfred Morris

Analysis- This group is filled with backs who will get a ton of touches for their team on a weekly basis and as a fantasy owner that is all you can hope for. Any one of these guys could easily slide into tier 1 with a better than expected season and history tells us a couple of them will do exactly that.

Tier 3 (Great option as RB2 and all of these players have the potential to perform as #1 RB’s)

13. Shane Vereen

14. Le’Veon Bell

15. Giovani Bernard

16. C.J. Spiller

17. Andre Ellington

18. Frank Gore

19. Ryan Mathews

20. Steven Jackson

21. Bishop Sankey

22. Knowshon Moreno

23. Darren McFadden

24. Reggie Bush

25. Ben Tate

Analysis- The running back position is very deep this year, tier 3 takes us 25 deep of guys who can perform as #1 fantasy running backs. These guys may not put up the 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns of elite running backs but their 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns will be a bargain considering where you will be drafting them. As always, any one of these guys could easily jump up a tier given the right circumstances.

Tier 4 (You don’t want to have to depend on these guys from week to week but they could blossom under the right circumstances)

26. Toby Gerhart

27. Trent Richardson

28. Ray Rice

29. Chris Johnson

30. David Wilson

31. Stevan Ridley

32. Joique Bell

Analysis- These players may not be the most sought after fantasy players but they have real value in all leagues. If any of these players find their way into 20 touches a game they will become immediate fantasy RB #2 options and on any given week could perform better than that.