Post-Draft Dynasty Ranks - RB

Nick Mensio checks in on Eddie Lacy, Carlos Hyde, Eric Decker, Vincent Jackson and others in Wednesday's Dose

Our post-draft dynasty ranking series rolls on with a thorough look at the running back position.

Running backs are the trickiest to rank because of the constant turnover at the position. One year, you have a 27 year old superstar. The next year, you have an overworked, broken-down 28 year old. That being the case, I tend rank the top running backs based on a shorter outlook than that of the other three key offensive positions. I want guys, regardless of age, who can help me over the next three or so years, particularly in the upcoming season. Once I’ve essentially set my starting lineup, it’s all about choosing players with the highest ceilings. It’s here where ‘age’ is a key component, making rookies and sophomores quite attractive in the middle rounds.

Note: Each player age listed is as of September 1, 2014, which is just prior to Week 1 of the upcoming season. The draft year and round is also shown for each player. Non-PPR scoring is assumed.

Be sure to also check out our 2014 Quarterback Dynasty Rankings

Tier 1

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

1

LeSean McCoy

PHI

26.1

2009-2

2

Jamaal Charles

KC

27.6

2008-3

3

Eddie Lacy

GB

23.6

2013-2



Our first tier includes your elite dynasty running back options. Jimmy Graham and the top wide receivers should be your primary focus early on in the first round of your dynasty draft, but this trio of backs should be top-10 picks.

LeSean McCoy was a fairly easy choice for the top spot. Still only 25 years old, a strong case could be made that McCoy should be the No. 1 overall pick in 2014 redraft leagues. McCoy put up 2,147 total yards and 11 scores in 2013 – his first as the centerpiece of the run-heavy, Chip Kelly offense. A year and a half younger than Jamaal Charles, McCoy gets the edge for the top spot.

Charles was easily fantasy’s top running back of 2013, coming up just 19 markers short of 2,000 total yards. He scored 19 touchdowns, which was fueled by 70 receptions and seven scores via the passing game. Charles is only 27, locking him in as Kansas City’s featured offensive weapon for a few more seasons. Ultra-conservative Alex Smith isn’t going anywhere, either, which means 60-plus catches each season is a near lock.

After only one season, Eddie Lacy has vaulted his way to the first round of dynasty drafts. The youngest back in our top tier, Lacy will enter 2014 at age 23. He was fantasy’s No. 7 running back as a rookie, racking up 1,435 total yards and 11 scores. The Packers are making a real effort to keep the running game involved in the offense, which takes away some scoring opportunities from Aaron Rodgers and the team’s receivers, and passes them along to Lacy. A plus talent who is locked in as the feature back in an elite offense, Lacy is an outstanding player to build your squad around.

Tier 2

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

4

Giovani Bernard

CIN

22.7

2013-2

5

Adrian Peterson

MIN

29.4

2007-1

6

Doug Martin

TB

25.6

2012-1

7

Marshawn Lynch

SEA

28.3

2007-1

8

DeMarco Murray

DAL

26.5

2011-3

9

Alfred Morris

WAS

25.7

2012-6

10

Le'Veon Bell

PIT

22.0

2013-2

11

Matt Forte

CHI

28.7

2008-2



Our next tier includes middle-of-the-pack and back-end RB1 options. This is a much deeper tier than our first, but includes a similar mixture of youth and veterans.

The most intriguing attribute of emerging Bengals’ feature back Gio Bernard is his age. Only 22, he’s almost three full years younger than a majority of our Top 25 backs. That’s what gets him inside the Top 5 despite a short NFL resume. In 2013 – his rookie campaign – Bernard was No. 16 in scoring at the position despite racking up only 170 carries. He scored eight times and his 56 receptions ranked eighth among running backs. Going forward, Bernard will surely see a larger workload, which locks him in as a RB1, especially in PPR formats. Cincinnatti’s acquisition of Jeremy Hill in the second round of May’s draft is all that keeps Bernard from the top tier.

Set to enter the 2014 season at age 29, Adrian Peterson is oldest among our top 40 backs. Of course, considering how dominant Peterson has been over the last seven years, it’s hard not to view him as a strong dynasty tailback. That’s the case even if he only lasts another two or three years at his current level. Peterson missed two games in 2013, but was still fantasy’s No. 6 running back. He’s reached 1,200 rushing yards in six of his seven seasons and figures to see more targets with Norv Turner now calling the shots in Minnesota. A contender to be chosen No. 1 overall in 2014 redraft leagues, Peterson remains a strong dynasty hold.

Following an impressive rookie performance, 2013 was a lost season for Doug Martin. His 3.6 yards-per-carry mark was a full yard lower than in 2012 and he lasted only six games before a shoulder injury landed him on Injured Reserve. Still, the Buccaneers offense improved drastically when Josh Freeman was benched (around the time Martin went down) and the team’s coaching staff was overhauled during the offseason. Martin is clearly the top talent in this backfield and should easily average close to 20 touches per game over the next several years. Only 25, Martin remains a quality dynasty tailback.

Lynch is one of the NFL’s best runners and works out of the league’s run-heaviest offense. He was fantasy’s No. 4 back this past season despite only catching 36 balls. That’s the good news. The concern here is Lynch’s age (28) and the potential emergence of 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael. Lynch remains an excellent short-term play, but one injury could quickly end his reign as a fantasy standout.

The perpetually-underrated Murray proved his skeptics wrong with another impressive showing in 2013. The real difference this time around was that he appeared in 14 games after missing a total of nine during his first two seasons. Murray was fantasy’s No. 8 running back, racking up nearly 1,500 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Durability remains a concern, but Murray is only 26 and without much competition for reps in Dallas.

The Redskins took a major step backwards last season, which put a damper on what was quietly another great season for Alfred Morris. The big man was No. 14 among running backs in fantasy points despite catching only nine balls (72 backs caught more). Already one of the league’s top, young between-the-tackle runners, Morris figures to see more passing game involvement with Jay Gruden now in control of the offense. Only 25, Morris has plenty of years left as a top fantasy back.

Le’Veon Bell is an interesting case study. On one hand, he was a second-round pick one year ago and Pittsburgh immediately installed him as their feature back. That led to a massive volume of touches (289 in 13 games to be exact) and eight touchdowns. On the other hand, Bell averaged a miserable 3.5 yards-per-carry and failed to score on any of his 275 touches from 10-plus yards away from the end zone. That sounds a lot like Trent Richardson circa 2012. Bell is only 22 and the team’s clear feature back heading into 2014, but it’s fair to wonder if he has the talent to keep the job long term.

Matt Forte hasn’t done it with a lot of flair, but he’s been one of the most reliable backs in fantasy over the last half decade. Forte has appeared in 15-plus games in five of his six seasons and has never been below 204 carries and 44 receptions in a single year. He was fantasy’s No. 3 back in 2013 thanks to 1,933 total yards and 12 scores. With Marc Trestman running the Chicago offense, it will continue to score points. Forte’s age (28) is becoming a concern, but he remains a solid short-term dynasty play.

Tier 3

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

12

Zac Stacy

SL

23.3

2013-5

13

Arian Foster

HST

28.0

2009-U

14

C.J. Spiller

BUF

27.0

2010-1

15

Shane Vereen

NE

25.5

2011-2

16

Andre Ellington

ARZ

25.5

2013-6

17

Montee Ball

DEN

23.7

2013-2

18

Bishop Sankey

TEN

21.9

2014-2



Our third tier starts to dig into the top available No. 2 dynasty running backs.

Zac Stacy was only a fifth-round pick in 2013, but he proved a worthy fantasy asset after carrying the Rams’ offense down the stretch. After taking over as St. Louis’ lead back in Week 5, Stacy racked up 1,113 total yards and eight scores, which was good enough to rank him eighth in fantasy points at the position. Only 23 and the feature back in an improving offense, you’re in good shape if Stacy is manning your No. 2 RB slot.

An elite dynasty running back as recently as this time last year, age and injuries have Arian Foster at his lowest value since he exploded onto the fantasy scene in 2010. It may seem hard to believe, but Foster has managed only two 16-game campaigns in his career. Of course, he scored 12-plus touchdowns in all three seasons spanning from 2010 to 2012. Touchdown deficiencies aside, Foster’s 2013 season was actually going pretty well (725 total yards) before a back injury cut it short after eight games. Foster returns as Houston’s lead back, but he’s closing in on 28 and the offense will throw more with Bill O’Brien in charge. Foster has a few more effective years in the tank, but his days as a top-3 back are likely over.

C.J. Spiller spurned those who spent a first-round pick on him in 2013, but he remains one of a handful of backs who could emerge into a fantasy superstar. Injuries derailed a majority of his season, but Spiller still managed borderline RB2 numbers despite scoring only twice. Goal line work continues to be a concern – amazingly he only has two career carries within three yards of the opposing end zone – but there aren’t many backs with his playmaking ability. At 26, age is no longer a major asset to his value, but he only has 589 career carries to his name. Spiller remains a borderline top-12 dynasty running back option.

Placing a dynasty value on Shane Vereen is a bit tricky as he’s unlikely to lead his team in carries, at least in the short term. Of course, when you’re averaging over eight targets per game like Vereen did last season, it’s still reasonable to expect RB2 production. In the eight full games Vereen appeared in last season, he was fantasy’ No. 14-scoring running back. He only carried the ball 44 times during that span. It’s fair to wonder if Vereen’s ceiling will be limited in a Darren Sproles-like role, but he’s shown an ability to handle more carries, something he’s expected to do in 2014 and beyond. Only 25 and working in Bill Belichick’s offense, Vereen is a major breakout candidate.

Ellington and Ball are second-year backs set to take over as their respective team’s lead back in 2014. Ellington was extremely impressive on 118 rookie-season carries, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Ball played second fiddle to Knowshon Moreno during his rookie season, but strong play earned him an expanded role in the second half. Ellington gets a slight edge here, as he’s shown signs of having a higher ceiling, but note that he’s already 25 years old. Ball is 23 and is working in Denver’s high-scoring offense.

The first running back selected in May's draft, the speedy Bishop Sankey heads to Tennessee where he'll be – at least for now – the lightning to Shonn Greene's thunder. More explosive - and probably already the better back - Sankey should easily pace this backfield in snaps right out of the gate. A 21-year-old rookie with an easy path to a starting gig, Sankey is a strong dynasty RB2.

Tier 4

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

19

Stevan Ridley

NE

25.5

2011-3

20

Ryan Mathews

SD

26.8

2010-1

21

Ben Tate

CLV

26.0

2010-2

22

Bernard Pierce

BLT

23.3

2012-3

23

Ray Rice

BLT

27.6

2008-2

24

Christine Michael

SEA

23.8

2013-2

25

Terrance West

CLV

23.6

2014-3

26

Carlos Hyde

SF

22.9

2014-2

27

Devonta Freeman

ATL

22.4

2014-4

28

Tre Mason

SL

21.0

2014-3



The Chargers moved more towards a run-heavy attack during the second half of 2013, which allowed Ryan Mathews a massive workload down the stretch. Strong play has earned him a firm grasp on San Diego’s lead back role, but Donald Brown is underrated and a threat to push for snaps. Only 26, Mathews has a few years of RB2 production in the tank.

Stevan Ridley is a bit tricky to evaluate. He’s 25 and a talented back, but he lost a significant portion of his workload to LeGarrette Blount last season due to fumbling issues. Fortunately for Ridley, Blount is gone, which means a much clearer path to retaking the club’s lead back role. It’s a good time for savvy owners to snatch him up.

Only 25, with loads of talent, and finally in position to start, Ben Tate’s value has never been higher. He heads to Cleveland where, if all goes well, he will see 15-plus carries per game. Durability issues, passing-down struggles, and the presence of talented rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell keep him outside the Top 20.

Bernard Pierce and Michael represent two of the most talented reserve backs in the league. Pierce remains behind Ray Rice in Baltimore, but that could change quickly if Rice doesn’t improve on a dismal 2013 campaign or misses time due to off-the-field issues. Pierce is only 23, which will allow him a lengthy shelf life. Michael – a second-round pick in 2013 – remains stuck behind Lynch in Seattle. If the veteran goes down with an injury or shows signs of his age, expect Michael to surge past Robert Turbin and into a major role in the league’s run-heaviest offense. He’s an elite handcuff option in every type of league.

It’s hard to find a player who disappointed more than Rice this past season. Once one of the most reliable weekly plays, Rice was fantasy’s No. 30 scoring running back despite appearing in 15 games. He averaged 3.1 yards per carry and 5.5 yards per reception – both easily career lows. Although there is justifiable concern about Rice’s massive workload over the last five years (1,660 touches in 79 regular season games), he just turned 27 and is expected to remain Baltimore’s lead back. On the downturn of his career and having to compete for snaps with Bernard Pierce, Rice is risky, but it’s not crazy to think he has another season or two of RB1 production left in the tank. Of course, his off-the-field issues could make all of this moot.

Selected in the third round of May's draft, Terrance West will immediately push oft-injured Tate for snaps in Cleveland's improving offense. A capable pass-catcher and big enough to run between the tackles consistently and effectively, West is a candidate for an eventual three-down workload…The 49ers run the ball a ton, which puts Carlos Hyde – a second-round pick this past May – on the dynasty radar. At age 31, Frank Gore’s days as a feature back are winding down. Hyde is the favorite to succeed Gore, but it’s not a lock with Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore in the mix. Hyde has RB1 upside.

At 5’8”/206, Devonta Freeman is likely to eventually settle in on the right side of committee attack in Atlanta. He’s best as a pass-blocker and receiver, but can handle 10-12 carries each week. There’s plenty of short-term appeal here, as he’s already first in line for carries in Atlanta should 31-year-old Steven Jackson miss time. Jacquizz Rodgers is also in the mix, but is an inferior runner…Mason was selected in the third round of May's draft and is the favorite for No. 2 duties in St. Louis. Stacy will handle a bulk of the backfield snaps early, but will need to be more effective than he was in 2013 if he hops to hold off Mason over the long term. The rookie is in a situation where snaps can be had right out of the gate, but he’ll need to improve his pass-blocking.



Tier 5

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

29

Trent Richardson

IND

23.1

2012-1

30

David Wilson

NYG

23.2

2012-1

31

Mark Ingram

NO

24.6

2011-1

32

Jeremy Hill

CIN

21.8

2014-2

33

Knowshon Moreno

MIA

27.1

2009-1

34

Joique Bell

DET

28.0

2010-U

35

Reggie Bush

DET

29.5

2006-1

36

Toby Gerhart

JAX

27.4

2010-2

37

Chris Johnson

NYJ

28.9

2008-1

38

Frank Gore

SF

31.3

2005-3

39

Steven Jackson

ATL

31.1

2004-1



Trent Richardson and David Wilson were among the top busts in fantasy football last season. Richardson managed a wretched 3.0 yards per carry, which was even lower than his poor 3.6 rookie-season mark. An early-season trade to Indianapolis ended up dramatically hurting his 2013 fantasy value. On the bright side, Richardson is only 22 and will enter 2014 as the lead back in the Colts’ improving offense. Wilson appeared in only five games before a serious neck injury cut his season short. Also 22, Wilson has a ton of talent, but there are plenty of question marks, including his health and struggles with fumbling and pass protection. Both players own massive upside, but have disappointed thus far in their short careers.

One my favorite underrated backs, Mark Ingram quietly averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per carry last season despite facing base defenses on a majority of his carries. Durability does remain an issue for Ingram, as he’s now missed 11 games during his first three seasons in the NFL. He’s only 24, however, and with Pierre Thomas nearing 30 and Darren Sproles in Philadelphia, Ingram is a logical post-hype breakout candidate in 2014… A 2014 second-round pick, Hill was brought in to complement 2013 second-rounder Gio Bernard. To play this season, Hill will need to beat out incumbent battering ram BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He shouldn't have much trouble. Hill is primed to work as the club’s long-time hammer between the tackles and at the goalline, while Bernard dominates between the 20s.

Reggie Bush and Joique Bell combine to form one of the league’s top one-two tailback punches, but both are nearing age 30. Bush was fantasy’s No. 10 running back this past season, but failed to appear in all 16 of his team’s games for the sixth time over the last seven seasons. He’ll remain heavily involved in the Lions’ high-scoring offense this season, but he’s now 29 and will lose carries with Joe Lombardi now in control of the offense. Bell was heavily-utilized as both a rusher and receiver during a breakout 2013 season. He’s expected to pace Detroit in carries with Lombardi calling the plays. Of course, he’s nearing 28 and maxes out as a back-end RB2.

Toby Gerhart is a big mover since our pre-draft rankings. The big man signed with Jacksonville where he’s primed for a large workload as the club’s feature back. Gerhart was competent as Peterson’s primary backup the past four years, but is now 27 and one of the league’s least-talented lead backs. Toss in Jacksonville’s poor short-term offensive prospects and there’s not much intrigue here outside of volume.

Knowshon Moreno heads from lead back duties in high-scoring Denver to a competition with Lamar Miller for a starting gig in Miami. The 26 year old was outstanding in 2013, busting out for nearly 1,600 total yards and 13 touchdowns. He was No. 5 among running backs in fantasy points. He’s a fine flex option, but we’ve already seen the best season of his career…Frank Gore had another strong season in 2013, but his fantasy value is limited by a lack of involvement in the passing game. He’ll provide short-term RB2 value in non-PPR formats, but his ceiling is as low as it's ever been. Set to enter Week 1 at age 31, his days as a lead back are coming to an end.

On the plus side, Chris Johnson was fantasy’ No. 9 back of 2013 and hasn’t missed a single game over the last five seasons. On the other hand, he turns 29 this year and, although he landed with the run-heavy Jets, he’s not the team’s best runner. Johnson will start out as New York’s lead back, but expect Chris Ivory to steal enough work to limit Johnson to nothing more than a flex option…Steven Jackson will enter 2014 as Atlanta’s lead back, but he’s nearing age 31 and struggled to a career-low 3.5 yards per carry last season. If the Atlanta offense bounces back, Jackson has a shot at RB2 production this upcoming season, but his days as a feature back are coming to an end.

Tier 6

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

40

Knile Davis

KC

22.9

2013-3

41

Ka'Deem Carey

CHI

21.8

2014-4

42

Bryce Brown

BUF

23.3

2012-7

43

Andre Williams

NYG

22.0

2014-4

44

Rashad Jennings

NYG

29.4

2009-7

45

Darren McFadden

OAK

27.0

2008-1

46

Isaiah Crowell

CLV

21.6

2014-U

47

Chris Ivory

NYJ

26.4

2010-U

48

Jerick McKinnon

MIN

22.3

2014-3

49

Charles Sims

TB

23.9

2014-3

50

Lamar Miller

MIA

23.3

2012-4

51

Jonathan Stewart

CAR

27.4

2008-1

52

James White

NE

22.5

2014-4

53

Lorenzo Taliaferro

BLT

22.8

2014-4

54

Marcus Lattimore

SF

22.8

2013-4

55

Kendall Hunter

SF

25.9

2011-4

56

LeGarrette Blount

PIT

27.7

2010-U

57

Maurice Jones-Drew

OAK

29.4

2006-2



Bryce Brown and Knile Davis are both young, talented backs stuck in a reserve role on their respective teams. Brown is stuck behind Spiller and Fred Jackson in Buffalo, while Davis is backing up Charles. Brown and Davis would find themselves on the RB1 radar if put in position to start. Both 23 years old this year, these future stars should be stashed on dynasty benches.

Ka’Deem Carey, Andre Williams, Jerick McKinnon, Charles Sims, James White, and Lorenzo Taliaferro were drafted in May, while Isaiah Crowell was an undrafted free agent signing. Carey, McKinnon, and Sims have a ton of upside and are already slotted in second on their respective team’s depth chart. Carey has the tools to be the best back of the 2014 class, but won’t get a real shot at feature back duties until Forte moves on. An intriguing long-term stash because of impressive measurables, McKinnon will start out as a change-of-pace and third down back behind Adrian Peterson. Of course, if 29-year-old Peterson misses time, McKinnon is in line for a big workload. Sims, a third-rounder, will compete with Bobby Rainey and Mike James for Tampa Bay's primary backup gig behind Doug Martin. Big and fast, Sims will push for a major workload if Martin struggles out of the gate like he did in 2013.

With Wilson’s health in question, it’s possible that only Rashad Jennings stands between him and a lead back job. White replaces Blount in New England’s running back rotation, but won’t play a big short-term role with Ridley, Vereen, and Brandon Bolden around. Taliaferro is buried in Baltimore, but aforementioned Rice and Pierce are coming off poor seasons. Crowell is behind Tate and West in Cleveland, but he has the talent to emerge into a strong, three-down back if he avoids further off-the-field issues.

Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew will lead the Oakland backfield in 2014. McFadden can’t stay on the field, having now missed at least three games during each of his six NFL seasons. Of course, he’s only 26 and we’ve already seen his high ceiling. Jones-Drew is 29 and no longer a feature back. There’s short-term value here, especially if McFadden can’t stay on the field, but MJD’s days as a RB1 are over.

Jennings finally broke out last season, racking up over 1,000 total yards and six scores on 199 touches as McFadden’s injury replacement in Oakland. Jennings heads to New York where he’s slotted in as the Giants’ lead back. He signed a four-year deal, but note that he’s now 29 and has talented and young Wilson and Williams on his heels.

Marcus Lattimore destroyed his knee while still at South Carolina back in 2012, but is expected to be fully healthy for the 2014 season. He remains buried behind workhorse Frank Gore, however, and will have his hands full beating out Kendall Hunter and Hyde for backup duties. Lattimore is only 22 and was considered a first-round talent prior to his injury…Hunter, meanwhile, is only 25 and a very talented, productive player when called upon. With Lattimore and Hyde in the mix, Hunter is unlikely to ever be a feature back in San Francisco, but note that he’s on the last year of his rookie deal. Expect him to eye a larger role elsewhere in 2015 and beyond.

Lamar Miller underwhelmed when given a chance to lead Miami’s backfield last season. He’s only 23, but is now stuck competing with Moreno. The team’s hiring of Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator will only improve Miller’s effectiveness, but 2014 may be his last real shot to emerge as a lead back…Ivory’s stock took a hit when the Jets signed Johnson, but the big man is 26 and is a better runner at this point in time. Ivory will never do much as a receiver and is stuck in a committee, but he’ll flirt with RB3 numbers in non-PPR formats.

Jonathan Stewart is now 27 and simply can’t stay healthy, having missed 17 games over the last two seasons. He’ll continue to share reps with DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert in Carolina. We know he has big-time talent, but age and depth chart status are not on his side…After a slow start, Blount emerged as a force during New England’s stretch run, racking up eight touchdowns during one three-game stretch. He’s an underrated talent and figures to chip away at Bell’s touches in the short term, but Blount is now 27 and does very little as a receiver.

Tier 7

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

58

Stepfan Taylor

ARZ

23.2

2013-5

59

Khiry Robinson

NO

24.6

2013-U

60

Lance Dunbar

DAL

24.6

2012-U

61

Donald Brown

SD

27.3

2009-1

62

Lache Seastrunk

WAS

23.0

2014-6

63

Pierre Thomas

NO

29.7

2007-U

64

Darren Sproles

PHI

31.2

2005-4

65

Alfred Blue

HST

23.3

2014-6

66

Johnathan Franklin

GB

24.8

2013-4

67

Vick Ballard

IND

24.1

2012-5

68

Andre Brown

HST

27.7

2009-4

69

Danny Woodhead

SD

29.6

2008-U

70

DeAngelo Williams

CAR

31.3

2006-1

71

Chris Polk

PHI

24.7

2012-U



Stepfan Taylor is expected to team up with Ellington as a one-two punch in the Arizona backfield over the next few years. With Ellington taking on more of a scat back role, look for Taylor to handle some of the between-the-tackles grind, including some goal line work…The Cowboys really seem to like Lance Dunbar, which makes him interesting as a dynasty stash. He’s stuck behind a workhorse in Murray, but would be a RB2 in the event that the oft-injured starter misses time.

Our seventh tier includes a pair of Saints’ running backs. Thomas and Khiry Robinson will compete with aforementioned Ingram for snaps in the merry-go-round that is the New Orleans backfield. Only 24, Robinson has youth on his side, but is expected to begin 2014 third on the depth chart. Thomas is an excellent all-around performer – and is in position to again lead the position in receptions – but he’s now 29.

The Eagles, Texans, and Chargers also have a duo of tailbacks in this tier. Darren Sproles and Chris Polk will compete for touches behind McCoy in Philadelphia. Sproles is unique in that he doesn’t carry the ball very often, so he figures to be a PPR factor for a few more seasons. He’s 31, though, so it’s fair to expect a drop in effectiveness. Polk is intriguing, as he’d likely lead the high-scoring Eagles in carries should McCoy miss time due to injury.

Andre Brown and Alfred Blue will back up Foster in Houston. Brown was underwhelming when asked to lead the New York backfield last season, but he has a few years left at age 27 and is a competent three-down back. Blue was a sixth-round selection by Houston in May’s draft. He’s a big, fast back with a shot to emerge as Houston’s lead back down the road.

Passing-down back Danny Woodhead and underrated Brown will compete for reps behind Mathews in run-heavy San Diego. Woodhead is now 29, but gets a big boost in PPR formats. Brown is 27, but was excellent, especially at the goal line, on a small sample of work in 2013. He’s a threat to steal snaps from Mathews.

Lache Seastrunk was a sixth-round pick by Washington in May’s draft. He’s ticketed for a change-of-pace role behind Morris, but isn’t a very good blocker or receiver. With Roy Helu also around, Seastrunk has a way to go before he’ll make a major fantasy impact…Johnathan Franklin has clearly lost out to Lacy for Green Bay’s lead back gig, but he’s only 24 and in position to push James Starks for the team’s primary backup job.

Vick Ballard tore his ACL last season, which helped pave the way for the Colts to acquire Trent Richardson. Ballard is only 24, but is left competing with Ahmad Bradshaw for a backup job. Of course, if Richardson continues to struggle, Ballard is next in line for a huge workload in a good offense…Williams is a quality back, but he’s now 31 and shares carries with Cam Newton, Stewart, and Tolbert. The ceiling here is low.

Tier 8

Rk

Player

Tm

Age

Draft-Rd

72

Ronnie Hillman

DEN

22.9

2012-3

73

Bilal Powell

NYJ

25.8

2011-4

74

Jacquizz Rodgers

ATL

24.5

2011-5

75

Roy Helu

WAS

25.7

2011-4

76

Latavius Murray

OAK

23.5

2013-6

77

Storm Johnson

JAX

22.2

2014-7

78

C.J. Anderson

DEN

23.5

2013-U

79

Marion Grice

SD

22.1

2014-6

80

Brandon Bolden

NE

24.5

2012-U

81

James Starks

GB

28.5

2010-6

82

De'Anthony Thomas

KC

21.6

2014-4

83

Dri Archer

PIT

23.0

2014-3

84

Mikel Leshoure

DET

24.4

2011-2

85

Mike James

TB

23.3

2013-6

86

Benny Cunningham

SL

24.1

2013-U

87

Tyler Gaffney

CAR

23.3

2014-6

88

Robert Turbin

SEA

24.7

2012-4

89

Shonn Greene

TEN

29.0

2009-3

90

Denard Robinson

JAX

23.9

2013-5

91

Edwin Baker

CLV

23.2

2012-7

92

Daryl Richardson

NYJ

24.3

2012-7

93

Fred Jackson

BUF

33.5

2006-U

94

Dion Lewis

CLV

23.9

2011-5

95

Jordan Todman

JAX

24.5

2011-6

96

Mike Gillislee

MIA

23.8

2013-5

97

Kenjon Barner

CAR

25.3

2013-6

98

Daniel Thomas

MIA

26.8

2011-2

99

DuJuan Harris

GB

25.9

2011-U

100

Isaiah Pead

SL

24.7

2012-2