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2015 Tiered Dynasty Rankings: Running Backs (RB), Tiers 5 and 6

More rankings: QuarterbacksRunning Backs (Tier 1)Running Backs (Tiers 3, 4), Wide Receivers (Tier 1)Wide Receivers (Tier 2)Wide Receivers (Tiers 3, 4)Wide Receivers (Tiers 5, 6)Wide Receivers (Tiers 7, 8)Tight Ends (Tiers 1, 2), Tight Ends (Tiers 3, 4)Top 200 (Standard)Top 200 (PPR)Rookie Rankings


Tiered Dynasty Rankings - Running Back, Tier 5

22) Latavius Murray, 24, OAK

Latavius Murray is one of the more likely running backs to act as a feature back going into 2015. He has the raw skills to be a top back, but there are some red flags that kept him out of my top 20 at this point in the summer. First and foremost, he’s on the Raiders. They haven’t been able to produce a 1,000-yard rusher since Darren McFadden did it in 2010, and I don’t know that they’ve got the offensive line to allow for that in 2015. Murray also has a troubling injury history, with two ankle surgeries and a concussion already on his resume. Ultimately I think Murray will be a productive RB3/FLEX with RB2 potential in the future, but I don’t see him ending up in the top 20 this season.


23) Joseph Randle, 23, DAL

There has been way too much discussion about who should start for the Cowboys in 2015. The two top contenders are Joseph Randle and McFadden, but in my eyes that battle shouldn’t be close. Randle showed flashes of what he can do backing up DeMarco Murray last season, and now that he has a chance to start he could be a very solid RB2. The Cowboys offensive line is still terrific, and once Randle locks down the starting job (which should happen over the course of training camp) he’ll rise in my rankings.


24) Giovani Bernard, 23, CIN

Giovani Bernard has definitively ceded the starting running back job to Jeremy Hill, but that shouldn’t completely destroy Bernard’s fantasy value. He is still an absolutely electrifying runner when he gets into space, and hopefully he’ll be effectively used in a Shane Vereen-like role in 2015. He lost a decent chunk of his season last year to a hip injury, but at full health Bernard can be a dangerous weapon in the passing game. I like him as an RB3/FLEX in 2015, and he could threaten RB2 numbers in PPR formats.


25) Isaiah Crowell, 22, CLE

I wish the Cleveland Browns would realize what everybody who watched their games in 2014 knows—Isaiah Crowell is the best runner in their backfield. Unfortunately they seem determined to split work between Crowell and Terrance West, which is going to sap fantasy value from both runners. Crowell could establish himself as the best option in the offense given the Browns terrible QB situation, which could push him into the top 20. However, as long as the Browns split carries, Crowell can’t ascend higher than FLEX status. Duke Johnson could very well cut into the running back snaps in 2015, which could lower Crowell’s value even more.


26) Andre Ellington, 25, ARI

The under-sized Ellington was given more than 20 touches per game in the early goings of 2014, and it unfortunately seemed to wear him down, as he dealt with a slew of injuries over the last six weeks. The Cardinals drafted the larger David Johnson, and he should get a decent chunk of inside carries and short-and-goal touches. Ellington is still great in space though, and with Carson Palmer back under center the offense should be better as a whole. A healthy Ellington is an RB3 in standard and an RB2 in PPR, but until I see how the Cardinals split carries I’m hesitant to rank him higher in keeper/dynasty.


27) C.J. Spiller, 27, NO

C.J. Spiller is going to be an adventure every week, as he should have some huge games in Sean Payton’s offense as a passing game weapon. However, he will almost certainly have some duds, which makes him sort of difficult to rank, particularly in standard formats. There should be plenty of work for both Spiller and Mark Ingram as the Saints switch to a more run-heavy offense, but I value consistency at running back over explosiveness. You can probably expect some rushes of 50+ yards, but you’re going to have some sub-50-yard games as well.


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Tier 6 – Dynasty/Keeper Running Back Rankings

28) Ameer Abdullah, 22, DET

Ameer Abdullah is clearly a talented, dynamic back, and should have a bright future in the NFL. That being said, I have some concerns heading into the 2015 season. His stature (5’9”, 205 lbs.) makes him more of a third-down back than a between-the-tackles feature back, so I don’t see him starting over Joique Bell to begin the season. His speed and agility are more useful in space and he may be the future of the Detroit Lions run game, but in 2015 he should operate as no more than a Sproles-ian change-of-pace back.


29) Jerick McKinnon, 23, MIN

Fun while it lasted, eh Jerick? We never even really got to see McKinnon’s full potential last year, as perennial vulture Matt Asiata received far too many snaps. We are not likely to see enough of McKinnon to be any more than a FLEX option at best in 2015, playing behind one Adrian Peterson with the large-bodied Asiata still in the mix. He should be the primary change-of-pace back, but as long as Peterson is playing in Minnesota, I’m avoiding McKinnon. He should be the back of the future however, so in dynasty formats his value is a bit stronger than redraft.


30) Duke Johnson, 21, CLE

Boy howdy, look at all these pass-catching running backs. I could essentially copy and paste the paragraph above about Ameer Abdullah, as their physical stature and playing strengths/weaknesses are almost identical. Johnson has reportedly been the most impressive back in Cleveland so far this summer, but Lord knows that doesn’t mean much in Mike Pettine’s offense. The Browns still seem committed to both Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell (Crowell being the more talented of the two), meaning snaps will be limited for Johnson in 2015. He should still be active in the Browns passing game, terrible as it is, which could provide some immediate fantasy value. Where he fits into the Browns plans beyond 2015…I don’t know.


31) Shane Vereen, 26, NYG

I was tempted to rank Shane Vereen higher, and I still might as the summer progresses. If you’re reading this article, you know what Vereen is—a pass-catching monster who thrives on outside routes and screens. He will rarely get more than 10 carries in a game, but with the new-and-improved West Coast offense that the Giants will run in 2015, he could see his fantasy value increase. As Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz draw attention over the top, Vereen should be able to run wild underneath. He has WR3/FLEX value in standard formats, and could be an RB2 in PPR.


32) Joique Bell, 28, DET

Joique’s ranking here is simply indicative of his age and injury history. I seem to be one of the only experts out there who thinks he’ll be productive all the way through 2015. He has the capability of a feature back (4.1 career YPC, 9.7 career YPR), and while I do think Ameer Abdullah will cut into his snaps, there is no reason why Joique can’t rack up 900 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards along with 6-8 total touchdowns. This could obviously change depending on what happens in the Lions’ backfield during training camp, but I say don’t sleep on Joique in 2015.


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