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2015 Tiered Dynasty Rankings: Running Backs (RB), Tier 1

By Kyle Engman [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As the Football season starts to close in, we're starting to roll out daily fantasy football content for Dynasty and Redraft leagues. Fantasy Football expert Bill Dubiel takes a look at the running backs starting with the highest tier. You can also take a look at his previous rankings of dynasty Quarterbacks here.

Just because it’s fantasy baseball season doesn’t mean we can’t discuss some fantasy football. I’ll be breaking down the rankings for each position into tiers, and analyze each of these tiers. Obviously we are still pretty far removed from fantasy football season, so these rankings can and will change as things develop over the summer.

Here we’ll take a look at the current group of NFL running backs for their 2015 value and beyond. The most important, consistent and hardest to replace players on a fantasy team, their league life expectancy is far shorter than that of a quarterback—a 31-year-old running back is already in his twilight, whereas a quarterback is still within his prime. While age isn’t necessarily the only factor, it plays a huge role in how these players are ranked. Here are the Tier 1 Running Backs for Dynasty Leagues in 2015.

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

 

Tier 1 – Dynasty/Keeper Running Back Rankings

1. Le'Veon Bell, 23, PIT

There is a strong argument to be made for Le’Veon Bell being the best running back in the NFL, and the fact that he’s only 23 pretty much cements him as the number one option for dynasty/keeper leagues. He amassed an absurd 1,361 rushing yards last year to go along with 854 receiving yards. Yes, that’s over 2,200 total yards in a season. 4.7 yards per carry and 10.3 yards per reception is top-of-the-line as far as attempts go, which means that was sustainable consistent production. Whether it’s dynamic downfield running or catching passes out of the backfield, LevBell is going to produce every year and it's only going to get better as Pittsburgh's young offensive line (with 3 starters still on their rookie contracts) continue to develop and grow.

 

2. Eddie Lacy, 24, GB

Unlike Bell, Eddie Lacy is a big-body bruiser but he’s just as useful from a fantasy prospective. He cranked out a gaudy 4.6 yards per carry in 2014, to go along with 10.2 yards per reception (thanks to a couple nice long runs after the catch). 13 total touchdowns is top five production, and he’s only been getting better over his brief career. The core of the Packers offense isn’t going anywhere over the next four seasons or so, and Lacy is an important cog in it. I expect big things out of him for years to come.

 

3. Jamaal Charles, 28, KC

Jamaal Charles rivals Le’Veon Bell as far as talent is concerned, and when he’s on the field he’s as scary as running backs get. Since breaking into the league, Charles has averaged 5.5 yards per carry (yes, really), and is usually good for 40+ receptions per season. He had 14 total touchdowns last year in a lack-luster Kansas City offense, and should be just as important in 2015. With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, Alex Smith should be able to throw a bit more, which should free up Charles to attack defenses on the ground. Don’t get cute though—he’s a stud and should be treated as such.

 

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4. LeSean McCoy, 26, BUF

After winning the rushing title in 2013 by averaging just over 100 yards per game, many wrote off LeSean McCoy in the first half of 2014. In his first five games he was average at best, with the low point coming in Week 4 against the 49ers, where he managed just 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. However, after the Eagles’ Week 7 bye, McCoy returned to form. While he didn’t produce at the 2013 level, he went back to being one of the league’s better backs, and finished the season with respectable numbers (1,319 rushing yards and five touchdowns). He can only get more opportunities under Rex Ryan, who believes in the ground-and-pound offense to go along with a solid defense. The Bills quarterback will be either E.J. Manuel or Matt Cassel, neither of whom will set box scores on fire—so expectations are for plenty of check-downs and an absurdly run-heavy playbook for the next two to three years as the Bills ride the QB carousel. That’s a recipe for success for even an average running back, and someone as talented as McCoy should have a field day every Sunday.

 

5. C.J. Anderson, 24, DEN

I don’t think many experts would put C.J. Anderson in this tier, but I’m a believer. Once he was finally given the starting job in the second half of last season, Anderson was an absolute stud, amassing 10 total touchdowns and 767 rushing yards (along with 290 receiving yards) in his last eight games. He’ll benefit from being in the Peyton Manning offense for at least one more year, and after that I expect that they’ll lean even more heavily on him. I’d want him while he’s still valued outside the top ten running backs.

 

6. Jeremy Hill, 22, CIN

With Giovani Bernard proving himself ineffective and Andy Dalton proving to be nothing more than an average quarterback at best, the Bengals rode Jeremy Hill to a playoff berth. Like C.J. Anderson and Le’Veon Bell, he proved himself to be a top back in the NFL at a very young age. He failed to impress through the Bengals’ first seven games, but after an explosion against Jacksonville in Week 9 (154 yards rushing and two touchdowns), Hill hit his stride. He finished the season with three consecutive 100-yard games, and I expect him to be just as explosive in the future now that the Bengals have found out that they can lean on him. I only expect him to get better with time, and he could certainly threaten top five running back status as early as the 2015 season.

 

As always, feel free to reach out to me @Roto_Dubs with any football/baseball questions or comments.

 

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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