If you have a pick in the top five, the general consensus is you take a running back. My top five running backs are LeSean McCoy (pictures above), Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, and Eddie Lacy. The talent gap between the top ranked running backs and lower end running backs is much greater then at any other position, besides possibly tight end. In a PPR league, I am trying to get at least one stud running back with my first two picks.
Rank Player Team Age Season(s) Bye Week
1 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles 26 6th 7
Played in a full season for the first time last year, only running back to average 100 yards per game.
2 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs 27 7th 6
One of the most consistent running backs last year, huge part of the Chiefs' passing game.
3 Matt Forte Chicago Bears 28 7th 9
Set career highs in rushing yards (1,339) and rushing touchdowns (9).
4 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings 29 8th 10
Battled injuries down the stretch, Vikings need to figure out how to keep him fresh.
5 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers 23 2nd 9
Packers 2013 second round pick, established himself as their #1 running back.
6 DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys 26 4th 11
He scored double digit touchdowns, can he finally make it through a 16-game schedule?
7 Montee Ball Denver Broncos 23 2nd 4
The Broncos are so confident in Ball, they let Knowshon Moreno leave for Miami.
8 Giovani Bernard Cincinnati Bengals 22 2nd 4
Sharing time with rookie Jeremy Hill, Hue Jackson's offense is great for running backs.
9 Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers 22 2nd 12
Only rushed for 3.5 yards per carry, added 45 receptions and almost 400 yards receiving.
10 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks 28 8th 4
He is the workhorse, how much longer can he sustain his success is the big question.
11 Arian Foster Houston Texans 27 6th 10
His massive workload caught up with him last season, can he bounce back in 2014?
12 Alfred Morris Washington Redskins 25 3rd 10
If he was involved more in the passing game, he could be a top five running back.
13 Doug Martin Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 3rd 7
Shoulder injury cut his sophomore season short, should be lead back in committee.
14 Andre Ellington Arizona Cardinals 25 2nd 4
He is explosive, topped 1,000 combined yards and averaged 5.5 yards per rush as a rookie.
15 Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams 23 2nd 4
Started 2013 as an afterthought, got his chance in Week 5 and held onto the starting job.
16 Reggie Bush Detroit Lions 29 9th 9
At 29 years old is still fairly durable, topped 1,500 total yards in first season in Detroit.
17 C.J. Spiller Buffalo Bills 27 5th 9
Burned fantasy owners last year, this could be the year he makes fantasy owners happy!
18 Shane Vereen New England Patriots 25 4th 10
His value comes through passing game, finished third in receptions on Patriots.
19 Rashad Jennings New York Giants 29 6th 8
Career high in rushing yards for Oakland last season, new lead back in Giants offense.
20 Toby Gerhart Jacksonville Jaguars 27 5th 11
Gets his chance to be the lead back in Jacksonville, 7.9 yards per carry last season.
21 Ryan Matthews San Diego Chargers 26 5th 10
Finally played full schedule in 2013, career highs in carries (285) and rushing yards (1,255).
22 Trent Richardson Indianapolis Colts 23 3rd 10
Struggled after trade to Colts, should be more productive after full offseason in the system.
23 Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers 31 10th 8
Despite his age (31), he has remained a steady running back the last three years.
24 Bishop Sankey Tennessee Titans 21 Rookie 9
Second round pick of the Titans, will contribute right away as Chris Johnson's replacement.
25 Ray Rice Baltimore Ravens 27 7th 11
26 Joique Bell Detroit Lions 28 6th 9
27 Lamar Miller Miami Dolphins 23 3rd 5
28 Pierre Thomas New Orleans Saints 29 7th 6
29 Chris Johnson New York Jets 28 7th 11
30 Ben Tate Cleveland Browns 25 4th 4
31 Danny Woodhead San Diego Chargers 29 6th 10
32 Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles 31 9th 7
33 Maurice Jones-Drew Oakland Raiders 29 9th 5
34 Stevan Ridley New England Patriots 25 4th 10
35 Terrance West Cleveland Browns 23 Rookie 4
36 Steven Jackson Atlanta Falcons 31 11th 9
37 Fred Jackson Buffalo Bills 33 8th 9
38 Bernard Pierce Baltimore Ravens 24 3rd 11
39 Carlos Hyde San Francisco 49ers 22 Rookie 8
40 Devonta Freeman Atlanta Falcons 22 Rookie 9
41 Andre Williams New York Giants 21 Rookie 8
42 Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals 21 Rookie 4
43 Darren McFadden Oakland Raiders 26 7th 5
44 DeAngelo Williams Carolina Panthers 31 9th 12
45 Khiry Robinson New Orleans Saints 24 2nd 6
46 Christine Michael Seattle Seahawks 23 2nd 4
47 Ahmad Bradshaw Indianapolis Colts 28 8th 10
48 Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints 24 4th 6
49 Tre Mason St. Louis Rams 21 Rookie 4
50 James White New England Patriots 22 Rookie 10