The Composite Running Back Rankings (August Edition)


The rankings below reflect the updated composite running back rankings for the site. In addition to rankings, each of the rankers has offered a short summary of their thoughts on their rankings. If you would like to just skip to the rankings you can scroll to the bottom of this post. Otherwise, here are some words that should add context to the rankings.


The upcoming season is actually looking like a really fun one when it comes to RB values. There aren’t a lot of gimmes on the board, so you really have to study in order to figure out where you’re going. As I’ve been looking more at the position I’m more convinced that I’ll try to go something like WR-RB-RB-RB to start fantasy drafts this year. I like the string of values between Le’Veon Bell and Bishop Sankey. So going WR in the first round and then neglecting the position until the fifth round is probably my strategy today. That’s in part driven by the RBs, but also in part driven by my desire to pair one top WR with the WR values that start in the fifth round. Fantasy Douche

As with the quarterbacks, I’m much lower on rookie and second-year RBs than the rest of the rankers, especially Latavius Murray (my RB91, fantasypros ADP RB67), Terrance West (my RB64, ADP RB38), and Sankey (my RB39, ADP RB21). Until these players prove it on the field, I’d rather take an older, established commodity in my redraft leagues.

I was a lot higher on Dexter McCluster than ADP (my RB36, ADP RB64), who I think will play the Danny Woodhead role in Tennessee this year (and who has a $4 million paycheck to back it up). I’m a bit surprised that my ranking of James Starks (my RB53) was a full round higher than average (ADP RB65); he showed at the end of last year that he can be productive with his touches, and he’ll be the primary guy in Green Bay when Eddie Lacy gets dinged up, especially with Johnathan Franklin out of the picture. Jim Kloet

Sankey is my flag plant player for 2014 and I might not even be high enough on him. McCluster is his only competition for receptions out of the backfield and given Tennessee’s WR situation behind Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them both on the field a fair amount of the time. Rookie RBs with elite agility scores have been league-winning picks in recent years (Alf, Doug Martin, Le’Veon Bell) and Sankey fits perfect in that profile of a young, pass-catching runner that is the only real option on his team. The only rank that I can tell early that I’m far away from my RV brethren is Arian Foster. He’s missed parts of four seasons with a cavalcade of injuries and is already suffering from sore hamstrings in training camp. He’s not making 16 games and even if he does, this offense screams dumpster fire with a new offensive coordinator. I’m also placing more emphasis on Knile Davis, who if Charles goes down, could fight for RB1 . . . not *an* RB1, but RB1. He’s the cheaper Christine Micheal with the ability to become a weekly PPR flex play and I think it’s foolish to leave any draft without him on your team. — Davis Mattek

Value: Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Toby Gerhart

Rice and Spiller offer you the down year discount and Gerhart offers the “white and goofy-looking” discount. Seriously, look at his comps. If you prefer to take WRs early (I sure do) these guys should be staples for you. Arian Foster and Gio Bernard are on my stay away list due to price. And if the Seahawks had any faith in Christine Michael, they wouldn’t have given Marshawn Lynch a $1.5 million raise. – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

In looking over the rankings, I see the great extent to which I am Doug Martin skeptic. And that high ranking isn’t for shock value. I’ve skipped him in every draft where I’ve had the opportunity to draft him. Ironically, I think he still has dynasty value, but I’m just not feeling the redraft value this year. The same with Spiller. No one on staff has him ranked lower than I do. Really, I’d draft Spiller only if he fell precipitously in a draft and I thought I could also get Fred Jackson as a backfield complement later—no one else on staff has Spiller and F-Jax ranked so closely. I’ve noticed that I’m one of the highest rankers on Reggie Bush: old flames burn brightest. I’m the highest ranker on Ryan Mathews: At least I’ve already put my metaphorical money where my actual mouth is. I’m one of the highest rankers on Frank Gore. I admit that each year Gore plays and doesn’t fall off a cliff just means that he’s increasingly likelier to fall off the productivity cliff the following year—but that doesn’t mean that in any given season he’s likelier to underperform than at least to live up to his ADP. Gore is a historically elite back. I recently got him as the RB29 in a draft, but he’s been a top-20 RB each of the last eight years. We should probably just think of him as a top-20 RB until his production shows that he no longer is one. Finally, I noticed that I was one of the highest rankers on Sankey. No surprise there.Matthew Freedman

Although I have Lynch ranked outside of my top 10, I do believe that he could finish better than that. Seattle runs, a lot. They have 1,045 rushes in the last two seasons, which is the most in the league. There may be some concern that Michael and Robert Turbin could eat into his value this year, which is why I am a bit hesitant to draft Lynch in my redraft leagues. I’d rather have Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas, who have similar ADPs to Lynch. Martin is also a tough case to crack this year. Tedford has already said he wants implement a RB by committee approach, but that’s what the majority of the NFL is these days. Yes, he’s going to lose some opportunities, but when it came to backs last year, 11 of the top 17 RBs played less than 65 percent of their team’s snaps. One RB I am targeting heavily this year in the late round is Terrance West. I ranked him the highest at the 34th overall. Justin Bailey

Under no other circumstances will you be able to get a guy with Rice’s pedigree and past production this late. Worse case scenario he has much better receiving skills than anyone going close to his ADP. Bounce back candidates like Spiller and Stevan Ridley seem like Greta values and have performed in the past. Most of the rookie runners have price points to return value. McCluster could turn out to be a real PPR gem. Scott Smith

I’ll keep my thoughts brief. I generally devalue rookies in redraft, except at RB. If they can win a significant role in training camp, they can perform just as well as a veteran. And the likelihood of injury at the position means rookies have a good chance of getting pressed into action. Once the top handful of backs are gone, I avoid backups to the biggest ADP-gap RBs, and focus instead on small gap RBs. Here are the RBs I ranked much higher or lower than the rest of the RotoViz rankers.

I Like More I Like Less
Sims, Charles TBB RB Robinson, Khiry NOS RB
Hillman, Ronnie DEN RB Michael, Christine SEA RB

Not only might he be the next DeMarco Murray, Charles Sims is also the rookie you need to stop ignoring and start drafting. Khiry Robinson being drafted ahead of Mark Ingram makes very little sense. Michael may never be more valuable. As for Ronnie Hillman, various camp reports have him as the primary backup to Montee Ball, while C.J. Anderson is reportedly working at fullback. Regardless, Hillman is arguably more talented than Anderson, and if he gets a chance, there might be a chance: a chance he could be 2014’s Danny Woodhead. – James Todd

The rankers are: FD = Fantasy Douche, DM = Davis Mattek, MF = Matthew Freedman, JK = Jim Kloet, AM = Aaron Messing, JB = Justin Bailey, SS = Scott Smith, JT = James Todd, WTF = Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, CR = Composite Ranking

*Note these rankings were submitted before news broke of Montee Ball’s emergency appendectomy.

Charles, Jamaal KCC RB1111112221
McCoy, LeSean PHI RB2222221112
Forte, Matt CHI RB3343345333
Peterson, Adrian MIN RB4634433744
Lacy, Eddie GBP RB5756654565
Bell, Le'Veon PIT RB9497568496
Murray, DeMarco DAL RB85710776977
Ball, Montee DEN RB6118898108108
Lynch, Marshawn SEA RB101061210129659
Bernard, Giovani CIN RB791013111012131310
Stacy, Zac STL RB1112112181113101211
Morris, Alfred WAS RB1415121115911111412
Martin, Doug TBB RB13821912151615813
Bush, Reggie DET RB12161315161626121614
Foster, Arian HOU RB173215514177232015
Ellington, Andre ARI RB15182514201314141916
Spiller, C.J. BUF RB18142919131415291117
Gerhart, Toby JAC RB16251716192117191518
Mathews, Ryan SDC RB24191622172323211819
Sankey, Bishop TEN RB20131439182024162220
Vereen, Shane NEP RB19172423221921272121
Bell, Joique DET RB21212230252218183122
Tate, Ben CLE RB25202626231829222423
Ridley, Stevan NEP RB35232324262619202924
Richardson, Trent IND RB28331917212522343025
Jennings, Rashad NYG RB23243120282825242625
Johnson, Chris NYJ RB29222827312720173227
Gore, Frank SFO RB31352018272928312328
Thomas, Pierre NOS RB27273325293030253829
Rice, Ray BAL RB26344229242430441730
Miller, Lamar MIA RB22282737323229283631
Jackson, Steven ATL RB33393028303527392532
Woodhead, Danny SDC RB34261835383734323333
Jackson, Fred BUF RB30293444374031265334
Hill, Jeremy CIN RB39303550343633364035
Williams, DeAngelo CAR RB32483731404337304236
Sproles, Darren PHI RB36403933453836463537
McFadden, Darren OAK RB38444041464632333938
Moreno, Knowshon MIA RB42364346354743452839
Jones-Drew, Maurice OAK RB79453238333335432739
Hyde, Carlos SFO RB40383849484540383441
Michael, Christine SEA RB43374134503141635542
Pierce, Bernard BAL RB41414443424844484943
Ingram, Mark NOS RB37573640445245405144
Robinson, Khiry NOS RB45464845413942663745
Ivory, Chris NYJ RB80474532364139495446
West, Terrance CLE RB46605364393438355847
Freeman, Devonta ATL RB44425455524263424148
Davis, Knile KCC RB56314947534446675649
Stewart, Jonathan CAR RB55715542606147474550
Brown, Andre HOU RB53496852495452505751
Brown, Donald SDC RB47637154645954534352
Dunbar, Lance DAL RB50535851586757586353
Mason, Tre STL RB49594779635151655254
Carey, Ka'Deem CHI RB60564684615050645055
Brown, Bryce BUF RB54519961475755994456
Bradshaw, Ahmad IND RB48767456576869414757
Sims, Charles TBB RB61506087655853377158
McCluster, Dexter TEN RB51659936697156516559
Williams, Andre NYG RB58525088679949564660
Blount, LeGarrette PIT RB65626967625648615961
Helu, Roy WAS RB57995658439959546862
Murray, Latavius OAK RB59435291515364997263
Greene, Shonn TEN RB62647968546065996964
Starks, James GBP RB67686453749958996165
Wilson, David NYG RB72587757564999999966
Polk, Chris PHI RB71556348739972759967
Tolbert, Mike CAR RB64996765719975596268
Todman, Jordan JAC RB69997380756367576669
Taliaferro, Lorenzo BAL RB99995189559966557470
Turbin, Robert SEA RB99996159729999734871
Anderson, C.J. DEN RB70998070996260686772
White, James NEP RB52547583999971729973
Rodgers, Jacquizz ATL RB63707873687079997074
Cunningham, Benny STL RB99679999596670717674
McKinnon, Jerick MIN RB68665793799977706476
Green-Ellis, BenJarvus CIN RB99999969787299696077
Archer, Dri PIT RB73786274996599997878
Crowell, Isaiah CLE RB99617086667180999979
Reece, Marcel OAK RB74749966997378997580
Rainey, Bobby TBB RB99799963766499779980
Taylor, Stepfan ARI RB66775992997476999982
Hillman, Ronnie DEN RB76999998709973527983
Bolden, Brandon NEP RB99696585789999999984
Johnson, Dennis HOU RB99999960999999999985
Johnson, Storm JAC RB997272100999999999985
Franklin, Johnathan GBP RB99999999996999997386
Robinson, Denard JAC RB99809962999999999986
Thomas, De'Anthony KCC RB99759999999968999988
Williams, Damien MIA RB99996699999999808089
Lattimore, Marcus SFO RB99997671999999999990
Powell, Bilal NYJ RB77999972999999999991
Lewis, Dion CLE RB75999999999999997792
Dwyer, Jonathan ARI RB78999999999974999992
Riddick, Theo DET RB99999990999999629992
Mendenhall, Rashard FA RB99739999999999999995
Cadet, Travaris NOS RB99999977999999799996
Hunter, Kendall SFO RB99999999779999999997
Asiata, Matt MIN RB99999999999999609998
James, Mike TBB RB99999978999999999998
Williams, Ryan DAL RB99999994809999749998
Leshoure, Mikel DET RB99999995999999769998
Richardson, Daryl NYJ RB99999997999999789998
Randle, Joseph DAL RB99999996999999999998