By Billy Moy @william_moy6 on August 30, 2014
Here are the top 10 PPR running backs as we head into the 2014 NFL season.
Martin was one of the most disappointing players in 2013, but he certainly has the ability to bounce back tremendously in 2014. Martin is one of the most electric running backs in football on film, few guys his size possess the speed and athleticism he does. The loss of Davin Joseph and the addition of Logan Mankins should help the Bucs O-line (one of the worst in 2013) tremendously, and Martin is also one of the better pass-catching backs too.
If he weren't such an injury risk, Murray would be my seventh ranked back. He was third among running backs last season with 5.2 yards per carry, he's one of the toughest tackles in football and he's a very capable pass-catching back (he was 10th among RBs with 53 catches last year). He's played in just 37 of a possible 48 games, though since entering the NFL and he's never played in more than 14 games in a season.
Vereen has a legitimate shot at catching 100 passes this season and it's looking more and more like he's actually going to assume a large role in the Patriots run game as well. Despite missing eight games last season, Vereen was 10th among RBs with 66 targets, and he was 14th with 47 catches. Vereen's on-pace numbers as a receiver for 16 games last year were 94 catches, 854 yards and six touchdowns.
There's a pretty good amount of risk with all the RBs from this point forward, in a PPR league I'll roll with the guy who's playing with Peyton Manning. The Broncos offense turned Knoshown Moreno from "could be out of the league soon" to "top-10 fantasy RB" last season. Ball is a much more talented player than Moreno.
Lynch isn't going to catch a ton of passes, but he's an absolute animal in the rushing game. Pro Football Focus had him graded as the second highest running back last season (as a pure runner) and his 185 missed tackles over the last three seasons lead all RBs and are 30 more than Adrian Peterson, who is second over that span.
The Packers are going to score a ton of points this season and I would not be the least bit surprised if Lacy leads the league in total touchdowns. Lacy looked extremely impressive as a rookie, even without Aaron Rodgers there to alleviate pressure for a good portion of the season, and he's a better receiving RB than I expected him to be. Lacy and the four guys ahead of him are solidified as the top-five RBs entering the season.
Forte was always an elite RB who was a few more touchdowns away from being an elite fantasy RB. Well, last year, the first year in Marc Trestman's offense, he made it into the end zone 12 times. Forte had at least four receptions in all, but three games last season and he's finished within the top-10 among RBs in catches in every year of his career.
Peterson has scored double digit touchdowns every year he's been in the league and he's finished below 1,400 total yards just once. If he hadn't missed significant time in two of the last three seasons, he would be the clear-cut No. 1 RB.
McCoy led the NFL with 1,607 rushing yards last season and he finished in first by quite a bit, Matt Forte had the second highest total at 1,339 yards. Pro Football Focus had McCoy graded as the No. 1 running back by a mile last season (he received a grade of 25.7, Marshawn Lynch was second at 13.4) and a strong case could be made for him being the No. 1 fantasy RB heading into 2014.
Last year as a receiver, Charles led all RBs with 95 targets, 693 yards, seven touchdowns and 22 missed tackles. As long as he stays healthy, he's a clear-cut top-three fantasy RB. He's an elite talent who plays in an offense that revolves entirely around him.
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