Whether you are in a standard or custom scoring league, good chances the running backs will be among your top points performers. In my league, (custom scoring) RBs get 1 point per 10 yards rushing or receiving and 6 points for all TDs.
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings- AP has the freshest legs he’s had probably since he’s been playing football. I’m sure he’s a little pissed off at how things went down last season too. The Vikings offense got at least a little better as everyone has a year under their belt.
2. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers- He’s got a 3 game suspension. So what? He will make up the points. This guy is a huge part of the Steeler’s offense.
3. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs- A double threat and one of Alex Smith’s favorite targets. WR Jeremy Maclin might actually open things up for this stud RB to gain even more yards and easy TDs.
4. Matt Forte, Bears- Forte has averaged 1800 yards from scrimmage the last two seasons. He is generally injury free. Cutler targeted him over 100 times last year. I expect that number to drop, but then again, the Bears top 3 WRs are all battling injury.
5. Eddie Lacy, Packers- The Packers offensive line worries me, but Lacy runs hard and will be a big part of their offense again.
6. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks- People were all scared that Lynch was slowing down last year. Not so much. In 2014 he was 4th in rushing and 1st in TDs with 17. Jimmy Graham might take his receiving TDs away, but he should have easier going with a few less people stacking the line.
7. LeSean McCoy, Bills- A little concerned with his hamstring and his past history, but the Bills released veteran RB Fred Jackson on Monday. Not sure they would do that if they weren’t pretty confident in McCoy’s leg. Of course, clubs have been known to make arrogant mistakes from time to time. This far down in round one though, I think there is risk vs reward.
8. Jeremy Hill, Bengals- Last year I actually drafted Hill, then dumped him in week 2 or 3. Despite that horrible move, I still won my league. Hill looks like he will be picking up where he left off last season. Hopefully QB Andy Dalton doesn’t turn the ball over too much to lessen his impact.
9. CJ Anderson, Broncos- Anderson proved himself last year and looks like he will be the guy so long as he can a) stay healthy and b) hold onto the ball. If you do get Anderson, make sure to pick up Ronnie Hillman. Recent history tells us Denver will be relying on more than one RB to make it through the season.
10. Doug Martin, Buccaneers- The muscle hamster is back and looks to be in good form. He could be a late 1st-early second round steal.
11. Mark Ingram, Saints- Ingram starts the year as the #1 RB in New Orleans–which is a pretty big thing. He no longer has to split touches with Pierre Thomas or Darren Sproles. It’s all him. All day. As long as he can stay healthy, which he hasn’t been so hot on doing.
12. Melvin Gordon, Chargers- The Chargers added another young stud RB to their team. His Mom actually told the media she will not wear his jersey until “he earns it”. I have no doubt this kid will be motivated. Expect good things from this rookie in 2015.
13. DeMarco Murray, Eagles- I probably wouldn’t take him this high, but with his talent, he has earned it. DeMarco has not had back to back injury free seasons and had well over 400 touches last year. That said, any RB in Chip Kelly’s offense is going to be poised to score.
14. Alfred Morris, Redskins- Morris is just a solid RB. He produces year after year. With Cousins starting at QB, he might have more opportunities as long as Cousins can stay productive.
15. Lamar Miller, Dolphins- I was not on the Lamar Miller bandwagon, but he has gotten better year after year. Last year, he broke the 1000 rushing mark and looks to add to that success with a strong showing in preseason. Ryan Tannehill has picked up his game as well, so this should lead to some odd man fronts for them to exploit.
16. Rashaad Jennings, Giants- Loved this guy with the Raiders. He was really good last year with the Giants–when he was healthy. Hopefully he can put together a full season.
17. Ameer Abdullah, Lions- This speedy back from Nebraska is probably the “hype pick” for 2015. Reminds me a little of Reggie Bush. I wouldn’t touch him until round 3 or 4, unless you are in a 12+ team league.
18. Zack Stacy, Jets- This guy has a lot of potential. He’s the best of the RBs they have in New York.
19. Justin Forsett, Ravens- Forsett came out of nowhere last year. Every time I thought he was done, he kept on chugging. This year, with Marc Trestman calling plays, he could be in for even more touches out of the backfield.
20. Carlos Hyde, 49ers- I was really high on Hyde coming out of college last year. I saw him as a mini Frank Gore. Hopefully he is taking his craft seriously and putting in the work. This remains to be seen. He is a starting RB, so there’s that.
21. Darren Sproles, Eagles- Sproles might be more of a matchup play. One thing you know is that Philly will run the ball early and often.
On the bubble: Frank Gore, Colts looks like he will be at the very least, a goal-line vulture. How many reps he will get between the 20’s is another question. TJ Yeldon, Jaguars- This guy has some upside. He could emerge as the #1 back, but for now he will have to split carries with Denard Robinson. Latavius Murray, Raiders- Showed flashes last year. Need to see more consistency. Late, late round pick or keep track of on the waiver wire.