NFL training camps are going strong as teams begin to make their way into the preseason. It’s a time for players and coaches to sharpen their skills in preparation for the upcoming season. It’s also a time for fans to keep track of which players they may want to draft in their fantasy football leagues and which players they want to avoid.
Over the next few weeks we’re going to help get you ready for your fantasy football drafts by ranking the top players at each position and giving some hints as to which players may be sleepers or busts in the upcoming season.
For help with other positions, check out our Top 30 NFL Fantasy Football Quarterbacks, our Top 70 NFL Fantasy Football Wide Receivers, our Top 30 NFL Fantasy Football Tight Ends, our Top NFL Fantasy Football Sleepers and Busts and our Top NFL Fantasy Football Rookies.
Now it’s time to go over the top 50 fantasy running backs for the upcoming season.
1- Jamaal Charles
Last season was a tough one for Charles after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2. He only missed one game but the Chiefs clearly lightened his workload so that he could remain in the lineup. Now that he’s healthy, look for a big time bounce back season.
2- Le’Veon Bell
If not for being suspended the first two games of the season, Bell would’ve been number one on this list. He had an amazing sophomore season in 2014, racking up 2,215 yards from scrimmage in the Steelers surprisingly potent offense. He fits well in offensive coordinator Todd Halay’s zone-blocking scheme and is utilized plenty in the passing game.
3- Eddie Lacy
After stumbling out of the gate last season, Lacy picked up steam in Week 4 and never looked back. He finished the season averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per reception and has been one of the most consistent fantasy running backs over the last two years. Lacy also seems to do his best running when his team enters the red zone, which the Packers high-powered offense should do plenty of.
4- Adrian Peterson
After playing just one game in 2014, Peterson is as fresh as he’s ever been entering a season and should come in with a big chip on his shoulder looking to make up for his lost year. He’s also been amazingly consistent during his career, putting up double-digit rushing touchdowns every year since entering the league.
5- Marshawn Lynch
It seems every year people are just waiting for Lynch’s production to decline due to how hard he runs but he keeps coming back and doing his thing. He’s only missed one game in the last four years and that was in 2011, and he has topped 1,200 rushing yards and scored double-digit rushing touchdowns in each of those seasons.
6- Matt Forte
Despite having his worst rushing season since 2009 last year (he averaged 3.9 yards per carry), Forte is a guy that is always on the field and a threat to make big plays. He was out there for 92 percent of the Bears offensive plays in 2014 and always plays a major role in the passing game. He caught a career-high 102 passes last season and that trend should continue again this year.
7- C.J. Anderson
It took injuries to the first two running backs on Denver’s depth chart for Anderson to get his chance in Week 10, but boy-oh-boy he did prove his worth after that. Anderson racked up 849 rushing yards and caught 34 passes while scoring a combined 10 touchdowns. He ended up scoring as many fantasy points as the next guy on this list (LeSean McCoy) and could be in store for a huge breakout season in 2015.
8- LeSean McCoy
McCoy struggled last season despite getting a similar amount of rushing attempts as he did the year before, but his real decline came in the passing game. He caught only 28 passes which is 24 less than in 2013 and he managed only 5 total touchdowns, cutting his total from the previous year in half. A chance of scenery could reinvigorate the 27-year-old as he now resides in Buffalo.
9- DeMarco Murray
Another guy who is playing for a new team in 2015, Murray is coming off of a monster season in which he led the NFL in rushing. Now he’s in Philadelphia and will be a main feature in the Eagles run-first, fast-paced offense. While his production is likely to drop from a season ago, Murray should still put up solid numbers.
10- Jeremy Hill
After being handed the starting job in Week 9 of last year, Hill became one of the league’s most productive running backs. He topped 100 yards in five of the final nine weeks of the season and will be a main feature in Hue Jackson’s run-heavy offense. This guy could end up being one of the top scoring running backs in fantasy football this year.
11- Justin Forsett
One of the biggest surprises of 2014, Forsett led the NFL with his 5.4 yards per carry average. A major pass-catching threat out of the backfield, he caught 44 passes and racked up 1,529 yards from scrimmage and should be in store for more of the same this year.
12- Alfred Morris
Morris has been one of the NFL’s best rushers since coming into the league but often gets undervalued due to his lack of receptions. Washington spent a first round pick on a new right tackle and brought in a Bill Callahan to coach the offensive line so Morris should have a bit of an easier time in 2015. It’s hard to ignore a guy who averages over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns a season.
13- Mark Ingram
Durability remains an issue for Ingram but there is no denying that he’s the workhorse running back on the Saints offense. He led the league in 2014 with eight carries from the one-yard line and will continue to get the bulk of the carries both on early downs and in the red zone.
14- Lamar Miller
Miller quietly had a top-ten season in 2014 among fantasy running backs, eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. There is no doubt that Miller will be the featured back in Miami but his lack of carries is a concern. He’s looked stronger and quicker during training camp and could be poised for a breakout season in Miami’s ascending offense.
15- Melvin Gordon
The Chargers may finally have found the next LaDainian Tomlinson when they drafted Melvin Gordon this year, college football’s most explosive rusher over the past two years. He’s expected to be a three-down back for San Diego in 2015.
16- Carlos Hyde
Now the number one back in San Francisco following the departure of Frank Gore, Hyde has breakout potential in 2015. He’s a difficult guy to bring down due to his size and running style but could lose touches in the passing game to Reggie Bush. Hyde will do the majority of the running between the tackles and in the red zone.
17- Frank Gore
Gore has been one of the more consistent running backs over the last decade and has landed himself in a great situation on the Colts offense. He’s eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in each of the last four years and will have plenty of opportunities to score on a much more potent offense than what he’s been used to in San Francisco.
18- Jonathan Stewart
With DeAngelo Williams no longer in Carolina it’s finally Stewart’s time to shine. The knock on him is the health aspect as he’s been constantly injured throughout his career. Stewart has missed 20 games over the past three seasons but the plus side of that is he doesn’t have a lot of wear on his tires. He averaged an impressive 97.2 yards per game during the final five weeks of 2014, so the potential is definitely there.
19- Andre Ellington
Ellington had a rough year last season, missing three games due to injury and playing hurt the rest of the time. Now healthy, he’s ready to live up to the expectations that came with his 5.5 yards per carry average in 2013 but he’s likely to lose some carries to rookie David Johnson. Ellington is also a threat to catch passes out of the backfield, pulling in 46 receptions last season and 39 the year before.
20- Arian Foster
I wasn’t sure where to place Foster due to his groin injury that required surgery. While it’s likely that Foster won’t return until at least Week 10, nothing has been set in stone. He worked extremely hard during the offseason and was poised for a big 2015 but the injury concerns that have followed him throughout his career came to fruition before the Texans played a single preseason game.
21- Joique Bell
Bell has often been overshadowed during his career but that won’t be the case at the start of this season. He’s the number one back for Detroit but will battle Theo Riddick and rookie Ameer Abdullah for carries.
22- Latavius Murray
Once the Raiders finally let him loose, Murray was a beast in 2014. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and despite being a bigger back he has blazing speed.
23- Todd Gurley
While it’s still not known when he’ll be ready for action following knee surgery, Gurley will make an impact once he’s on the field. Keep track of his status to best decide when you are comfortable drafting him.
24- T.J. Yeldon
Yeldon is expected to be a three-down back for the Jaguars but the team is still going to struggle on offense. He’ll get plenty of touches and should rack up the yards.
25- Tevin Coleman
After running for 2,036 yards for Indiana during 2014 (on a broken foot, mind you), Coleman enters his rookie season with big expectations. He has big play ability and lots of speed.
26- Giovani Bernard
Jeremy Hill will get more carries than Bernard but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will get him plenty of snaps. Another guy with big play potential, Bernard will provide the most value in PPR leagues.
27- Joseph Randle
Randle will battle Darren McFadden for the starters role on a Cowboys team that boasts perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL. His average of 6.7 yards per carry last season was impressive, but the sample size was small as he only had 51 rushing attempts.
28- C.J. Spiller
It looks like Spiller will take over the role previously held by Darren Sproles on the potent Saints offense. A major asset in PPR leagues, Spiller will have plenty of chances to catch the ball and will have a few carries mixed in as well.
29- Rashad Jennings
As long as he can stay healthy, Jennings will get the bulk of the carries for the Giants. While Shane Vereen will be used in passing situations, it’s between Jennings and Andre Williams as to who will get the goal line work.
30- LeGarrette Blount
Blount was already suspended for Week 1 so the training camp MCL sprain he suffered shouldn’t hurt his fantasy value. The Patriots are always a mystery when it comes to running backs but after losing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley to free agency, Blount should get plenty of carries in 2015.
31- Isaiah Crowell
One of the pleasant rookie surprises of 2014, Crowell is a risky play due to the timeshare in the Browns backfield. Carries will be shared between Crowell, Terrance West and rookie Duke Johnson.
32- Ameer Abdullah
What Abdullah lacks in size he makes up for with explosiveness. A strong showing early in the season could lead to more carries, at the expense of Joique Bell.
33- Chris Ivory
Despite playing in a crowded backfield in New York with Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy and Bilal Powell, Ivory should be the lead back for the Jets and get the bulk of the carries.
34- Ryan Matthews
Playing behind DeMarco Murray will limit Matthews’ opportunities but he’s a must-own handcuff for all Murray owners. Philadelphia has arguably the best 1-2 punch backfield in the NFL.
35- Darren McFadden
McFadden’s career has been a disappointment so far but he has a chance to turn things around in Dallas, where he should get a chance to take the lead-back duties behind an amazing offensive line.
36- Shane Vereen
The Giants are hoping that Vereen can be their version of Darren Sproles. His value will be far greater in PPR leagues.
37- Tre Mason
Mason will begin the season as the Rams number one back, but just until Todd Gurley is healthy enough to play. His value will take a major hit after that.
38- Devonta Freeman
It’s likely that Freeman will share carries with rookie Tevin Coleman but he’ll be given opportunities to shine, especially on passing downs.
39- Doug Martin
With his successful 2012 rookie season now a distant memory there isn’t much faith in Martin but he’ll get a fair shot at being the Bucs lead back. So will Charles Sims, and speaking of Sims…
40- Charles Sims
An ankle injury kept Sims off the field for the first half of his rookie season in 2014 and he struggled after returning to the lineup. He and Doug Martin will battle during the preseason to see who ends up being the number one guy.
41- Duke Johnson
Johnson was a big time playmaker in college but the rookie will have to stand out in a Browns backfield that already features Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West.
42- Reggie Bush
The days of Bush trying to be a featured back are long gone but he can still provide value as a pass catcher out of the backfield, which is exactly what he’ll be doing in San Francisco behind Carlos Hyde.
43- David Cobb
Cobb could be a diamond in the rough in 2015. He has a good chance at being the lead back for the Titans, as only Bishop Sankey and Shonn Greene stand in his way and neither did much to impress last season.
44- Fred Jackson
LeSean McCoy’s arrival in Buffalo dealt a major hit to Jackson’s fantasy value but he will still provide value in PPR leagues.
45- Terrance West
It will be tough to get carries in the Browns’ crowded backfield but West looked good at times during 2014 despite playing on an offense that struggled in a big way.
46- Bishop Sankey
There were high hopes for Sankey during his rookie campaign in 2014 but he did little when given the opportunity. Now he will battle David Cobb and Shonn Greene for touches.
47- Darren Sproles
Even though the Eagles brought in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews, coach Chip Kelly maintains that Sproles’ will still have a main role on the offense. Expect stats similar to last season.
48- Knile Davis
Davis has a lot of talent but will play behind workhorse Jamaal Charles. He’s a definite handcuff pickup for Charles’ owners though.
49- DeAngelo Williams
For those who draft Le’Veon Bell, Williams is a must late-round pickup. Bell is suspended the first two games of the season and Williams will be the main guy before becoming a handcuff.
50- Andre Williams
Williams had an up-and-down rookie season while filling in for Rashad Jennings and he’ll have a similar role in 2015.
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