Fantasy Football: Rolling out the top 60 running backs

Fantasy Football: Rolling out the top 60 running backs
July 29, 2014, 5:45 pm
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We've looked at the top 100 fantasy football rankings and will continue to update that list heading into draft season. Now it's time for a position by position look, starting with the running backs. The 1-60 list based on standard scoring is below, but first, thoughts on risers, fallers and backfield situations we're watching this summer.

* 2014 Montee Ball reminds me a little of 2013 David Wilson. Both entered their respective rookie seasons with hype and opportunity playing behind quarterbacks with the last name Manning. Both blew their initial chance because of fumbles, but then showed improvement late in the season and entered the following campaign buzz worthy again. We all know the rails came off Wilson's 2013 season due to more fumbles, the Giants struggling and then a season-ending neck injury.

Ball enters this draft season as an RB1 option. Hopefully, this is where the comparison ends. Because Ball gets to play with Peyton and not Eli, defenses will not play seven or eight man fronts to stop the run. Also, Denver scores tons. Knowshon Moreno thrived in that scenario before leaving for Miami. Ball faces no real competition for touches and the power back should fall into 10-plus touchdowns. All the elements are there for a top-10 season assuming the fantasy gods allow.

* After toiling behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, the underrated Toby Gerhart gets his shot with a Jacksonville offense lacking playmakers. The real key here is workload. Expectations are he'll receive 20-25 touches per week and serve as a rare three-down back with Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson as change of pace options. Still, the offense needs punch elsewhere to keep defenses honest. The Jaguars need to develop a passing game with either Chad Henne or Blake Bortles at quarterback. They also need to stick with the plan and make the talented Gerhart their workhorse.

Anybody just walking from 3-4 year coma probably can't comprehend how the Raiders lucked out by having Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden in the backfield. Boy do they need an update. Jones-Drew is the expected starter despite coming off his first sub 4.0 yards per carry average of his career last year with Jacksonville. The human bowling ball remains a tough runner between the tackles. As for McFadden, he's posted consecutive 3.3 ypc seasons while missing 10 games. When healthy, DMac has been a fantasy stud. We'll see in camp whether that version exists anywhere besides game tape from 3-4 years ago.

*Speaking of David Wilson, hopes he might spring back into the Giants RB mix took a hit Tuesday when he left practice with a neck stinger. That's not exactly what you want to hear about a runner coming off neck surgery. Rashad Jennings is the lead back and a solid RB2 candidate, but his history also includes several bumps and bruises. Rookie Andre Williams could enter the season as Jennings' primary backup, but also as New York's goal line option.

 *For thoughts on Lamar Miller, Devonta FreemanBernard Pierce and others, check out my top 20 sleepers list.

With August around the corner and training camp underway, here's a look at the top fantasy running backs for standard scoring leagues this year. 

TOP 60 FANTASY RUNNING BACKS

1) Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

2) LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles

3) Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings

4) Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

5) Matt Forte, RB, Bears

6) DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys

7) Montee Ball, RB, Broncos

8) Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks

9) Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

10) Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins

11) Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals

12) Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

13) Arian Foster, RB, Texans

14) Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars

15) Doug Martin, RB, Bucs

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16) Zac Stacy, RB, Rams

17) C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

18) Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants

19) Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers

20) Chris Johnson, RB, Jets

21) Reggie Bush, RB, Lions

22) Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

23) Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans

24) Ben Tate, RB, Browns

25) Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

26) Trent Richardson, RB, Colts

27) Joique Bell, RB, Lions

28) Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints

29) Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

30) Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins

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31) Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Raiders

32) Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots

33) Terrance West, RB, Browns

34) Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

35) Fred Jackson, RB, Bills

36) Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens

37) Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals

38) Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks

39) DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

40) Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers

41) Knowshon Moreno, RB, Dolphins

42) Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints

43) Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons

44) Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders

45) Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles

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46) Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers

47) Chris Ivory, RB, Jets

48) David Wilson, RB, Giants

49) Shonn Greene, RB, Jets

50) Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

51) Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals

52) Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys

53) Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

54) Roy Helu, RB, Redskins

55) Tre Mason, RB, Rams

56) LeGarrette Blount, RB, Steelers

57) Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs

58) Donald Brown, RB, Chargers

59) Andre Williams, RB, Giants

60) Andre Brown, RB, Texans

(Note on Ben Standig: In addition to 20-plus years of playing fantasy football, Standig has covered fantasy football for the past several years at FFToolbox.com and helped direct the site to generating the industry's most accurate preseason rankings in 2012. Standig is also a noted NFL Draft reporter.)