Carlos M. Saavedra for Sports Illustrated

Fueled by insider information and analysis, we present The MMQB fantasy football rankings

By ggramling
August 27, 2014

Writers Peter King, Greg Bedard, Robert Klemko, Jenny Vrentas and Dan Greene, and analyst Andy Benoit, are spending the summer visiting training camps for all 32 teams. Be sure to check out our quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end rankings, as well as Peter King’s weekly Fantasy Check video reports. Note: These rankings will update throughout the preseason as we report on more teams.

1a. LeSean McCoy, Eagles

“LeSean McCoy is a freak of nature… I mean, it’s just unnatural, and he does it with such ease, total body control and his vision of the field never wanes. He’s like a great NBA point guard who not only can break ankles with a killer crossover, but is in total command of the floor at the same time.” —Greg Bedard, Eagles Training Camp Report

1b. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

“With all due respect to the rest of the NFL, you’re not going to draft Jamaal Charles too high. It’s just not possible.” —Dan Greene, Chiefs Training Camp Report

3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

“Adrian Peterson needs no boost in value, but new offensive coordinator Norv Turner appears to be serious about increasing Peterson’s role in the passing game. Peterson hasn’t had more than 217 receiving yards since 2010 and has never had more than 43 receptions, which is why it was interesting to see him being split out wide during the indoor portion of Sunday’s practice.” —Dan Greene, Vikings Training Camp Report

4. Eddie Lacy, Packers

“I think Eddie Lacy is being undervalued in the fantasy drafts I’ve seen. I know what the Packers are going to try to do. If he’s healthy he’s going to get 325 touches.” —Peter King, The MMQB Fantasy Check, August 14

5. Matt Forte, Bears

“Matt Forte is always a sturdy choice not just for his running proficiency but also his pass-catching. Forte is a very soft-handed receiver out of the backfield. And the Bears know it. A lot of their drive-starting plays in two-minute situations center around getting Forte the ball underneath. That equates to cheap yards.” —Andy Benoit, Bears Training Camp Report

6. Montee Ball, Broncos

An emphasis on the run in Cincinnati means big things for Giovani Bernard. (Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated) An emphasis on the run in Cincinnati means big things for Giovani Bernard. (Simon Bruty/SI)

7. Giovani Bernard, Bengals

“Giovani Bernard is your guy. The second-year back should be the biggest beneficiary of Hue Jackson’s focus on the ground game; running backs coach Kyle Caskey has suggested he could see up to 300 touches. Bernard’s allure is too obvious for him to slip too middle rounds in most drafts, but he should be worth his price as a low RB1.” —Dan Greene, Bengals Training Camp Report

8. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks

“Let your Seahawks bandwagon buddy draft Marshawn Lynch. Holdout or not, he’s a very old 28. He has 7,400 yards on his knees, to say nothing of the heralded young backup nipping at his heels.” —Robert Klemko, Seahawks Training Camp Report

9. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

“Count on running back DeMarco Murray to get the lion’s share of the carries again, especially as his already-strong pass blocking improves and the Cowboys need him on all downs.” —Robert Klemko, Cowboys Training Camp Report

10. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

“Le’Veon Bell is as comfortable taking a handoff as he is catching passed out of the backfield, and Roethlisberger will lean on him often as an outlet in the no-huddle offense. Durability is the only question; he missed the first three games of 2013 with a foot injury and left Sunday’s practice with hamstring tightness.” —Jenny Vrentas, Steelers Training Camp Report

11. Arian Foster, Texans

12. Andre Ellington, Cardinals

13. Doug Martin, Buccaneers

14. Zac Stacy, Rams

“Quietly, Zac Stacy has become a very solid running back… Of course, some of Stacy’s touches will go to third-round rookie Tre Mason, but that’s not likely to happen in the tight red zone, where fantasy points can come in bunches.” —Peter King, Rams Training Camp Report

15. Chris Johnson, Jets

“The Jets want to run, a lot, and Johnson (when healthy) adds the element of breakaway speed that this offense has sorely lacked. His production dipped last season; notably, his 3.9 yards per carry was the lowest season average of his NFL career. But Johnson also said that he couldn’t really make lateral moves after tearing his meniscus in Week 3, and he still rushed for 1,077 yards.” —Jenny Vrentas, Jets Training Camp Report

16. Alfred Morris, Washington

17. Rashad Jennings, Giants

“Rashad Jennings will be the primary mail-carrier here. You’d be smart to draft Jennings. Giants starting running backs who don’t fumble always have the potential to run it 300 times in a season.” —Peter King, Giants Training Camp Report

18. C.J. Spiller, Bills

Ryan Mathews is expected to hold off the competition for carries in San Diego. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Ryan Mathews is expected to hold off the competition for carries in San Diego. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

19. Ryan Mathews, Chargers

“Don’t be concerned about offseason addition Donald Brown taking away touches from Ryan Mathews, who set a career high with 1,255 rushing yards last season. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco described Mathews as ‘our bell cow’ and shot down the notion of a backfield by committee.” —Robert Klemko, Chargers Training Camp Report

20. Ben Tate, Browns

21. Frank Gore, 49ers

“Frank Gore, 31, saw a dip in production last season and should see another one if offseason upgrades to the passing game pan out. Stay away.” —Robert Klemko, 49ers Training Camp Report

22. Toby Gerhart, Jaguars

“Gus Bradley’s a big power-running fan, and for that reason, I’m bullish on Toby Gerhart’s chances to be a 1,000-yard rusher with some goal-line touchdowns.” —Peter King, Jaguars Training Camp Report

23. Reggie Bush, Lions

“Joique Bell will continue to vulture Reggie Bush’s goal-line touchdowns, and both could see a drop in production with the addition of Tate and Ebron.” —Robert Klemko, Lions Training Camp Report

24. Trent Richardson, Colts

25. Darren Sproles, Eagles 

“Sproles will be lined up all over the field—even with McCoy on the field at the same time—and will definitely get a lot of touches. Sproles, 31, has lost some of the explosiveness that allowed him to run away from defenders, but he’s still quick in a box.” —Greg Bedard, Eagles Training Camp Report

26. Ray Rice, Ravens

27. Stevan Ridley, Patriots

28. Steven Jackson, Falcons

“Steven Jackson just turned 31, is coming off a 157-carry season in which he missed four games due to injury, and averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry. Any questions?” —Peter King, Falcons Training Camp Report

29. Joique Bell, Lions

30. Shane Vereen, Patriots

“The running back situation is always muddy with the Patriots, and this year is no exception. The thing to keep in mind is New England basically has a running back and a passing back. I think fourth-round pick James White is more of a threat to Shane Vereen’s playing time than Steven Ridley, who is still the bellcow at the runner spot.” —Greg Bedard, Patriots Training Camp Report 

31. Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins

“Miami’s best running back is Knowshon Moreno, who looked very good in his first appearance Saturday night. He’s more physical than Lamar Miller, and he makes more people miss.” —Peter King, Monday Morning Quarterback, August 25

32. Danny Woodhead, Chargers

33. Lamar Miller, Dolphins

“Because of Knowshon Moreno’s balky knees, Lamar Miller might get more chances than the 200-ish he would have had with a healthy Moreno in the house. So Miller jumps from a job-share to something more. I’m guessing 250 carries.” —Peter King, Dolphins Training Camp Report

34. Bishop Sankey, Titans

35. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

“DeAngelo Williams is timeless, healthy, and coach Ron Rivera believes strongly in the run. Because the Panthers fragment their carries among several backs, Williams might only get 210 rushes. But he’s a solid second option in the run game.” —Peter King, Panthers Training Camp Report

36. Shonn Greene, Titans

“In part because upside is the elixir of fantasy sports, second-round pick Bishop Sankey has been getting seemingly all the attention in this backfield. But while the rookie will play a significant role, he won’t be getting all the touches. Greene is expected to receive more than half of the carries, which should offer fantasy owners a solid workload for a discount price in the later rounds.” —Dan Greene, Titans Training Camp Report

37. Darren McFadden, Raiders

“At this stage Darren McFadden has the starting edge over Jones-Drew but this should be a committee backfield considering McFadden’s injury history—he’s yet to play a full season in six.” —Robert Klemko, Raiders Training Camp Report

38. Chris Ivory, Jets

39. Maurice Jones-Drew, Raiders

40. Pierre Thomas, Saints

“Not sure there is a more frustrating fantasy position out there than the Saints’ running back spot. Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet are all talented, and nobody’s going to be a workhorse. It might be best to keep any eye on them as the season wears on; you might be able to pick up a sleeper if one of them goes down with injury and someone else gets more touches as a result.” —Greg Bedard, Saints Training Camp Report

The arrow is pointing up for Christine Michael, who might be too good to stay on Seattle's bench again. (Jack Dempsey/AP) The arrow is pointing up for Christine Michael, who might be too good to stay on Seattle's bench again. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

41. Christine Michael, Seahawks

“Christine Michael has looked like a stud-in-the-making going on a year now, and he’s figuring to get more action considering that Seattle is already looking for options to move beyond Lynch given that Russell Wilson is in line for a big payday very soon.” —Robert Klemko, Seahawks Training Camp Report

42. Bernard Pierce, Ravens

43. Knile Davis, Chiefs

“If you are fortunate enough to land [Charles], be sure to also grab Knile Davis, who is more than your run-of-the-mill handcuff. He offered a nice glimpse of his ability against Cincinnati by bouncing left-to-right two yards past the line of scrimmage for a 17-yard gain, then picking up 11 yards on a delayed handoff on the next play. Should something happen to Charles, Davis could produce like a top-10 back.” —Dan Greene, Chiefs Training Camp Report

44. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

45. Mark Ingram, Saints

46. Terrance West, Browns

“Look for rookie running back Terrance West in the later rounds. He’ll push Ben Tate for playing time in an offense that will run the ball with regularity.” —Jenny Vrentas, Browns Training Camp Report

Bryce Brown may not stay buried on the Bills' depth chart for long. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Bryce Brown may not stay buried on the Bills' depth chart for long. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

47. Bryce Brown, Bills

“Bryce Brown is a player the coaches like a lot. If you draft late, follow what the Bills do with the running back position late in camp. Could they move a back if a team comes knocking for one—Brown or Fred Jackson or maybe ex-Niner Anthony Dixon? I think so. This team plans to run it more than any team in the NFL this year, and I could see Brown, if he sticks, backing up C.J. Spiller.” —Peter King, Bills Training Camp Report

48. Tre Mason, Rams

49. Dexter McCluster, Titans

“Dexter McCluster will be in the mix too, both in the backfield and as a receiver. He was brought in to be the kind of versatile threat Danny Woodhead was under Whisenhunt in San Diego last year. Woodhead had 1,039 total yards and eight scores in 2013, yet McCluster is often being left undrafted. ” —Dan Greene, Titans Training Camp Report

50. Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers

51. Donald Brown, Chargers

52. Fred Jackson, Bills

53. Jonathan Grimes, Texans

54. LeGarrette Blount, Steelers

55. Ka’Deem Carey, Bears

56. Roy Helu, Washington

“Rookie RB Lache Seastrunk didn’t appear as fast as his Baylor game tape, so look for veteran Roy Helu Jr. to maintain an edge at third-down back until the games get started.” —Greg Bedard, Washington Training Camp Report

57. Carlos Hyde, 49ers

58. Khiry Robinson, Saints

Could rookie James White be making a run at major playing time in New England? (Alex Brandon/AP) Could rookie James White be making a run at major playing time in New England? (Alex Brandon/AP)

59. James White, Patriots

“I think fourth-round pick James White is more of a threat to Shane Vereen’s playing time than Steven Ridley, who is still the bellcow at the runner spot.” —Greg Bedard, Patriots Training Camp Report 

60. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons

61. Andre Williams, Giants

62. Bilal Powell, Jets

63. Marcus Lattimore, 49ers

64. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

65. James Starks, Packers

66. Mike James, Buccaneers

67. Devonta Freeman, Falcons

68. Latavius Murray, Raiders

69. Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts

70. Jordan Todman, Jaguars

71. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos

72. Ryan Williams, Cowboys

73. Stepfan Taylor, Cardinals

74. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals

75. Robert Turbin, Seahawks

76. Joseph Randle, Cowboys

77. Mike Tolbert, Panthers

78. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins

79. Marcel Reese, Raiders

80. Denard Robinson, Jaguars

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