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2014 Draft Prep: RB tiers, 2.0

Senior Fantasy Writer
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QB tiers | WR tiers | TE tiers | Draft Averages | Rankings | Draft Index

About a month has gone by since our first run with the running back tiers and there's obviously been some movement.

The good news is that only one prominent rusher (David Wilson) has suffered a significant injury. Let's cross our fingers that he's the only unfortunate one -- we need as many draftable backs as we can get.

Confidence has risen in the likes of DeMarco Murray, Shane Vereen, Lamar Miller, Andre Williams, Bernard Pierce and Carlos Hyde. Frustrations are growing with Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Steven Jackson. They've moved accordingly in the tiers.

There's also been some nice growth in the number of backup running backs, significant since owners should go fishing for those with late-round picks.

The key point to remember when drafting rushers is pick those with 275-plus touch potential first, then go for the 200-touch potential guys next. Explained in detail here, 10 of 15 backs with 275 or more touches finished in the Top 12 last year and 21 of 29 backs that had at least 200 touches last season finished in the Top 24.

Backup RB cheat sheet

Here's an updated version of every starting running back's most likely Fantasy handcuff, along with the round you should expect him to get taken in standard leagues.

Handcuff Playing behind Round? Handcuff Playing behind Round?
Fred Jackson C.J. Spiller 7th Knile Davis Jamaal Charles 12th
Terrance West Ben Tate 7th James Starks Eddie Lacy 12th
Bernard Pierce Ray Rice 8th Chris Ivory Chris Johnson 12th
Devonta Freeman Steven Jackson 8th Lance Dunbar DeMarco Murray 12th
Carlos Hyde Frank Gore 9th Jonathan Stewart DeAngelo Williams 12th
Knowshon Moreno Lamar Miller 9th Shonn Greene Bishop Sankey 12th
Andre Williams Rashad Jennings 9th Ronnie Hillman Montee Ball 12th
Khiry Robinson Pierre Thomas 9th Jonathan Grimes Arian Foster Late pick
Darren Sproles LeSean McCoy 9th Roy Helu Alfred Morris Late pick
Christine Michael Marshawn Lynch 10th Ahmad Bradshaw Trent Richardson Late pick
Jeremy Hill Giovani Bernard 10th Bobby Rainey Doug Martin Late pick
Stepfan Taylor Andre Ellington 10th Jerick McKinnon Adrian Peterson Late pick
Tre Mason Zac Stacy 11th Donald Brown Ryan Mathews Late pick
LeGarrette Blount Le'Veon Bell 11th Shaun Draughn Matt Forte Late pick
Darren McFadden Maurice Jones-Drew 11th Denard Robinson Toby Gerhart Late pick
James White Stevan Ridley 12th Theo Riddick R. Bush/J. Bell Late pick

Running back tiers for 2014

Elite Near-Elite Very Good No. 2/High Upside
Round 1 Rounds 1, 2 Rounds 2, 3 Rounds 3, 4, 5
Jamaal Charles Eddie Lacy Giovani Bernard Toby Gerhart
Matt Forte Montee Ball Le'Veon Bell Andre Ellington
LeSean McCoy DeMarco Murray Marshawn Lynch Ryan Mathews
Adrian Peterson Alfred Morris Zac Stacy Bishop Sankey
    Doug Martin Shane Vereen
    Arian Foster  
No. 2/Less Upside No. 3/Flex Options High-end backups Low-end backups
Rounds 4, 5 Rounds 6, 7, 8 Rounds 7, 8, 9 Rounds 9+
Joique Bell Ben Tate Terrance West Darren Sproles
Reggie Bush Chris Johnson DeAngelo Williams Jeremy Hill
Ray Rice Trent Richardson Steven Jackson Stepfan Taylor
C.J. Spiller Lamar Miller Andre Williams Knowshon Moreno
Frank Gore Stevan Ridley Devonta Freeman Christine Michael
Rashad Jennings Fred Jackson Bernard Pierce Chris Ivory
  Pierre Thomas Danny Woodhead LeGarrette Blount
  Maurice Jones-Drew Carlos Hyde Tre Mason
    Khiry Robinson Jonathan Grimes
      Darren McFadden
      Dexter McCluster
      Knile Davis
      Mark Ingram

PPR tiers for running backs

These tiers are new and made for those owners in PPR leagues

Elite Near-Elite Very Good No. 2/High Upside
Round 1 Rounds 1, 2 Rounds 2, 3 Rounds 3, 4
Jamaal Charles DeMarco Murray Le'Veon Bell Toby Gerhart
Matt Forte Giovani Bernard Andre Ellington Alfred Morris
LeSean McCoy Eddie Lacy Shane Vereen Reggie Bush
Adrian Peterson Montee Ball Arian Foster Ray Rice
    Doug Martin Joique Bell
    Zac Stacy Rashad Jennings
    Marshawn Lynch  
No. 2/Less Upside No. 3/Flex Options High-end backups Low-end backups
Rounds 4, 5 Rounds 6, 7 Rounds 7, 8 Rounds 9+
C.J. Spiller Ben Tate Danny Woodhead Andre Williams
Bishop Sankey Trent Richardson Maurice Jones-Drew Knowshon Moreno
Ryan Mathews Pierre Thomas Darren Sproles Carlos Hyde
Chris Johnson Fred Jackson DeAngelo Williams Khiry Robinson
  Lamar Miller Stevan Ridley Christine Michael
  Frank Gore Devonta Freeman Lance Dunbar
    Terrance West Stepfan Taylor
    Steven Jackson Jeremy Hill
    Dexter McCluster Darren McFadden
    Bernard Pierce Tre Mason
      Travaris Cadet

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Player News
Shoulder issue has Steelers QB Bruce Gradkowski sidelined
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Steelers backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has been dealing with a sore shoulder for most of the last two months and is not ready for training camp.

"A couple weeks ... I'm not sure," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about a timetable for his return. "It's nothing serious. I am thankful that we have a long training camp and we have plenty of time."

Gradkowski will almost certainly be out when his team plays in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 9.


Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney lands on PUP list
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2015) Texans injury-plagued outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney hoped for availability to start training camp, but that will not happen. He has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Clowney, however, is expected to return by the end of August, per NFL.com. His placement on the PUP list will allow the team to hold him back for the first six weeks of the regular season if his surgically repaired knee is not ready.

He can be activated at any point during training camp.


Eagles release RB Matthew Tucker
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2015) The Eagles have waived running back Matthew Tucker with a non-football injury, per ESPN.

Tucker spent the last two seasons with the team, but mostly on the practice squad. He did earn playing time in two games as a rookie in 2013, though with no rushing attempts.


Colts LB Robert Mathis still not cleared for on-field activities
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2015) Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, who missed the 2014 season due to a torn Achilles, has yet to be cleared for on-field activities, owner Jim Irsay told the Indianapolis Star on Monday.

"The good news is Robert is trending in the right direction," Irsay said. "We're all very excited and pleased with the progress that he's making. The timetable is unknown. Will it be October 15? Will it be September 15? I really, at this point, no one knows.

"We just want to make sure that he's ready-ready when it's time to go. He can come in, have a couple of years with us at this point in his career, and be the difference-maker he was. We're really excited about the prospect. Really, it's only been good news."


Raiders LB Sio Moore begins training camp on PUP list
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2015) The Raiders placed linebacker Sio Moore on the PUP list Monday. The third-year linebacker was placed on IR late last season due to a hip injury.

He can return to practice when he passes a physical examination.


Buccaneers re-sign DL Da'Quan Bowers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/27/2015) The Buccaneers re-signed defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers on Monday. Bowers had been an unrestricted free agent since March.

Bowers has spent his entire career with the Bucs since being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has totaled 66 tackles and seven sacks in 50 NFL games.


Report: Jonathan Martin (back) retiring from football
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/27/2015) Former Dolphins and 49ers offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who played a major role in Miami's bullying scandal, is retiring from the NFL due to a back issue that will require surgery, a source told NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport. 

Martin was waived by the 49ers in March and picked up by the Panthers; however, the back injury would have kept him out of action for the entire season, and Martin decided to call it quits.

Martin left the Dolphins during the 2013 season citing locker room issues that mainly included bullying by teammate Richie Incognito. He was traded to the 49ers, where he was reunited with his former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, starting nine games with the team. 


Browns coach Pettine: Josh McCown the 'likely' QB starter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/27/2015) Browns coach Mike Pettine, during a session with local reporters on the verge of the team's training camp, reiterated that veteran Josh McCown is the likely starter at quarterback, with Johnny Manziel entrenched in the No. 2 spot, per the Akron Beacon Journal

Pettine added that while he couldn't guarantee McCown would start in the season opener against the Jets, that the experienced signal-caller is firmly the team's top choice at the position heading into camp. 


Redskins QB Colt McCoy confident he can still start in NFL
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/27/2015) Heading into training camp, Colt McCoy remains confident that he can be a starter in the NFL but also realizes the Redskins' QB role belongs to Robert Griffin III, per The Washington Post

McCoy, who signed a one-year deal with Washington after starting one game last season, said he decided to return to the Redskins based on the coaching staff and not his chances to play this year. Even though Griffin is the incumbent, McCoy believes he could step in and contribute.

"I don't think I would be continuing to play if I didn't believe in my heart that I could start every week in this league," he said.


Saints LB Junior Galette passes physical, will be released
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/27/2015) Saints linebacker Junior Galette, who was informed of his release by the team Friday after his January arrest for domestic violence and his role in a video where he apparently was shown striking a woman with a belt during a brawl, passed his final team physical, setting the official stage for his release Monday, per The Times-Picayune.

The physical was necessary because Galette missed time during OTAs and all of minicamp with a pectoral injury, which Galette downplayed. Galette will not pass through waivers and will be free to sign with any team. 


 
 
 
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