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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
Bills move Corey Graham to safety
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:01 am ET) The Bills have moved cornerback Corey Graham to safety, the Buffalo News reports.

Graham said that he and the team have discussed the move all offseason and decided to give the position change a try on Tuesday when the team held its first workout of OTAs.

"He’s got that unique ability where he can do both things," coach Rex Ryan said. "So let’s see what we have out there. And this is no slam on Duke or on Rambo or on Meeks or any of those guys, but this is us doing what’s best for the team. And if that means we feel good about [Graham] playing safety, then that’s where he’ll be."

Graham is enthusiastic about playing the safety position full-time.

"I want to try to really learn it and see where it goes, see how much my grasp is, see how I’m playing at it, see where it can take me," he said. "I look forward to it. It’s a challenge for me, but I’m actually very excited about it."

Graham recorded 84 total tackles last season, his first in Buffalo, while intercepting two passes.


Vikings' Bridgewater 'extremely comfortable' with leadership role
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Vikings second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is embracing his role as leader of the offense, the Star Tribune reports.

"I’m a young guy still on the team, but guys are pushing me forward to say something in the huddle, or break the team down, or break the offense down," Bridgewater said. "That just gives you that confidence in yourself, confidence in your leadership and I’ve been extremely comfortable doing that so far."

Coach Mike Zimmer is satsfied with the work Bridgewater has done during the offseason.

"It’s hard to never not be pleased with Teddy because he’s such a hard worker," Zimmer said. "We wanted him to get bigger and stronger; he looks a little bit bigger to me. He’s always worked real hard. The leadership things are starting to come better. I think he’s been doing a good job the two days we’ve been out here against the defense."

Bridgewater made 12 starts in his rookie season and played 13 games in all, racking up 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 64.4 percent of his passes.


Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders hoping to reach 1,000 yards
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders believes the new offensive scheme in Denver will effect his numbers, accoridng to the team's website.

Sanders is working with new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and coach Gary Kubiak to install the team's new offense and noted it's very different from last year's spread attack.

"You talk about going from a no-huddle offense to an offense that's huddling up, to an offense that is predicated off running a football and then throwing it. It's different," Sanders said. 

"It's a totally different set up, but I tell you what, the more and more I'm in it," said Sanders. "Because we can get the run game going and just use my vertical speed on cross routes and all these different combinations of routes is based off the play action, then I think the offense will be successful with Peyton Manning at the helm."

Sanders, who totaled 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014, doesn't think he'll accomplish the same numbers.

"Of course obviously it's not going to be one of those offenses, well I'm praying that it is, but obviously it's not going to be one of those offenses where you catch it and you're going to have two receivers catching over 100 passes," said Sanders. "Hopefully, my goal is really to try to get a 1,000 yards to just help this team win ball games."


Cowboys rookie La'el Collins taking reps at RT in OTAs
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Cowboys rookie offensive lineman La'el Collins started offseason team activities on Wednesday taking reps at right tackle, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Collins, who was signed as an undrafted free agent, could also see time at left guard. But the rookie is taking his first reps with the team at right tackle with Darrion Weems while Doug Free recovers from ankle surgery.

"We think he has the physical ability to play a couple of different spots," coach Jason Garrett said. "He was a tackle for most of his career in college but did play guard. We see him as a guy who can maybe do both of those things as he goes.

"The big thing for him is to try to get him acclimated as quickly as we can. So right now he's going to play right tackle for us. He and Darrion Weems are competing at that spot in Doug Free's absence and we'll just see how that unfolds." 


Vikings' Adrian Peterson on absence from OTAs: 'It's business'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said in a statement on Wednesday that his absence from OTAs has "nothing to do with wanting to be traded," ESPN reports.

"The reason I'm not attending OTAs has nothing to do with wanting to be traded. It's about securing my future with the Vikings. It's business, not personal and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings."

It was reported earlier Wednesday that coach Mike Zimmer said that Peterson could "either play for us or not play." The running back has expressed frustration with team management for not showing him support during his legal case for child abuse.


Report: Falcons' Dezmen Southward undergoes knee surgery
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Falcons defensive backs Dezmen Southward underwent a minor-knee operation Wednesday, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Southward did not attend Tuesday's OTA and it is not known how long he'll be sidelined.


Julius Thomas trying to fit into Jaguars' offense
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas said after Wednesday's organized team activity that he intends to make it work with quarterback Blake Bortles, reports The Florida Times-Union.

"There is no 'Here's me coming in, and Blake's going to get on my page.' I'm going to be on Blake's page," Thomas said. "Whatever he expects, that's what I am going to do. He's the quarterback. He's the one in control of that huddle, and I like catching passes so I will make sure I do exactly what he wants."

With Thomas entering his first season with the Jaguars, he said it will take time to develop a rapport with Bortles.

"I think that getting good chemistry with a quarterback probably takes a couple of thousand passes," Thomas said.


Cowboys RB Darren McFadden not concerned with playing time
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) With the Cowboys just beginning their organized team activities this week, running back Darren McFadden said he just wants to concentrate on becoming familiar with the team, reports the team's official website.

"For me, I'm just going out there grinding," he said. "However the coaches put me out there – whether it's first team or second team. When it comes time for them to make a decision, it's totally up to them. I'm just trying to get that playbook down and take advantage of this opportunity."

McFadden is competing with Joseph Randle to be the first-team running back, and he said he just wants to work hard and not worry about how many repetitions he's receiving with the first team.

"Once you've been in a place so long like Oakland, you can get set in your ways," McFadden said Wednesday, after his second OTA practice with the Cowboys. "Coming out here and being around guys that work so hard, it just brings out the best in you. It's something I look forward to."


Chiefs' Mike Catapano on his health: I feel better than ever
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) After missing the entire 2014 season with a gastrointestinal virus, Chiefs defensive end Mike Catapano was able to participate in the team's OTA on Wednesday, reports The Kansas City Star.

"Every time I step on the field now it's with purpose and with extra vigor that I never really had," Catapano said. "It feels great. I feel better than ever."

Catapano played in 15 games during his rookie season in 2013 and he totaled four tackles and one sack. He said he's ready to surpass that in 2015.

"I'm ready to show that I offer a lot to this team. I'm ready to step up in big situations and starting situations," Catapano said. "I just want to keep getting better every day… and play to the best of my abilities."


Broncos' Manning, Sanders keeping up with Thomas during holdout
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/27/2015) Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is holding out of offseason workouts while he continues to negotiate a long-term deal with the team, but teammates Emmanuel Sanders and Peyton Manning have been keeping up with the star receiver, the Denver Post reports.

"One thing a lot of people don’t realize is when you’re playing on a one-year deal, there’s a lot of things going through your head," Sanders said. "As much as you guys want to say, ‘Don’t think about it,' of course it’s going to cross your mind because you’re talking about a lot of money at stake. When you’re playing these one-year deals, it’s a lot of stress on you. No matter how much you don’t want it to be, it’s going to happen. We’re all human."

Manning would like to have Thomas in workouts but understands the business aspects of his decision.

"I keep up with Demaryius. He’s my buddy," Manning said. "They got that business side of it to work out, but he’s been a great teammate to me, been a great friend to me since I’ve been here in Denver, so I keep up with him. Obviously want him to get back here as soon as possible, but we want what’s best for him, and he certainly deserves what’s best for him."

Thomas has started 16 games for three straight season, topping 90 receptions, 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in each.


 
 
 
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