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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
Golden Tate's value tied to Calvin Johnson
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:19 pm ET) As Chris Towers so deftly noted Sunday, Golden Tate's breakthrough performance in which he caught eight passes for 116 yards Week 4 at the Jets may have had something to do with Calvin Johnson playing only 57 percent of the Lions' snaps because of a sprained ankle. So presumably, Tate owners would like to know how Johnson is doing now.

Well, he missed practice Wednesday but recently told The Detroit News his ankle is "definitely better" than it was last week. He missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday leading up to that game.

I'm thinking the Lions would rather give Johnson a chance to get healthy than run him out there as a decoy every week, so if he's active again Week 5 against Buffalo, I wouldn't be particularly optimistic about Tate's chances.

Then again, the floor is pretty low for Tate. In four games, he has yet to go for less than 51 yards. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him in the 20-30 range at wide receiver, which would make him an advisable starter in 12-team leagues. That sounds about right.


Matt Schaub rejoins Raiders Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub has rejoined the club Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Schaub was away for a couple days while dealing with a non-injury situation. He rejoined the club Wednesday, and could play Week 6 if Derek Carr is unable to go. 


Rivera: So far, so good for Panthers RB Chris Ogbonnaya
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) Panthers just-signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya impressed Ron Rivera on Wednesday. The team hopes the former Cleveland back can bolster what has been an injury-plagued backfield.

"Chris had a good day," Rivera told the team website. "He's a smart young man. He's been in a very similar system. There is a lot of overlap with the terminology. He seemed to assimilate very nicely to it."

Ogbonnaya has racked up 660 rushing yards and 714 receiving yards in 46 games in the NFL, mostly with the Browns.


Joique Bell not a great start either way
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:53 pm ET) Though Joique Bell missed practice Wednesday after leaving early in Week 4 with a concussion, the Lions aren't ruling him out for Week 5 against Buffalo. But even if he plays, you probably wouldn't want to start him in Fantasy.

The Bills rank third against the run, allowing 71.5 yards per game and just 2.9 per carry. They limited the Texans' Arian Foster to 6 yards on eight carries in Week 4 and have allowed the sixth-fewest Fantasy points to running backs this season.

Those yards per carry may have been skewed by the Chargers' Donald Brown's 62 yards on 31 carries in Week 3. It's pretty clear by now he's just a bad running back. But it's not like Bell has been a world-beater himself. Splitting carries with Reggie Bush, he has only once run for even 40 yards in a game this season and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

Especially coming back from a concussion, he's just a desperation play this week.


Cowboys WR Dez Bryant finally practices in full Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:49 pm ET) Cowboys stud wide receiver Dez Bryant practiced in full Wednesday for the first time since injuring his right shoulder on Sept. 14 against Tennessee.

Bryant has participated in every game, but has been limited in each of the last six practices. His status, however, has not affected his performance in games. Bryant has caught nine passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns since sustaining the injury.


FFT Blog: Looking at the most-dropped list
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) At the Fantasy Football Today blog, we took a look at the most-dropped players in CBSSports.com leagues.

The five most-dropped players are Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end Niles Paul, Chargers running back Donald Brown, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey

You probably won't regret dropping Williams or Paul given their injuries, and Cousins' next few matchups will probably bring out more bad habits. However, if Brown is available in your league (as he is in 19 percent of leagues), you might want to snatch him. He has a tough matchup in Week 5, but we think he can run all over the Raiders in Week 6. 


Derek Carr believes he'll play against Chargers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr believes he can play against the Chargers Week 6, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Carr injured his ankle against the Dolphins Week 4. The Raiders are on a bye Week 5, so Carr will have an extra week to get healthy. 


Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson not on Wednesday IR
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) A wrist ailment that has been plaguing Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson apparently did not prevent him from practicing Wednesday. He was not listed on the team's injury report.

Jackson has yet to break loose in any game this season. He is averaging just three catches for 33 yards in four games, though he has scored two touchdowns.


Reggie Bush either a good or bad start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:39 pm ET) Believe it or not, the Bills have been stellar against the run this season, allowing just 71.5 yards per game, third-fewest in the league, and 2.9 yards per carry. And because they have yet to allow a touchdown on the ground, they've given up the sixth-fewest Fantasy points per game to running backs this season.

Which makes Week 5 an especially tricky one for Reggie Bush owners. The Lions are hosting the Bills, and Bush, with his shared role with Joique Bell, has certainly failed to deliver with more favorable matchups this year. But Bell is recovering from a concussion and may not play at all Sunday. Considering Bush got the lion's share of the workload after Bell went down in Week 4, he may be looking at a feature role.

Would the matchup negate the increased workload? In Bush's case, I'd say know. He's still one of the best at catching the ball out of the backfield, which should make up for any struggles he'd have running the ball.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. If Bell is able to play, the two will likely split carries as usual, and with this matchup, that's not an appealing prospect. Keep an eye on the situation.


Vernon Davis unable to go Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:28 pm ET) San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis was unable to practice Wednesday.

Davis is dealing with a back injury, but downplayed the severity of the issue. Davis declared himself "day-to-day" early Wednesday. He caught just two passes for 8 yards before leaving the game last week. 


 
 
 
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