By Staff Writer John Belaska
10. Giovani Bernard
Giovani Bernard has extra value in PPR leagues. He is the Bengals’ back who plays in all passing situations. He has breakaway speed and excellent hands. The problem is the Bengals now have three running backs that they will rotate. Bernard is definitely the most valuable in all formats, but this is especially so in PPR leagues. He should be considered a low end first running back.
9. C.J. Spiller
Following a disappointing 2013 season, C.J. Spiller is going to come at a good value in 2014 drafts. The Bills have stated they plan on using him much more this season. He will also be fully recovered from all his injuries. He will be used in all passing situations. E.J. Manuel is still very new to the NFL and will be forced to check down for some high percentage passes. Spiller will be the guy to benefit from this.
8. Eddie Lacy
Eddie Lacy was a beast in 2013. He was better when Aaron Rodgers was in the game. With Rodgers back and at full strength, Lacy is going to have a monster season. He is a bit more valuable in standard scoring leagues than in PPR formats because Rodgers has the arm and ability to read the defense in order to get the ball down field to wide receivers better than most quarterbacks.
Marshawn Lynch is a touchdown machine. Unfortunately in PPR formats catches are the key to success. This is not necessarily Lynch’s strong point. Though he does do well out of the backfield, the Seahawks tend to use him more as a between the tackles runner. He is still a great first round pick in PPR formats, but he is not a top five running back.
6. Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush is a true PPR running back. Bush makes his living on his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. This is even truer after the emergence of Joique Bell in 2013. Bell typically is the Lions’ between the tackles back. The team likes to be more creative in the way they get Bush the ball. Bush is so explosive when he gets in space that he has the ability to put up a huge number of fantasy points on any given week.
5. Arian Foster
The Texans have already stated they are going to use and abuse Arian Foster this season. He is just one year removed from being one of the two best running backs in the NFL. This season, he is going to be used much more in the passing game. This makes him a very good option in PPR formats. Best of all, due to his injury in the last season, he will more than likely come at a bargain in fantasy drafts.
Adrian Peterson is the best running back to own in standard scoring formats, but this cannot also be said for PPR formats. Last season he had fewer than 200 receiving yards. This does not make for a great PPR back, usually. However, this is AP we are talking about. Since he is so good a running the football he is still a top five running back even in PPR leagues.
3. Matt Forte
Matt Forte is an absolute stud in PPR leagues. He just gets so many touches that it is almost impossible for him not to do well. Not only is he one of the few running backs in the league that actually takes all of his teams carries, but he is also one the only ones of that small group that catches the ball out of the backfield. He is somewhere in the top three best PPR running backs. Any where you place him in this group is fine.
2. LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy would have been the best PPR running back if Darren Sproles had not joined the Eagles back field. It is hard to believe Sproles will not take some receptions away from McCoy. However, McCoy is the reigning rushing champion and had over 2000 yards from scrimmage last year, so he has got to at least be number two.
Jamaal Charles was arguably the most valuable player to own in fantasy football last season. If you played in a PPR league there was no questions, he was the best. Not much has changed for the Chiefs’ offense this season. Charles will still be the centerpiece of both the running and passing games. With the defenses his team will be facing, the Chiefs are going to need to give the ball to their best player as much as they can if they expect to move the chain in 2014.