Fantasy NFL

2014 Top-25 fantasy running back ranking

By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Sports Network's 2014 NFL Fantasy Player Rankings by Position has been released and over the next few days we will talk about some of the interesting results that came out of our intricate formulas.

In part 2 of the series we continue with the running back position.

Having Adrian Peterson at the top of the list isn't exactly ground-breaking territory, but the Vikings running back will have a veteran quarterback in Matt Cassel under center (at least at the start of the season) and quality receivers making it more likely he'll see fewer than the eight men in "the box" he saw with Christian Ponder as the starting quarterback in 2013.

Analysis: Peterson has been the safest pick since arriving in the league in 2007 because he's posted double-digit rushing touchdowns in all seven NFL seasons. Add in an average 1,445 rushing yards a season and he's a solid No. 1 choice in all except PPR leagues.

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia - Many experts have McCoy on top of the list, but we have some concerns. The first is the pounding that 366 touches takes on his 5-foot-10, 215-pound body. His rushing total likely won't change, but the addition of Darren Sproles should take a significant bite out of his receiving numbers.

Analysis: Despite words to the contrary, we believe the addition of a quality veteran like Sproles will allow coach Chip Kelly to keep his starter fresh by limiting his snap total. He'll still be a top-five running back, just not No. 2 (behind Jamaal Charles) as he was in 2013.

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee - The first running back selected in the 2014 draft has the best opportunity to produce in his rookie season. Chris Johnson is gone and the remaining two running backs are flawed and not three-down backs. Sankey may not be a three-down back at the beginning either, but he's certainly the best all-around ball carrier on the Titans roster.

Analysis: Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt will likely use Dexter McCluster in passing situations and Shonn Greene at the goal line, but Sankey should see close to 250 carries and 1,000 yards. He's fast, powerful and athletic.

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo - Like many others, I was fooled by the hype on Spiller in 2013. Instead of "running him until he pukes" it was fantasy owners who wanted to throw up when injuries and Fred Jackson put an end to thoughts of a breakout season.

Analysis: We've learned our lesson and have him as the No. 25 running back. Spiller is still injury-prone. Jackson is still here and the team even added running back Bryce Brown from Philadelphia. At this point it's better to let someone else pick him too high and take all the risk.

Knowshon Moreno, Miami - The biggest surprise at running back in 2013 after finishing as the No. 5 back last year (he started the season at third string), Moreno signed with Miami in the offseason and had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Analysis: Moreno may be ready for Week 1, but in a new offense with a new quarterback we aren't expecting much from him. In fact, he's not only not in the top-25 fantasy running back projections, we have him listed at No. 34. We're sure someone in every league will choose him based on last season's statistics and end up being extremely disappointed. Don't let that guy be you.

Top-25...........RuYds..TDs.RecYds.TDs...FP

Adrian Peterson...1507...12....186...1..271

Jamaal Charles....1195...10....567...3..269

Arian Foster......1220...10....509...2..262

Matt Forte........1260....8....538...2..257

LeSean McCoy......1388....9....340...2..256

Marshawn Lynch....1195...12....255...3..250

Eddie Lacy........1181...13....296...0..240

Doug Martin.......1204...10....247...1..226

Montee Ball.......1077...10....303...2..225

DeMarco Murray....1095....8....441...0..216

Le'Veon Bell......1097....8....381...1..216

Toby Gerhart......1112...10....222...1..214

Giovani Bernard... 945....6....492...4..212

Andre Ellington... 950....4....492...4..201

Alfred Morris.....1211....9.... 74...0..200

Bishop Sankey.....1048....7....276...2..198

Zac Stacy.........1096....9....137...1..198

Rashad Jennings...1001...10....281...0..197

Reggie Bush....... 979....3....474...1..187

Chris Johnson..... 917....7....315...2..186

Trent Richardson.. 968....6....338...1..181

Ben Tate.......... 985....7....237...1..179

Joique Bell....... 765....8....492...0..179

Ryan Mathews......1082....6....167...1..179

C.J. Spiller...... 994....6....271...1..177

Just missed: Ray Rice, Frank Gore, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Steven Jackson, Pierre Thomas.

07/24 15:21:27 ET