The July Dynasty Trade Value Chart article took a big picture view at the top 75 dynasty players overall with analysis of each player. In August, we will take a much more in-depth look at each position and with a closer look into the positional rankings. Last week's article examined the Quarterback position. Today's article will look closer at the Running Back position with written analysis of each of the Top 50 followed by a chart breaking down the Top 80 at the position in terms of current value, future value and overall dynasty value. Stay tuned as Tight End and Wide Receiver will both get in-depth treatment in the coming week.
As always, the number in parentheses next to each player's name is his overall dynasty trade value and should prove useful in putting together trade offers of your own and deciding whether or not to accept offers sent to you by your leaguemates. If the two numbers on each side of the trade offer add up and are essentially even, then the trade offer rates as fair. For example, Duke Johnson Jr (8) and Mark Ingram II (12) combined add up to 20 and the two players together would be a fair offer for a single player such as T.J. Yeldon (19), Jamaal Charles (19.5) or Melvin Gordon III (21). But Johnson and Ingram together would not constitute a fair offer for Todd Gurley (28) or Eddie Lacy (29.5).
The Top 50 Dynasty Running Backs
1. Le'Veon Bell (45) Bell is in a tier by himself in both the short-term and in dynasty leagues. Nobody in fantasy football provides a bigger weekly advantage than Bell and the reduction of his suspension to two games gives a small bump to his 2015 value. The best RB in the game and only 23-years old.
2. Eddie Lacy (29.5) Perhaps there's an argument Lacy belongs in the same tier as Bell, however there are three things that separate the two. First, despite entering the NFL at the same time, Lacy is two years older. Second, Lacy only projects to have value of 6-7 the next two years while Bell is in the 10-11 range. And lastly, Bell seems to be a more integral part of the Steelers option, virtually guaranteed to earn a long-term extension, while Lacy may be expendable when he hits free agency in two years as the Packers have invested heavily in their passing game.
3. Todd Gurley (28) Gurley as the #3 RB before we see him in an NFL game may seem like a stretch, but the 21-year old is a special talent. If he meets or exceeds expectations, he could easily be the top dynasty back by this time next year. Thus, despite the risk inherent in highly valuing any young player, Gurley's realistic upside is sufficiently high to justify his lofty ranking. It doesn't hurt that most of the other top dynasty runners are either unproven or nearing the end of their careers, which makes the competition to rank in the top five overall at the position fairly weak.
4. Jeremy Hill (26.5) As a rookie, Hill passed the "eye-test" with flying colors and is poised to be a productive runner for a long time. Will Giovani Bernard's presence keep Hill as more of a RB2 for the next few years though as he shares touches?
5. C.J. Anderson (24) Valuing an undrafted player with only a half season of production in the top five is certainly risky. He could be a one or two-year wonder and underperform this valuation. But there are real parallels between Anderson and a young Arian Foster (also paired with Gary Kubiak). Foster has provided at least twice this much value to his owners already, so Anderson has immense upside and could easily out-perform this valuation as well. So we're splitting the difference to some extent. Now may be the last chance to get Anderson without paying an obscene ransom.
6. Melvin Gordon III (21) Over the long-term, Gordon's dynasty value is hugely dependent upon how much usage he is able to earn in the passing game. If he is more of a two-down back, he should still put up good numbers but wouldn't be a top 6 dynasty back. If he can earn his fair share of 3rd down snaps and catch ~40 balls per year, Gordon will probably be a top 5 dynasty back.
7. Jamaal Charles (19.5) We all know what Charles is capable of and 2015 should be more of the same. How many more years can he keep it up? Three more years of strong production seems like a solid over/under.
8. T.J. Yeldon (19) The 21-year old has very little competition in Jacksonville and has the skillset to be a three-down back. Is he talented enough to truly be an impact fantasy player or is he just an average runner? Can the Jacksonville offense finally show some tangible progress?
9. Adrian Peterson (17.5) Peterson may be the type of other-worldly talent that just destroys the typical age-based running back assumptions. He is a freak of nature and perhaps 30 is just a number.
10. LeSean McCoy (16) Without the big reception totals from McCoy's prime years with the Eagles, he projects more as a 3-5 in terms of yearly value and is no longer an elite option at the position.
11. Ameer Abdullah (15) Abdullah could be a quick riser up the dynasty trade value chart if he can prove his ability to carry the Lions running game early in his rookie season. Slightly undersized running backs in recent years have tended to fall into one of three categories: bust (Lamichael James), productive RB2/Flex (Giovani Bernard), or true lead back (Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy). Based upon the early returns from training camp, Abdullah is unlikely to bust. However, it is still yet to be determined whether he can carry the load as a true lead back (like Rice and McCoy) or whether he ends up being a talented change of pace back that is most productive sharing the backfield with a bigger back (like Bernard). The injury issues with Joique Bell may allow Abdullah to start answering those questions Week 1.
12. DeMarco Murray (14.5) Chip Kelly has been extremely conservative with Murray's usage in camp as he tries to keep him healthy and limit his touches until it really counts. It will be interesting to see how many carries Ryan Mathews is able to steal from Murray as Mathews' presence could end up being a real detriment to Murray's fantasy value.
13. Marshawn Lynch (13) Lynch has shown no signs of slowing down and with the benefit of hindsight, it seems like much of the retirement talk was done for the primary purpose of squeezing more money out of the Seahawks. Expect two more strong seasons out of Lynch, but don't be shocked if he plays three or more as Lynch will have a difficult time walking away from the big money in his new contract.
14. Lamar Miller (12.5) Miller enters his contract year with a lot to prove. It has often felt like Miami wants to replace him, but Miller seemed to take his game to the next level late in 2014 and has an opportunity to prove he can be the main guy in Miami for the long-term with a big 2015 season. Jay Ajayi has generated mediocre reviews early in his Miami career so there does not appear to be a major threat to Miller on the current roster.
15. Matt Forte (12) Forte's pleas for a new contract have gone unanswered and it wouldn't be a suprise if this ends up being his last year in Chicago. But even if Forte moves on, he should maintain value into 2016 and beyond.
16. Mark Ingram II (12) Ingram and his backfield mate C.J. Spiller both signed four year deals and should be a dynamic duo for the Saints going forward. The split of touches between the two could be close to 50/50 if Spiller is able to stay healthy, but Spiller has proven to be injury prone, which boosts Ingram's value. He really emerged as an elite fantasy option when the Saints experienced some injury issues at the position last year and games in which either Spiller or Khiry Robinson are inactive could see Ingram amass some huge numbers.
17. Carlos Hyde (9.5) Hyde's value has steadily declined throughout the 2015 offseason due to no fault of his own. The news out of San Francisco has been almost all negative. Harbaugh left. Starting offensive linemen retired. A star offensive guard left as a free agent. The defense has bled talent as well which could lead to the 49ers playing from behind more. All of the negative news could provide a buy low opportunity for dynasty owners who believe in Hyde's talent.
18. Giovani Bernard (9.5) All signs point to Jeremy Hill being the lead back in Cincinnati with Bernard more of a change-of-pace option. Bernard's receiving ability makes him a low-end RB2 despite being a backup on his own team though. Longer-term, Bernard hits free agency in 2017 and may get a shot as a lead back if he leaves as a free agent.
19. C.J. Spiller (9.5) The reviews on Spiller from OTAs were glowing and there was yet again offseason hype for Spiller. Then training camp started and Spiller went down with yet another in a long string of injuries. While the injury doesn't appear serious, it is yet another reminder that despite the great situation and Spiller's high-level talent, he could suffer through the same problems that plagued his career in Buffalo.
20. Joseph Randle (8.5) Will Randle get almost all of the carries like Murray did or will it be more of a platoon? If Randle does win the lead role in 2015, can he retain the job long-term or will Dallas be looking for an upgrade in free agency or the draft next offseason? Very few dynasty players could see their value go through the roof or through the floor as quickly as Joseph Randle based upon how he plays in 2015.
21. Latavius Murray (8.5) Somewhat quietly, Murray has had a strong training camp and quickly locked down the starting RB job in Oakland. With a new coaching staff and infusion of talent on offense, Murray has a chance to emerge as a low-end RB1 if he can stay healthy and prove his ability to get through a full 16 game schedule.
22. Arian Foster (8.5) The recent buzz on Foster gives some hope for an early return to the field in 2015. Since so much of Foster's dynasty value is tied to his short-term productivity (due to his age, injury history and career workload), the exact timing of his return will have a big impact on his overall ranking and value. When healthy, Foster is still a top five fantasy back.
23. Duke Johnson Jr (8) Unfortunately for Johnson, he has been unable to take advantage of the struggles of the other young Cleveland backs due to a nagging injury. Johnson seems to have a better head on his shoulders than Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, which could be the separating factor that allows Johnson to eventually win the starting job. Even if he is unable to win the starting job, Johnson could provide flex appeal due to his receiving ability.
24. Justin Forsett (8) Forsett will provide an interesting case study in the age vs. "mileage" argument. Despite turning 30-years old early in the 2015 season, Forsett has a low number of career carries. Will that allow him to maintain a high level of play throuhgout the full three years of his new contract in Baltimore?
25. Andre Ellington (8) Ellington is injured yet again and at this point, it's hard not to consider him "injury prone." When healthy as a rookie in 2013, Ellington looked incredibly explosive and was a real difference-maker for the Cardinals. If healthy, he could emerge as a fantasy star on an underrated Arizona offense.
26. Frank Gore (7) Gore has already defied much of the conventional wisdom regarding when running backs start to slow down. Can he hold off father time for another couple years? If so, he is in prime position to make a fantasy impact on the NFL's best offense.
27. Tevin Coleman (6) The running back competition in Atlanta has been on pause due to injuries to Coleman and Devonta Freeman. If either guy emerges and is able to excel as a true lead back, the Falcons offense is talented enough that Coleman or Freeman could quickly turn into a fantasy star. Coleman's size gives him a slight advantage in the competition.
28. Alfred Morris (6) Morris is a safe RB2 option. He does not have elite upside due to his lack of receiving ability and the Washington offense has struggled in recent seasons. Morris is also a free agent after the season and may not be a high priority for Washington to keep with Matt Jones perhaps being a better fit for Jay Gruden's offense.
29. Isaiah Crowell (5) The recent comments from the Cleveland coaching staff about Crowell's lack of work ethic are concerning and it's possible that Crowell is never able to turn his immense physical gifts into a productive NFL career.
30. Matt Jones (5) The rookie from Florida has generated some real buzz early in training camp and could be the heir apparent in Washington if Alfred Morris is not brought back as a free agent in 2016.
31. Jonathan Stewart (4.5) With DeAngelo Williams finally leaving the Panthers, Stewart gets his first real crack at being the undisputed starter in Carolina and could finally emerge as an impact fantasy option. But have all of the injuries over the years sapped some of the explosiveness that made Stewart such an exciting prospect in his younger years? Will the presence of Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert hurt Stewart's chances of putting up big touchdown numbers?
32. Bishop Sankey (4.5) Sankey will again get first crack at the starting job in Tennessee but he will have to show real improvement in his play or David Cobb will take his spot. If Sankey doesn't start showing some flashes soon, the first running back selected in the 2014 draft will have to be considered a bust.
33. Doug Martin (4) Martin was left for dead early in the offseason as the speculation was that he had fallen out of favor in Tampa and may even be cut with Charles Sims the favorite to start. However, Martin has impressed the new coaching staff with his play this offseason and appears poised to retain the starting job. Martin has shown real ability in the past so he is an intriguing candidate to see his dynasty value bounce back in a big way.
34. Shane Vereen (4) As one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, Vereen will always have low-end RB2 or flex appeal in PPR leagues. But he again finds himself in a crowded backfield and will have to share touches with Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings.
35. Jerick McKinnon (3.5) McKinnon flashed at times as a rookie in 2014 but the return of Adrian Peterson puts McKinnon back on the bench and it could be a few years before he again has an opportunity for significant playing time.
36. Javorius Allen (3.5) Allen's first order of business will be trying to beat out 2014 3rd rounder Lorenzo Taliaferro. Whoever wins the backup job will be in prime position for a big role should Justin Forsett get injured or show signs of slowing down. The starting back in Baltimore should be a fantasy RB1 due to heavy involvement in the passing game, so Allen's upside is very intriguing.
37. David Johnson (3.5) Johnson has been unable to take advantage of Andre Ellington's injury as he struggles with his own injury issues. The recent signing of veteran Chris Johnson adds further competion in the Cardinals backfield. Johnson does have a lot of physical talent, so if he ever gets a real opportunity, he could take the starting job and run with it.
38. Alfred Blue (3.5) The injury to Arian Foster opens the door for Blue to step in and he should be a fantasy RB2 until Foster comes back. Perhaps more importantly, it provides an opportunity for Blue to prove to the Texans' front office that he is worthy of being the heir apparent once Foster's career in Houston is over.
39. Devonta Freeman (3) Due to a lack of size, Freeman probably profiles as a part of a running back by committee. However, if Tevin Coleman ends up being a bust, Freeman will have a chance to carry the load in Atlanta. The gritty runner was able to exceed expectations and beat out bigger backs at Florida State so it shouldn't be a surprise if he beats out his more highly touted backfield mate.
40. Chris Ivory (3) If the rumors of Ivory's increased usage in the passing game prove true, he is a nice sleeper to finally have a breakout season in Chan Gailey's running back-friendly offense. Of course that is all dependent upon Ivory being able to stay healthy, which has proven to be a major issue for him in the past.
41. Jeremy Langford (3) Langford is a tough, high-character kid but may end up as more of a committee back or backup. With Forte set to hit free agency after the season, Langford could have a real opening next offseason if he can exceed expectations in a backup role in 2015.
42. Tre Mason (3) Todd Gurley will likely miss the first few games of 2014 and may not see much action until October, which provides Mason with another chance to show what he can do as a starting running back in the NFL. While his future in St. Louis isn't particularly bright due to the presence of Gurley, Mason could be a hot commodity in free agency when he hits the market in 2018. Unfortunately, he will likely spend 2016 and 2017 as an injury handcuff and take up a valuable dynasty roster spot.
44. James White (2.5) White is a smart, high-character player who has a good opportunity to replace Shane Vereen as the Patriots' go-to receiving back. However, there are some real questions about his talent level and whether he can take advantage of the lack of high-end competition in New England.
45. Joique Bell (2.5) The training camp emergence of Ameer Abdullah has come in large part due to Bell's absence. When Bell returns will he quickly regain is role as the lead back and primary goal line runner? Or is Abdullah going to just too good to keep off the field?
46. Jay Ajayi (2) Ajayi has failed to impress in Miami and so far looks like the typical late-round RB he was drafted as. While still worthy of a place on dynasty rosters, Ajayi probably never should have been a first round dynasty rookie pick this offseason over players taken in the early rounds of the NFL draft.
47. David Cobb (2) After a slow start to camp, Cobb looked good in early preseason action. He has a chance to win the starting job away from Bishop Sankey. But even then, how valuable is the starting back in the poor Titans offense?
48. LeGarrette Blount (2) Somewhat of a forgotten man (perhaps due to his early season suspension), Blount may have found a home in New England. With both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley moving on, Blount should be the top back on one of the best offenses in the NFL. For owners in need of RB depth, Blount is a nice low-cost option.
49. Ryan Mathews (2) Mathews is one of the most valuable "handcuffs" in fantasy football. If Murray goes down with an injury, Mathews should be a star in the Eagles offense.
50. Knile Davis (2) As with Mathews, Davis is another candidate for most valuable "handcuff." If Charles goes down with injury, Davis could be a RB1 in his absence.
In-Depth Dynasty RB Trade Value Chart Top 80