Ultimately, our 2015 fantasy football position rankings are more important in, say, the 18-25 range than they are in the 1-8 range. If you have a guy who ends up in our top eight, you're starting him. Whether he's exactly in second or fifth or seventh is pretty irrelevant.
Still, we have to find a guy to put first, and right now? That's not so easy.
I could have, if someone assigned a really weird homework assignment, made a legitimate argument for something like nine running backs to be No. 1 in PPR this week. There's just no obvious pick. So let's look, in alphabetical order:
- Matt Forte. PROS: Historically a big pass-catcher with three-to-five catches in seven of 10 games played this year. Has clearly retaken his role as the Bears' No. 1 back since his injury. CONS: Yes, he's the No. 1, but Jeremy Langford is still around and getting touches. Hasn't rushed for 100 yards since Week 1.
- Devonta Freeman. PROS: The leader in running-back scoring this year, third in targets, second in receptions. CONS: Averaged 19.1 fantasy points a game before the Falcons' bye, 5.7 since plus a game missed to injury. One touchdown since Week 6.
- Todd Gurley. PROS: Second in running-back scoring on a per-game basis. Two touchdowns, 140 yards last week against a Detroit defense that had seen mass improvement before that. CONS: Averaged 52 rushing yards a game over the five games before Week 14, looked like he was tiring as the season wore on and defenses could stack the box against him with the Rams having a god-awful offense otherwise. No more than one catch in any of his last four games.
- David Johnson. PROS: In two games as the starter, he has 120 and 123 yards. Best running back on one of the league's best offenses. Getting plenty of carries. Seemingly good for at least one big play every week. CONS: Short track record. Chance Andre Ellington returns for this week.
- Eddie Lacy. PROS: Hundred-plus yards in three of his last four games and fell short in the fourth because of punishment, not performance. Famed strong finisher to seasons. CONS: Every time we trust him, he seems to disappoint us. James Starks keeps vulturing touchdowns. One or zero catches eight times this season.
- Doug Martin. PROS: Faces a Rams' run defense that has fallen apart in recent weeks, giving up 21.1 fantasy points per game to the position in the second half. Ninety-plus yards from scrimmage in five straight games. CONS: One or zero catches in his last four games. Two touchdowns since Week 5. Charles Sims continues to be relevant.
- LeSean McCoy. PROS: Hundred-plus yards from scrimmage in seven straight, 90-plus in every game since returning from injury. With Karlos Williams fading from relevance, has no competition for touches. CONS: Faces Washington, which, rough midseason patch notwithstanding, has a good run defense. Has at least eight fantasy points in every game he's played this year, but hasn't reached 20 yet, meaning he's low-ceiling.
- Adrian Peterson. PROS: Second in running-back scoring this year. Nine games of double-digit fantasy scoring in 13 outings. Has been healthy all year. CONS: Two or fewer receptions in six of seven and nine of 13 games this year. Fewer than 70 rushing yards in three of his last four. Yards per carry tailing off in a big way down the stretch.
- DeAngelo Williams. PROS: Since Le'Veon Bell's injury, he has averaged 18.4 fantasy points a game, including two games of 150-plus yards from scrimmage and two multi-touchdown games. Five-plus catches in two of his last three games. CONS: Is 32 years old, is DeAngelo Williams, both of which make you scared of injury. Faces Denver in Week 15, which is never what you want.
I wrote the pro/con list not at all sure who would end up my No. 1 this week, and I certainly don't know who my co-rankers settled on. I wouldn't be at all shocked if the five of us have five different guys No. 1, and I would almost guarantee there are at least three guys getting No. 1 votes. (Note after the fact: Okay, everyone but me thinks it's Peterson. Well, the general points still stand.)
Again, what really matters are the rankings further down. If you have any of the nine above guys, he's in your lineup, no matter whether I have him No. 1 or No. 9. But still, you'd think we'd have a clear picture of the top running back in Week 15. And we just don't. I think I'm settling on LeSean McCoy as my No. 1 PPR running back this week. As I write this, that's the plan. I might change my mind.
On to our Week 15 running back rankings for PPR leagues.
Running backs for PPR leagues, Week 15
(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; AM: Andrew Miller; JD: John Daigle; SK: Scott Kaliska)
|32||Duke Johnson Jr.||CLE||@SEA||43||31||20||34||34|
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