The Super Bowl is over. The smoke has cleared and the confetti has been swept away.
Now is the perfect time to start looking ahead at the 2014 fantasy football season and the Lester’s Legends’ early running back rankings.
1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
A down year for Adrian Peterson consisted of 1,437 total yards and 11 touchdowns. I’ll take that kind of production all day (pun intended).
New offensive coordinator Norv Turner has had a great history of success with running backs of a similar ilk (Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson). Look for big things from A.D. next season.
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid knew how to get the very best of LeSean McCoy when he coached him in Philadelphia, which made him a perfect fit to coach Jamaal Charles once he arrived in Kansas City.
Charles combined for 1,980 total yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Another stellar season should be in store for this electric back. Charles could easily be the first overall pick in any draft, especially in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
3. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy finished with 2,146 total yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013. He was a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense and put the concussion concerns to bed en route to earning the league’s rushing title. McCoy could also be the first overall pick, particularly in PPR leagues.
4. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch showed everybody that he’s “’bout that action, boss,” as Beast Mode compiled 1,573 total yards and 14 touchdowns during the 2013 regular season. He then averaged 96 yards per game while scoring four touchdowns during the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl run.
He’s a power back. Use him accordingly.
5. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte has a lot in common with Charles and McCoy. All are dual-threat backs that thrived under a new coach in 2013.
Forte finished with 1,933 total yards and 12 touchdowns under the vision of Marc Trestman. He should continue to put up impressive numbers.
6. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy put any weight issues to bed by rolling for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013, even as Aaron Rodgers was limited to nine games. Lacy added 257 receiving yards as well, proving that he’s not one-dimensional.
As long as there isn’t a sophomore slump, Lacy should be a strong RB1 in 2014.
7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin was limited to six games in 2013, which netted him 522 total yards and one touchdown.
Tampa Bay was dysfunctional at the time of his season-ending injury. The Bucs made strides throughout the year, and Bobby Rainey and Mike James had some solid moments as replacements.
Newly hired head coach Lovie Smith will want a run-first offense, which bodes well for Martin. He should also be very active in the passing game, a la Matt Forte.
8. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray was limited to 14 games last season, but he finished with 1,474 total yards and 10 touchdowns. His talent and explosiveness cannot be questioned; durability is another issue.
9. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
Zac Stacy, at 5’8″ and 224 pounds, is a wrecking ball. Over his final 12 games as a rookie, he averaged 92.5 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns.
He comes with some risk, but he also brings plenty of reward potential.
10. Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’veon Bell was limited to 13 games as a rookie last year, but he still managed to accumulate 1,259 total yards (96.8 yards per game) and eight touchdowns. He’s a big back at 6′ 1″ and 244 pounds with soft hands (45 receptions).
Also check out the 2014 Early Fantasy Football QB Rankings.