2014 Fantasy Football – It’s All About Value: Running Backs

By Kenny Ortiz
Follow Kenny @kennethortiz

Kenny has been a fantasy football enthusiast since 1996 and has developed a strong track record of finding quality value picks throughout the draft. Last year, he participated in 12 fantasy leagues and made it to the championship game in six of those leagues and claiming three fantasy championships. Kenny has especially established himself as a guru of auction leagues and keeper leagues. As for his “day job” Kenny is a motivational speaker, web designer, real estate landlord, free-lance writer and the host of this website.

Also, be sure to check out WalterFootball.com’s 2014 Fantasy Football articles, including sleepers, busts, tons of 2014 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

Published August 20, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football - It's All About Value:
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defenses | Kickers

None of these guys are likely to out-produce the guys in the table on the previous page, but this group won’t be far behind, and most of these guys can be drafted much later.

Just like the previous list, you’ve got guys who are being drafted right where they belong, guys being drafted too high, and guys who are great values.

Alfred Morris Late third round 3.07
Zac Stacy Late third round 3.1
Rashad Jennings Late third/Early fourth round 5.05
Andre Ellington Early fourth round 4.06
Chris Johnson Early fourth round 5.03
C.J. Spiller Mid-to-late fourth round 3.08
Joique Bell Mid-to-late fourth round 6.06
Ryan Mathews Mid-to-late fourth round 3.12
Bishop Sankey Mid-to-late fourth round 5.06
Frank Gore Late fourth/Early fifth round 5.12

Joique Bell, just like his teammate Reggie Bush, represents fantastic value! Bell will score points in Detroit right along with Bush, and he can be drafted in the sixth round of most 12-team leagues. That’s very good value. If you had a stacked team at wide receiver and tight end and you were able to grab Bell as your No. 2 running back, your team would be a contender.

Alfred Morris, Zac Stacy, and Andre Elington are nice players in decent situations and have some upside. None of these guys are super talents, but they are all being drafted right about where they should be drafted. If you were able to get one of these guys in the fourth round after stocking up at other positions in the first three rounds, then you’d be doing very well.

C.J. Spiller was awesome two years ago and not-so-awesome last year. He’s being over-drafted in most leagues, but he isn’t a bad bet if you can get him in the fourth round, especially in PPR leagues.

Rashad Jennings and Chris Johnson represent nice values with their new teams in New York, the Giants and the Jets respectively. Both are being drafted one full round later than they should, both have decent upside for your team. And who knows, maybe Johnson can recapture some of his old magic. Drafting either one of these two guys in the fifth round could pay nice dividends, especially late in the season.

Ryan Matthews is also being over-drafted, which is odd to me because he’s never been a super star of any kind. For many seasons, Matthews has been greatly underrated, but this season, he’s being slightly overrated (for the first time in his career since his rookie year). A few years ago, he had a few games where he was awesome – and he helped me win a league title – but he’s been mediocre since then.

Sankey is the only rookie running back with a real chance to break into the upper echelon of running backs in 2014, so he represents some value.

After these guys, honestly, none of the running backs going into 2014 are great. The next 20 running backs are all about the same to me, or all have similar values. For the most part, most of the rest of the running backs are just warm bodies needed for bye week fill-ins. They ALL seem to have question marks around them as well and there are no clear-cut great values at the running backs position later in the draft past round six.

The most intriguing name who can be drafted late is Lamar Miller, who is a GREAT value pick. He is the best thing happening in Miami right now, and I am buying into the idea that Miami is going to be much better in 2014 than it was in 2013. Miller is a good, not great, running back, but he’s a fluid runner and seems to have come into camp as a man on a mission.

Miller is worthy of an early-to-mid-sixth-round pick, and if all goes well he might even give us solid No. 2-running back numbers, which would really make him worthy of an early fifth-round pick in most leagues … but right now, Miller can be drafted much later than that. He’s currently being drafted in the mid-to-late eighth round of most 12-team leagues, but I suspect that he’ll trend upwards as we get closer to the season.

Of course, as Miller’s stock rises, he could become less of a value pick. But he’s worth keeping an eye on.

The other value picks are all veterans who appear to be underrated by many fantasy owners because of their age.

Pierre Thomas is another year older, but he’s still on a team that knows how to produce fantasy stats for multiple players. He would be a decent value. He’s worthy of a late sixth-round pick, but can be drafted in the seventh round of most leagues. He could make a nice RB3/Flex option.

Maurice Jones-Drew is an ageless wonder. MJD could be a decent RB3/flex option. He’s being undervalued. He’s worthy of a seventh-round selection but can be had in the eighth or ninth rounds of a lot of league drafts.

Fred Jackson is just too savvy to be left out of the Buffalo offense. Despite Buffalo’s very crowded backfield, Jackson will get touches in the red zone and plenty of receptions out of the backfield. Just like MJD, Jackson is worthy of a seventh-rounder but is often falling into the eighth and some cases the ninth round in most drafts. And if C.J. Spiller gets hurt, Jackson could produce even more than I expect.

Ray Rice is a total douchebag and I don’t want to draft him, but even scumbag woman-beaters can score fantasy points for your team. He’ll be suspended for the first two games (should have been more), but he’ll still be the centerpiece of much of the Ravens’ offense, even with Pierce in the mix. Rice is probably worth a seventh-round pick in non-PPR leagues and worth a sixth-round selection in PPR leagues. He makes for a very good RB3/flex option.

Back to running backs.

2014 Fantasy Football - It's All About Value:
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defenses | Kickers

More 2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
Fantasy Football Rankings

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings:
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 8/27 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 6/4 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/4 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings - 5/18 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Dynasty - 8/22 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 2-QB - 8/21 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 8/14 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 8/12 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 8/7 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 7/24 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 7/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/10 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - PPR - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 2-QB - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - TD - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Custom - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Spreadsheets - 8/28 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Training Camp - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: It's All About Value - 9/1 (Kenny)
2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Busts - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Targets - 8/30 (Walt)
FanDuel $1 Million Contest - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator - 8/30 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Round-by-Round Strategy - 8/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Running Backs - 3/28 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/16 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 2/14 (Walt)
Running Backs with Most Carries - 2/14 (Walt)

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12