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31. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Outlook: Hill and Bernard will form a one-two punch in Cincinnati, but it’s very clear the rookie running back won’t factor into the Bengals’ passing game too often.
Projections: 14 receptions, 969 total yards (178 receiving), 9 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
32. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns
Outlook: A good sleeper pick for offensive rookie of the year, West will push Tate for the starting running back job in Cleveland. Should he win the job, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Browns ride him as their bell cow.
Projections: 32 receptions, 875 total yards (269 receiving), 7 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
33. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
Outlook: Considering he was 32 years of age last season, Jackson is coming off an impressive season. A healthy C.J. Spiller, however, will place Jackson in the backseat. He’s a decent flex play, depending on the matchup.
Projections: 38 receptions, 858 total yards (271 receiving), 6 touchdowns (1 receiving), & 2 fumbles
34. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
Outlook: Health is McFadden’s biggest red flag. If he’s healthy, he’s a better bet than Maurice Jones-Drew is to emerge as Oakland’s top fantasy player.
Projections: 38 receptions, 873 total yards (251 receiving), 5 touchdowns (1 receiving), & 1 fumble
35. Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins
Outlook: Miami’s backfield is a messy situation, as Moreno and Lamar Miller will likely just cancel each other out.
Projections: 29 receptions, 796 total yards (237 receiving), & 7 touchdowns (2 receiving)
36. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Outlook: PPR scoring doesn’t do Gore any favors. He’s caught just 10 passes onetime in his career. In fact, in his nine-year career, he has just 60 receptions. Rounding up, that’s an average of seven receptions per season.
Projections: 16 receptions, 1,110 total yards (90 receiving), 4 touchdowns, & 2 fumbles
37. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
Outlook: It’s only a matter of time until Freeman supplants Jacquizz Rodgers in Atlanta. Once he does, you can expect the rookie to eat into Steven Jackson’s playing time, especially on passing downs.
Projections: 40 receptions, 727 total yards (311 receiving), 6 touchdowns (2 receiving), & 2 fumbles
38. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Outlook: Uncertainty hovers over Carolina’a backfield like a cloud. Williams (31) is approaching the age where running backs slow down. In addition, Jonathan Stewart is as healthy as he has been in years. The added threat of Cam Newton taking away goal line carries also complicates matters.
Projections: 23 receptions, 930 total yards (285 receiving), 5 touchdowns (1 receiving), & 1 fumble
39. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Outlook: The Buccaneers will attempt to utilize Sims’ game-breaking ability by getting him the ball in space. He figures to see a lot of playing time on third downs.
Projections: 32 receptions, 719 total yards (198 receiving), 7 touchdowns (1 receiving), & 2 fumbles
40. Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders
Outlook: Jones-Drew will share time in Oakland’s backfield with McFadden. However, given McFadden’s injury history, Jones-Drew could end up emerging as a fulltime running back.
Projections: 32 receptions, 875 total yards (248 receiving), 4 touchdowns, & 1 fumble
41. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Outlook: Avoid Ridley in PPR leagues. The Patriots will use Shane Vereen as their pass-catching running back, and because of fumbles, Ridley has a history of finding himself in Bill Belichick’s doghouse.
Projections: 8 receptions, 910 total yards (21 receiving), 8 touchdowns, & 3 fumbles
42. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Outlook: Somehow, Rice received just a two-game suspension for his off-season troubles. Rice has more upside in PPR leagues than he does in standard ones, but a lot needs to happen. Specifically, Baltimore’s offensive line needs to improve.
Projections: 41 receptions, 863 total yards (258 receiving), & 2 touchdowns
43. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens
Outlook: Whereas Rice possesses upside in PPR leagues, Pierce possesses upside in standard ones. The third-year running back is likely to give way to the veteran on third downs.
Projections: 14 receptions, 1,000 total yards (50 receiving), & 4 touchdowns
44. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
Outlook: A healthy Stewart is one of fantasy’s most intriguing running backs. The Panthers want the strength of their team to be the running game, and Williams’ age could render him ineffective.
Projections: 17 receptions, 869 total yards, (145 receiving), 6 touchdowns (1 receiving), & 1 fumble
45. Roy Helu, Washington
Outlook: Helu will serve as Washington’s third-down running back. He’s also an excellent handcuff for fantasy players that invest a high pick in Alfred Morris.
Projections: 44 receptions, 687 total yards (383 receiving), & 4 touchdowns
46. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs
Outlook: The Chiefs’ offense runs through Jamaal Charles. Davis will give him a breather every now and then, but unless something happens to Charles, he’s no threat to emerge on the fantasy radar.
Projections: 30 receptions, 684 total yards (184 receiving), 7 touchdowns (2 receiving), & 2 fumbles
47. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Outlook: Unless the Dolphins get fully behind him, Miller will never reach his true fantasy potential. Miami’s signing of Moreno this off-season tells you all you need to know.
Projections: 31 receptions, 941 total yards (217 receiving), & 2 touchdowns
48. Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers
Outlook: The Chargers brought Brown in to backup both Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. If one of them goes down for a significant time, Brown re-emerges on the fantasy radar.
Projections: 20 receptions, 685 total yards (159 receiving), & 7 touchdowns (1 receiving)
49. Stepfan Taylor, Arizona Cardinals
Outlook: Taylor has a good chance to emerge as Arizona’s short-yardage running back.
Projections: 19 receptions, 726 total yards (155 receiving), & 5 touchdowns
50. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
Outlook: Michael is one injury away from becoming a legit RB1. In fact, Marshawn Lynch’s holdout just gives him more opportunities to state his case for playing time.
Projections: 20 receptions, 773 total yards (182 receiving), 4 touchdowns, & 1 fumbles
1 point per reception
1 point per 10 yards receiving
1 point per 10 yards rushing
6 points per touchdown
-2 points per fumble
Update: An earlier draft of these rankings mistakenly omitted Cincinnati RB Jeremy Hill and included St. Louis RB Tre Mason. The updated draft removes Mason and includes Hill at No. 31.