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UPDATED: Top 50 Running Backs

2017 Running Back Rankings

Updated June 27th, 2017

Not much changed in the top 10 with only minor changes coming as a result of some consistency research. I’ve added 10 more to the list to even out the rankings as a top 50. We’ll add more next time.

  1. David Johnson, ARI (E)
  2. Le’Veon Bell, PIT (E)
  3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (E)
  4. LeSean McCoy, BUF (E)
  5. Jordan Howard, CHI (+1)
  6. Devonta Freeman, ATL (-1)
  7. Melvin Gordon, LAC (+1)
  8. DeMarco Murray, TEN (-1)
  9. Jay Ajayi, MIA (E)
  10. Todd Gurley, LAR (E)
  11. Lamar Miller, HOU (E)
  12. Carlos Hyde, SF (E)
  13. Leonard Fournette, JAC (E)
  14. Marshawn Lynch, OAK (+1)
  15. Isaiah Crowell, CLE (-1)
  16. C.J. Anderson, DEN (+1)
  17. Spencer Ware, KC (+2)
  18. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (-2)
  19. Mark Ingram, NO (-1)
  20. Joe Mixon, CIN (+1)
  21. Ameer Abdullah, DET (+3)
  22. Eddie Lacy, SEA (-2)
  23. Frank Gore, IND (+2)
  24. Tevin Coleman, ATL (-2)
  25. Ty Montgomery, GB (-2)
  26. LeGarrette Blount, PHI (+2)
  27. Dalvin Cook, MIN (-1)
  28. Mike Gillislee, NE (-1)
  29. Paul Perkins, NYG (+1)
  30. Doug Martin, TB (+3)
  31. Robert Kelley, WAS (E)
  32. Bilal Powell, NYJ (-3)
  33. Samaje Perine, WAS (+2)
  34. Danny Woodhead, BAL (-2)
  35. Theo Riddick, DET (+2)
  36. Matt Forte, NYJ (+3)
  37. Adrian Peterson, NO (+3)
  38. Latavius Murray, MIN (-2)
  39. Duke Johnson, CLE (+5)
  40. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (-6)
  41. Jeremy Hill, CIN (+5)
  42. C.J. Prosise, SEA (-1)
  43. Jamaal Charles, DEN (+2)
  44. Kenneth Dixon, BAL (-2)
  45. Terrance West, BAL (+4)
  46. Derrick Henry, TEN (-8)
  47. Jamaal Williams, GB (+5)
  48. Kareem Hunt, KC (-5)
  49. James White, NE (+2)
  50. Ryan Mathews, PHI (+6)

Cracking the Top 10: Running Backs

080714-carlos-thumbEvery year there is significant turnover amongst Fantasy’s top 10 Running Backs, and drafters spend numerous hours pouring over data and stats to find the next guy who’ll slot in where others have failed.

It’s a grueling process, but when a gut pick is right, the feeling of success is second to none. The Running back position is especially volatile due to the injurious nature of the position.

There’s a reason why Backs tend to retire young.

So who can you target outside of the first 10-20 picks that may return first round value?

Least Risk: Lamar Miller, RB – HOU

While it sure feels like Miller has been in the league a long time, the fact is that when the season starts he’ll still only be 26 years old. Houston may not have improved much in terms of the QB situation, but Miller still managed to average over 11 points per week in standard formats, and his 160 points were good for 17th amongst RB despite only playing 14 games and often being limited due to injury. Miller is being drafted currently at 22nd over all (3rd round) as the 13th back off the board, but his ceiling is firmly in the top 10 and possibly as a top 5 back.

A little Risk: Carlos Hyde, RB – SF

Workload has never been an issue for running backs in San Fransisco, but the prevailing question about who’s lining up around him continues to be a cause for concern. In 13 games last year Carlos Hyde average 12.7 points per game (standard scoring) which was good for 10th amongst RBs. But it’s a look at his game log that reminds one just how consistent he is. Over the season Hyde averaged 70 or more yards on the ground 8 out of 13 weeks, while sprinkling in at least one TD in more than half of the games he started. In the 3rd round, Hyde provides a monster ceiling as the only real weapon in San Fran’s offense.

Most Risk: Isaiah Crowell, RB – CLE

The Crow, as he’s affectionately referred to by fans, has the dubious distinction of being the best offensive player on a pretty awful offensive team. This is the main reason his numbers last year were so wildly inconsistent. Despite averaging 4.8 yards per carry, Crowell finished 7 weeks with less than 40 yards on the ground. This is a testament to how ineffective the offense was last year. If the offense around him can improve even slightly, there’s reason to believe Crowell can crack the top 10 and push even further.

 

Top 10 (Running Backs)

  1. Adrian Peterson – Peterson is still the king and will be until the numbers say otherwise. 1700 total yars and 11 TD’s and enough in the passing game to plant him at the top even in PPR leagues, he’s the most likely of the top 10 to finish the season atop the most volitile position in Fantasy Football.
  2. Todd Gurley – He average more per touch than anyone not named Doug Martin (that carried the ball a significant amount). With a new QB in martinrookie Jared Goff, it will be interesting to see what he’ll do with more informed defensive schemes. I expect he’ll be just fine, but don’t be surprised if he has stretches where he disappears.
  3. Jamaal Charles – Every year he could be number one, but his injury history isn’t promising. If there was ever a handcuff candidate, it’s the ultra talented Jamaal Charles.
  4. Lamar Miller – I’m firmly on the hype bandwagon surrounding Millers move to Houston. A team that knows how to run the football will use him as their bellcow… a rarity in the NFL these days. It’s not a stretch to see him approach the league lead in combined yards by the end of the year.
  5. David Johnson – Carson Palmer was healthy all last year, and Johnson emerged as the Cardinals lead back. Now he has to prove it as the starter that it wasn’t just flash and smoke. If healthy, he’ll be a top 5 back.
  6. Le’Veon Bell – The only back in the Gurly/Peterson level of fantasy production, Bell did his owners a disservice by being suspended to start the year a second season in a row. Even missing 4 games, he’s nearly a top 5 RB.
  7. Mark Ingram – Will he be 100% to start the season? Who knows, but the New Orleans offense will put up points, and Ingram has proven that he can do what the coaches ask of him in both the run and the pass game.
  8. LeSean McCoy – Is Reggie bush an insurance policy or motivation? There’s some question marks with McCoy, and adding Bush to the backfield added just one more to consider when making that late 2nd round RB pick.
  9. Doug Martin – I feel like I’m being a bit harsh with the “Muscle Hamster” – after all he put up a top 3 season last year. But he’s always been mercurial and he’s just as likely to return to earth as he is to continue at the top of the position.
  10. Eddie Lacy  – I haven’t seen a lot of lists that have Lacy in their top ten, and I can say honestly that I’m excited about getting him later in drafts than he should be going. Lacy clearly heard the chatter surrounding his awful season last year, and he’s put the work in over the offseaon to come into camp ready to go. If it’s one thing Mike McCarthy is, he’s loyal to the players who do what the team asks. Green Bay is still a top 5 offense, and Lacy is likely to get the bulk of the work early on to see if he’s indeed the same player they thought he was when they drafted him.

Missed the cut

Ezekial Elliott (I don’t care that Dallas has the best O-line in football, he’s done nothing at the NFL level to justify a top 10 pick), Devonta Freeman (Whether or not he’ll put it together for 16 strong games remain to be seen. Freeman is gifted and could be a steal if he gets it together), Latavius Murray (A monster, Murray touched the football more than all but a handful of NFL backs. He’s likely to get even better as the youthful offense in Oakland gels) Thomas Rawls (This is a player I’m intrigued by. He’s quietly accepted the mantel from the departing Beast Mode, and we all know how stubborn Pete Carroll is. They’ll run the ball a ton and he’ll have a chance to put up huge numbers if he can run the offense beside Russell Wilson).