2017 Running Back Rankings

This week we continue our fantasy football rankings rundown with a look at the Running Back position. Join Andy Germani, Tommy Landseadel, Joe Mica, Dan Marcus and Neil Schnurbach as they help you prepare for your rapidly approaching football drafts.

All of our rankings assume standard scoring:

  • 6 points for TDs
  • 1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
  • 1 point for 25 yards passing – no PPR

Without further ado, let’s check out the ranks! N/R denotes a non ranking for that particular player.

  Player Team Neil Dan Andy Tommy Joe
1 David Johnson ARZ 1 1 2 1 1
2 Le’Veon Bell PIT 2 2 1 2 2
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 5 3 3 3 3
4 LeSean McCoy BUF 3 7 4 5 5
5 Jordan Howard CHI 6 4 9 7 4
6 Melvin Gordon LAC 8 5 6 6 6
7 Devonta Freeman ATL 4 11 5 8 7
8 Jay Ajayi MIA 7 9 8 4 8
9 DeMarco Murray TEN 10 8 7 9 12
10 Lamar Miller HOU 9 13 11 13 10
11 Todd Gurley LAR 22 6 16 10 9
12 Leonard Fournette JAX 11 10 17 11 17
13 Isaiah Crowell CLE 23 12 12 12 11
14 Carlos Hyde SF 15 14 10 19 13
15 Spencer Ware KC 13 19 19 17 15
16 Ty Montgomery GB 18 17 15 21 14
17 Marshawn Lynch OAK 14 34 13 14 16
18 C.J. Anderson DEN 30 15 18 20 19
19 Eddie Lacy SEA 17 18 28 24 25
20 Christian McCaffrey CAR 12 25 33 16 28
T21 Joe Mixon CIN 24 31 14 15 33
T21 Tevin Coleman ATL 28 24 23 22 20
23 Frank Gore IND 25 22 22 32 18
24 Ameer Abdullah DET 29 20 24 25 22
25 Mike Gillislee NE 20 28 30 18 27
26 Dalvin Cook MIN 16 16 37 27 31
27 Mark Ingram NO 26 21 20 30 36
28 Bilal Powell NYJ 21 40 21 23 35
29 Paul Perkins NYG 19 47 25 29 23
30 LeGarrette Blount PHI 42 23 27 34 21
31 Jonathan Stewart CAR 33 29 26 37 24
32 Adrian Peterson NO 35 30 35 26 26
33 Doug Martin TB 43 27 29 35 38
34 Derrick Henry TEN 38 33 38 31 40
35 Theo Riddick DET 27 39 32 42 43
36 Robert Kelley WSH 40 42 31 44 30
37 Samaje Perine WSH 31 36 47 28 46
38 Matt Forte NYJ 39 32 46 38 34
39 Danny Woodhead BAL 50 26 45 33 37
40 Jeremy Hill CIN 41 41 39 41 39
41 Kenneth Dixon BAL 47 35 34 45 42
42 Latavius Murray MIN 45 N/R 36 36 32
T43 James White NE 36 49 N/R 43 48
T43 Duke Johnson CLE 37 38 N/R N/R 41
45 Kareem Hunt KC 44 N/R 48 39 47
46 C.J. Prosise SEA 46 37 49 47 N/R
47 Jacquizz Rodgers TB 34 N/R 42 50 N/R
48 Jamall Charles DEN 32 N/R 40 N/R N/R
49 Thomas Rawls SEA N/R 44 N/R 46 44
50 Joe Williams SF N/R N/R N/R 40 45
Honorable Mentions: Giovany Bernard, Marlon Mack, Jamall Williams
One Hit Wonders: Appearing on only one set of rankings
Terrance West, Darren Sproles, D’Onta Foreman, Alvin Kamara, DeAndre Washington, Dion Lewis, Robert Turbin, Devontae Booker, Chris Thompson, T.J. Yeldon

Which RB are you most willing to reach for?

Andy: I feel like I have been a big Carlos Hyde fan few years now, and after him I see a pretty significant drop to the next group of backs. Yes, the 49ers are not good, but this team isn’t all that much different than the team he totaled nearly 1,200 yards from scrimmage for last year in just 13 games.

Joe: Jordan Howard did not become the starter until week 3 last season. With new QB Glennon at the helm (and Trubisky in the wings), I expect the Bears to once again lean on him exclusively.

Tommy: I am buying the hype that Jay Ajayi will be used more in the pass game this season, and I believe he could lead all RBs in total touches this season. I would take him as early as 6 overall. My second reach pick is Isaiah Crowell. The Browns have a very strong O-line and Crowell has emerged as the clear lead back there. He could be in for a breakout year.

Dan: Jordan Howard already requires a lot of draft capital, but there is a discount on his talent thanks to the Bears ineptitude. However, their offensive line is actually very strong for production in the running game, which pairs nicely with Howard’s breakaway speed. There’s not much competition behind him so he should be in line for plenty of volume. 

Neil: While this is not a huge reach, I like LeSean McCoy ahead of Ezekiel Elliott as my #3 overall running back and possibly my #3 overall player. McCoy was excellent last year, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He should be healthy this year, and does not have Mike Gillislee behind him any longer. This could be a banner year for McCoy.

Which RB will you be looking to avoid?

Andy: There is no chance I will end up with Christian McCaffrey in any league. I am really happy that some mainstream places have him as a RB2 so I can scoop up guys I like so much more. I think he will be an interesting player, but I wouldn’t expect an immediate impact from week one.

Joe: All Patriots RB including Mike Gillislee and James White. In the Belichick era (17 seasons) only 7 RB have had over 1,000 yards all-purpose yards. Too rare for my taste. I also have a very conservative outlook on this year’s rookie RB which I feel are all being overvalued, which means that I’ll probably miss out on all of them.

Tommy: I strongly dislike Carlos Hyde this year. Shanahan drafted “his guy” in Joe Williams. There is a very strong possibility that Hyde loses his starting job before midseason. I won’t own Hyde on any of my teams unless the price drops substantially.

Dan: I’m avoiding Marshawn Lynch. The upside is clear as we saw what Latavius Murray accomplished with the offense last season, but Lynch played only six games in 2015 and didn’t play at all in 2016. That alone is enough risk for me to pass on him as a mid-second round pick. 

Neil: For a guy who did not top 90 yards rushing in a game last year, and only topped 80 yards in a game once – when he was given 27 carries – Todd Gurley is going awfully high in mock drafts. He will probably be better than he was last year, but I would much rather take a chance on this year’s crop of fantastic rookie backs.

Which mid-round pick do you see
producing the biggest profit?

Andy: I will need at least one back from my 19-22 range (Ware, Ingram, Powell, Gore) and wouldn’t mind getting two. All of these guys are being looked over for varying reasons; Ware fell out of favor a little late in the year, Ingram-the Saints added Peterson, Powell-the Jets haven’t ditched Forte yet, and Gore is 87 years old. These guys will be solid RB2s and if you go receiver heavy early, pairing two of these guys as your RBs should be fine.

Joe: Fantasy owners burned by Todd Gurley last year will probably stay away. But he played on 74% of the Rams’ offensive snaps (Only 2 other RB played on more). He essentially has no competition on the depth chart. Plus I doubt that Jared Goff will make the Rams focus more on the passing game.

Tommy: Samaje Perine should be the lead back in a pretty dynamic offense. There is some risk here, but he could legitimately end the season as a top-10 back if everything goes right. I also love the values for Kareem Hunt and Joe Williams.

Dan: Kenneth Dixon will return value despite his four-game suspension. Danny Woodhead joined the team in the offseason, but has surpass 100 carries only once in his career. Meanwhile, Terrence West has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry over his career. That leaves the starting role open for Dixon once he returns, and will give him an excellent chance to build on his 4.3 yards per career of his rookie season. 

Neil: When Eddie Lacy is motivated and keeps his weight in check, he is an elite NFL running back. All indications are that he is ready to play well for the Seahawks this year. I am hoping he falls into my lap as a RB2 in my drafts.

Who are your favorite end-draft picks
to round out your roster with?

Andy: I won’t give up on Jamaal Charles yet. We will likely know how that is going to go early too, and I like late picks like that. If after week one they aren’t doing much ditch them. I also like trying to get Jacquizz Rodgers late as an early season running back option while Doug Martin is suspended.

Joe: Devontae Booker – Perhaps not a trendy name that jumps out at you. But with game managers Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch at the helm, you can’t tell me that the Broncos will not rely heavily on the run game. Plus both C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles are injury risks.

Tommy: Jamaal Williams and D’Onta Foreman (barring a league suspension) each has upside and a pathway to fantasy relevance in the event of an injury. Robert Turbin is the 2nd in line in Indianapolis behind an aging Gore, yet Marlon Mack seems to be getting more of the hype there. I think any of these guys make for strong lottery ticket selections.

Dan: DeAndre Washington is a late-round target due to the aforementioned uncertainty of Marshawn Lynch in the Raider’s backfield. Marlon Mack is another late-round target because Frank Gore has to slow down eventually, and Mack may finally be a competent alternative for the Colts to turn to.

Neil: People might shy away from Doug Martin because he is suspended for the first 4 games of the year, or Jacquizz Rodgers because he will lose playing time when Martin comes back. I like both as roster fillers as they can both potentially reap tremendous reward, with very little risk.

2017 Fantasy Football Rankings
QuarterbackWide ReceiverTight EndKickerDefenseTop 120


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4 thoughts on “2017 Running Back Rankings”

  1. Frank Gore, just another ho-hum best value in the draft these passed few years. I see no reason for change. Steady, yet unspectacular points. Time will someday get him, but haven’t we all been duped enough? 😉

    Jeremy Hill located behind Danny Woodhead is something I can’t get behind. At 32, I don’t see Woody hauling in 70+ catches again, and he is likely not getting 100 carries, or many TD… so what are we looking at, 500 yards? Even if Mixon is amazing, I don’t see Hill falling under 600 yards and 6 TD. What am I missing here?

    1. Don’t think you are missing much. Gore still has the lead back job in Indy, but is likely to lose goal line work to Turbin this season. If he stays healthy, that probably means 1200 total yards and 4 TDs as his ceiling.

      Woodhead looks like the man in Baltimore with Dixon now out. He won’t get a ton of early down carries, but will be heavily utilized in the pass game and the redzone. I think Hill gets 750 yards and 6-8 TDs. Woodhead will be better if he stays healthy. 1000 yards and 4-6 TDs is a reasonable projection. He should have very similar production to Gore, he will just get it in a much different way.

    2. I like Gore and have ended up with him in a lot of my MFL10s and mocks but the issue with putting him higher has to do with his upside. I think the upside there is being in the 10-15 range. But that is only if he plays 16 games. Gore finishes high in season long scoring a lot because he just always plays. Weird to think of it as a “negative” because of how much we need that at the RB position.

      The 20 plus point game is a rarity but if you want a locked in 7-12 with a chance for 15-18 for 16 weeks Gore is perfect. On a weekly basis that is the definition of an RB2. But when he plays 16 weeks the war of attrition vaults him higher. Between injuries and others just losing their jobs.

      In terms of Woodhead and Hill I did have Hill higher but the Dixon injury would make me vault Woodhead above Hill as I see the Ravens using him a lot more without any great options there.

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