2018 Dynasty Running Back Rankings

]I’m back with round 2 of the offseason dynasty rankings. If you’re just checking in, I covered the top 25 dynasty quarterbacks in my last post so be sure to check that out. And as a reminder, these rankings are based on PPR leagues. Once again, the rankings are broken into tiers so if your favorite player isn’t where you think he should be, feel free to rearrange the tiers to your own liking – and if that still isn’t good enough tell me why I’m wrong in the comments below!

The Workhorses

1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles – He’s 23 years old until August, coming off a season with over 2,000 total yards and 19 TDs and is the centerpiece of an exciting new look Rams offense under offensive mastermind Sean McVay. What’s not to love?

2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh – Unlike Gurley, Bell actually has quite a few knocks against him. He has a fairly extensive injury history, a fairly extensive suspension history, and isn’t under contract in Pittsburgh next season (and threatening retirement if he doesn’t get his way in negotiations). But he’s just so damn good I don’t care. Over the past 4 seasons Bell has averaged 137.4 total yards, 5.4 receptions, and .69 touchdowns per game. To put that in fantasy terms, that’s just over 23.2 PPR points per game. Dynasty teams with Bell will always be a threat.

3. David Johnson, Arizona – Despite being 2 months older than Bell, Johnson has considerably less wear on his tires. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. Either way though, Johnson has been nothing short of dominant every time he’s played. Like Bell, he’s a threat in both the running and passing games making him an absolute monster in PPR leagues (although lets be honest he’s a monster in standard scoring too). Don’t let his year off due to injury make you forget just how good he was in 2015 and 2016.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas – Elliott is still one of the youngest RBs in the league at just 22 years (23 in July) and he’s been a workhorse for both Dallas and his fantasy owners over the past 2 seasons. It’s hard to I placed him at the bottom of tier 1 despite being the youngest back here because he simply hasn’t been as dominant in all phases as the other 3 in the tier and his reckless off field behavior has him a little too close to a big time suspension for my taste.

The 2017 Class

5. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City – Hunt burst onto the scene with a torrid start to his 2017 rookie campaign, cooled off in midseason, and returned to form just in time to help his owner’s to some fantasy titles. With nearly 1800 scrimmage yards as a rookie, Hunt has surpassed his more highly drafted rookie classmates in dynasty value and with Andy Reid running the show I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans – Kamara finished his rookie season with 1554 scrimmage yards and 13 total TDs. The gap between him and Hunt is razor-thin. Hunt has more control over his backfield at the moment, but Kamara put up nearly as many yards anyways. If you own either, don’t let go without a massive return.

7. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville – Fournette is the definition of a physical freak. He faced some loaded boxes in Jacksonville and still managed 1300 yards and 10 TDs in 13 games. I don’t think he’s as well-rounded as Kamara and Hunt and his constant ankle trouble isn’t encouraging but Jacksonville is going to force feed him the ball for the foreseeable future (and rightly so).

8. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota – His college tape and numbers were dominant and his first 4 games in Minnesota were excellent (444 total yards on 85 touches). The only thing keeping him this low is the torn ACL he suffered during that 4th game of his rookie season.

Low End RB1

9. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta – I love Devonta Freeman. He’s a well-rounded, tough RB. Last year was a bit of a disappointment as he finished with just under 1200 yards and 8 TDs after back to back 1500 yard, double-digit seasons, and suffered from his 3rd career concussion. The concussions may become an issue if they continue, but anybody who has that kind of season in a down year is ok by me.

10. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles – Gordon has had a strange start to his career. In his rookie campaign he had over 800 yards, but 0 TDs and in all 3 of his seasons he has failed to reach 4 yards per carry. However, he has also been a focal point of the Chargers’ offense with 290+ touches and 12 TDs each of the past 2 seasons. Maybe he isn’t exciting, but he’ll be 25 next season and he’s reliable in a good offense.

11. Jordan Howard, Chicago – Drafted in the 5th round 2 years ago, the 23 year old Howard reminds me a lot of Alfred Morris at the start of his career. Both players were late round draft picks that burst onto the scene with physical running their rookie seasons and both struggled to contribute in the passing game. I think Howard is extremely talented, but if he can’t contribute more in the passing game (unlikely to happen with Tarik Cohen in town) his ceiling is capped.

High Risk, High Reward

12. Derrick Henry, Tennessee – Henry has been an odd case so far in his career. For 2 years he’s been unable to wrestle control of the Titans’ backfield away from DeMarco Murray despite showcasing his size, speed, and surprising agility when he did play. Now, it appears it’s finally Henry’s turn. Will he be a uniquely dominant RB in the NFL like his talent has hinted at so far, or will we find out the reason why the Titans have been so hesitant with Murray?

13. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati – I was a huge Mixon fan coming out of college due to his immense potential. The potential is still there and there were promising moments on tape, but I think Mixon owners were hoping for more from him in 2017. Obviously, there is plenty of time for Mixon to put it all together as he is still only 21 years old.

14. Christian McCaffrey – I’ll admit I’m not sure McCaffrey really fits the title of this tier as well as Henry and Mixon, but he’s still close to them in value. His struggles running the ball make it hard for me to envision him as a future dominant RB, but his fantastic ability as a receiver will likely make him valuable for a long time in the NFL. Considering he is also only 21, McCaffrey should be productive for a long time.

15. LeSean McCoy – In his age 29 season last year, McCoy finished with 1100 scrimmage yards for the 8th straight season. He’s good, he’s consistent, and he’s getting old. Until he hits the cliff McCoy can be an RB1 for contending teams.

16. Mark Ingram – The main question here is how long will the Saints continue to feed their 2 headed rushing attack before Alvin Kamara officially takes over. If Ingram remains involved he’s a valuable asset. He’s 28 and coming off a 1500 yard, 12 TD season.

What Do We Have Here?

17. Alex Collins, Baltimore – Collins was a new man in 2017. After being cut by Seattle in 2016, Collins posted over 1100 yards and 6 TDs in just 12 starts for Baltimore. Although his path to relevance has been unusual, we have seen productive RBs emerge from unexpected places enough times to rule out Collins as a legit player.

18. Kenyan Drake, Miami – Drake was mostly an afterthought until Jay Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia midseason. Now he’s a 24-year-old RB with a couple of 100 yard games under his belt in limited chances.1

19. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia – Ajayi is a talented back in a committee backfield. Concerns over Ajayi’s knees don’t help his value either. I am, however more confident in his talent than I am in the other backs in this tier.

20. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco – I’ve always though Carlos Hyde was a talented all around back. Something has always managed to get in the way of Hyde having a dominant season, however. Now he’s 27 years old and headed for Free Agency. Maybe he’ll find a home where he can finally break out but its more likely that Hyde will just continue as a decent but unexciting fantasy option somewhere other than San Francisco.

21. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay – I loved his tape at BYU and he played well when he finally got his chance this year. Yet he’s a late round draft choice, with other RBs lurking to take away carries.

22. Aaron Jones, Green Bay – Speaking of lurking RBs in Green Bay’s backfield, Jones also looked impressive in his limited 2017 chances. I don’t trust either back to truly dominate the backfield but if one of them can a Green Bay lead back could be a valuable fantasy commodity.

23. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis – I don’t think any 2018 season for Mack would surprise me. He’s a fantastic athlete and has the size to be a lead back. He’s flashed receiving ability and big play ability. He’s also a late 4th rounder who might not even be Indy’s 2018 starter.

24. Lamar Miller, Houston – A disappointing 2017 pretty much cements his status as a flex play rather than a true workhorse back.

25. Dion Lewis, New England – In classic New England RB fashion Dion Lewis has seen his value yoyo up and down over the past few seasons. After 2017 he’s set to be a FA. He’ll never be a 300 carry RB, but whether in NE or out he should provide value as a change of pace and 3rd down back.

The Best of the Rest

  1. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland
  2. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta
  3. Chris Thompson, Washington
  4. Duke Johnson, Cleveland
  5. Tarik Cohen, Chicago
  6. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland
  7. Semaje Perine, Washington
  8. Theo Riddick, Detroit
  9. Jalen Richard, Oakland
  10. Matt Breida, San Francisco

One of the key takeaways from this for me was that the RB position is much deeper than it has been in a long time. The stars we’ve relied on for years like Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, and Marshawn Lynch are finally on their way out, but the influx of talent from the 2017 class (with more talent on the way in 2018) has left the RB position in fantastic shape for the present and future.

That having been said, RB is as volatile as ever. Players are easily injured and easily replaced. I prefer to focus my RB depth chart on a mix between players in the top 11 or so on the list who I know I can rely on to be workhorses for their teams and cheap flyers with upside. While players like Alex Collins may be very productive players next season and beyond, they also may end up watching their team’s draft their replacements come April. Invest in the middle tier backs with caution.

*****

That wraps up the offseason RB rankings.Iif you have any comments or questions, please feel free to comment below and come back in two weeks for our dynasty WR rankings!

DYNASTY RANKINGS
QuarterbackRunning BackWide ReceiverTight End

 

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Eric Braun

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I grew up a die hard Washington Redskins and Penn State football fan and began playing fantasy football in 2007. I've been addicted and learning as much as I can about my favorite hobby ever since.