Running back might be the most important position in all of fantasy football.
There are fewer elite players at this position compared to quarterback and wide receiver, and the physical nature of the position produces a lot of injuries throughout the season. Part of having a successful fantasy draft is adding plenty of RB depth to your roster.
Here are our rankings of the top 30 running backs for the upcoming fantasy football season.
1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 9)
2016 rushing stats: 261 carries, 1,268 yards, 7 TDs
When healthy, Bell is a fantasy beast with his ability to rack up tons of points as an elite rusher and receiver. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks Bell’s way in every situation.
2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (Bye Week: 8)
2016 stats: 293 carries, 1,239 yards, 16 TDs
Johnson is an elite dual-threat running back and the focal point of a very talented offense. He’s also a touchdown machine.
3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 6)
2016 stats: 234 carries, 1,267 yards, 13 TDs
McCoy is the engine that drives the Bills’ offense as a dual-threat running back. He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 5)
2016 stats: 227 carries, 1,079 yards, 11 TDs
Freeman became a trusted target of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last season, and his versatile skill set only should improve this season. He also just signed a hefty new contract.
5. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (Bye Week: 11)
2016 stats: 260 carries, 1,272 yards, 8 TDs
Ajayi might play an even larger role in the Dolphins’ offense after the season-ending injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He burst onto the scene last season as a reliable No. 1 RB who tallied three 200-yard games.
6. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans (Bye Week: 7)
2016 stats: 268 carries, 1,073 yards, 5 TDs
Miller was a bit of a disappointment last season, but he’s still going to get plenty of touches in Houston’s passing and rushing attacks.
7. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears (Bye Week: 9)
2016 stats: 252 carries, 1,313 yards, 6 TDs
Howard established himself as Chicago’s No. 1 RB after averaging more than 5 yards per carry last season.
8. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 8)
2016 stats: N/A (rookie)
Fournette is a popular AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year pick after dominating at LSU over the last two campaigns. His excellent athleticism and powerful running style has drawn plenty of comparisons to former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson.
9. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 9)
2016 stats: 254 carries, 997 yards, 10 TDs
Gordon’s yardage stats weren’t at the level fantasy owners expected last season, but anyone who scores double-digit touchdowns and plays alongside a good quarterback is worth using a high draft pick to select.
10. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 8)
2016 stats: 278 carries, 885 yards, 6 TDs
Gurley’s sophomore campaign was underwhelming, but that was more about the Rams being awful and easy to defend because of the lack of quality quarterback play. He should have a bounce-back year.
11. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 6)
2016 stats: 322 carries, 1,631 yards, 15 TDs
Elliott reportedly will appeal his six-game suspension, but if that fails, he won’t be eligible to play until Week 8. (The Cowboys have a Week 6 bye.) That’s more than half of the regular season in fantasy, so you can’t justify using a first-round pick on the Dallas running back, despite his immense talents.
12. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans (Bye Week: 8)
2016 stats: 293 carries, 1,287 yards, 9 TDs
Murray received most of the workload from a Titans backfield that includes former Alabama star Derrick Henry, and he’s a safe bet for at least 1,000 rushing yards and between seven to 10 scores.
13. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 9)
2016 stats: 198 carries, 952 yards, 7 TDs
Crowell was one of Cleveland’s few bright spots last season. He also became a good PPR option with 40 receptions for 319 yards.
14. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 6)
2016 stats: 71 carries, 360 yards, 0 TDs
Lacy has a great chance to rejuvenate his career alongside a very good quarterback in Russell Wilson. He also came into training camp in shape.
15. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (Bye Week: 11)
2016 stats: 217 carries, 988 yards, 6 TDs
Hyde is very talented, but the 49ers’ lackluster passing attack allows defenses to stack the box and make life miserable for the Ohio State product. Still, Hyde is too talented to let slip past the third round of your league’s draft.
16. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (Bye Week: 11)
2016 stats: N/A (rookie)
McCaffrey should take some of the offensive burden off Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and his dual-threat ability should make him a valuable player in PPR leagues.
17. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders (Bye Week: 10)
2016 stats: N/A (didn’t play)
Lynch will be playing alongside an elite quarterback and behind a great offensive line in Oakland. It’s a great situation for the veteran RB to regain the stellar form he showed in Seattle for many years.
18. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (Bye Week: 6)
2016 stats: N/A (rookie)
Mixon was a great player at Oklahoma, but off-field issues caused him to fall in the draft. If Mixon can stay out of trouble, he could be an important part of the Bengals’ rushing attack. It shouldn’t take him too long to become the No. 1 RB in a backfield that includes veterans Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
19. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 5)
2016 stats: 205 carries, 1,043 yards, 6 TDs
Ingram doesn’t rack up a ton of touchdowns, but he’s a reliable RB who averaged more than 5 yards per carry last season.
20. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 9)
2016 stats: N/A (rookie)
Cook’s speed and agility makes him a big-play threat anywhere on the field. Adrian Peterson’s offseason departure should allow Cook to receive a ton of looks in both the passing and rushing attacks in Minnesota.
21. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (Bye Week: 8)
2016 stats: 77 carries, 457 yards, 3 TDs
Montgomery has the best chance to emerge as the No. 1 RB in a Packers offense that is loaded with receiving weapons.
22. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 10)
2016 stats: 299 yards, 1,161 yards, 18 TDs
Blount probably won’t approach 20 touchdowns again, but he remains one of the best goal-line running backs in the league and racks up a lot of yards after contact with his great strength. The Eagles’ offense, led by second-year QB Carson Wentz, could be a very high-scoring unit.
23. Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 10)
2016 stats: 19 carries, 116 yards, 0 TDs
Injuries derailed Woodhead’s 2016 campaign, but few running backs make more of an impact in PPR leagues. He’s one of the best pass-catching RBs in the NFL.
24. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (Bye Week: 11)
2016 stats: 131 carries, 722 yards, 3 TDs
Powell isn’t likely to tally a ton of touchdowns, but he racks up a lot of yards when he touches the ball. He’s a solid RB2 or RB3 in most fantasy leagues.
25. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)
2016 stats: 214 carries, 921 yards, 3 TDs
Ware has an opportunity to be the No. 1 RB in Kansas City after Jamaal Charles’ offseason departure.
26. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 11)
2016 stats: 263 carries, 1,025 yards, 4 TDs
Fantasy owners have been expecting Gore’s demise for years, but to his credit, he keeps proving the doubters wrong. But at age 34, this might finally be the time Gore’s production significantly declines. He’s averaged fewer than 4 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons.
27. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 5)
2016 stats: 110 carries, 437 yards, 4 TDs
Anderson has been among the most disappointing fantasy performers over the last two campaigns, but we’ve seen enough quality performances to take one more chance on him in 2017.
28. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (Bye Week: 7)
2016 stats: 92 carries, 357 yards, 1 TD
Riddick missed six games due to injury last season, but he has the chance to be the No. 1 RB in the Lions’ backfield if he stays healthy. The Notre Dame product is a good PPR option, as evidenced by his eight games with four or more receptions in 2016.
29. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 5)
2016 stats: 118 carries, 520 yards, 8 TDs
The Falcons’ offense should score a ton of points again, and Coleman certainly would benefit as a talented dual-threat RB who’s effective on third-downs and passing situations.
30. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 5)
2016 stats: 37 carries, 72 yards, 0 TDs
Peterson likely will start the season as Ingram’s backup, but he’s still worth owning in deeper leagues.
Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP