RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

 

NFL Fantasy Football Expert Analyst Lance Goodman gives fantasy owners a quick recap of what took place at the Running Back position last year.

Lance Goodman

7/16/19

2018 FINAL RANKINGS 

1. Todd Gurley (LAR) 315 Att, 1,831 Total Yards, 21 TDs
2. Saquan Barkley (NYG) 352 Att, 2,028 Total Yards, 15 TDs
3. Alvin Kamara (NO) 275 Att, 1,592 Total Yards, 18 TDs
4. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) 381 Att, 2,001 Total Yards, 9 TDs
5. Christian McCaffrey (CAR) 323 Att, 1,965 Total Yards, 13 TDs
6. Melvin Gordon (LAC) 225 Att, 1,375 Total Yards, 14 TDs
7. James Conner (PIT) 270 Att, 1,470 Total Yards, 13 TDs
8. Kareem Hunt (KC) 207 Att, 1,202 Total Yards, 14 TDs
9. Joe Mixon (CIN) 280 Att, 1,464 Total Yards, 9 TDs
10. James White (NE) 181 Att, 1,176 Total Yards, 12 TDs
11. David Johnson (ARI) 308 Att, 1,386 Total Yards, 10 TDs
12. Phillip Lindsay (DEN) 227 Att, 1,278 Total Yards, 10 TDs
13. Chris Carson (SEA) 267 Att, 1,314 Total Yards, 9 TDs
14. Derrick Henry (TEN) 230 Att, 1,158 Total Yards, 12 TDs
15. Nick Chubb (CLE) 212 Att, 1,145 Total Yards, 10 TDs
16. Marlon Mack (IND) 212 Att, 1,011 Total Yards, 10 TDs
17. Adrian Peterson (WAS) 271 Att, 1,150 Total Yards, 8 TDs
18. Tarik Cohen (CHI) 170 Att, 1,169 Total Yards, 8 TDs
19. Jordan Howard (CHI) 270 Att, 1,080 Total Yards, 9 TDs 
20. Sony Michel (NE) 216 Att, 981 Total Yards, 6 TDs
21. Tevin Coleman (ATL) 199 Att, 1,076 Total Yards, 9 TDs
22. Lamar Miller (HOU) 235 Att, 1,136 Total Yards, 6 TDs
23. Kenyan Drake (MIA) 173 Att, 1,012 Total Yards, 9 TDs
24. Aaron Jones (GB) 159 Att, 934 Total Yards, 9 TDs
25. Matt Breida (SF) 180 Att, 1,075 Total Yards, 5 TDs
26. Mark Ingram (NO) 159 Att, 815 Total Yards, 7 TDs
27. Peyton Barber (TB) 254 Att, 963 Total Yards, 6 TDs
28. Dalvin Cook (MIN) 173 Att, 920 Total Yards, 4 TDs
29. Kerryon Johnson (DET) 150 Att, 854 Total Yards, 4 TDs
30. Leonard Fournette (JAC) 155 Att, 624 Total Yards, 6 TDs
31. LeSean McCoy (BUF) 195 Att, 750 Total Yards, 3 TDs
32. Damien Williams (KC) 83 Att, 416 Total Yards, 6 TDs

2018 RECAP

Todd Gurley, LAR (PPG): Gurley was the general consensus and top overall rated player in fantasy football coming into last season. As the main cog in one of the leagues most explosive offenses, success was inevitable. With the exception of leaving fantasy owners hanging in last years fantasy Playoff Rounds, Gurley lived up to his billing, as the only Fantasy Running Back to score more than 300 fantasy points. 

Saquan Barkley, NYG (PPG): The rookie sensation dazzled in his fantasy debut season, tallying up over 2,000 all purpose yards and 15 TDs. As a 1,000 yard rusher and 91 catch receiver, Barkley proved that he's an elite performer right now.

Alvin Kamara, NO (PPG): Kamara is another all purpose fantasy stud, who can get it done on the ground and through the air. With back to back seasons of Top 5 fantasy Running Back finishes, Kamara is a must have in all league formats.

 

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (PPG): Elliott pulled in a strong year, joining Saquan Barkley as the only Running Backs with 2,000+ all purpose yards. He led the league in rushing yards for the second time in his young three year career. He's earned extra value during that span by remaining healthy and improved pass catching skills.

 

Christian McCaffery, CAR (PPG): McCaffrey turned in a stellar season, becoming one of the most consistent and trusted assets in fantasy football. Not only is he effective running the football, he excels in the passing game as well. In just his second year, he broke the NFL record for receptions by a Running Back and came up just short of joining the illustrious 1,000- 1,000 club for rushing and receiving yards.

 

Melvin Gordon, LAC (PPG): As the focal point of the Chargers offense, Gordon was flourishing and on pace to potentially challenge last years points leader Todd Gurley for the top overall spot. He was also on pace to join Saquan Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott with 2,000 all purpose yards, if it weren't for a leg injury that essentially cost him the final 5 games of 2018.

 

James Conner, PIT (PPG): In his first full season as a starter, Conner certainly didn't disappoint when he was healthy and involved. He came up less than 40 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing, scored double digits Touchdowns and held his own in PPR leagues with 55 catches. On the flip side, he would get lost at times in Pittsburgh's pass happy offense and also suffered a late season injury that cost him 3 games.

 

Kareem Hunt, KC (PPG): Hunt is yet another guy who was playing at an elite level and had a legit shot at 2,000 all purpose yards and a chance to sit atop the year end fantasy rankings for Running Backs. Unfortunately, an off the field issue, not only ended his season but ended his tenure in Kansas City as well.

 

Joe Mixon, CIN (PPG): After sharing time as a rookie, Mixon took full advantage of his opportunity as a full time starter. With alomst 1,500 total yards and 9 TDs, he gave fantasy owners excellent value and could have had bigger numbers if it weren't for a leg injury that forced him to miss a few games early on and the fact that he played on an offense that was reduced to starting back ups late in the season.

 

James White, NE (PPG): In what's usually an over crowded and confusing backfield situation, White was able to solidify his role in the Patriots offense early, as injuries and depth allowed him to see a consistent dose of playing time. With 400 yards and 4 TDs on the ground, White doesn't offer much as a traditional runner but his versatility is what made him a unique stand out, as he racked up 87 catches for more than 700 yards and 8 TDs, making him one of the best late round steals in last years draft.

 

David Johnson, ARI (PPG): Anytime a player ranks inside the Top 10 at their respective position or in this case, just outside, it's hard to label them a bust but in the case of Cardinals Running Back David Johnson, you could apply the term. In fairness to Johnson, the Cardinals offense was pathetic, so the fact that he's ranked this high is a credit to how good he is invidually. But I can vouch for fantasy owners who had him on their team last season, when I say it was dreadful having in your lineup sometimes, as you watched your 1st RD fantasy draft pick struggle to rush for more than 70 yards, in which he did only 3 times in 16 games.

 

Phillip Lindsay, DEN (PPG): Lindsay end up being one of the top waiver wire pick ups last season and that gave alot of fantasy owners line ups a huge boost, as he ceased the "feature role" in Denver's backfield. The Broncos offense was real spotty last year with inconsistent play across the board, yet the undrafted rookie went on to surpass the 1,000 yard rushing barrier and piled up 10 TDs in the process.

 

Chris Carson, SEA (PPG): Coming into last season, it was a bit unclear as to who would lead the Seahawks backfield and if it would be one guy alone. By the time dust settled, it was Carson who emerged and rightfully so. He's quite the physical specimen, which allows for him to gain yards consistently between the tackles but he also has enough quickness and agility to bounce runs outside and elude defenders in the open field, making him another draft pick that provided owners with excellent value.

 

Derrick Henry,  TEN (PPG): Henry was a huge disappointment through the first 12 games of last season averaging a pathetic 38 yards per game and held scoreless until Week 7. He then went on to become one of the hottest Fantasy Running Backs in the final four weeks with 585 yards and 7 TDs.

 

Nick Chubb, CLE (PPG) The rookie Running Back turned in an impressive fantasy debut, proving to be one of the best late round draft picks and waiver wire pick ups of the year. With over 1,100 yards and 10 TDs, he was highly productive despite not starting until Week 5.

 

Marlon Mack, IND (PPG): Fantasy owners watched Mack's fantasy value rise and fall like stocks on wall street last year. He began last summer ranked in the Top 20 fantasy Running Backs but injuries caused his live draft value to fall, as he was scheduled to miss extended time to begin the regular season. But once he returned to full strength and assumed his starting role, he provided a huge boost to fantasy owners line ups notching four 100 yard rushing games and scoring touchdowns in 7 out of 11 games.

 

Adrian Peterson, WAS (PPG) The ageless wonder continues to churn out yardage and in the process provide fantasy owners with some nice value. At age 33, he was able to surpass 1,000 rushing yards and chip in 7 TDs.

 

Tarik Cohen & Jordan Howard, CHI: The Chicago Bears backfield as a whole was very productive last season totalling over 2,000 yards and accounting for 17 TDs, led by the quick and elusive Tarik Cohen. His dual threat ability earned him a time share split, as he proved to be a nightmare for defenses to match up with, making him another one of late Round gems and top waiver wire pick ups of 2018. As for Jordan Howard, he was able to record his 3rd straight year of 1,000+ rushing yards but in terms of consistency and overall value he was a major disappointment. He began the season with one touchdown in the first six weeks and had another stretch where he went five straight games without seeing the end zone at all.

 

Sony Michel, NE (PPG): Despite an up and down season, the rookie had a solid year in terms of fantasy football. He missed the entire preseason due to injury and was mildly used once he was back healthy during the first few weeks of the regular season. He then peaked from Weeks 4-6 accumalating 67 carries for over 300 rushing yards and 4 TDs. He then suffered another injury that caused him to miss extended time, before bouncing back late in the season with a few more 100 yard rushing games, mixed in with some average performances.

 

Tevin Coleman, ATL: Coleman came into last season expecting to split time with fellow backfield mate DeVonta Freeman but ended up seeing more of a featured role once Freeman went down with a season ending injury. Coleman was definitely a boom or bust type of performer, with only three major games that stood out in terms of big time fantasy relevance. Aside from that, if he didn't score a touchdown, he likely had little impact in fantasy owners line ups.

 

Lamar Miller, HOU: Miller has been consistently set up for success since joining the Texans, as he's been the outright feature back in Houston. However his fantasy seasons always seem to go the same way, with alot left to be desired. To his credit, he had four 100 yard rushing games and did enough to make him a viable start on most Sundays. On the other hand, he didn't score a rushing touchdown until Week 7 and only had 20+ carries in a game on three occassions and with that type of production, it was really difficult for owners to trust him in their lineups on a weekly basis.

 

Kenyan Drake, MIA: With so much hope and optimism surrounding his ceiling of potential, Drake was a flat out bust last season. He didn't have one game in which he recorded more than 14 carries and if it wasn't for his modest 53 receptions to give him a little PPR value, there was really no use for him on a roster. His 9 TDs were his only saving grace and even those were scattered all over the place.

 

Aaron Jones, GB: Really talented young player whose yet to reach his fantasy ceiling. He missed the first two games of last season due to suspension and was in a time share for a few games thereafter. He finally took over the "lead role" in Week 8 and was very productive, scoring 7 TDs over the next seven games before missing the final two weeks of the season due to injury.

 

Matt Breida, SF: Breida has potential but has struggled with consistency. Between nagging injuries and too many average games, the payoff just wasn't there in the end with only five touchdowns on the season.

 

Mark Ingram,NO : Ingram got behind the eight ball early beginning the season with a four game suspension. With that in mind, his numbers are right on par for his season projections of 1,000+ yards and 10+ TDs over the course of sixteen games.

 

Peyton Barber, TB: Barber came into live drafts last year with alot of upside but as the season wore on, he proved to be a player who really didn't have much value. Despite being the unquestioned starter for the bulk of the season, he only had four games of 80+ rush yards and tallied one rushing TD in the first 10 weeks to the dismay of fantasy owners.

 

Dalvin Cook, MIN: There's no question about Cooks talent, as he came up just shy of 1,000 all purpose yards despite missing 6 games but injuries have limited his production, as he's missed more games than hes played in his first two years. 

 

Kerryon Johnson, DET: Johnson came through with a few meaningful games for fantasy owners but missed the final six games of the season, which put an end to what could have been a much stronger season for rookie runner.

 

Leonard Fournette, JAC: Fournette definitely has to be in the Top 5 biggest disappointments from last season. A tweeked hamstring essentially cost him the first 8 games and he also missed another two games late in the season. He was able to gain 300+ all purpose yards and score 4 TDs in a three week stretch late in the season otherwise his fantasy year was a complete waste.

 

LeSean McCoy, BUF: The writing was on the wall early for McCoy as the Bills offense was a joke coming into the season, leaving him as the focal points for defenses each week and it showed, as he only touched pay dirt twice in the first 15 games of the year, giving him one strong outing for the entire year.

 

Damien Williams, KC: He didn't get the starting now until Week 14 but finished the season strong, showing the ability to get it done on the ground and through the air, while scoring 6 total touchdowns.