RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

 

It's that time of year again! Fantasy Football live drafts are about to be in full swing. Check out NFL Fantasy Football Expert Draft Scout, Lance Goodman and special guests, as they break down the 2019 Running Back Rankings.

Lance Goodman

August 2019

#GoNFLEx

2019 PRESEASON RANKINGS 

1. Alvin Kamara*, NO
2. Christian McCaffery, CAR
3. LeVeon Bell, NYJ
4. Todd Gurley, LAR
5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (OUT)
6. Melvin Gordon, LAC (OUT)
7. Damien Williams, KC
8. Dalvin Cook, MIN
9. Saquan Barkley, NYG
10. Nick Chubb, CLE
11. Chris Carson, SEA
12. James Conner , PIT
13. Aaron Jones, GB
14. Joe Mixon, CIN
15. Sony Michel, NE
16. DeVonta Freeman, ATL
17. David Johnson, ARI
18. Phillip Lindsay, DEN
19. Derrick Henry, TEN
20. Leonard Fournette, JAC
21. James White, NE
22. Tarik Cohen, CHI
23. Kerryon Johnson, DET
24. Marlon Mack, IND
25.  Mark Ingram, NO
26. Kenyan Drake, MIA
27. Jordan Howard, PHI
28. Peyton Barber, TB
29. Matt Breida, SF
30. Josh Jacobs, OAK
31. Dareus Grice, WAS
32. LeSean McCoy, BUF

2019 OUTLOOK

Allan Bell, @AllanBell247

Managing Editor CBS Interactive

 

Allan Bell checks in with NFLExporter to discuss a huge on going issue with how Running Backs should be paid compared to other positions. Check out this exclusive in depth segment that covers every angle on this complicated topic.

Ben Elasy & Austin Kasick, @FFB_365

Fantasy Football 365

 

Fantasy Football 365 crashed the party and delivered the goods on some intriguing prospects in the upcoming 2019 Fantasy Football Draft that are of major interest to fantasy owners. 

 

 

 

 

The 2019 Fantasy Running Back class is very much to my liking! With 24 guys pegged as legit starters, fantasy owners have the luxury of being more strategic and patient with their draft process. Let's now take a look at how this talented group stacks up against each other.

 

 

Top 10

Alvin Kamara has been in the league for two years and he's finished each of those seasons as a top 5 fantasy Running Back, despite missing 3 games at the end of the 2017 season and splitting time with former backfield mate Mark Ingram who is now in Baltimore. With his skill set and increased volume, the Saints young stud enters this season with the highest ceiling of potential for players at his position. With that being said, there are other elite performers right behind him on the board who fantasy owners should feel just as confident about. We'll start with Saquan Barkley of the New York Giants. His skill set and talent are undeniable, so my questions and concerns have nothing to do with his abilities. I'm more concerned with the Giants offense, which appears to be rather stale and without explosive perimeter players to keep defenses honest and we all have to take into consideration the potential work load he's in for, which will produce numbers based on volume but will also make him more of an injury risk. At #3, I love how the table is setup for LeVeon Bell of the Jets. After sitting out a year because of a contract dispute with Pittsburgh, he joins a team that can fully take advantage of his unique skill set. To be fair, the offense around him in New York, is nowhere near the level of talent that he played with in Pittsburgh but he's a talented and versatile enough player who should excel, as long as the Jets Offensive Line can open up holes in the running game. Melvin Gordon of the Chargers is in the perfect offense that allows for him to get maximum production. His ability to run and catch out of the backfield gives him an opportunity to make plays all over the field. He's struggled a bit with injuries but when healthy, he's an unquestioned stud! Another player who enters this season, with an extremely high ceiling is Christian McCaffery of the Carolina Panthers. Like the four players who I have ranked ahead of him, his dual threat ability to make plays running the football and in the passing game, virtually make him unstoppable. In PPR leagues, he's in consideration for the top overall pick right along with Kamara and Barkley. At #6 is another proven elite performer who’s currently sitting out in the midst of a contract dispute and that's Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. He's led the NFL in rushing yards in two of his first three years and has improved his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield during that span as well, making him a consensus First Round Draft pick across the board. At face value, Damien Williams of the Chiefs deserves a spot among the elite players at this position because of the offense that he's in and the assumption that he's going to get the full work load. However, he had a short sample size of production at the end of last season and was listed third on the depth chart behind Spencer Ware. If the cards fall in his favor, he'll be an excellent pick up but take heed to any signs of caution. If he can just stay healthy, is the phrase we all use when it comes to Minnesota Running Back Dalvin Cook, who has all the tools to become an elite performer. He's another versatile player who can get it done on the ground or do damage in the passing game making him a highly coveted target and easy candidate for breakout player of the year. Let's get one thing clear, if Rams Running Back Todd Gurley was 100% fully healthy and ready to go, he'd be ranked as the Top Fantasy Running Back for a second straight year. He was tremendous in 2017 and followed that up with a dominant 2018 campaign, finishing with 21 TDs despite missing the last two games of the season. If he gets medically cleared before Live Drafts, expect for his stock to take a major leap up the rankings. Cleveland Running Back Nick Chubb has some of the best fantasy value right now. With his current ADP, he'll fall perfectly into the laps of many owners. If Chubb can avoid the notorious sophomore slump, he's in line for a really big year for the Browns.

 

#11-20

 

Last year at this time Seattle's offense had no identity and was trying to figure things out. This year, the Seahawks know exactly what they want to do and that's run the football. They also know who they want to run it with and that's third year stand out Chris Carson. He's not the high end dual threat producer some like of the studs in the top 10 but he's an excellent runner and is in a system that will allow for him to flourish. Arizona Running Back David Johnson was a big disappointment last year but still finished the season ranked #12, despite his struggles. With a new Quarterback and offensive system, he should see an uptick in production but the offensive line is still a major concern that could limit his yardage on the ground. I like Pittsburgh Running Back James Conner a lot, so don't let his current ranking fool you. Pittsburgh still has a strong offensive line and Conner should be very productive as the lead back, however he's an average pass catcher and the Steelers offense is not as explosive as it was a year ago. The next two prospects are very intriguing and could be in line for career years. Both Marlon Mack of the Colts and Aaron Jones of the Packers were on my break outs list last season but injuries stopped them from reaching their full potential. Both come into this season fully healthy and have a chance to excel as the featured Back in some really good offenses. Sony Michel and James White of the Patriots will remain hand in hand until further notice. Last season Michel handled the majority of work running the football and White perfected his role with 87 catches out the backfield. Let's just keep in mind, this is New England, so anything can happen at any time with how they decide to divide the work load. From a talent stand point Joe Mixon of the Bengals has all the goods and is setup to have a strong year. If he were a better pass catcher, he'd rank higher up on this list but his spot at #18 shouldn't be taken lightly, as hell get the full work load in Cincy this season. Phillip Lindsay of the Broncos was an unknown at this time last year but after a breakout season and serving as one of the best waiver wire pick-ups in 2018, he's a well-known name in fantasy circles. With a new Head Coach in town and 2nd year Running Back Royce Freeman pushing for playing time, Lindsay will still have to earn the starting job this year. In Chicago, Tarik Cohen found his role within the offense under new Head Coach Matt Nagy last season and has a real opportunity to be even better. Yet and still, it looks like he'll be sharing time again, which puts a cap of his ceiling of potential production.

 

#21-32

 

Which Derrick Henry are we going to see this year in Tennessee? The guy who slept walk and was a dud through the first 12 games last season or the beast who ran wild through defenses over the last 4 weeks of the 2018 season. The answer to that question will have a huge impact on his fantasy owners season. Kenyan Drake of the Dolphins is another player who was a major disappointment last season and we'll be looking for confirmation about his role during the Preseason. His dual threat ability aided him in reaching 9 total Touchdowns but that is all there was to like about his performance. Devonta Freeman of the Falcons is a really talented Running Back but has seen his numbers fall off the last few seasons, after topping the Running Back Rankings back in 2015. He was sharing time in a backfield committee and also dealt with a lot of injuries, including concussions. He's definitely a high risk, high reward/ boom or bust prospect this year. Newly acquired Baltimore Running Back Mark Ingram put in a lot of work with New Orleans over the past x amount of years and was even a top 10 fantasy Running Back at times during his tenure there. His physical running style made him more injury prone and he split time with Alvin Kamara the past two seasons but this seems like an excellent fit for him if he ends up being the bell cow in this offense, although I do have a few concerns. Leonard Fournette had a strong rookie season back in 2017 but nagging injuries put him out of action for half of last season. When he did return, he posted some good and mediocre games, leaving us all in suspense as to what to expect this year. If he's motivated and in good shape, there's still a lot to like about his situation down in Jacksonville. Jordan Howard posted back to back seasons of over 1,200 rushing yards in Chicago before seeing the offense and his role change last year, with the arrival of a new Head Coach. That change led to Howard having a very inconsistent season and ultimately led to his departure from the team. Now he's in Philadelphia, where his role isn't clearly defined yet but there certainly seems like an opportunity for him to thrive on a good offense. Detroit Running Back Kerryon Johnson is entering his second year and I like his upside and potential a lot! The Lions offense as a whole was up and down last year and his production was a reflection of it. He also was slowed by injuries, which brought his season to an end early. But he's expected to be the focal point of the running game and showed a decent set of hands to give him some PPR value, making him a breakout candidate for 2019. Lamar Miller has given fantasy owners the best of both worlds since joining the Texans back in 2015. He's had some big time performances and good games but has also seen his fair share of dudes and forgettable showing as well, leaving fantasy owners frustrated with the lack of consistency. And there's nothing more frustrating for a fantasy owner than a guy who gets the full work load but simply can't take advantage. It's an open competition in Tampa Bay with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones Jr. auditioning for the starting gig. I'm not too high on either one of these players right now because the Bucs offensive line hasn't manufactured a consistent running game on years and Tampa falls behind in games early a lot, which causes them to become pass happy. This is still a situation for us to keep our eyes on, to see if one player emerges as the outright starter. The 49ers backfield is over saturated right now with four solid Running Backs in the mix. For now, we'll focus on Matt Brieda and Tevin Coleman who are the front runners for playing time. Breida was with San Francisco last year and is a promising young player who had some bright spots but also was plagued by nagging injuries. Coleman had a decent season with the Falcons in 2018 but it wasn't anything to shout about. It seems like a committee is in the cards for this backfield, so let's see if one guy emerges as the unquestioned starter. The Redskins and Bills also have somewhat of a competition going on in Training Camp with it being unlikely that someone gets the Lions share of work out right. Veteran Adrian Peterson still has some left in the tank and is the front runner in Washington but red shirt Back Darius Guice is expected to see playing time if he's fully recovered from an ACL injury that cost him his rookie season. To round out my rankings, in Buffalo there's a set of aging runners, whose elite fantasy days are now gone with LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore set to split the work load

- 2018 Final Preseason Ranks

-2018 Final RB Rankings recap