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RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

 

Check out NFL Fantasy Football Expert Analyst Lance Goodman and special guests, as they chop it up and break down the 2019 Running Back Rankings.

Lance Goodman

September 2019

#GoNFLEx

THE EXTRA POINTS FANTASY FOOTBALL SHOW

RUNNING BACK RANKINGS- 9/17/19

1. Dalvin Cook, MIN
2. Saquan Barkley, NYG
3. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
4. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
5. Austin Ekeler, LAC
6. Nick Chubb, CLE
7. Josh Jacobs, OAK
8. Todd Gurley, LAR
9. Alvin Kamara, NO
10. Derrick Henry, TEN
11. Aaron Jones, GB
12. Mark Ingram, BAL
13. David Johnson, ARI
14. S. Michel & J. White, NE
15. Chris Carson, SEA
16. Kerryon Johnson, DET
17. Marlon Mack, IND
18. Matt Brieda, SF-RBs
19. LeVeon Bell, NYJ
20. Carlos Hyde, HOU
21. Peyton Barber, TB
22. Leonard Fournette, JAC
23. DeVonta Freeman, ATL
24. David Montgomery, CHI
25.  Joe Mixon, CIN
26. James Conner, PIT
27. D. Williams & L. McCoy, KC
28. Tarik Cohen, CHI
29. P. Lindsay & R. Freeman, DEN
30. J. Howard & M. Sanders, PHI
31. A. Peterson & C. Thompson, WAS

Week 3 START/SIT: LISTEN NOW

It's great to see Dalvin Cook back healthy and with no limitations as he's had a strong start to the season, posting back to back 100 yard rushing games and validating his spot on my draft board as a Top 10 Fantasy Running Back. His 75-yard TD burst last week in Green Bay, showed exactly why he's a threat to take it the distance anytime he touches the football. Saquan Barkley has also shown and proved, as the only other Running Back to start the season with consecutive 100 yard rushing games. If the Giants had a real offense or Barkley was on a team with a real offense, his numbers would be off the charts but instead, his production likely will be hand cuffed to the limited opportunities he's presented. With that being said, he's always one missed tackle or slip up from taking it to the house. Christian McCaffery was up over 200 all-purpose yards and scored 2 touchdowns in Week 1, solidifying his spot as a Top 3 overall pick in this year's draft. I wouldn't worry about his lousy Week 2 performance and would blame it on fatigue, as it was on a short week, after the first game of the season. Ezekiel Elliott will just continue to get better and stronger as the season goes on. And if the Cowboys can continue to move the ball through the air, like we've seen in the first 2 weeks, more running lanes will open up and he'll be presented with more scoring opportunities. It's only been two weeks but Austin Ekeler has been the steal of this years fantasy draft so far. He was being selected somewhere between the 6th-8th Round in most leagues, yet he's produced at an elite clip. The threat of Melvin Gordon coming back looms and you wonder if Ekeler can continue at this pace but for the time being, he's a STUD and owners who have him are reaping the benefits. Nick Chubb is off to a fast start and validating his Top 10 Fantasy Running Back ranking on my Live Draft Board. He's explosive, can run between the tackles or bounce it outside. He's also got pretty good hands and should benefit from weekly red zone and goal line opportunities, once the offense gets in full swing. Rookie Josh Jacobs has looked really good early on. I wasn't too sure what to expect from him or the Raiders offense, especially after the departure of Antonio Brown but I now see that Jacobs is getting the full work load and as long as the Raiders can keep games relatively close, Jacobs will be involved and can be successful. Todd Gurley is still rounding back into form and his 25-30+ touch games may be over on a week to week basis but the Rams offense will consistently move the ball and Gurley will be in position to take advantage. I do also expect for his work load to pick up quite a bit, at some point in the season. Alvin Kamara is still a Top 5 Fantasy Running Back but the loss of Quarterback Drew Brees, had a trickle down effect on Kamara and his potential ceiling of production. He'll still be heavily involved and relied on, so volume or usage shouldn't be an issue, you just wonder if the Saints will be able to convert 3rd downs and sustain drives without Brees under center. It's a huge relief for fantasy owners to see Derrick Henry as the featured Back for the Titans offense. After a dismal and forgettable start to last season, Henry has looked good thus far, touching pay dirt 3 times and posting 80+ rushing yards in the first two games. If the Titans can ever get a consistent passing game going, there's still room for his numbers to improve. #FreeAaronJones was the cry that came from my good friend Greg LaFortune during Fantasy Football Training Camp and I quickly jumped on board and started a petition. And for good reason, as Mr. Slippery put on a big time Week 2 performance and took a firm hold of his spot as the leader in the Packers backfield. Now if he can just stay healthy, he's in line for the breakout year we've all been waiting for. Mark Ingram is one of this years great value picks through the first few weeks of the season. With the progress of second year Quarterback Lamar Jackson, leading a spread offense, Ingram has a lot of opportunity to shine, using his physical running style to set the tone early or finish strong late. Owners are just hoping that Jackson doesn't vulture too may Touchdowns away from Ingram. The verdict on David Johnson being a Top 5-10 Fantasy Running Back is still out (Ranked # on my Live Draft Board) but one thing's for sure, he's in a much better situation than he was last year. The Cardinals still are having trouble running the football but Johnson usage in the passing game is up by like 200% from last year at this time, which should help his numbers stay consistent on a weekly basis. Sony Michel and James White both have value but are like Siamese twins, as their production is truly linked together. Every once in a while, you'll see both of them have a big game in the same week but it's usually one or the other based on match up, so choose wisely. Chris Carson hasn't had a big game on the ground yet but has had 15+ carries in both games this year, including a couple TD rushes in Week 1. As long as he's getting fed on a regular basis, it's just a matter of time before he begins to churn out some big games. However, it is worth noting that back up Rashad Penny is lingering in the back ground if Carson can't get the job done. Kerryon Johnson hasn't had huge numbers thus far and he may not have a lot of huge games this season but that may be in large part because of the Lions offensive line. With that being said, there’s a lot of upside because he's going to see a consistent diet of weekly touches, which will yield some modest games but also produce a good amount of double digit games, which is what you expect based on where he was drafted. Marlon Mack is another Running Back who is yielding excellent value right now. He's not going to have huge games like his 174 yard rushing performance in Week 1 but the Colts have a strong offensive line and are looking to run the football to take pressure off new starter Jacoby Brissett, so from a volume and game plan stand point, Mack is a focal point and can stay involved throughout most games, if the Colts defense can keep games close. Matt Breida was supposed to take over the lead role in San Francisco when co-starter Tevin Coleman went down with an injury, however the 49ers went full blown committee, using 3 Running Backs in Week 2. Breida obviously has talent, as evidenced by his 121 rushing yards on 11 carries last Week but the 49ers want to use a committee approach, with Breida as the starter but his time share is a potential problem. LeVeon Bell is one of the most talented and versatile Running Backs in the NFL but his situation is ugly right now. The Jets already had a suspect group of skill position players besides Bell but the plan was for second year Quarterback Sam Darnoldson and new Head Coach Adam Gase to make the offense good enough for Bell to flourish. Right now, Gase is already losing trust with team leaders and Darnoldson is out with Mono, leaving Bell as every defenses primary focus with a 3rd string Quarterback starting until Darnoldson returns. Carlos Hyde has taken over sole possession of the Texans backfield in terms of running the football, which bolds well for him, since Houston can move the ball and sustain drives. He doesn't have PPR value, so he really needs to score touchdowns in order to have big days but he was a late round draft pick or waiver wire pick up, so he has good value for the spot on your roster. Peyton Barber is a player who is hard to trust because Tampa has struggled for the longest to manufacture a strong running game and his Quarterback Jameis Winston is known for running an inefficient offense. So like last year, Barber's biggest asset right now, is that he gets the lion share of work which has its benefits in the right match ups and that is not always easy to figure out. Things don't look too promising for Leonard Fournette right now. Even with Nick Foles at Quarterback, I'm not sure how Fournette would fare. The Jags offense lacks elite play makers in the passing game, so it doesn't produce a lot of huge chunk plays downfield and there's a Rookie Quarterback starting, so there's going to be bumps in the road. Without much PPR value, if Fournette can't get in the end zone enough, he's on track for another disappointing year. DeVonta Freeman needs a big yardage game or to get in the end zone before owners start getting impatient. He's the lead Back on an offense that can definitely move the ball, so there's really no excuse for his production not to increase soon, as in this week! We've seen how good he can be in the past but it's been a few years since he's produced at that clip, so he needs to get things rolling in order to validate his live draft ranking and what is expected from him. David Montgomery was being drafted a bit too high for me in live drafts this year and that was mostly due to owners drafting according to his ranking on whatever website platform they were drafting on. The Bears offense is trying to do a lot at once, so without PPR value, his numbers may be all over the place but if the Bears commit to the run and feed him in the range of 20+ times per game, what we seen last week in Denver is likely what to expect, which is around 70 yards and a TD. The Bengals offensive line continues to struggle with run blocking and it's gotten Joe Mixon's season off to a flaky and forgetful start. He also tweaked his ankle in Week 1. Mixon has the talent but it's not been reflected thus far and a trip to Buffalo this week, doesn't seem like an ideal situation for him to turn it around. Let's see what it takes to get him on track. James Conner finds himself in a real interesting situation. In Week 1, Pittsburgh fell behind early and abandoned the run. Last week, if it wasn’t for a goal line touchdown, he would have been a dud. To make matters worse, he has a minor knee issue to deal with and starting Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is gone for the year, which could be bad... or good for Conner, if the Steelers lean more on the run and Conner can get things going. Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy are in a time share and it looks like that will be the case all year. I still feel there's enough room for both guys to eat but the Chiefs offense has so many weapons and whichever Running Back is able to score a touchdown each week, will likely have the better scoring output reducing both players to flex plays heading into Week 3, unless Williams (knee) doesn't play. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are stuck in a committee as well. Both are seeing about the same amount of carries with Freeman first in line for goal line work and Lindsay being used more in the passing game, making both guys flex plays at the moment. Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are also in a timeshare and it's an ugly one, with the Eagles being ineffective running the football so far. Philadelphia will be without its top 2 Wide Receivers this week, so maybe they go more run heavy and one of the two can have a good game but Running Back committees like these are usually situations owners tend to stay away from. The same holds true for the Redskins. Adrian Peterson will handle the early down work and goal line carries, while Chris Thompson handles all other work, making both players flex options as well. 

WEEK 3 Top Waiver Pick Ups

Raheem Mostert, RB-SF

Jeff Wilson Jr. RB-SF

Carlos Hyde, HOU  

Frank Gore, RB-BUF  

Adrian Peterson, RB-WAS

Chris Thompson, RB-WAS

Darwin Thompson, RB-KC

Justin Jackson, RB-LAC

Rashad Penny, RB-SEA

Jamal Williams, RB-GB