05 Aug “Stromme a Better Way,” Top 50 Fantasy Football Running Backs
- David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
- Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
- Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
- Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
- Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys
I fully expect all of these guys to be gone by pick 16, and for good reason. David Johnson is everything you want in a fantasy running back: job security, three-down ability, pass-catching, speed, size, opportunity, explosiveness, big-play ability and he plays in a high-scoring offense. Johnson could get to 2,000+ all-purpose yards with double-digit touchdowns… Despite his age, Adrian Peterson is the safest pick amongst the top running backs. He’s a lock for 1,000+ yards and in his career, he has NEVER had a season without double-digit touchdowns. He also has a much-improved offensive line ahead of him… Even coming off a torn ACL and a possible suspension looming, I’m a believer in Le’Veon Bell’s talent. If it weren’t for the baggage, he would be my number one… Todd Gurley has all the talent of a young Adrian Peterson, Peterson even said it himself. He ran for 229/1,106/10 with nothing but stacked boxes due to poor QB production. The number one pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff, should alleviate those fronts more than Case Keenum and Nick Foles ever could… 1,634 and 14 all-purpose yards and touchdowns from Devonta Freeman in 2015, is it a stretch to predict 1,750 and 15? I don’t think so… Jamaal Charles is going on 30 and coming off (another) ACL. The drop-off for Charles is coming, just not in 2016. He’ll be fine… Ezekiel Elliot is an incredibly talented rookie running back in an almost too-good-to-be-true situation. But, he’s just that, a rookie. I still want to see what I’m buying before I buy it, the first two rounds are not for gambles.
8) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9) LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
10) Matt Forte, New York Jets
11) Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
12) Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
13) Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
14) Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
15) Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
16) DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
17) Eddy Lacy, Green Bay Packers
18) C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
Your low-end RB1/high-end RB2 ladies and gentleman. Doug Martin probably won’t surpass 1,400 yards again, but 1,000+ with 6 scores seems obtainable, doesn’t it? I believe so… The Bills and the Panthers are the only true run-first offenses in the NFL. By run-first, I mean they both had over 50% of their plays called on the ground. The counting stats will be there… Just like his teammate Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte will make the Bears regret another front office decision regarding a dependable offensive weapon… Lamar Miller is the clear number one back in Houston, however he was just that for the Dolphins in 2015. Don’t pay for the change in scenery…With all due respect to Torrey Smith, Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick and Vance McDonald, Carlos Hyde is the Niners’ offense in 2016. He should see horrendously stacked boxes all season, but sheer volume alone should get him enough counting stats to make him a solid RB2… Not worried about DeMarco Murray in 2016 as many as others. Not a Derrick Henry believer. The change of scenery will do him good… I buy the offseason weight loss, I buy his commitment to conditioning and I buy that we’ll see a different Eddy Lacy than the one that showed up in 2015. I just don’t buy that he’ll be a three-down back until the second half… Kubiak rode Anderson in the second half and all through the playoffs. Devontae Booker profiles more as a 3rd down back and Ronnie Hillman’s roster spot is reportedly anything but safe. There’s a reason why the Broncos matched Miami’s offer sheet this offseason.
19) Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles
20) Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
21) Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
22) Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
Mathews and Rawls are talented backs, have no real threat to their jobs, but are injury question marks… Ingram has the opportunity and plays in an offense that lights up the scoreboard. But he’s just so damn inconsistent on a week-to-week basis… Frank Gore is a billion years old, but it appears that the job is his for three-downs. Fantasy prognosticators have been predicting his demise since 2012, could 2016 be the year he falls of the cliff?
23) Gio Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
24) Charlie Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Your premium passing-down running backs. These types typically sneak into 1,000 all-purpose yards. Low-key picks in standard leagues, PPR gold.
25) Matt Jones, Washington Redskins
26) Arian Foster, Miami Dolphins
27) Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
28) Rashad Jennings, New York Giants
All four backs have paths to three-down work, but something just smells fishy to me… Whether it’s age or ball security (in Jones’ case), something just seems off about theses backs. That being said, great draft day values. Those who look to deploy a zero-running back strategy, these are the types of backs to target.
29) Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
30) Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
31) LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
32) Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers
The only thing keeping Woodhead out of tier four is his between-the-tackles ability. He ended up with 1,000+ all-purpose yards, but only 336 rushing. The Chargers probably won’t throw nearly as much as they did in 2015, but will still be pass-first, Woodhead will have PPR value… Lewis and Blount are, to me, the poor-man’s Bernard and Hill. Only thing holding them back, for me, is the injuries that ended both of their seasons last year… Melvin Gordon’s a post-hype “sleeper” if I’ve ever seen one. Should be a steal on draft day given how many fantasy owners got burned by him in 2015.
33) Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars
34) Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
35) Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
36) Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
37) Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
38) T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
39) Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears
40) Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
41) James Starks, Green Bay Packers
42) Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills
This tier for the most part, has split-backfields. Ivory/Yeldon appears to be a 55-45 split in favour of Ivory, who looks to get the goal-line work… Crowell is the goal-line guy, whereas Duke Johnson will get passing-down work. However, Johnson has the talent to possibly take the job outright… The Detroit backfield very much resembles the San Diego one, very similar situation with Riddick playing the role of Woodhead… John Fox has always been one for RBBCs in his career (DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart, C.J. Anderson/Ronnie Hillman/Knowshon Moreno). This year’s going to be no different now that Forte is out, and a between-the-tackles runner in Jordan Howard has been added. Look for him to steal goal line work… Like I mentioned earlier, Starks could cut into Lacy’s carries early on, but that should taper off as the season progresses and the weather gets colder… Despite the four-game suspension, I am a believer in Karlos Williams’ talent. Nine total touchdowns in his rookie year, he’ll factor into the Bills’ offense at some point in the season.
43) DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers
44) Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
45) Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
46) Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys
47) Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs
49) Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
50) Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina Panthers
These eight backs are your PREMIUM handcuffs. All of which are one injury away from becoming instantly RB1/RB2s; a torn ACL away from making a huge fantasy impact. Williams, Coleman and Johnson may also see 7-10 carries per game even while being second on the depth chart.