Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Edited by Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
These rankings are based on consensus rankings between myself and Eric. Below is a table of our full rankings. In this article, I only talk about a few players; to hear our full analysis on every RB 1-36, listen to the Running Back Rankings Part 1 (1-18) or Running Back Rankings Part 2 (19-36) on our Podcast; Top2Pod.
- Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley’s breakout 2017 season gives him the nod to win a very competitive RB1 designation, to start the offseason. Gurley proved to be effective in both the rushing game (1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns) and the passing game (788 yards and 6 touchdowns).
- Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell’s ranking is justified by his consistency; he finished as RB2 in 2017, and RB3 in 2016. Bell totaled just 11 touchdowns in 2017 but made up for it with 1,946 total yards. Bell’s ranking is likely to fluctuate throughout the offseason, as his contract discussions progress (or don’t) with Pittsburgh.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Zeke finished as RB 10 in 2016, despite playing just 10 games. He rushed for 98.3 yards/game and still has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to rush behind. If Zeke avoids more off the field issues, it will be hard for Zeke owners to avoid fantasy championships.
- David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson missed all of 2017, with an upper body injury sustained in the first game of the season. He had an extremely explosive 2016 season; totaling 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns; including 879 receiving yards on 80 receptions for 4 touchdowns. Johnson’s stock will be impacted by how the Cardinals fill their quarterback void.
- Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Hunt gets the early nod as the best sophomore RB for the 2018 season. Hunt finished as RB3 in 2017; finishing out a roller coaster season with 1,782 total yards and 11 touchdowns. Hunt relied on producing in the passing game; catching 53 passes for 455 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
- Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
- Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Cook showed flashes of greatness before having his season cut short by a devastating knee injury. Cook owners should be very excited for 2018; but proceed with caution because we still don’t know exactly what we’re getting.
- LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
- Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
Howard is currently being disrespected in mock drafts. 2017 demonstrated his floor; as saw the end zone just 9 times on a horrific Bears offense. With the addition of Nagy, the Bears should see a jolt of production and Howard stems to benefit the most from it.
- Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
- Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins
- Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
- Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
- CJ Anderson, Denver Broncos
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Henry spent much of 2017 on the bench; but Henry truthers got to see their star late in the season. He had huge games in the playoffs; but has limited upside until we see what he can do as the regular starter.
- Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
Lewis exploded during the second half of the 2017 season. This makes him one of the most attractive free agent running backs. Where he lands will greatly affect his value; he lands at 19 for us; assuming he ends up back in New England.
- Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
- Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
Ajayi disappointed in 2017, but his season was plagued by coaching disputes in Miami and a mid-season trade to the Eagles. If the Eagles scheme Ajayi into the lead back role this 24 year old deserves, he could end up much higher than 21 come season’s beginning.
- Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
- Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
- Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller is consistently talked down by fantasy players; but it’s not justified. Miller finished as RB 19 in 2016 and RB 13 in 2017. With a full season of Watson, predicting Miller to finish 24th is borderline disrespectful; even though we have him higher than most.
- Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
- Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns
- Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
- Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
Coleman is due to hit the Free Agency market it 2019; making this season critical to the future of his career. What’s also possible (discussed in detail on the podcast) is that Coleman gets traded during this year’s draft. He’s a great piece that deserves to be a starter, and will demand that money from Atlanta if they choose to hold onto him.
- Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Surprised to see Mixon this low? Most are but his current ranking reflects where he finished in 2017 (RB 28) and his dismal 3.5 yards/carry. His inability to produce with the ball outweighs his hyped potential, for now.
- Jamaal Williams , Green Bay Packers
- Bilal Powell, New York Jets
- Orleans Darkwa , New York Giants
- DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
DeMarco was a shell of his former self in 2017. He makes for a great buy-low candidate; depending on where he ends up because we don’t expect him to be back in Tennessee in 2018.
- Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
- Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings