Featured Image by: Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo
Written by Sam Gubner
With the fantasy season fast approaching, you are in desperate need of finding out what running back will lead you to a championship this year. This list will show you which running backs you should prioritize in your fantasy drafts.
1. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
With his speed and power, Gurley is by far the most explosive running back in the fantasy football league. Gurley did suffer a torn ACL in his last of Georgia, but worked his way back and became one of the elite ball carriers in the league rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. Even though there is an injury issue, if Gurley stays healthy he is the best running backs the National Football League.
2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson is as safe of a bet as it gets. There has only been two years where Peterson didn’t rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns with one of them including a severe groin injury that ended his entire season. Peterson in 2016 will be rushing behind the seventh best run blocking offensive line, and a team in the Vikings that has little to no passing game. Expect Peterson to continue his reign of dominance.
3. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
The only other player who has a track record comparable to Peterson’s is the Chief’s Jamaal Charles. The only difference is Charles has suffered multiple knee injuries and could have another one at any given moment. But when healthy Charles has always been a no-doubt top five running back, so I would take the risk and pick Charles.
4. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
David Johnson came from a running back at Northern Iowa to a superstar on the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson’s immense talent and size gives him the ability to shrug off defenders and go on large runs like the recently retired Marshawn Lynch. Johnson also is running behind the fourth best run blocking offensive line in football that even Chris Johnson did good in so look out.
5. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys
Elliot was by far the best offensive player in the NFL draft. His speed and decision making have made him among one of the best college football running backs of all time at Ohio State. The team he was drafted by, the Dallas Cowboys, raised his fantasy stock exponentially because they are best offensive line in football. With the team he is on and his talent, expect Elliot to have a DeMarco Murray type season.
6. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell could end up ranking much higher than sixth at the end of the season with his immense talent, but it is unlikely. Bell is behind the 23rd best run blocking line in football and has had been injury prone his entire career. Out of three seasons Bell has played, only one of them ended without a severe injury. If Bell finds a way to stay healthy he will be one of the elite ball carriers in the league.
7. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
After being very quiet his first year, Devonta Freeman came out of nowhere to being the best running back in fantasy football last year. Despite his small frame, Freeman has the speed and agility to stay among the fantasy elites this year. Not to mention he is running behind the 8th best run blocking offensive line in football.
8. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
Last year was a down season for LeSean McCoy, with “Shady” only rushing for 895 yards and three touchdowns. But McCoy’s talent and speed is hard to ignore. So even with this, I believe with McCoy now having a year to get comfortable with the new system, will rejoin the fantasy elites this season.
9. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans
Lamar Miller was the fifth best running back in fantasy last year and deservedly so. Even in the worst offensive line in football, Miller managed to average 4.5 yards per carry and finish the season with 1,269 yards and 1o touchdowns from scrimmage. Now after signing with the Houston Texans who are known for giving their running backs lots of carries, Miller will be in an offense where he can improve on last year’s numbers.
10. Mark Ingram
Ingram proved all the skeptics wrong last year, being sixth among running backs in fantasy points before suffering a season ending shoulder injury in Week 14. Ingram’s speed and ability to run through defenders has made him a high-end RB1 in fantasy football. Behind the second best offensive line in football, Ingram is in for big 2016 campaign.
Other Notable Running Backs:
Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks
Mat Forte – New York Jets
Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders
Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals
Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions