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The NFL is officially back in our lives and this season should be nothing short of spectacular. Over the Next few weeks I will be releasing Top 10 lists for each position from a season long fantasy league perspective. I will also add DFS commentary wherever applicable. As a general rule, I like to take stands against the general consensus Top 10’s around the industry because the NFL is the most unpredictable sport and rarely do the preseason projections match the final results. If I am bullish on a particular player I have no problem reaching for that guy over the consensus ADP’s to get the guys I want. I plan to update these articles leading up to opening day as there will be injuries, guys holding out, and role changes throughout the preseason that impact the rankings.
Top 10 Running Backs
1. Christian McCaffrey
It is super close between Saquan and C-Mac, but ultimately I will side with the better O-line and better overall team. C-Mac should push for 1000 yards rushing and 1000 yards receiving this season. With Cam Newton getting older and dealing with injuries I think he will run less and rely on C-Mac that much more this season.
2. Saquan Barkley
Saquan had a ridiculous rookie season and with ODB gone and Sterling Shepard dealing with injuries already, his Market Share should increase this season. Like McCaffrey, he has a shot at 1000 Rushing and Receiving this year. His elusiveness and yards after contact numbers are off the charts as well.
3. James Connor
Some might say this is a bold stance, but the more I research Connor the more I like him. Last Season he started 12 games and still finished 6th in yards from scrimmage among RB’s. The Steelers also lost Antonio Brown opening up around 20% market share to spread out between Ju-Ju, Connor, and Co. The Steelers rushing system has been one of the most reliable over the last decade, and Connor should improve upon his 2018 numbers especially if he can stay healthy and play in all 16 games.
4. Alvin Kamara
If Kamara had the market share of the guys above he would be my clear #1 choice. Unfortunately, the Saints are very protective with him and rarely get him over 20 touches per game. Even with the smaller workload, Kamara was second to only Zeke in Touch Downs last season and should get 200 carries and 100 receptions this season, making him one of the best options on the board.
5. Ezekiel Elliott
Zeke was the hardest person to rank for me. If his hold out ends before the regular season he would likely jump to the top of this list based on his market share, TD equity, Offensive line, and past years production. However, my gut instinct on this situation is that he will end up missing some games and potentially start slow getting into game shape later then normal. Missing with your first pick can be catastrophic and we saw with Leveon Bell last year how bad these situations can get. Until the holdout is officially over, I will not be taking Zeke with a first round pick. I do think that if the Cowboys have a bad start like 0-2 or 1-3, Jerry Jones will open up the check book and get Zeke back on the field.
6. Nick Chubb
Shout out to Patio Joe for making me realize how good Chubb actually was last season. Looking at the numbers doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of his production last year. Chubb played in all 16 games, but it wasn’t until Hue Jackson was fired and Carlos Hyde was traded that Chubb took over the lead role in week 7. From that point he was 6th in rushing yards and led the NFL in Forced Missed Tackles and Yards after Contact. The cons on Chubb are Kareem Hunt looming but not until week 10, and Duke Johnson owning third down. Kareem Hunt is out too long to fade Chubb who will likely remain the starter and own the goal line carries regardless. As for Duke Johnson his role was clearly diminished when Freddie Kitchens took over going from 30% snap share to under 20% and could be traded before the season is out as Hunt’s return approaches.
7. Le’Veon Bell
Outside of Zeke, Leveon Bell was the next hardest ranking for me. Before missing last season he was far and away the best and most consistent RB of the last 5 years. Watching Leveon Bell you can easily see how special a talent he really is. No other running back has the patience and vision of Leveon Bell. His ability to stop and start and change directions and get back to top speed are the best I have seen since Barry Sanders. The question marks are how do moving to the Jets system from Pittsburgh affect his production, and what will his market share and pass game involvement look like. My expectation is he will exceed most fantasy pundits projections and find himself in the top 5 ADP in 2020.
8. Leonard Fournette
This is a pivotal season for Leonard Fournette who could not stay on the field last season. Looking at his numbers for last season and 2017 you will find a guy who when healthy will surpass 300 touches, 1500 yards and score somewhere between 12-18 touch downs. He is a major risk reward play that I have confidence can exceed all expectations this season. I also read into the Jaguars decision to let go of TJ Yeldon and Carlos Hyde as signs that they feel the same way.
9. Marlon Mack
Marlon Mack is a stud Running Back in an explosive offense that I am very bullish on. He started last season dealing with a hamstring injury and only played in really 10 regular season games. In those 10 games he was just under 1000 yards and scored 10 TD’s. That projects to 1500 yds and 15+ touch downs if he can stay healthy which he does not have any prior injury history prior to the hamstring issue last year. You will hear people in the industry say he wont see the field when the Colts are trailing and his lack of pass game involvement as reasons to fade Mack. To those people I would point to the the two playoff games the colts played last season where Mack out snapped and out targeted Hynes in passing downs. I would also point to the fact that the Colts were undefeated last year in games where Mack had a 40% or better snap rate. I believe his role will expand in the pass game this year and he will challenge for a top 5 spot among running backs.
10. Joe Mixon
Mixon averaged 20 touches per game last season over 13 total games for 1500 Scrimmage yards and 9 TD’s. We now know that AJ Green will miss significant time and should lead to larger market share for Mixon. If you get a full 16 games out of Mixon he should push for 1800 yds and 12 TD’s.
Melvin Gordon (Hold Out/Trade Demand concerns)
Todd Gurley (injury Concerns)