To quote Anakin Skywalker, this is where the fun begins. While QB rankings are fine and dandy, the fantasy community cares most about the running backs. My rankings are obviously subject to change and I even feel as if some people should already be moving up or down. However, I feel comfortable enough where everyone is enough to put it out into the fantasy world. Just like my QB ranks, the RB ranks will be split into 7 tiers and the players will be ranked according order they are revealed. So in this case, Ezekiel Elliott would be my RB1 and so on and so forth. So here are my Re-Draft PPR rankings for 2018.
Tier 1: Ezekiel Elliott (1), Todd Gurley (2), Le’Veon Bell (3) and David Johnson (4)
Here are the ELITE guys. If you get pick 1, 2, 3 or 4 in a re-draft league then congrats, you have the option to take one of the top guys at running back if you so please. On top of that, these 4 guys are interchangeable to be honest. They all are so close to each other that any one of them could be the RB1 this season. I won’t spend too much time on these guys because I feel as if everyone knows what they’ll be getting with these 4.
Tier 2: Alvin Kamara (5), Saquon Barkley (6), Kareem Hunt (7), Melvin Gordon (8), Dalvin Cook (9) and Leonard Fournette (10)
My most perplexing argument that I have heard this offseason is that Alvin Kamara can’t handle a full workload… what? Are you serious? This guy is a FREAK. He already is one of, if not THE, top receiving back in the league, which matters because these are PPR rankngs. He also averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season on 120 carries and added 8 rushing touchdowns to his 5 receiving touchdowns. Kamara is the real deal and he will absolutely NOT fall off in that offense. Barkley I’m ok with if you want to take him in the first round. His ADP is currently 1.07 and that’s about where Zeke was going in his rookie year. I doubt Barkley runs for 1,600 yards this year but I definitely think he’s an easy RB1 this season. Fournette worries me because dating back to college he has always been dinged up. I don’t doubt the talent, I just doubt the durability and that’s enough to scare me when talking about first round picks. I expect Hunt, Gordon and Cook to all have very good seasons. They are the alpha dogs in their respective offenses.
Tier 3: Jordan Howard (11), Christian McCaffrey (12), LeSean McCoy (13), Sony Michel (14), Derrius Guice (15) and Devonta Freeman (16)
I’ll be the first to tell you that McCaffrey is not an in between the tackles runner. He will never be that at the NFL level. The fact that a lot of people around the community think he will jut evolve into that this season is dumbfounding to me ESPECIALLY with CJ Anderson in town. Howard is a phenomenal talent who produced in his first 2 seasons in an awful offense. Enter Matt Nagy and I am now a firm believer in Jordan Howard. LeSean is at 13 out of respect for his talent and body of work but let me tell you, I don’t want any part of that Buffalo offense. As for the two rookies, I expect New England to realize that Sony Michel is the best running back they have by week 4 and maybe earlier than that. The fumbles are worrisome but until they happen, I am willing to give Sony and Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears the benefit of the doubt. I think Guice will have a serious chip on his shoulder. He’s THE guy in Washington and I expect him to prove why he shouldn’t have fallen so far in the Draft. Freeman worries me because of the injuries. A RB with his punishing style and concussion history is enough to scare me away.
Tier 4: Jerrick McKinnon (17), Kenyan Drake (18), Derrick Henry (19), Dion Lewis (20) and Alex Collins (21)
Take what I said about Christian McCaffrey and apply it to Jerrick McKinnon. I am not going anywhere near McKinnon and his ADP of 2.09. No thank you to a guy who averaged 3.8 and 3.4 yards per carry the past 2 seasons and that was with a better offensive line than he has right now in San Francisco. I have him this high because I believe in Jimmy G, I believe in Kyle Shanahan and I still think McKinnon’s receiving ability is enough to warrant RB2 territory. Nothing against Kalen Ballage but Kenyan Drake is the real deal and is not relinquishing that job in Miami. He is a VERY good running back and should be given 16 games and a full workload. Believe in Kenyan Drake. Henry and Lewis are tough calls but I fully believe Dion Lewis is the better back. They will make a great real life running back duo but not a great fantasy running back duo. If the Ravens don’t give Alex Collins 16 games as the starting running back then John Harbaugh should be fired and ashamed. Collins was incredible last season when he was finally given a true opportunity to produce.
Tier 5: Royce Freeman (22), Rashaad Penny (23), Jay Ajayi (24), Ronald Jones II (25), Mark Ingram (26), Duke Johnson Jr. (27), Lamar Miller (28) and CJ Anderson (29)
Denver shouldn’t get cute with their running back situation. Booker is not the answer and Freeman should just be given as many reps with the top offense as possible. I think because of a lack of weapons at the receiver and tight end position, Rashaad Penny has a good chance to be the top option in Seattle and maybe number 2 at the worst due to Doug Baldwin’s presence. Ajayi being in an offense as good as Philly makes me believe he will produce as long as he stays healthy. I’m a little bullish on the Bucs offense as a whole but I do really like Ronald Jones II. The uncertainty at QB plus the coaching is what scares me in his case. Duke Johnson is a slam-dunk pick at his ADP of 8.07. I would take that production all day even with Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde in town. I have no faith in Lamar Miller and the only argument I have been hearing in favor of Miller is that he will be the starter. Sure, the offense is good but the Texans’ offensive line is just that, offensive. I can’t buy into Miller because even with Deshaun Watson playing, he still didn’t perform well. That combined with his ADP means I’m avoiding him. CJ Anderson should be higher in my rankings; I will flat out admit that. I think the split in Carolina is going to be a lot closer than people think and CJ isn’t even remotely close to finished at age 26.
Tier 6: Isaiah Crowell (30), Tevin Coleman (31), Joe Mixon (32), Marshawn Lynch (33) and LeGarrette Blount (34)
I’m going to use the Lamar Miller argument that people are using for Isaiah Crowell here. He is the starter on an offense and his ADP warrants some good value. I’m lower on Coleman than I have been in the past but I really hope Atlanta realizes that Coleman is leaving after this season and they decide to utilize him as much as possible knowing he’ll be elsewhere in 2019. I am floored by how many people are picking Joe Mixon early in fantasy drafts. What on earth were you watching last season and are 2 new offensive lineman in Cincy really enough of a difference for you to think otherwise? I don’t get it at all and I’m not touching Mixon with a ten-foot pole as long as he is under the terrible watchful eye of Marvin Lewis and the Bungles. Lynch actually had a better year than I thought last season. With a revamped offense and new system in place, he might be worth the risk in the late 7th round where he’s currently going. Blount should start out as the lead back in Detroit but I really do wonder how long it will take Kerryon Johnson to surpass him. I think Johnson will end up being the starter by the end of the season; it just depends on when he takes over to decide if he’s worth the roster spot.
Tier 7: Rex Burkhead (35), Tarik Cohen (36) and Aaron Jones (37)
Ok so I feel as if a lot of people view Burkhead as a possible dark horse to be the lead back in New England. I think they have it all wrong. Burkhead is a wide receiver who is listed as a running back. He is more of a receiving threat that can actually run in between the tackles every now and then. He is by no means a lead back. Cohen is being a little overhyped for a couple decent games last season. I think he’s a talented player but I have no idea why he is going ahead of guys like CJ Anderson, Marshawn Lynch and Isaiah Crowell. Aaron Jones is the most talented running back in Green Bay. Yes I mean RUNNING BACK not offensive player (looking at you Ty Montgomery).
Tier 8: Marlon Mack (38), James White (39) and Latavius Murray (40)
The jury is still out on Marlon Mack but the limited sample we saw last year was promising. If Luck returns to form then his job will be a lot easier plus the addition of Quenton Nelson is going to be huge for the Indy running game. I still expect James White to be relevant in PPR formats and he will remain the go-to pass catching back in New England. I expect Dalvin Cook to be managed a bit early on so Murray still retains some value.