Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

2018 NFL Draft Prospects - Running Back Tiered Rankings


Earlier, I began my tiered analysis of prospective NFL rookies with a look at the quarterback draft class. In this space, I will break down each tier of my rookie rankings by position, continuing with running backs.

With a class a deep as this, tier breakdowns are critical for identifying value in dynasty drafts. But they're also incredibly challenging once you get beyond the first tier because the talent levels of RB5 through 16 is higher than most years.

Running back rankings, specifically, are likely to change because of the NFL Combine results. For the time being, they should give dynasty owners a sense of what to look for in upcoming rookie drafts.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Pre-Combine Rookie RB Rankings

RANK TIER NAME SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT
1 1 SAQUON BARKLEY PENN ST 5'11" 223
2 2 DERRIUS GUICE LSU 5'11" 212
3 2 NICK CHUBB GEORGIA 5'10" 228
4 2 RASHAAD PENNY SAN DIEGO ST 5'11" 220
5 2 SONY MICHEL GEORGIA 5'11" 222
6 3 RONALD JONES II USC 6'1" 195
7 3 ROYCE FREEMAN OREGON 5'11" 231
8 3 JOSH ADAMS NOTRE DAME 6'2" 225
9 3 KERRYON JOHNSON AUBURN 6'0" 212
10 4 AKRUM WADLEY IOWA 5'11" 195
11 4 JARVION FRANKLIN WESTERN MICH 6'0" 225
12 4 JUSTIN JACKSON NORTHWESTERN 5'11" 200
13 4 KALEN BALLAGE ARIZONA ST 6'2" 227
14 5 MARK WALTON MIAMI 5'9" 205
15 5 ITO SMITH SOUTHERN MISS 5'9" 195
16 5 JOHN KELLY TENNESSEE 5'9" 205
17 5 CHASE EDMONDS FORDHAM 5'8" 203
18 5 PHILLIP LINDSAY COLORADO 5'8" 190
19 6 BO SCARBOROUGH BAMA 6'2" 232
20 6 NYHEIM HINES UNC 5'9" 197
21 6 RALPH WEBB VANDERBILT 5'10" 202
22 6 D'ANGELO BREWER TULSA 5'9" 190
23 6 RYAN NALL OREGON ST 6'2" 237
24 6 KAMRYN PETTWAY AUBURN 6'0" 235
25 6 MARTEZ CARTER GRAMBLING ST 5'6" 204

 

Tier 1

There isn't much that needs to be said about Saquon Barkley. He's currently projected as a top-10 NFL draft pick and is coming off of a season with over 1,900 yards from scrimmage. But for a little extra security, he demonstrated strong receiving capabilities by averaging more than four receptions per game.

The only knock on Barkley is potential concerns with his 40 time since he ran a 4.63 at the high school combine, but reports from Penn State are that he has significantly improved that time.

Tier 2

Rashaad Penny is arguably the most underrated RB prospect in the class. Penny led the nation in rushing yards while averaging more than seven yards per carry on 289 carries.  In addition to being a huge contributor in the running game, Penny added more than one reception per game and returned kickoffs for an average over 30 yards per attempt.

Sony Michel has the chance to be a great RB so there isn't a ton to nitpick, but his best seasons were when he was utilized in an ancillary role rather than his one season as the lead. And while he blew up for 16 TD in his final season, he didn't contribute at the highest level any year prior. He's still among the best offensive prospects, but concerns about his ideal usage put him at the bottom of my tier two rather than top three in the class, as many see him.

Tier 3

Royce Freeman has three seasons with workhorse usage and two seasons with two receptions per game. He has two seasons over six yards per carry and his career average is nearly six yards per carry. To top it off, Freeman left no doubt about his ability to score by amassing 64 career TD.

Josh Adams only had one productive season, but he's frequently lumped in with the top RBs in the class. And while that final season was impressive with high efficiency and some usage in the passing game, he only showed that for one season which isn't the case for all of the other backs in this class.

Tier 4

Justin Jackson was a prospect that I didn't get to preview because his draft stock is currently projected low, but he's had a highly productive career and was used as a workhorse. Jackson had four seasons over 1,000 yards rushing and averaged more than two receptions per game for his career.

Ballage played well at the Senior Bowl, but generally under produced during his college career.  He never had a workhorse RB season with more than 200 carries and, while he was effective in the passing game, he only average two receptions per game. Had he been more of a workhorse this would be plenty, but he wasn't used enough to promote himself as a great receiver to alleviate all usage concerns. There is a chance that Ballage climbs up my tiers post-combine, but, for now, he's a lower-level tier four back.

Tier 5

Chase Edmonds is a highly productive small school RB. He started off his career with three seasons over 200 carries with each of them over six yards per carry. He dealt with injuries for his final season and suffered an ankle injury during the Shrine Game practices so potential for future injuries are a real concern. If he'd been completely healthy, Edmonds would likely be in tier four, but he's an ideal late round flier.

I'm almost certain that I'm the lowest on John Kelly among all dynasty players. He appears to have a quality skill set, but he usage and production is unimpressive. He averaged only 4.8 yards per carry and never topped 200 carries. In my preview, I identified him as a mid-to-late second round pick, but I'd avoid him until the late third based on the currently available data.

Tier 6

Ralph Webb is an unheralded prospect from a school not typically known for football, but he spent four years being a workhorse. Three of his four seasons featured him receiving over 200 carries and the other season, he finished with 192. His efficiency leaves much to be desired as he's never eclipsed six yards per carry for a season, but he also had double digit TDs for his final two seasons. He's not worth a draft pick, but if he's picked up to a thin depth chart, he could be a priority waiver add.

A RB from Alabama is not typically seen as a low-level prospect, but Bo Scarborough hasn't proven that he's an NFL-caliber RB and his draft stock plummeted this season.

 

More 2018 Dynasty League Strategy


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




More Recent Articles

 

Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

This could be the most exciting installment of waiver wire adds in a while. Not that any of these choices are necessarily league-winners but at least we have a bunch of new names to ponder. Bye weeks are nearly over but this one will be particularly tough with the high-scoring Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers, and Cardinals... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 12 Lightning Round

We're onto Week 12, which means the last of the bye weeks approaches. The Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings hit the hammocks as we can finally start to look at players without worrying about future offweeks. To help you look towards those precious playoff weeks, here is the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 Marlon Mack has a hand injury and has been ruled out for the game. Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) will... Read More


Week 11 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 11... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More


Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More


Holiday Shopping - Who To Buy For The Playoffs Run

As the fantasy football season nears the home stretch, most owners should begin turning their eyes towards the remaining six weeks of the fantasy schedule. Either you're comfortably in the playoffs and need to see who you should be rostering in order to get the best matchups or you need that extra boost to qualify... Read More


Updated Week 11 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 11 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 11 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Emmanuel Sanders is officially active. George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi was signed by the... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 11

Welcome to Week 11, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 11 Lineups

If we learned anything from the fantasy scoring in Week 10 is that hitting on the right quarterback can make or break your week. Sure, the household names like Lamar Jackson (35.65 FP) and Patrick Mahomes (34.30 FP) paced the field, but it was the play from lesser QBs like Daniel Jones (33.40 FP) and... Read More


Week 11 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 11 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 11 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 11 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference between missing the playoffs and having... Read More


Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Philip Rivers, Devin Singletary, O.J. Howard

Fantasy football players are going to have to go under the radar to find booms and busts this week because many of the NFL’s superstars will be on bye. Fantasy footballers will not be getting any Aaron Jones touchdown runs or Daniel Jones touchdown tosses this week, nor will they be getting any 300-yard passing... Read More