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Since many of you have embraced the MFL10 format with overwhelming passion, the expert rankers at Rotoballer have assembled their Best-Ball rankings at each position. This will help you formulate a plan as you proceed through your upcoming MFL10 drafts. Our rankings also include tiers in order to provide you with a more detailed breakdown on which players you should target for your rosters. We will also be generating our other rankings and positional analysis articles as we continue to approach the regular season.

This breakdown will focus on the running back position, which has captured the majority of slots atop our current rankings. Apprehension regarding the potential shortcomings of value-diminishing committees, has been offset by the appeal of backs who receive extensive workloads, and the ability of others to accumulate favorable numbers while operating in time shares as receivers.

Running backs are also garnering the most attention once your drafts begin, with owners moving swiftly to confiscate the unquestioned RB1s. An average of nine backs are being selected in Round 1, while anywhere from 16 to 20 runners are being collected by the end of Round 3. This is particularly true in the Best-Ball format, because a certain degree of inconsistency is not as problematic if your backs ultimately deliver enough high quality production to adequately build your season long point total.

Editor's Note: One of our favorite fantasy football apps this season is SquadQL, where you can sync your ESPN, CBS and Yahoo teams and and optimize your lineups each week. The SquadQL app will give you customized lineup recommendations, and also player news, waiver wire and trade suggestions! Download SquadQL Now!

 

Running Back Best-Ball Rankings

Tier Overall Rank Player Name Pos
1 1 Todd Gurley RB
1 2 Le'Veon Bell RB
1 3 Ezekiel Elliott RB
1 4 David Johnson RB
1 8 Alvin Kamara RB
2 9 Saquon Barkley RB
2 10 Leonard Fournette RB
2 12 Kareem Hunt RB
2 13 Melvin Gordon RB
2 14 Dalvin Cook RB
2 20 LeSean McCoy RB
3 21 Jordan Howard RB
3 23 Devonta Freeman RB
3 27 Christian McCaffrey RB
3 28 Jerick McKinnon RB
3 36 Joe Mixon RB
4 39 Derrius Guice RB
4 42 Kenyan Drake RB
4 47 Rashaad Penny RB
4 50 Alex Collins RB
4 51 Mark Ingram RB
4 52 Jay Ajayi RB
4 53 Dion Lewis RB
4 54 Royce Freeman RB
4 56 Ronald Jones II RB
4 58 Lamar Miller RB
4 59 Sony Michel RB
4 61 Derrick Henry RB
4 62 Chris Thompson RB
5 76 Tevin Coleman RB
5 77 Marlon Mack RB
5 79 Jamaal Williams RB
5 80 Kerryon Johnson RB
5 82 Nick Chubb RB
6 91 Tarik Cohen RB
6 93 Aaron Jones RB
6 95 Carlos Hyde RB
6 96 Rex Burkhead RB
6 98 Marshawn Lynch RB
6 102 C.J. Anderson RB
6 105 Duke Johnson RB
6 106 Isaiah Crowell RB
7 115 James White RB
7 124 Bilal Powell RB
7 129 Theo Riddick RB
7 131 D'Onta Foreman RB
7 135 Latavius Murray RB
7 139 Giovani Bernard RB
7 140 Ty Montgomery RB
7 143 Devontae Booker RB
7 147 LeGarrette Blount RB
8 148 DeMarco Murray RB
8 158 Corey Clement RB
8 160 Matt Breida RB
8 170 Peyton Barber RB
8 171 Frank Gore RB
8 176 Doug Martin RB
8 177 Nyheim Hines RB
8 178 Jonathan Stewart RB
8 192 Mark Walton RB
9 198 Chris Carson RB
9 201 Kalen Ballage RB
9 203 Samaje Perine RB
9 204 Ameer Abdullah RB
9 206 John Kelly RB
10 215 Javorius Allen RB
10 216 Terrance West RB
10 218 Elijah McGuire RB
10 220 Jeremy Hill RB
10 222 Robert Turbin RB
10 224 Jalen Richard RB
10 225 C.J. Prosise RB
10 227 Orleans Darkwa RB
10 230 T.J. Yeldon RB
10 238 Chris Ivory RB
10 240 De'Angelo Henderson RB
11 250 Wayne Gallman RB

Tier 1

Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, Alvin Kamara

This tier includes the first four players in our overall rankings, with Gurley landing as the initial pick. He finished as the overall scoring leader in PPR leagues, after experiencing a statistical rebirth with Sean McVay orchestrating the Ram offense. Gurley flourished after being released from the unwieldy layers of incompetence that existed with the previous coaching staff, while leading the league in touchdowns (19), and total yards (2,093). He also shattering his previous highs in every receiving category (64 receptions/788 yards/ 6 touchdowns), and should continue thriving as the centerpiece in McVay’s attack.

Chris Mangano chose Bell as his top overall runner, and his exceptional production during three of the past four years (excluding his six-game season of 2015) makes him a desirable target at the onset of your drafts. Bell has averaged 1,307 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 2014-2016-2017, while also supplying averages of 85 catches and 708 yards as a dynamic receiving weapon. His 2017 output (1,291 rushing yards/85 receptions/ 11 touchdowns) further entrenches his standing as the second ranked back.

Elliott's six-game suspension kept him from finishing among the top point producers, although he did lead the league with 98.3 YPG. That was nearly 10 more than any other back, which should instill confidence that he can achieve outstanding results during another 16-game season. He should accrue numbers that are closer to his 2016 output, when he became the NFL’s rushing leader (1,631 yards), and exploded for 16 touchdowns.

Johnson reemerges after a Week 1 wrist injury ended any opportunity to accumulate massive numbers. He will return to Arizona’s backfield with no discernible competitor for touches, and could resurrect the excellent output that he achieved in 2016. Not only did he become the NFL leader in touchdowns (20) and all-purpose yards (2,118), but he also collected the most targets (120), and receptions (80) among backs.

Kamara seized unquestioned RB1 status after a stellar rookie season, when he led all backs with 826 receiving yards, and averaged 6.1 YPC as a rusher. He also finished second overall to Gurley with 14 touchdowns despite performing on just 44.7% of New Orleans' offensive snaps. His usage was destined to increase even before Mark Ingram's suspension, and his initial workload will now rise to a level that owners should embrace.

Tier 2

Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, Dalvin Cook, LeSean McCoy

Some owners were rewarded with favorable production that was delivered when Elliott and Jordan Howard were rookies in 2016, while others benefited from owning Kamara, Hunt, Fournette, or Christian McCaffrey last year. Anyone who wants to experience the exhilaration of owning a first-year back this season, should target Barkley. He narrowly missed tier 1 status and should propel many fantasy rosters to success.

Only seven backs generated more yards than Fournette (1040), who tied for third with nine touchdowns on the ground. But after scoring seven times, averaging 99.3 yards, and bolting for 4.4 YPC in Weeks 1-6, he missed three games due to injury and suspension. He also failed to exceed 2.9 YPC four times after Week 10, while surpassing 4.0 only once. This lingering statistical decline prevents him from being ranked higher.

Hunt rushed for 1,327 yards as a rookie, while averaging 4.9 YPC. He also finishing eighth among backs in receiving yards (455), won’t turn 23 until August, and remains Kansas City’s RB1. So why isn’t he ranked higher? There is an undercurrent of concern due to the healthy return of Spencer Ware (PCL/MCL). This has discouraged some owners from selecting Hunt in Round 1, even though last year's NFL rushing leader deserves more credit.

Gordon’s eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the first time (1,105), while finishing seventh overall. He has only averaged 3.76 YPC during his career, but his production has steadily increased each season. Gordon also offers the desirable blend of being the unchallenged lead back within an explosive offense, and last year’s RB5 should be prolific once again.

Cook’s 88.5 YPG average was second only to Elliott, before a torn ACL brought a devastating end to his promising season in Week 4. Pierre has him ranked highest at 11, and there is justification for drafting him in Round 1. He was third overall with 354 yards when that injury occurred, and Cook should prosper once again now that his health has been restored.

McCoy has an impressive track record of consistent production during his nine-year career, including six 1,000-yard seasons, and an average of nearly 1,200 yards since 2010 (1,182). However, he is also the only appealing fantasy option on the Bills, which might concern potential owners. Still, he will receive a mammoth number of opportunities, and should be selected in Round 2.

Tier 3

Jordan Howard, Devonta Freeman, Jerick McKinnon, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon

Howard wasn’t included with the tier 2 backs, even though he has ruahed for 2,435 yards and 15 touchdowns in his last two seasons. Despite his productivity as a runner, Howard's deficiencies as a pass catcher (52 receptions/12 drops) make a reduced workload in Matt Nagy’s offense inevitable. Chicago's new head coach will take advantage of Tarik Cohen's big play capabilities, while decreasing Howard’s usage.

In 2015/2016, Freeman rumbled for 2,135 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground, and collected 127 passes for 1,040 yards as a receiver. But the transition to Steve Sarkisian's offense led to declining production last season (865 rushing yards/36 receptions/317 receiving yards), and a drop from RB6 to RB13. Freeman is capable of generating better numbers if he is given more opportunities, and remains worthy of selection as an RB2.

McKinnon’s meteoric rise in ADP was predicted here and is a byproduct of the excellent numbers that feature backs have constructed in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. McKinnon will be schematically placed in open space, and should amass the best production of his career. Owners should discard any doubt about seizing him very early in their drafts.

McCaffrey led the Panthers with 80 receptions, paced all backs with 113 targets, and his three most productive outings as a rusher (66/62/63) occurred during the Panthers final eight games. However, Carolina’s offense has been altered by the additions of C.J. Anderson and D.J. Moore, and the unit is being designed by Norv Turner. But even though this prompts questions regarding McCaffrey’s workload, he should still accumulate productive outings, and remain a viable best-ball target.

Over 30 backs exceeded Mixon’s production (626 rushing yards/3.5 YPC) while 32 garnered a higher snap count (385/39.8%), as his rookie season was a colossal disappointment for anyone who selected him early in their drafts. However, his workload will increase this season, which will allow the slimmed down second-year back to accrue better numbers.

Tier 4

Derrius Guice, Kenyan Drake, Rashaad Penny, Alex Collins, Jay Ajayi, Mark Ingram, Dion Lewis, Ronald Jones, Royce Freeman, Lamar Miller, Sony Michel, Derrick Henry, Chris Thompson

This is a highly populated tier, which includes a cluster of rookies that will be enticing targets for anyone who cannot resist the temptation to select newcomers.

Penny has been placed in position to commandeer the feature back role in Seattle, while the release of C.J. Anderson's relegates Freeman's competition to Devontae Booker and De'Angelo Henderson.

Guice should be productive while ceding pass catching responsibilities to Chris Thompson, while Jones will contend with Peyton Barber for touches in Tampa. Michel will be allotted enough opportunities to be reasonably productive, even as Rex Burkhead and James White remain in the mix.

Veterans Drake, Collins, Ajayi and Miller have all maintained their value after their teams eschewed drafting gifted rookies that could have threatened their workloads. Ingram finished at RB6 after amassing 1,540 total yards and 12 touchdowns last season. But his ranking was negatively impacted by the upcoming four-game suspension, and the emergence of Kamara.

Unfortunately, Henry’s path toward functioning as a highly productive workhorse evaporated when Tennessee signed Lewis to a four-year contract. That depressed the ceiling for both backs, as Lewis was a viable RB2 with low end RB1 potential if he had signed with a different team.

A broken fibula suddenly ended Thompson’s season in Week 11, as he was in the process of accumulating the best numbers of his five-year career. Guice’s arrival will not alter his responsibilities as Washington’s pass catching back, but he is now earmarked for that specialized role.

Tier 5

Marlon Mack, Tevin Coleman, Jamaal Williams, Kerryon Johnson, Nick Chubb  

While Mack will encounter a degree of competition from rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, his hurdles toward securing a significant workload would have been worse if the Colts had opted for one of the high-profile newcomers. If the team doesn't add any significant free agents at the position, he has breakout potential.

Coleman maximized his career high 425 snaps to establish a new high in rushing yardage (628). However, that was offset by a drop in receptions and receiving yards, and Freeman’s presence continues to place limitations on his output.

The competition between Williams and Aaron Jones could be just as intriguing as the divergent opinions between Pierre, Chris and I about both backs. Williams will dwell in the higher tier, after performing as Green Bay’s RB1 in Weeks 10-17 and leading the Packers with 556 rushing yards. His reception and receiving yard totals (25/262) easily exceeded the output of Jones (9/22).

Johnson should capture touches in Detroit, but LeGarrette Blount will siphon red zone opportunities, and Theo Riddick will collect targets while performing their roles within Detroit’s cluttered backfield.

Chubb would have ascended to a more prestigious tier if he was primed to function as the early down back. Instead, Hyde and Chubb will effectively be neutralized as they share similar roles, while both backs cede targets to Duke Johnson.

Tier 6

Tarik Cohen, Aaron Jones, Carlos Hyde, Marshawn Lynch, Rex Burkhead, C. J. Anderson, Theo Riddick, Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell

These backs are ranked between 90 and 106 and remain capable of fortifying your weekly totals in various weeks during the year. Cohen finished in the top 10 among backs in targets (75) and red zone targets (11) despite being limited to just 360 snaps by the previous coaching staff. That number will undoubtedly rise. Jones could deliver favorable outings during the season if he is utilized with any frequency. He built a more impressive YPC average than Williams last season (5.5/3.6), while exploding for six runs of 20+.

Hyde’s diminished value in Cleveland's convoluted backfield was mentioned previously, while Lynch will not encounter the same level of competition in a Raider offense that should make him the centerpiece of their ground game.

Even if Michel assumes the role that Lewis was entrusted with last season, Burkhead should still have a sufficient number of touches to maintain appeal.

After finishing ninth in rushing last season (1,007 yards), Anderson has endured a release by Denver, and received largely lukewarm interest from potential owners. However, he will perform with far greater consistency and overall effectiveness than Jonathan Stewart managed last season if he is assigned the same workload.

Riddick has averaged 69 targets and 53 receptions in two full seasons with Jim Bob Cooter spearheading Detroit’s offense, and those numbers should not change appreciably this year. But he will not reach the 88 rushing attempts that he has averaged during that span. Even though Johnson will commandeer targets, he will not match the 82 carries that he received in 2017, as his talent will be squelched by a congested backfield. Crowell will encounter a similar issue with the highly populated running back stable of New York.

Tier 7

James White, Giovani Bernard, Bilal Powell, Devontae Booker, D'Onta Foreman, Ty Montgomery, Latavius Murray, LeGarrette Blount

This collection of runners will each face formidable competition for touches. But their value could increase rapidly if any number of factors merge to launch them into expanded roles.

Tier 8

DeMarco Murray, Peyton Barber, Corey Clement, Matt Breida, Chris Carson, Samaje Perine, Mark Walton, Frank Gore, Nyheim Hines, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart

This tier is located between 150 and 200 in our rankings and should be available when your draft reaches Rounds 12-15. Even if you are not overly enthusiastic about selecting them now, they could supply the scoring boost that you desperately need at a critical point of the season. Zero RB enthusiasts will likely own one of these backs in the off-chance they become contributors this season.

 

More MFL10 and Best-Ball 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.