Tiered Dynasty Running Back Rankings (Part 1)

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What's up RotoBallers. Welcome to part one of our 2016 fantasy football tiered running back rankings for dynasty leagues. You can read the rest of our 2016 dynasty league rankings. Fantasy football covers multiple different types of leagues now. There are Standard Leagues, PPR Leagues, Half-PPR Leagues, Rookie Leagues, and arguably the most popular, Daily Fantasy Football. In this article, I, Justin Bales, will be taking you through my most recent Dynasty League Rankings.

Dynasty Leagues are one of the most difficult types of rankings to project. There are multiple aspects that need to be equally balanced while making the rankings. Each owner needs a mix of players that can produce this season along with players that have the potential to produce for years to come. These rankings take every aspect into consideration, as some younger players may be ranked higher than players that are ready to produce this season.

Editor's Note: RotoBaller has the best Premium NFL Subscription, only $29.99 for the full season. We have all the preseason tools to help win your drafts, and in-season tools to win your seasonal and daily leagues: Draft Kit, Premium Rankings, ADP Sleepers Tool, Matchup Ratings for every player, Daily DFS Cheat Sheets, Lineup Picks, Expert Lineups, Stacks and Avoids.

 

Tier 1 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Le’Veon Bell
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. David Johnson

These top four running backs all have a few things in common with each other. They are all 24 years old or younger and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Each of the running backs will be a fairly large focal point of their offense, as well. Elliott and Bell do have some concerning off the field issues, but that isn’t enough to knock then down in dynasty leagues, where they could be a feature player for the next 10 years. Elliott was recently accused of domestic abuse, but there have been reports that Elliott can prove that it never happened. It’s certainly something to keep your eye on before drafting him with a first round pick.

Le’Veon Bell is the most complicated player of this group. He was suspended for two games last season because of marijuana possession and a DUI and he was suspended for four games again this season after failing to report for his drug tests. On top of that, Bell is coming off a serious knee injury that has hurt running backs in previous years. Even with all these problems, Bell is too talented to ignore in dynasty leagues, and he’s one of the best running backs available.

 

Tier 2 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. Lamar Miller
  2. Devonta Freeman
  3. Carlos Hyde

There are only three running backs in the second tier here. Lamar Miller was grossly underutilized in Miami, which caused him to leave via free agency and sign with the Houston Texans. He’ll be the clear cut starter for the Texans, who will likely lean on their running game this season. Miller also displayed great receiving potential last season. He is still a young running back with elite upside, but he has yet to prove that he can handle a full season’s workload. He has a ton of upside for a running back in the second tier.

Freeman is coming off an elite fantasy year, and that mostly had to do with his high receiving totals. Those will likely stay, but it’s tough to assume that Freeman will continue to find the end zone at an elite rate this season. On top of that, the Falcons have stated that they want to reduce Freeman’s workload and give more carries to Tevin Coleman to keep each running back fresh. All of the running backs in this tier have the ability to be elite fantasy options, but they all also have questions surrounding their workloads this season.

As is the case with the other running backs in this tier, Hyde’s workload may be reduced because of his injury potential. He’ll be playing in Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense, and Hyde has the ability to put up great numbers. He comes with a bit more risk that Miller and Freeman, but he also comes with a ton of upside for this season and the future.

 

Tier 3 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. Doug Martin
  2. Mark Ingram
  3. Eddie Lacy
  4. Duke Johnson

This is an interesting tier. The first three players all have something in common. They have all displayed the ability to dominate, but they have all also struggled for at least one season. Martin, Ingram, and Lacy have all displayed good hands, and none of them are all that old. At some point in their career, they struggled, though, and they do come with quite a bit of risk. Still, they are high upside players, and they all have the potential to be RB1s this season.

Duke Johnson is the outlier in this group. He’s only 22 years old and he’s coming off a successful first season. With that being said, he struggled when running the ball and he’s more of a receiving running back that will score fantasy points with receptions. He would be higher, but he likely won’t exceed 200 touches this season, which will make it difficult for him to compete with some of the players ahead of him. He’s a young back with elite upside if the Browns allow him more touches, though.

 

Tier 4 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. Jamaal Charles

This tier might be the most surprising to some people. Peterson and Charles are both elite running backs this season, but they come in with a ton of question marks in terms of dynasty. Paterson is 31 years old while Charles is 29 years old and they both have dealt with serious leg injuries. Charles’ biggest concern is his health, as his body seems as if it’s beginning to break down. Peterson, on the other hand, seems be healthy, but the Vikings are somewhat phasing him out of their game. Obviously this sounds ridiculous, but they have discussed running more plays out of the shotgun, which would help Bridgewater, but Peterson has really struggled in his career when running out of shotgun. These two players likely only have a couple years left at a high level, and some of the younger backs are the better picks in the long run.

 

Tier 5 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. Melvin Gordon
  2. Thomas Rawls
  3. C.J. Anderson
  4. Jay Ajayi
  5. Latavius Murray
  6. LeSean McCoy

This tier is filled with talented running backs, who come with different risk factors. Gordon, Rawls, and Ajayi have all dealt with injuries, and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from them. They, along with Murray, also have better receiving backs on their teams, which means their upside in PPR leagues could be a bit limited. The talent is certainly there, but they will all have ceilings around RB2s instead of a running back to build your team around.

Anderson doesn’t really have injury concerns, but there are questions about his talent level. Last season, he was set to be one of the best running backs in the NFL before flopping and only recording 720 yards and five touchdowns. Once again, there is hype around his name this season, but rookie Devontae Booker may steal some of Anderson’s receptions, which will limit his upside. After his poor performance last year, Anderson should be penciled in as a RB2 with possible potential to become a RB1 if he can hold off the rookie.

Similarly to the last tier, McCoy is somewhat of the outlier in this tier. He has shown the potential to be a workhorse running back in his career, but he struggled a bit in his first season with the Buffalo Bills. McCoy is also 28 years old, which is significantly older than some of the other options, and in this case, the younger running backs are better options in dynasty leagues over the proven veteran.

 

Tier 6 – Dynasty Running Back Rankings

  1. T.J. Yeldon
  2. Giovani Bernard
  3. Jeremy Hill
  4. Jeremy Langford
  5. Matt Jones

The sixth tier consists of five similar running backs. Each of these running backs is young with great potential, but also splits snaps with different types of running backs. They all have great upside, though, especially if an injury would happen, as they would each essentially take over the majority of the snaps. Depending on the type of running back you’re looking for, someone in this tier would fit the bill, as a few of these backs are essentially receivers, while a few are more of the early down running back. They are all great options later in the rounds of your dynasty draft, though.

 

Running Back Dynasty Rankings (Part 1)

Rank Name Position BYE Week
1 Todd Gurley RB 8
2 Le'Veon Bell RB 8
3 Ezekiel Elliott RB 7
4 David Johnson RB 9
5 Lamar Miller RB 9
6 Devonta Freeman RB 11
7 Carlos Hyde RB 8
8 Doug Martin RB 6
9 Mark Ingram RB 5
10 Eddie Lacy RB 4
11 Duke Johnson RB 13
12 Adrian Peterson RB 6
13 Jamaal Charles RB 5
14 Melvin Gordon RB 11
15 Thomas Rawls RB 5
16 C.J. Anderson RB 11
17 Jay Ajayi RB 8
18 Latavius Murray RB 10
19 LeSean McCoy RB 10
20 T.J. Yeldon RB 5
21 Giovani Bernard RB 9
22 Jeremy Hill RB 9
23 Jeremy Langford RB 9
24 Matt Jones RB 9

 

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