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Running Back Standard Rankings for Fantasy Football Drafts


Running backs don’t matter. This may or may not be true in the real NFL but in fantasy, it surely isn’t the case. If it were the case, why are the top four consensus players all at the position?

It is always great to have one of the top guys at the position. But if you want to build the best team, it may be better to have a mid-round pick and build a balanced team. Finding this season's Alvin Kamara from two seasons ago, or last season's Nick Chubb can be the key to winning. The position is not as deep as quarterbacks or wide receivers so loading up is important. RBs get injured more than most, so finding the diamond in the rough is all the more important in order to succeed.

Let’s take a look at the tiered rankings from the Rotoballer.com experts and find out which players to look at in standard leagues.

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Updated Standard RB Rankings - Redraft

Below are RotoBaller's consensus staff rankings for the 2019 fantasy football season. These rankings are compiled by Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Scott Engel, Bill Dubiel, Dominick Petrillo and Spencer Aguiar.

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was the #11 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season, and #9 overall in 2017. Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Position Rank Overall Rank Player Name Tier
1 1 Saquon Barkley 1
2 2 Alvin Kamara 1
3 3 Christian McCaffrey 1
4 4 Ezekiel Elliott 1
5 5 David Johnson 1
6 6 James Conner 1
7 11 Joe Mixon 2
8 14 Le'Veon Bell 2
9 16 Nick Chubb 2
10 18 Todd Gurley 2
11 20 Dalvin Cook 3
12 21 Leonard Fournette 3
13 22 Aaron Jones 3
14 24 Sony Michel 3
15 26 Kerryon Johnson 3
16 27 Damien Williams 3
17 29 Devonta Freeman 3
18 34 Melvin Gordon 4
19 35 Marlon Mack 4
20 40 Chris Carson 4
21 42 Derrick Henry 4
22 43 Mark Ingram 4
23 44 Josh Jacobs 4
24 50 Phillip Lindsay 4
25 52 David Montgomery 5
26 61 Tevin Coleman 5
27 68 Kenyan Drake 5
28 69 Derrius Guice 5
29 71 James White 6
30 75 Latavius Murray 6
31 79 Rashaad Penny 6
32 81 Tarik Cohen 6
33 82 Miles Sanders 6
34 83 Jordan Howard 6
35 89 Austin Ekeler 6
36 92 Royce Freeman 7
37 93 Kalen Ballage 7
38 107 LeSean McCoy 7
39 108 Peyton Barber 7
40 110 Ronald Jones II 7
41 112 Matt Breida 7
42 115 Duke Johnson 8
43 124 Adrian Peterson 8
44 126 Devin Singletary 8
45 128 Dion Lewis 8
46 130 Ito Smith 8
47 133 Justin Jackson 9
48 139 Kareem Hunt 9
49 140 C.J. Anderson 9
50 145 Carlos Hyde 9
51 148 Tony Pollard 9
52 151 Jaylen Samuels 9
53 154 Mike Davis 10
54 158 Damien Harris 10
55 159 Jamaal Williams 10
56 166 Gus Edwards 10
57 169 Chris Thompson 10
58 170 Darrell Henderson 10
59 172 Nyheim Hines 10
60 175 Justice Hill 11
61 180 Rex Burkhead 11
62 181 Darwin Thompson 11
63 188 Malcolm Brown 11
64 194 Alexander Mattison 11
65 201 Jalen Richard 11
66 202 Frank Gore 11
67 203 Giovani Bernard 11
68 204 Karan Higdon 11
69 212 Jerick McKinnon 12
70 218 T.J. Yeldon 12
71 226 Doug Martin 12
72 232 Chase Edmonds 12
73 242 Elijah McGuire 12
74 244 Corey Clement 13
75 252 Alfred Morris 13
76 253 Travis Homer 13
77 257 Bruce Anderson 13
78 261 Alex Collins 13
79 267 Kenneth Dixon 13
80 271 Dare Ogunbowale 13
81 283 Spencer Ware 14
82 288 Theo Riddick 14
83 290 Jay Ajayi 14
84 292 Dexter Williams 14
85 313 Ty Montgomery 15
86 317 Javorius Allen 15
87 318 Brian Hill 15
88 322 Dontrell Hilliard 15
89 324 Bilal Powell 15
90 325 Josh Adams 15
91 326 John Kelly 15
92 330 Benny Snell Jr. 15
93 333 Ryquell Armstead 15
94 338 Darrel Williams 15
95 342 Qadree Ollison 15
96 350 Jeff Wilson 16
97 354 Damarea Crockett 16
98 360 Jordan Wilkins 16
99 361 Chris Ivory 16
100 365 LeGarrette Blount 16
101 366 Wayne Gallman 16
102 369 Cameron Artis-Payne 16
103 371 Zach Zenner 16
104 380 Wendell Smallwood 16
105 382 Alex Barnes 17
106 383 Mark Walton 17
107 384 Alfred Blue 17
108 387 Mike Weber 17
109 388 Darren Sproles 17
110 389 Rod Smith 17
111 390 Corey Grant 17
112 393 Jeremy Hill 17
113 396 Devontae Booker 17
114 403 Marcus Murphy 17
115 409 Trayveon Williams 17
116 414 Ameer Abdullah 17
117 423 Bryce Love 18
118 429 Trenton Cannon 18
119 439 James Develin 18
120 441 Rhett Ellison 18
121 443 Chris Warren III 18
122 445 Raheem Mostert 18
123 453 Boston Scott 18
124 456 Kyle Juszczyk 18
125 458 C.J. Prosise 18
126 461 Rodney Anderson 19
127 471 Myles Gaskin 19
128 472 Andre Ellington 19
129 474 J.D. McKissic 19
130 476 Mike Boone 19

 

Tier One

This is a bigger top tier than most. With six players making up the group it shows the difference between tiers from PPR leagues to standard leagues.

Ezekiel Elliott is the most worrisome in these ranks for sure as the Dallas back has yet to leave Mexico and return to training camp for the Cowboys. Assuming he does, he is easily higher than number four. But until he does, others in this tier like James Conner and David Johnson are safer picks and should be taken higher.

 

Tier Two

This tier starts off with Joe Mixon. He is talented for sure, but will he be able to outperform his offensive line? First-round pick Jonah Williams is already out for the season and with A.J. Green likely to miss at least three or four games it will be reliant on Mixon to show his true talent to return this value.

If you are looking for a safer option in this tier, you may not find it. With Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and Dalvin Cook having their own issues and Nick Chubb sharing the workload after the return of Kareem Hunt, you might be better off waiting until this tier falls a bit to draft them. Or skip it entirely.

 

Tier Three

There are a few good options in this tier. Obviously, in standard leagues, you have to look to Leonard Fournette. If he can remain healthy and focused, he will have a massive workload for the Jaguars. 300 carries could be easily attainable for the running back who is, in a way, fighting for his job next season.

My favorite in this tier has to be Kerryon Johnson. We know the Lions want to give him the work and he showed in 10 games as a rookie the ability to handle it. With 5.4 yards per carry as well as over 50 targets, he will get the three-down work and could finish much higher than a tier-three back. He could be a steal in the late third-round of leagues.

 

Tier Four

With some muddled backfields represented in this tier, it is difficult to find a player to be excited about. It is also hard to find a player to stay away from entirely.

Derrick Henry, injury aside, seems to be the safest play here when it comes to volume. Coach Mike Vrabel has already stated the Titans want to use him like a workhorse back should be used. This could mean he leads the league in rush attempts. Which is good since he will likely be near the bottom for targets in the passing game.

The Titans know what they are. What they are is a lackluster offense with a quarterback who has not lived up to his lofty draft pedigree. Whether Marcus Mariota finishes the season or Ryan Tannehill takes over, Henry will be the constant on the field and hopefully, on fantasy scoreboards.

 

Tier Five

There are a few good choices in this tier to choose from. The best of them are a mixture of a rookie in David Montgomery and veteran in Tevin Coleman.

In the case of Coleman, he is seemingly in store for all of the work in this backfield, or at least a vast majority of it. With Jerick McKinnon still unable to get healthy and the only other viable back being Matt Breida, Coleman will easily be the number one in the San Francisco offense. Being familiar with the Kyle Shanahan offense doesn’t hurt either. Getting him in the seventh round of drafts could wind up being one of those steals you are looking for to gain an advantage.

David Montgomery is another player to look at hard in this group. He will take over the Jordan Howard role in Chicago. This means he will be in line for about 250 carries. But he comes with a caveat. He can also catch the ball very well. These yards will only add to his allure as the yards and touchdown potential he will gain here could push him well up in running back fantasy rankings for 2019.

 

Tier Six

This tier is another one which seems to be a dead spot for potential breakouts. Derrius Guice leads off the tier and he may not even be ready to start the season. While he has been cleared to return to practice, he is still not cleared for game action.

Teammates Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders both find their way into this group as well. They will cannibalize each other's production early in the season and it will not be beneficial to anyone to roster and play both of them. This leads to guessing which one to draft and which one to play.

The best bet in this tier seems to be a handcuff, albeit a handcuff with standalone value. Latavius Murray in New Orleans is going to have touchdown potential this season. Whether Alvin Kamara gets hurt or not, the Saints want to run, and they do it so well. In five of the last seven seasons, the Saints have led the league in rushing touchdowns. This means whether he is the second back in the committee or not, Murray could provide a top-24 season much like Mark Ingram has done in the past. Getting him in the ninth round is a steal in standard formats. Just imagine if Kamara gets injured and misses time? Murray would be a top-15 fantasy back weekly.

 

Tier Seven

Now it gets really ugly. LeSean McCoy may not be the starter, or even rostered by Buffalo to start the season. Ronald Jones is, well, Ronald Jones. And Kalen Ballage is on a bad offense that still has Kenyan Drake, who is more involved in the passing game.

If you want to choose anyone from this tier the choice is Austin Ekeler. Yes, he will share time with Justin Jackson until Melvin Gordon returns. But even when, or if Gordon does return, Ekeler still holds value. He is a true three-down back and, on those drives, or plays where Gordon is taken out, he will fill into the offense. Not to mention he has the trust of Philip Rivers. Something which cannot be overstated when talking about getting playing time for a team in today's NFL.

His price is still rising due to the even more likely scenario of Melvin Gordon missing time. But if you can get him, he is the one to go after here.

 

The Rest

Peyton Barber looks to still be the back to own in Tampa Bay. With Andre Ellington showing poorly in preseason and Ronald Jones II just being bad, it will fall to Peyton Barber to provide any sort of run game for the Buccaneers in 2019.

If you are digging even deeper for backs in the draft, the pickings are slim. One name to look hard at though is Royce Freeman. Although he was beaten out by Phillip Lindsay last season, the Broncos are going to give him another shot this season. Even if it turns out to be a true committee situation, at this point in drafts he still holds a lot of value. If the small Lindsay gets injured? You have a back who will get all the run and by default be a top 20 performer.

A few others to consider: players like Jaylen Samuels, James White, and Jalen Richard are ok. But they are better for PPR leagues with their pass-catching specialties. But if those receptions turn to touchdowns, they could return some value.

More Fantasy Football Analysis


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.