Fantasy football running back rankings – Leonard Fournette cracks the top 10

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Leonard Fournette
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 10: Leonard Fournette /

It’s fantasy draft preparation season! Or if your league is super hardcore you might already have your draft done or at least scheduled.

A loaded rookie running back class makes fantasy football rankings tight as we look forward to fantasy drafts in the coming days.

Here are my RB rankings as of 11 August 2017.

  1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

David Johnson took the league by storm last year, he was far and away the best fantasy player in the league and should be once again this year. The only other player to really consider at number one is…

  1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Johnson and Bell are really 1a and 1b. You can’t go wrong with either of them. The only problem with Bell right now is that he hasn’t reported to the team yet as he is holding out for a new contract. Only time will tell if this has any effect on his play.

  1. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

Shady surprised some people last year as he turned back the clock and finished with great fantasy numbers, he may actually see a slight increase in usage this year as Mike Gillislee has moved on to the New England Patriots, and the Bills lack a true number one receiving threat as Sammy Watkins was traded away to the Los Angeles Rams this morning.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Elliot was suspended six games without pay by the NFL this morning, and he is expected to appeal his suspension. The guess here is he wins his appeal and gets his suspension reduced to three-four games. Le’Veon Bell was also suspended for three games last season and still finished with the second most fantasy points for RBs.

  1. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins

Ajayi will be a true workhorse in Miami, especially with Ryan Tannehill expected to miss the entire 2017 season. A little known fact is that when all of Miami’s starting offensive line was healthy Ajayi averaged 190 yards on the ground.

  1. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

Gordon bounced back from a disappointing rookie season and put up good numbers in 2016. He will once again be the feature back in a high-scoring offense and should be a top-12 pick in most leagues.

  1. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Freeman just became the highest paid RB in the league. He should continue to put up big numbers in the Falcons high flying offense.

  1. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

Howard will have to carry the team if the Bears expect to climb out of the cellar of the NFC North. My only worry here is that Howard will be the focal point of every defense the Bears face. He will see a lot of eight-man boxes, and it could hurt his fantasy production.

  1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

My pick for offensive rookie of the year. McCaffrey should see a lot of touches in the Panther’s offense and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish among the best in the league for fantasy points.

  1. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are going to run the ball a lot in 2017 wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish in the top 10 as a rookie.

  1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

I expect Gurley to have a bounce back year in LA. Especially now that they have a true number one receiving threat to stretch the field in Sammy Watkins.

  1. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

Murray scares me a bit, he has had injury problems in the past, and the Titans will be looking to get Derrick Henry more involved in the offense. Murray should still be the lead back but this could be more of a timeshare as the season moves forward.

  1. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Crowell finish in the top 10 for fantasy purposes. The Browns completely revamped their offensive line and plan to run the ball a lot this season regardless of which QB is under center.

  1. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

Miller had a disappointing 2016 from a fantasy perspective, and the addition of D’onta Foreman won’t help him.

  1. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
  2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  3. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
  4. Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
  6. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

As of right now Ingram is still the back to own in New Orleans, but I fully expect him to be traded by the beginning of the season. If he is traded, then start to look for Adrian Peterson to rise up draft boards.

  1. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers

Keep an eye on the Packers backfield in the pre-season, they have some new rookie additions in the backfield and one of them could surprise and push for a starting role this season.

  1. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints
  2. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
  3. Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
  4. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
  5. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have a similar situation to New Orleans, look for them to trade or release Jeremy Hill or Giovani Bernard. Once they do, I would be much more comfortable drafting Mixon and would slide him up a few more spots on the board. As of now he is still listed as third on their depth chart, but he won’t stay there long.

27. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

28. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season so he could slip a bit on draft day. He could be a great pickup for later in the season.

  1. Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks

Rawls is still listed as the starter on the Seahawks depth chart, but keep an eye on Eddie Lacy as well.

  1. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
  2. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
  4. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
  5. Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots
  6. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  7. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks
  8. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
  9. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins

Keep an eye on this backfield as well. The starter could be Kelley or it could be rookie Samaje Perine.

  1. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens

West could see the bulk of the carries after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season ending injury to his knee. But Danny Woodhead will be the back to own in PPR leagues.

  1. McFadden is a great late round guy to grab. If Zeke stays suspended for six game McFadden is more than capable to put up 500 yards in that stretch.
  2. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns
  3. James White, New England Patriots
  4. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Matt Forte, New York Jets
  6. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
  7. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
  8. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings
  9. D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans
  10. Robert Turbin, Indianapolis Colts
  11. Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers