Your safest bet is to take a running back when building your fantasy team first overall. While the quarterback is the most important player on the team, your running back is the most vital piece. While the superstar quarterbacks are going to get you valuable points for your team, there are only a select few top-tier running backs that will make your team explode. I will be exploring the top 12 running backs you should be considering for your upcoming fantasy football team. (Excluding Le’Veon Bell who screwed over fantasy owners last year, and Kareem Hunt who is suspended the first 8 games).
12. Sony Michel, New England Patriots
Sony had a very impressive rookie campaign, which included a Super Bowl win. While not looked at as a pass catcher, the yards he gained from carrying the ball warrants a fantasy pick early. Only starting 8 games last season, he compiled a whopping 930 yards with a 4.5 yards per
11. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
A breakout year for this running back, Derrick Henry. He beasted an NFL record 99-yard rushing touchdown, this RB1 is poised to have a great season. Posting 1,059 rushing yards last season where he only started 12 games, Henry is looking to carry over the momentum from last year, and show that his NCAA Heisman trophy win wasn’t a fluke.
10. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
This undrafted speedster from the University of Colorado put on a clinic his first year for the Broncos. In the 15 games Lindsay played, he racked up 1,037 rushing yards, adding 9 touchdowns, and showed some PPR prowess catching balls totaling over 200 yards and a touchdown. With the addition of Joe Flacco, and drafting Drew Lock, any competent quarterback will feed Lindsay the ball.
9. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Controversy aside, this guy can play football and needs to be on your fantasy football team. He doubled his numbers from his rookie season, and ready to
8. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner had 973 rushing yards in the 12 games he started, adding 12 rushing touchdowns. Combine that with 55 receptions and 3 yards shy of 500 receiving yards, the new offensive weapon in Pittsburgh is ready to take over the backfield. With Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell gone, Conner will have plenty of opportunities for fantasy points.
7. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson’s break out year in the 2016-17 season proved he’s one of the best backs in the league. After breaking his wrist in the 2017-18 season, Johnson put in decent numbers the following year. 60 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards, this Cardinal RB1 just needs to cross the end zone a little more and he’ll be back to fantasy elite status.
6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
The lightning to the storm in the bayou last year, which including Mark Ingram II (the thunder), Kamara is flying solo this season. Give and take a 100 yards and this offensive weapon almost has matching numbers in rushing as he did in receiving. If you find yourself stuck somewhere in the middle of the draft board, pray he falls into your lap.
5. Melvin Gordon III, Los Angeles Chargers
As I stated in my previous post this month, we don’t talk about Melvin Gordon III enough. Last season he didn’t put up his dominant numbers like he usually does, but that shouldn’t shy you away from picking him first. Prolific in rushing and receiving, in any format, draft this Charger.
4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
The Stanford product entering his third season is ready to just blow up. Recent pictures of McCaffrey looks like he ready to be an Avenger. Rushing for 1,098 yards and receiving 107 times for 867 yards, Christian is ready to carry the Panthers to the playoffs and pound the opposition into the ground.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
A nice “bounce back” season from his 2017-18 campaign, Elliot was the rushing leader from the previous season. 2,001 total yards of offense and totaling 9 touchdowns, Zeke is poised to get the Cowboys into the playoffs and worthy of a number fantasy pick.
2. Todd Gurley II, Los Angeles Rams
21 total touchdowns, I could stop right there. Rushing for 1,251 yards and adding 580 from the air, Gurley could not be stopped. The Ram’s offense is a well-oiled machine and will be feeding Todd the ball again. Look for this superstar to carry your team to a fantasy victory week after week.
1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
I’m all in for this kid, who was the bright spot for the Giants offense. Rushing for over 1,300 yards and over 700 receiving, Barkley crossed the end-zone 15 times last season. This rookie of the year winner is poised to have an MVP season, and your number one pick in fantasy draft boards.
Who do you think is the number one running back fantasy football pick? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured Image – Christian McCaffrey (22) Carolina Panthers running back. Photo Credit CBS Sports.