Dynasty FootballDynasty League Football Rankings

Positional Rankings: Top 80 Running Backs (July 2020)

In the first batch of dynasty rankings for the upcoming NFL season we take a look at the running back position. If you’re looking for a piece that harps on how the RB position doesn’t matter, you’ve come to the wrong place! Taking a dump on the entire position has become the cool thing to do, but not here at TDG! These rankings are centered around PPR scoring so adjust accordingly to the scoring and size of your league. If you have any questions, comments, or beefs regarding my rankings, hit me up in the comment section & let’s argue!

NameTeamPositionAge
1. Christian McCaffreyCARRB24
2. Saquon BarkleyNYGRB23
3. Nick ChubbCLERB24
4. Ezekiel ElliotDALRB24
5. Dalvin CookMIN
RB24
6. Alvin KamaraNORB24
7. Joe MixonCINRB23
8. Derrick HenryTEN
RB25
9. Miles SandersPHI
RB23
10. Jonathan TaylorINDRB21
11. Clyde Edwards-HelaireKCRB21
12. Josh JacobsLVRB22
13. J.K DobbinsBALRB21
14. Aaron JonesGBRB25
15. D’Andre SwiftDETRB21
16. Leonard FournetteJACRB25
17. Kenyan DrakeARIRB26
18. Cam AkersLARRB21
19. David MontgomeryCHIRB23
20. Melvin GordonDENRB27
21. Todd GurleyATLRB25
22. Austin EkelerLACRB25
23. Kareem HuntCHIRB24
24. Devin SingletaryBUFRB22
25. Le’Veon BellNYJRB28
26. Chris CarsonSEARB25
27. Ronald Jones IITBRB22
28. James ConnerPITRB25
29. David JohnsonHOURB28
30. Derrius GuiceWASRB23
31. Alexander MattisonMINRB22
32. Zack MossBUFRB22
33. A.J. DillonGBRB22
34. Phillip LindsayTBRB25
35. Kerryon JohnsonDETRB23
36. Ke’Shawn VaughnDENRB25
37. Darrell HendersonLARRB22
38. Damien WilliamsKCRB28
39. Raheem MostertSFRB28
40. Mark Ingram IIBALRB30
41. Sony MichelNERB25
42. Tarik CohenCHIRB24
43. Marlon MackINDRB24
44. Damien HarrisNERB23
45. Chase EdmondsARIRB24
46. Nyheim HinesINDRB23
47. Jordan HowardMIARB25
48. Duke JohnsonHOURB26
49. Matt BreidaMIARB23
50. Joshua KellyLACRB23
51. Boston ScottPHIRB25
52. James WhiteNERB28
53. Tevin ColemanSFRB27
54. Benny Snell Jr.PITRB22
55. Devonta FreemanSFRB28
56. Justin JacksonLACRB24
57. Eno BenjaminARIRB21
58. Anthony McFarland Jr.PITRB22
59. Darrynton EvansTENRB21
60. DeeJay DallasSEARB21
61. Bryce LoveWASRB23
62. Justice HillBALRB22
63. Tony PollardDALRB23
64. Antonio GibsonWASRB
65. Rashaad PennySEARB24
66. Latavius MurrayNORB30
67. Royce FreemanDENRB24
68. Gus EdwardsBALRB25
69. Ryquell ArmsteadJACRB23
70. Lynn Bowden Jr.LVRB22
71. Carlos HydeSEARB28
72. Jaylen SamuelsPITRB23
73. Lamical PerineNYJRB22
74. Ito SmithATLRB24
75. Giovani BernardCINRB28
76. Darwin ThompsonKCRB23
77. Malcolm BrownLARRB27
78. Chris ThompsonJACRB29
79. Jalen RichardLVRB26
80. Jerick McKinnonSFRB28

Higher than Consensus ADP:

Nick ChubbMy Rank: [3], Fantasy Pros experts: [7]

The discourse around Chubb this offseason has revolved around how the presence of Kareem Hunt dipped his production towards the end of last season. Fret not! Chubb turned in one of the most efficient rushing seasons behind an offensive line that can’t be any worse than it performed in the last year. He led all running backs in broken tackles and is astonishingly nimble on his feet which allows him to move the sticks while being a big play threat on every carry. Chubb already finished last year third behind only Ezekiel Elliot and Christian Mccaffrey. Browns new head coach Kevin Stefanski utilized Dalvin Cook in a way last year that should show the upside Chubb possesses in a balanced and effective offense. Chubb has ended up with 8 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons as the lead back, and truthfully this is probably closer to his floor outcome in regards to future touchdown production.

Ronald JonesMy Rank: [27], Fantasy Pros experts: [37]

RoJo was one of the main beneficiaries after a recent film review of his 2019 season which led to me moving him up inside my RB ranks. For a prospect considered a speed back coming out of USC, Jones runs with more physicality than he’s given credit for which is a nice mix for someone with his agility.   One of the highest upside RB3’s you can fill out on your roster, in deeper leagues as the depth of the position dries up Jones qualifies as a lottery ticket who has the possibility to finish inside the top 15 of his position. Jones finished last season as RB26 in PPR leagues, while accumulating 1032 total scrimmage yards this is closer to his floor outcome than the ceiling.

Not to mention, Jones lost 230 yards on plays called back due to penalties, an uncharacteristically high amount thats due for regression to the mean. The path to Jones floundering revolves around his struggles in pass protection, his efficiency as a pass catcher, and his consistency in executing Bruce Arians run scheme. Ke’Shawn Vaughn possesses NFL starter upside, yet it isn’t enough to deter me from investing in what Jones showed on tape, especially in a shortened season since Jones is the more talented back and getting first crack as lead back.

David MontgomeryMy Rank: [19], Fantasy Pros experts: [22]

Volume is always king in Fantasy Football, the former Iowa State cyclone product parlayed his 267 total touches last year into RB25 production by the end of the season. Overall, it was an extremely meh rookie campaign which will happen when you’re attached to a rudderless offense being guided by a mediocre talent in Mitchell Trubisky. Tarik Cohen remains his only competition for carries for the Bears, and unless he’s gained 20 pounds during quarantine shouldn’t’ threaten Montgomery’s chokehold as the primary between the tackles runner. Montgomery received the 6th most carries inside the 5 yard line, although he failed to be convert them at an efficient rate this bares well for how secure of an investment he should be.

Running back efficiency is a nuanced subject which goes much further than just checking yards per carry. Was he inefficient because he was running behind an awful offensive line against packed boxes in a predictable offense? Or was it because he’s nothing special as a talent? Montgomery was behind only Josh Jacobs, and Devin Singletary among rookies in forced missed tackles, partially because of how consistently defenders would be in the backfield before anything materialized.

His elusiveness is something that he showed on tape during his three years as a starter in college,  this wouldn’t be the first time a rookie running back bounced back from a middling rookie season. Montgomery has room to improve as a runner and from being attached to hopefully offense, target him as a high end RB3 or RB2 in dynasty drafts this summer.

Nyheim HinesMy Rank: [46], Fantasy Pros experts: [59]

During the early draft cycle, the 2018 4th round pick has been someone who continuously ends up on all my drafts. Phillip Rivers led all QB’s last season targeting his running backs on 27% of his passing attempts and accumulated 10 passing touchdowns to his running backs, which also led the league. Hines was the biggest loser for fantasy purposes after Andrew Luck decided to hang up his cleats, during his rookie year he was targeted 81 times out of the backfield which fell to 58 targets with Jacoby Brissett under center.

Hines is a legit 4.3 40 athlete who has joystick quickness and has the versatility to run routes out of the slot. A conservative projection for targets would be around 6 per game which would have him flirting with 100 targets over 16 games, if he gains the role as Phillip Rivers security blanket out of the backfield he has great odds to return value higher than his current ADP.

Damien HarrisMy Rank: [44], Fantasy Pros experts: [52]

The Sony Michel experience over the past few seasons have left his owners with a underwhelming taste of disappointment in their mouths as the production continues to fall short of expectations. This makes Harris one of my favorite late round dart throws as he could be another string of ineffectiveness from Sony Michel away from grabbing a chunk of the backfield. Harris isn’t the sexiest upside play, but considering the team he plays for the fact that he’s a solid all around running back could actually sway things in his favor. Harris possesses solid vision for a power running back and proved under Nick Saban at Alabama that he could be trusted in goal line, short yardage scenarios, and to ice away teams with important carries at the end of games.  Sony Michel underwent foot surgery in May, keep an eye out on his recovery as between injuries and ineffectiveness his role as the incumbent could be at risk.

Joshua KelleyMy Rank: [50], Fantasy Pros experts: [55]

Sneakily one of the best bargains currently on the dynasty market.  Chargers Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen, following the draft hinted at the idea that he would have a role in his offense for all three of their running backs including Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Joshua Kelley. 

Kelley is an unheralded JUCO recruit who despite lacking the prospect pedigree of others in his running back class has ended up in a situation where he could find early success. Melvin Gordon accounted for 217 combined rushes and targets during his 12 games last year, and although some of this work could be split Kelley has the skill archetype to make a name for himself as the power running back amongst the Chargers trio of halfbacks.

Kelley was one of the main standouts at the Senior Bowl prior to the NFL Draft, he combines being an intelligent runner with solid vision who also ran a 4.49 40 time and has the power to run through arm tackles and fight through contact. The 4th round pick out of UCLA should be on your radar as you get towards the end of your drafts as a stealth asset that could return a great investment to your dynasty roster. 

Lower than Consensus ADP

Austin EkelerMy Rank: [22] Fantasy pros experts: [13]

After Steichen took over from Ken Whisenhunt as OC in Week 9 (8 games), Ekeler averaged 7.5 carries per game and 6.5 targets per game till the end of the fantasy season. Ekeler never reached the end zone via rushing touchdown after Week 5 when Melvin Gordon returned from his holdout. The assumption is that Ekeler will get gifted the vacated volume in the backfield, but the possibility of the work getting split between Kelley and Jackson makes this a budding landmine for dynasty purposes. Ekeler scored 8 receiving touchdowns which will be difficult to duplicate inside of a offensive ecosystem in the midst of a polar shift in run/pass tendencies due to A. The stylistic differences of Phil Rivers & Tyrod Taylor or B. The presence of a raw rookie QB (Justin Herbert).

NFL decision makers are often formulaic and adverse to changing the status quo, and the truth is Ekeler is at risk of ceding goal line carries and a candidate to be closer to the other pass catching specialists in the future (Tarik Cohen, Phillip Lindsay, Duke Johnson, James White, Nyheim Hines) than the true premium feature running backs. Ekeler’s role as the lead pass catcher is secure and wont be challenged, the question is how valuable will that be in a different offense?       

The Author

Shawn Losier

Shawn Losier

New York City Native. Basketball Philosopher. Dynasty Sports Junkie. 2019 National Dynasty Bush League Hall of Fame inductee. St. John's University Alumni. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. Host of the Draft SZN Podcast https://linktr.ee/draftsznpodcast_

Contact for Interviews requests: Shawnlosier@gmail.com

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