NFL: Way too early RB rankings

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Derrick Henry was the NFL’s rushing leader in 2019. Photo//James Kenney/Associated Press

This week we continue to look ahead to next season. This is the most important of the four positional articles because running backs are the most important pieces to building a good fantasy team. As we head into the offseason, some new faces have established meaningful roles in their team’s backfields. Let’s see where they rank in the top 30 RB list.

 

Tier 1: Elite RB1s

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliot
  4. Dalvin Cook

Tier 2: RB1s

  1. Alvin Kamara
  2. Joe Mixon
  3. Leonard Fournette 
  4. Derrick Henry
  5. Aaron Jones

Tier 3: Potential RB1s

  1. Chris Carson
  2. Nick Chubb
  3. Austin Ekeler
  4. Josh Jacobs
  5. Kenyon Drake
  6. Devin Singletary

Tier 4: RB2s

  1. Le’veon Bell
  2. Melvin Gordon
  3. Miles Sanders
  4. Todd Gurley
  5. Mark Ingram

Tier 5: Back End RB2s

  1. Damien Williams
  2. Raheem Mostert
  3. Phillip Lindsay
  4. Devonta Freeman
  5. Marlon Mack

Tier 6: Solid Flex Options

  1. Kareem Hunt
  2. James Conner
  3. David Mongomerey
  4. Kerryon Johnson
  5. Darrius Guice 

 

Saquon Barkley: Barkley’s sophomore season was hindered by a high ankle sprain. He made an incredibly quick recovery, but was not the normal explosive Barkley from his rookie year. In his last three games, Barkley averaged over 31 fantasy points per game, showing what he can do when nearing full health. Barkley is one of the best backs in the league and is closer to Christian McCaffery than the rest of the field in terms of fantasy value.

 

Joe Mixon: There is no questioning Mixon’s extremely high talent level. His fantasy value lies entirely with how the Bengals use him. In the first half of the NFL season, they struggled to get him going. From week 8 on, however, Mixon had under 17 points just twice. With a healthier offensive line, potentially a new quarterback in Joe Burrow, and A.J. Green’s return from injury, the Bengals should be considerably better on offense. Mixon has the potential to be a top five guy if used like he was in the second half of the season.

 

Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones: These two belong in discussion together for their fantastic 2019 seasons. They also have something else in common: an extremely high TD rate per touch. Aaron Jones was a red zone monster this season, but is due for some regression in 2020. Henry was a workhorse back last season with over 400 attempts including the playoffs. He had 11 of his 17 rushing TDs in the second half of the season and was the third best fantasy running back even without being involved in the Titans’ passing game. If their TD rates drop to around league average, both will be borderline RB1s and owners should make sure not to take them over more consistent backs.

 

Devin Singletary: Singletary may have proved he has the most potential out of anyone in this draft class. He was able to take over the starting job quickly after an early season hamstring injury. His only problem after taking over was a lack of touchdowns (4 total). He was solid catching passes out of the backfield and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. His second year could prove to be rewarding for Singletary truthers.

 

Raheem Mostert: Mostert is such a great story. He has been cut by numerous NFL teams and went from the 49ers practice squad to rushing for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns in the NFC Championship game. If Mostert was the unquestioned starter going into next season, he would be well cemented in the top 10. The problem is that we have no idea who will be the 2020 starter between Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida. Mostert scored a touchdown and had over 10 points from week 11 on, which is a good sign for next season. Mostert is an extremely risky RB2 based on his unknown role next year, but he may end up being a home run value.

 

Potential Boom Players:

Joe Mixon

Devin Singletary

Raheem Mostert

Darrius Guice

 

Potential Bust Players:

Aaron Jones

Todd Gurley

James Conner

Sony Michel