Burkardt’s Preseason Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs

by Skyler Burkardt
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Fantasy football season is just around the corner. Over the next few weeks, I will share my top-10 rankings for each position to help give you an edge and possibly determine who should be drafted in your fantasy leagues this season. Last week I did quarterbacks; next, we’ll move on to running backs.

Running Backs

1. Saquon Barkley – New York Giants

Barkley put on a show last year as he eclipsed 1,300 rushing yards and over 700 receiving yards. One can only imagine how much better he will be after the Giants improved their offensive line in the offseason. One thing to watch out for is how much the loss of Odell will impact his fantasy numbers. Otherwise, Barkley is probably going to be the natural choice at No. 1 in this year’s fantasy draft.

2. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers

This decision was not an easy one as McCaffrey put up high receiving numbers last year even without Newton as the quarterback for two games. The Panthers running back could put up the best fantasy numbers out of all positions because of how talented he is. Don’t hesitate to take him as your top pick in the first round or even No. 1 overall. McCaffrey is going to make your opponents pay with his dual-threat ability.

3. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints

Great news for fantasy owners – rumors around the Saints have started that Kamara will be playing a more significant role in their offense. Take this news as you will, but let’s not forget how much Sean Peyton loves to keep Kamara fresh and will use other running backs to ensure victory. Kamara is going to get the numbers but not as high as many are hoping.

4. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys

Elliott is going to get the carries needed to make him a favorite for the NFL’s rushing leader. However, he is not used in the passing game as much as the others mentioned above. He’s going to get the touchdowns and yardage with the Cowboys but will lack more in the receiving game compared to others on this list. Be confident in your decision if you pick him though, as he’s going to get you a lot of points.

5. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner has a great story and an even better mentality to play hard. The Steelers running back proved to everyone last year that he can be a workhorse back. The Steelers are going to use him just like they did Bell and make him an all-purpose back. Just be careful not to miss him when he puts up 1k receiving yards and rushing yards with the Steelers this year.

6. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns

Yes, another Browns player with top-10 potential. Expect him to be a breakout candidate as he has established himself as a tremendous dual-threat running back. This year we will see him break the 1,200-yard mark and close to 800 yards receiving. Don’t be afraid to reach for Chubb as he will have many chances to score as well under this new Browns regimen.

7. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon has been a highly-rated fantasy back since his sophomore year and will only look to increase his numbers. If Gordon stays healthy, it’s possible for him to be another potential 1,00-yard receiving and rushing back!

8. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams

I’m not a believer in Todd Gurley being his old self after what happened towards the end of last year. Also, with the addition of Darrell Henderson,  it can only mean a smaller workload. He may be worth taking a second or third round selection in fantasy leagues with the upside that his knee will hold up better than expected. Be cautious here, but don’t fret because he will still put up RB2 numbers at a minimum.

9. Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos 

This year will be an even better year for Lindsay now that the Broncos have a legitimate quarterback at the helm. The Broncos will utilize him in every aspect of their offense and make his name known across the league if it hasn’t been already. Lindsay will break the 1,300 rushing mark, but it is unknown how much they will use him in the passing game.

10. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears

Jordan Howard is gone, and that can only mean more opportunities for the speed demon. Cohen can do anything he wants with the ball in his hands and will look to exploit everything the defense is doing to stop him. Watch as the Bears look to make him a 1,000-yard dual-threat back and take this offense to the next level.
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