Top 5 Fantasy Running Backs Heading into 2019

Top 5 Fantasy Running Backs Heading into 2019

Mandatory minicamp was the buzz around the NFL this week, and that means that we are one step closer to football season. This season, there are a lot of unknowns at the top of the running back board. I think this is a great situation to take advantage of. I want to break down my top 5 and then give a bit of insight into why some big names are being left off the list.

#1. Ezekiel Elliott

He is a workhorse back that can get 30 touches in every game this season. He can catch 5-8 balls out of the backfield if called upon. He is an elite pass blocker, meaning that he will never be seen as a guy that needs to be taken off the field in any situation. The Cowboy’s line should be healthier. The addition of Amari Cooper helped Zeke, and I expect Kellen Moore to spice up the Cowboys offense this season. Zeke is incredibly safe and has an enormous ceiling this season.

#2. Christian McCaffrey

I touted McCaffrey as hard as anyone possibly could, and I cannot get off of the train now. The Panthers brought in an old school OC, but Norv Turner really utilized CMC well. McCaffrey was used as an all-purpose back in a solid offense. I think CMC is one of the most talented backs in football, which helps him create big plays to pay off on a consistent basis. The downside here is Cam Newton’s potential health concerns. If Cam and Christian stay healthy, McCaffrey should do great things again this season.

#3. Saquon Barkley

Saquon is very similar to CMC, but I think the team offensive upside is much higher for McCaffrey. The Giants offense is going to be bad, and Saquon is going to be good. The issue I have is just how good can you be if defenses can COMPLETELY sell out to stop you at every turn with almost 0 threat of getting beat deep? Saquon is safe because he is an elite talent, but I think things would have to go perfect in his offense for him to actually become RB1 this season.

#4. Alvin Kamara

I think that the top 3 are in a tier of their own when it comes to workload and safety in their talent level. Kamara is an elite athlete, but I am just skeptical that the Saints want to use him like the first 3 guys on the list. The Saints offense is full of weapons, so Kamara will get better looks that Saquon and possibly CMC, but the lack of guaranteed 25 touches a game is what puts Kamara a tier below.

#5 David Johnson

Here is where I want to address all of these guys that can be considered in this range. David Johnson is my favorite option at this spot because I think he has the most offensive upside in Arizona. The Cardinals are not going to be good, but I think they will want to run a ton of plays, which should allow their best offensive option to get a lot of touches in dynamic situations. Kyler Murray was very comfortable using the checkdown at Oklahoma, and I think that he will struggle airing the ball out more than most. If Kyler gets gun shy after early picks, we could see even more DJ usage.

Other Picks

Melvin Gordon is a good and safe option, but I’m just not sure how healthy he can be and how much of the workload he can get. Le’Veon Bell is a good back, but his success came from a ton of usage and a good line. Until we see signs of the same happening in NYC, I can’t rely on him. Todd Gurley is free-falling down draft boards, and I have no interest at this point due to injury concerns. Joe Mixon is a talented back, but he is a back that will likely be in a suspect offense that isn’t super innovative. James Connor could be a top 5 RB if he wins the job outright. If I am taking RB6, I would definitely consider Connor if I am comfortable with his likelihood of winning the job. Nick Chubb is in a loaded backfield that will eventually get Kareem Hunt back as well. I will likely stay away because of the uncertainty, but if Duke Johnson does get traded away soon, I expect Chubb to bounce up boards in an elite offense. I do prefer the Mixon, Chubb, and Conner range over the second tier for the price, which has me preferring the top or bottom of the draft instead of the middle.