Nothing makes the NFL more fun than fantasy football and few things make fantasy sports more fun than rankings, rankings, and more rankings. RBs are ranked in this post with the ESPN and Yahoo! standard fractional scoring.
Players who receive point-per-reception (PPR) bumps are noted with the asterisk. Consult my weekly Depth Charts and Volatility post, where we analyze all of the timeshares where multiple backs are involved for teams. The top of these ranks generally favor backs involved in the receiving game, as it is, because the bellcow RBs who largely are involved in the passing game are largely unaffected when their respective teams abandon the run.
|22||Javorius "Buck" Allen||Ravens||---|
- As we go down the rankings, there is an increase in the weight of strength of schedule. Where we have healthy paths to the playoffs, playoff schedules matter more than the coming weeks; where we are fighting for playoff spots, we need to get to the playoffs to even make the playoffs relevant. Check the schedules.
- Devonta Freeman is simply at the bottom of the top tier because the others are at less risk of missing time. I hate concussions. I hate them in real life, but--to a lesser, yet contextually relevant degree--they are volatility enhancers in fantasy. We don't know if they will play until close to gametime and we don't really know if they should be out there when they are out there and can leave games early. Total mess.
Equally cautious on Charcandrick West (hamstring). Hamstrings are also day-today injuries where a guy feels OK on Friday, but cannot go on Sunday; or he is active and feeling great early Sunday, but leaves the game in an early series and does not return.
- These rankings devalue the messiest backfield situations noted in the Depth Charts and Volatility post. I don't care how talented a guy is if he doesn't get the ball. There are tons of new entries into the rankings because guys who never get the ball can start getting dropped for handcuffs and these handcuffs are shoved ahead of wasted roster spaces. The rankings are cut off at RB50 because we really should be focused on handcuffing after the top-40. Bye weeks are done and our benches should reflect insurance more than hope in bad starters and mid-range volume receiving backs who do not score TDs.
- Bellcows always get the edge. There aren't many of them, so the value in scarcity increases for those backs with lesser variance. As we go down the rankings, the bad bellcows who we can never trust in our lineup lose value to receiving backups with more upside in whom we can reasonably instill hope. The bad bellcows are not only unstartable, but untradeable, and that is a recipe for a wasted roster spot. This is the reasoning for the huge shakeup in the top-10, as volume trends are setting in.
- Do your research and use rankings cautiously, as they are always a work-in-progress. Rankings are a bad tools to tell us what to do. They are conversation starters, tier setters, value mirrors, and a combination of the scientific explanations of what has happened with the art of predicting what will happen. Feel free to supply contrary evidence to me on Twitter at @AlexSontySBN or in the comments. They will help me help you.