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2016 Positional Rankings: Running Backs - PPR

Ranking the top 50 running backs in PPR scoring leagues heading into the 2016 season.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Mock draft season is coming to a dignified close and real drafts are beginning to ensure the misery of millions of fantasy owners. Chief among the reasons for that misery is the running back position. Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk with you again, and I hope that you'll be kind to me in the year of our lord JC (Jamaal Charles). Here's my take on how the position of cataclysm will play out in 2016.

Rank Player Team Analysis
1 David Johnson Arizona Cardinals I've completely come around on DJ. The situation is perfect, the talent is undeniable and the week-winning potential is everything you ask for in a #1 RB.
2 Todd Gurley Los Angeles Rams 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 13 games for a rookie coming off a torn ACL. Gurley is not of this planet and shouldn't be knocked down for the ineptitude of his offensive counterparts.
3 Lamar Miller Houston Texans I was all aboard his hype train last year and he delivered a top-6 season despite being underutilized once again by an incompetent coaching staff. Bill O'Brien will make sure to give him a massive workload.
4 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Last time he tore an ACL he ran for 1,500 yards the following season. The all-time leader in yards per carry will show us how unhuman he really is.
5 Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys Set up in the most perfect of situations. O-line is lethal and the Cowboys will rely on him even more with Tony Romo injured.
6 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings Will Father Time ever get a hold of AP? The #2 RB in PPR last year, don't disregard him because of his lack of passing-game work.
7 LeSean McCoy Buffalo Bills Still uber-talented, Shady averaged 4.4 yards per carry last year and was 12th in fantasy points per game. With no more Karlos Williams pining for carries behind him, McCoy should be an RB1 for Rex Ryan's run-heavy offense.
8 Devonta Freeman Atlanta Falcons Pass game and goal-line role is fully intact. In PPR that's all you can really ask for, even if the efficiency and rushing yard production isn't there.
9 Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers The three-game suspension is a bummer, but he's a bonafide week-winner at a volatile position.
10 Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints Apparently, him being a big part of the passing offense last year was no fluke as he's primed to operate in a similar role this season. A touchdown hog in a high-powered offense, Ingram can be an RB1 as long as he stays healthy for 16 games.
11 Doug Martin Tampa Bay Buccaneers Doug E. Fresh was the #4 overall RB in PPR last year, and that was with some poor touchdown luck. While his yards are likely to regress, his scoring chances might go up.
12 C.J. Anderson Denver Broncos I didn't want any part of Anderson earlier in the summer, but this backfield is looking like his and only his. Gary Kubiak loves himself a workhorse and knows how to get unmatched production from them.
13 Latavius Murray Oakland Raiders The Raiders figure to run the ball more than last year, which bodes well for Murray. Even if they don't, Murray finished in the top 10 last year.
14 Matt Forte New York Jets I've been souring a bit on Forte because of his missed time with a hamstring injury and Bilal Powell's presence, but I still fancy him as a solid RB2 that fits perfectly in Chan Gailey's spread offense.
15 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers Which Eddie will we get this year? As is always the case with him, the potential for double-digit touchdowns is so very much appealing. His inconsistency, although, is not.
16 DeMarco Murray Tennessee Titans I keep seeing people ding Murray because the Titans defense is awful and the offense will have to throw to catch up. Why is that such a bad thing? Murray is a more-than-capable pass-catcher, and the Titans will still try to run him in every game they're semi-close in.
17 Jeremy Langford Chicago Bears PFF ranked Langford as one of the worst RBs in the NFL last year. It might not matter if he gets the volume of a workhorse.
18 Ryan Mathews Philadelphia Eagles Please, stay healthy. Please, stay healthy. Please, stay healthy. Please, stay healthy.
19 Frank Gore Indianapolis Colts Sneakily finished as the #14 RB in PPR last year while entrenched in an offensive catastrophe. The offense should be much better this year, though the offensive line is a legit concern.
20 Carlos Hyde San Francisco 49ers The offense is terrible (as it was last year) and he recently suffered a concussion (he was injured nearly all of last year). There's no doubting the ability he possesses. The questions are about his environment and health.
21 Giovani Bernard Cincinnati Bengals Food for thought.
22 Rashad Jennings New York Giants I don't know how, but this is the exact same rank that he finished in last year. The G-Men seem committed to him as their lead back, scrapping their years-long committee of mediocrity.
23 Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns His counterpart has looked good this preseason and more weapons on the Browns offense might put a delay to the Duke breakout many want to see come to fruition.
24 Melvin Gordon San Diego Chargers Gordon has looked rejuvenated this preseason after an atrocious rookie year. His talent is undeniable. It looks like he's putting it all together.
25 Charles Sims Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sims finished as the 16th best RB in PPR last year, 12 spots behind his teammate Doug Martin. This offense can sustain two productive RBs.
26 Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals Are his 11 TDs from last year repeatable? Possibly, but unlikely. Gio provides more weekly comfort in PPR.
27 Danny Woodhead San Diego Chargers Him and Gordon might siphon each other's fantasy points, causing some weekly headaches.
28 Thomas Rawls Seattle Seahawks He's coming off a gruesome injury, he doesn't catch many passes and the Seahawks have added a bunch of RBs. As talented as he is, I want no part of him given his current price point.
29 Ameer Abdullah Detroit Lions Similar to Gordon, Abdullah could be headed for a breakout and should be drafted in the 7th-8th round as an intriguing post-hype sleeper.
30 Arian Foster Miami Dolphins He's looked slow but still has the vision, cutting ability and pass-catching prowess that makes him so good. He's made Ajayi look like a scrub.
31 Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers Want the least sexy pick that might be an RB2 but might also have the rails come off his injury-riddled body? Draft J-Stew.
32 Bilal Powell New York Jets Some people think that Powell will outperform Forte, but I don't see it just yet. Still, Powell will be plenty involved in the offense as a dynamic pass-catching weapon.
33 Matt Jones Washington Redskins The volume should be there if he's healthy. The real question is whether he is bad or not bad.
34 T.J. Yeldon Jacksonville Jaguars Passing-game role is secure, which makes him more appealing than Ivory as the Jags were behind in a lot of games last year.
35 Theo Riddick Detroit Lions There is zero chance he's repeating his 80 catch performance from last year with the additions of Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin, and the breakouts of Eric Ebron and Abdullah imminent.
36 Chris Ivory Jacksonville Jaguars How many carries will he get per game? Yeldon will be a headache for Ivory owners.
37 Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns I'm still on the Crowell bandwagon, but it's been a bumpy ride. He's looked very good in preseason and Hue Jackson may choose to ride him for as long as his team has a lead in games.
38 Shane Vereen New York Giants The Giants offense might be at its most efficient when Vereen is on the field, but their coaches seem to think slow RBs are the way to go.
39 C.J. Prosise Seattle Seahawks Thomas Rawls, Christine Michael and Alex Collins are not pass-catching savants. Someone has to be the pass-catcher out of the backfield (like Fred Jackson was last year). Prosise fits that profile perfectly.
40 James White New England Patriots With Dion Lewis out for at least the first six weeks, White will hope to carry over his performance from Weeks 12-16 of last year where he didn't have a game under 14 PPR points.
41 Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles There will always be a role for Sproles as a pass-catching specialist, but he needed a lot of things to go right last year for him to finish as the 29th best RB.
42 Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans Henry has looked fantastic, but DeMarco will get the majority of carries and the Titans don't throw many passes to their RBs, diminishing his potential for this season.
43 Christine Michael Seattle Seahawks Will the coaching staff stay true to its word and give hime a big role? They keep saying that he is now "woke", but we'll see if he's woke enough to get plenty of playing time once Rawls is back in the mix.
44 LeGarrette Blount New England Patriots It feels gross to start him, but he is always a possibility to stumble in for a touchdown every game.
45 Justin Forsett Baltimore Ravens The Ravens RBBC is going to be traumatic to watch unfold.
46 Tevin Coleman Atlanta Falcons Coleman is poised for a bigger role this season, but he hasn't impressed in the preseason and Freeman has a vise grip on the starting job.
47 DeAngelo Williams Pittsburgh Steelers He's going to be useless outside of the first three weeks unless Bell goes down again.
48 DeAndre Washington Oakland Raiders If Latavius goes down, Washington could be a Devonta Freeman-esque waiver wire pickup.
49 Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings McKinnon needs to get more touches, but the Vikings seem unwilling to give their dynamic backup more than just a few per game.
50 Jay Ajayi Miami Dolphins Foster will probably get injured at some point, but until then Ajayi is nothing more than a change-of-pace guy.