Like 2019’s quarterbacks, this season’s running back class is outrageously deep. Currently RB3s, both Latavius Murray and Royce Freeman have real shots at finishing the year as rock solid RB2s. Rookies like Miles Sanders and David Montgomery are primed for monster seasons and should immediately cement themselves as household names. Will the big-name bell cows like Le’Veon Bell and Joe Mixon be able to hang with the up and comers? Load up on running backs this year — it’s gonna be a fun one.
|Elite High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s
|Elite High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s
|2019's LaDainian Tomlinson is ready for a big year.
|His 2018 uptick in passing game usage firmly cements him in the Top 3.
|Barkley could push for 400 touches as he tries to keep the Giants' offense afloat.
|Kamara's target count should again clear the century mark again and he could see double that on the ground. His scoring upside is as high as anyone's.
|Kliff Kingsbury is going to make David Johnson the focal point of his high-octane offense. He could finish 2019 as the RB1.
|High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s
|Update: The Duke Johnson Jr. trade brings Chubb to the brink of the Top 5 tier. Although seldom used through the air, all reports indicate he is a proficient pass catcher. His touch total just received a serious increase. Evan Silva recently alerted us to the fact that although Kareem Hunt will be eligible to return in Week 10, the Haslam's were non-committal on whether that meant he would be fully reinstated by the league. Chubb will be a touchdown machine in the revamped Todd Monken offense.
|Conner surpassed Le'veon Bell's career averages in numerous metrics last season. He's a dual threat bellcow in a high scoring offense.
|Barring a holdout, Gordon is a surefire RB1 in a contract year.
|Extensive injury history is the only worry here. Minnesota signed Gary Kubiak as as Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor this offseason. Cook is set to be the focal point of Kubiak's famous zone blocking scheme.
|Williams looked explosive, closing out the 2018 season with a flurry of potent box scores. He's set to be the bellcow in the NFL's highest scoring offense.
|Many will not have Fournette this high. If we're trusting others with more extensive injury histories though, that shouldn't be the case. Fournette is has a strong chance to be Top 5 in carries this season. Trust the bellcow.
|We need to keep an eye on camp and the preseason. Head Coach Adam Gase refused to commit to a bellcow in Miami. Will that be the case in New York, or will Bell get the multifaceted workload he deserves?
|High Floor/High Ceiling RB2s
|Workload and talent keep Mixon here despite the injury bug ravaging the players around him. He will frequently battle 8-man boxes and will be moved down if more offensive injuries occur.
|Theoretically, this is going to be Jones' backfield. He should see a high volume of work through the air and on the ground. Jones has injured both MCLs in the past and is currently dealing with a pulled hamstring. It's a situation to monitor.
|Free of Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman is in line for the biggest workload of his career. However, the nature of his formerly hyperextended MCL is cause for concern -- this injury never fully heals and often leads to compensatory injuries like the ones he suffered to his foot and groin last year. The latter required surgery.
|Should Derrick Henry have a mostly-healthy 2018, he's a candidate to lead the league in carries.
|Mack will operate as Indy's grinder and should always have a stable floor, however, his ceiling games may not come as often as others in this area given his lack of work in the passing game.
|Potentially 2019's biggest difference maker. Gurley could still post a Top 5 season in an Alvin Kamara-type role.
|As Evan Silva pointed out on a recent episode of Ross Tucker's Fantasy Feast, the departure of Mike Davis frees up 154 carries & targets from 2018. Carson is set to operate as a 20-touch running back in 2019.
|Jacobs should see a large 2019 workload, however, Warren Sharp projects Oakland to play a very difficult schedule -- that makes things tough on the young back. Doug Martin still has Gruden's eye as well.
|The release of Theo Riddick signals a significant increase in Johnson's passing game workload.
|Montgomery is primed to takeover this backfield to the tune of 18+ touches per game. His dual threat ability is exactly why HC Matt Nagy traded up to get him.
|On the same episode that we refernced for Chris Carson, Silva also pointed out the threat that Justice Hill poses as a lightweight version of 2017 Alvin Kamara. Ingram should have a rock solid floor though.
|Lindsay has slipped down this list during its construction. Royce Freeman has operated as the team's lead back under new OC Rich Scangarello's watch, this offseason. However, Lindsay should still produce efficiently while taking snaps both as a runner and receiver.
|High Floor/High Ceiling RB3s
|People are sleeping on Latavius. As Silva also mentioned, multiple coaching staffs have noticed how adept he is near the goal line and have routinely fed him inside the 10. Couple this with Sean Payton's drunken admission to Silva during NFL Draft weekend that "Alvin's soft", we can expect a 12+ touch per game workload for Murray in 2019.
|Check back daily because Miles Sanders is flying up this list. For the first time, this devastating Eagles' offense has a true dual threat bellcow. As Sanders masters the playbook and pass blocking, Doug Pederson will pile more and more onto his plate.
|Coleman is currently in line to operate as the lead back in Shanahan's offense. His ceiling is high in such a potent system. There are multiple threats to his workload though.
|Michel is in free fall and will be until we get some positive news about his status fending off rookie RB Damien Harris. His TD upside remains high.
|High Floor/Capped Ceiling RB3s
|The odds-on favorite to takeover as Houston's bellcow, giving Deshaun Watson a passing game weapons the likes of which he's never had.
|Freeman will likely hop into the RB2 range as he continues to excel in the new offensive scheme.
|There will be plenty of rushing work to go around in Seattle, making Penny a fine weekly flex.
|The King of PPR scoring, White's passing game role remains secure. In 2018, he was the second most targeted running back in the NFL at 123 total targets.
|Ekeler carries standalone value as the rotational 1B back in the Chargers offense. Should Gordon holdout, he passing game role keeps him elevated over the rushing-oriented Justin Jackson.
|Henderson looks to be the Ekeler for the other Los Angeles team.
|Cohen's passing game role should remain intact as an Offensive Weapon, more than a running back. He and David Montgomery can comfortably coexist.
|Ballage has been running as the 1A over Kenyan Drake, however, it's likely they split season-long work 50/50. Ballage remains the value pick, coming off the board as the RB49 to Drake's RB26.
|Perhaps more talented than Ballage, he's just too expensive.
|Breida should be universally owned. 2018 showed us that he's closest thing to a real-life Wolverine. Both Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon have extensive injury histories.
|High Floor/Low Ceiling RB4s
|Philadelphia's battering ram will get rotational usage but nothing to write home about.
|Peterson should operate as the lead back in WAS but overall it's a situation to avoid, outside of their biannual games against the Giants
|With both Sony Michel and James White coming off the board as backend RB2s, Harris is the clear value pick at RB47.
|McCoy's geriatric body should collapse at some point this year, making room for Devin Singletary to takeover as Buffalo's lead back.
|Whoever wins the starting job as TB's running back needs to be owned. The early money is on the steady, if underwhelming Peyton Barber.
|Low Floor/High Ceiling RB4s
|Hunt is draftable in league's with exceptionally deep benches. It's not guaranteed that he is reinstated upon the completion of his suspension though, so his situation must carefully be monitored.
|A candidate to eventually see 10 or so touches per game in what could be in the NFL's run-heaviest offense is worth a flyer, late in drafts.
|Samuels will likely see single digit touches per game but would carry supreme value should Conner go down.
|If Smith wins the RB2 job in Atlanta over Brian Hill, he should be drafted late. As discussed earlier, the spectre of Devonta Freeman's stretched MCL looms large.
|Edmonds will rise up this list by preseason's end. This offense should support two startable RBs if Kliff Kingsbury successfully gets this team running 70+ plays per game.
|Ronald Jones II
|It's do or die time for Jones. If he wins the job, his ceiling is up there as an RB2.
|The run game-oriented Kubiak offense requires a 20+ touch back. Should Cook go down, Mattison steps into a monster role.
|3 surgeries were required to clean up Guice's surgically repaired ACL.
|The High Floor/Low Ceiling RB4
|Miller likely moves into an 8-10 touch workload with the acquisition of Duke Johnson Jr.
|Low Floor/High Ceiling RB5s
|Absolutely worth a late round flyer as he should takeover this backfield at some point this year.
|Should the unexpected occur and Elliott holds out, Pollard might be Dallas's starter.
|The 1B RB should Gordon holdout.
|The battle for the KC RB2 spot is on. Damien Williams has never had a full season's workload.
|The vet may be the safer player to gamble on.
|How the Preseason Mighty have fallen. If McKinnon can pull off the upset, he's a league-changer.
|The Darkhorse to takeover should Freeman miss time.
|The do-it-all vet is on the bubble.