Dynasty Consensus Ranks: RBs

It’s the off-season, time to take stock of our teams, players and plans for future fantasy football glory. This off-season, the Music City Drive In NFL Team is here to help. If you’ve been following along with the Happy Hour Podcast, you know we’re tackling our consensus Top 10s at QB, RB, WR and TE this March. Each Friday, in conjunction with our weekly panel discussion, we’ll be releasing the Top 10 right here. The panel of voters is Jason Astarita (@astataritajason), John Hamelers (@iheartcaravans), Ricky Valero (@rickyvalero_) and Matthew Fox (@knighthawk7734).

Here’s the process: each panelist submits a list of their Top 10. Each player is scored according to position, from 10 points to 1 point. Then the scores of each are added to determine a Top 10, with the highest score possible being 40 points. Below is the Top 10 along with some analysis and score information.

No. 1 Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Total Score
: 39
First Place Votes: 3
About: In two years, Taylor has proven himself to be a beast. He’s rushed for 2,980 yards, including 1,811 and 18 touchdowns in 2021. Some, myself included, thought he was a candidate for NFL MVP. He’s an easy choice to top this list and gets a nearly perfect score from our panel.

No. 2 Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Total Score
: 35
First Place Votes: 1
About: Harris was the top choice in the 2021 draft and looked it for the Steelers. Despite a middling offensive line and an aging Ben Roethlisberger, Harris rushed for 1,200 yards and caught 74 passes. He’s just getting started.

No. 3 D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
Total Score:
33
Highest Placement: No. 2 overall
About: Swift is another talented back trapped on a mediocre offense in Detroit. Still, he’s a game-changer when he’s on the field. In two seasons, despite missing seven games, he has caught 108 passes and scored 17 touchdowns. Swift is a dynamic asset in fantasy.

No. 4 Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Total Score
: 20
Highest Placement: No. 4
About: Prior to last season, McCaffrey would have been a consensus No. 1 selection at running back, and probably in dynasty in general. We’ve seen his talent and his ceiling. But durability has become a concern, limiting him to just 10 games in the past two seasons. Now, that talent is balanced out with questions about his availability. His score indicates that our panel feels split about that balance.

No. 5 Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Total Score
: 14
Highest Placement: No. 4
About: After the Top 3, you’ll notice that our running back scores drop and are greatly bunched up. There isn’t a lot of agreement about the value of some of these players, and that includes Cook. Cook is a talented back in a decent offense, but he’s only ever played 14 games in a season, meaning he’s a risk to miss time. Still, as a dual-threat who has rushed for 1,100 yards the past three seasons and has caught 34 or more passes in the last four seasons, he’s a solid asset for fantasy when he’s on the field.

No. 6 Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders
Total Score
: 13
Highest Placement: No. 5
About: Gibson is another back that fits the mold of splitting the panel. He received placement as high as No. 5 but appeared on only three ballots. He’s entering his third year and has bested expectations, the unquestioned top back for Washington. He’s rushed for 1,832 yards, caught 78 passes and scored 21 touchdowns over those two seasons. Questions still remain about his long-term durability and his potential ceiling in Washington, but he’s looking more and more like a steal after going in the late second and third round of 2020 rookie drafts.

No. 7 Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (TIE)
Total Score
: 12
Highest Placement: No. 7
About: The veteran Ekeler just keeps improving. He’s coming off a year where he posted career highs in carries (206), rushing yards (911) and rushing touchdowns (12), while still catching 70 passes. He’s the top running back in an emerging offense in Los Angeles, giving him good value to a fantasy lineup.

No. 7 Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos (TIE)
Total Score
: 12
Highest Placement: No. 3
About: Williams is all about potential upside. He also split the panel. He comes in tied for No. 7, but only got votes from half the panel. One of those votes was as high as No. 3 overall. That’s due to his immense talent. Splitting time with Melvin Gordon, Williams saw 203 carries, rushing for 903 yards and four TDs, catching 34 passes. Gordon is a free agent, and part of the score for Williams is the hope he ascends to being an alpha back with a full workload. If that happens, the sky’s the limit. If not, this ranking is probably too bullish.

No. 9 Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (TIE)
Total Score
: 10
Highest Placement: No. 7
About: Chubb is a powerful runner who’s posted 4,816 yards and 36 touchdowns in four seasons with the Browns. He isn’t the pass-catching threat that others on this list are, but his rushing has been good enough to keep him a top producer, even in PPR. That figures to remain the case in a run-heavy Cleveland offense.

No. 9 Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (TIE)
Total Score
: 10
Highest Placement: No. 6
About: Mixon isn’t without risk. The Bengals haven’t always had the best line, and Mixon has missed time in each of his five seasons, sometimes a lot of time. But he’s also a workhorse in an emerging offense—one that just made the Super Bowl. Mixon is the lone back in this range that ended up on the list for all our panelists. He wasn’t the highest, but we see consistent value, and fantasy players should, too.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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