Dynasty Rankings Pre-Draft: RBs

A shiny crop of new rookies will finally get their landing spots at the end of April. But until then, we’ve seen plenty of movement since the new League Year began in March. Now feels like a great time to look at where we stand in dynasty. I’ll be updating my positional rankings—QB, RB, WR, and TE—in a series of posts this next week. Today, I continue with my Top 50 RBs.

Running back continues to be one of the most important and most difficult positions. It’s hard to forecast the value shifts or who will emerge from committees, then there’s the rash of injuries and surprises. That makes the few running backs locked into defined, three-down roles incredibly valuable. With this group it gets thin early as we’re seeing some bigger names entering a phase where value is waning.

1. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts—Taylor is an incredible workhorse back. I love his talent and production. The only question is whether Frank Reich will use him.

2. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers—Najee was trapped in an inefficient offense behind a middling line and still had an incredible rookie season. Mitch Trubisky remains a question but the Steelers are working on the line and I think Harris will remain a great value.

3. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos—Last year, as a rookie and splitting time with Melvin Gordon, Williams was RB17. Gordon is gone, Russell Wilson is in and Williams is on a skyrocket to the moon.

4. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions—The Lions are still a rebuilding project but Swift has been a great producer. He does it with his legs and as a receiver. Health is always an issue, but he’s worth the risk.

5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings—Cook is another back that’s a big three-down producer. He’s missed some time, but less than others, so I still have him in the Top 5.

6. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers—The last two seasons have hurt his value. When he’s on the field, he’s been great. But he’s been limited to a handful of games a year. The struggling offense for the Panthers also does him no favors.

7. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints—Lot’s of questions about the Saints’ offense in 2022, and about Kamara himself. The looming charges bear watching, but he’s been a rock solid PPR producer because of his receiving prowess.

8. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers—The Chargers are a team on the rise. Justin Herbert has solidified himself as a franchise quarterback and Ekeler has proven a weapon out of the backfield. He had career highs as a rusher in 2021 and I think that continues.

9. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns—Chubb isn’t a great receiver, and isn’t used much in the passing game, but he’s a force running the ball. In the run-first system in Cleveland, that’s enough to solidify his value.

10. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals—Like Joe Burrow, Mixon will benefit from an improved offensive line. He’s also a three-down workhorse back for a good offense.

11. Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders—It’s a bit of a bummer J.D. McKissic came back to the team but I still like Gibson’s talent and production. Hopefully the offense is more efficient with Carson Wentz.

12. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens—If the Ravens sign Melvin Gordon, this will change some. But as of now, I like Dobbins potential in this offense enough he’s Top 12 for me.

13. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants—Barkley was a generational talent when he’s been drafted but the Giants’ offense hasn’t been a great fit. Brian Daboll isn’t known for power running games either.

14. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers—I still love Jones talent, but A.J. Dillion pushes him for carries. It’s also fair to wonder what the offense looks like this year and going forward.

15. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans—His age and last year’s injury have me lowering Henry a bit. He’s still a good rusher but in dynasty he drops a bit.

16. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears—Another back whose offense is changing, plus Khalil Herbert looked good last year. Still, Montgomery has been the workhorse back and I like his potential to be a solid if unflashy RB2.

17. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders—Jacobs is mostly a three-down back. It’s fair to wonder if Josh McDaniels will employ him the same way but he doesn’t have a lot of competition.

18. Michael Carter, New York Jets—I loved Carter going into the draft and his landing spot with the Jets. I love what the Jets are building and the potential for him to have a huge season.

19. Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers—He was probably the biggest surprise of the 2021 season. With Raheem Mostert gone, it feels like a nod toward Mitchell taking the lead back role going forward.

20. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys—Elliott has been a prolific back for the Cowboys but his yards per game continues to decline. The Cowboys have a robust passing offense and Tony Pollard isn’t going away. Zeke is an RB2 now.

21. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams—Akers is talented and his recovery to participate in the playoffs last season was amazing. I’m still not as high on him as some and not convinced he gets a Todd Gurley workload.

22. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles—The questions for Sanders are health (he has yet to play a full season) and usage. Those remains questions despite his talent and potential.

23. Damien Harris, New England Patriots—I know that it’s hard to trust Patriots backs and there’s still competition but Harris is different. It also speaks to the unknowns for me at the position as we get to this point.

24. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills—I loved what we saw from Singletary to close 2021 as he was featured in the backfield. Will he continue to be featured? If so, this could be too low. If not, this could be too high. I want to believe.

25. Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars—This might be too high but he had potential coming into 2021. An injury curtailed his season before it began. The Jaguars are building something and James Robinson won’t likely be available early, so it could be Etienne’s time to shine.

And the Rest:

26. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
27. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
28. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers
29. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
30. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
31. Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins
32. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
33. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
34. Ronald Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
35. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
36. Darrell Henderson, Jr., Los Angeles Rams
37. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
38. Melvin Gordon, UFA
39. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
40. Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
41. Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
42. Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
43. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
44. Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
45. Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams
46. Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
47. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
48. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
49. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
50. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

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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