2018 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs 11-20
These 2018 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings will be updated often throughout the spring and summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other Fantasy Football Rankings articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2018 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. Bye: 9. AUG. 10 UPDATE: Joe Mixon played just one drive in his 2018 debut, but he made it count. Mixon caught a pass, stiff-armed the first defender, spun away from the second and then ran into the end zone for a 24-yard receiving touchdown. Mixon otherwise rushed for nine yards on three carries. Mixon, who is in great shape, should have a huge year behind an improved offensive line.
JULY 20 UPDATE: Joe Mixon has trimmed down this offseason, dropping to 218 pounds from 230 last year. Mixon's stock was already pointing up in the wake of Cincinnati acquiring upgrades on the offensive line, and now this is just the cherry on top. Mixon could easily finish as a top-10 fantasy running back this year.
Joe Mixon didn't get much work in the first two games of the season, but became the starter once the Bengals made a coordinator change. Mixon, however, averaged just 3.5 yards per carry because of a horrific offensive line. Mixon should be a big-time producer in 2018 with Cincinnati bringing in two big upgrades on the front.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,250 rushing yards. 32 catches. 240 receiving yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 209. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 241.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Bye: 8.
It would be nice to see Tevin Coleman get more of a workload than Devonta Freeman, but Freeman is the one getting the big bucks. Freeman rushed for only 865 yards in 2017, as he once again wore down as the season progressed. He also saw his receptions decline from 54 to 36.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 910 rushing yards. 48 catches. 390 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 184. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 232.
Jordan Howard, RB, Bears. Bye: 5.
Jordan Howard saw his yardage drop from 1,313 to 1,122 this past season, as his YPC plummeted from 5.2 to 4.1. Howard's 2018 output will likely be somewhere in between. Chicago has better receivers, and Mitchell Trubisky will be more effective as a result. Teams won't be able to concentrate on Howard as a result.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,130 rushing yards. 22 catches. 160 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 183. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 205.
Alex Collins, RB, Ravens. Bye: 10. AUG. 10 UPDATE: The Baltimore announcing team hyped up Alex Collins because of Collins' high Pro Football Focus rating, and he didn't disappoint them in his preseason debut. Collins finished with 26 yards on two carries, but had an 8-yard burst negated by a chop block. His big run, a 23-yarder, was aided by nice downfield blocking by rookie tight end Hayden Hurst. Collins' production will see a boost because of Hayden's blocking, so he could be in for a nice season.
Alex Collins didn't see lots of work this past season until late October, but he finished the year as the primary ball-carrier and did a good job overall. Collins rushed for 973 yards on a 4.6 YPC clip. He also caught 23 passes. Collins will have a chance to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier in 2018, though Kenneth Dixon is set to return.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,090 rushing yards. 22 catches. 160 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 179. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 201.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers. Bye: 4. AUG. 18 UPDATE: If Christian McCaffrey wanted to atone for a fumble he was guilty of in the preseason opener, then it was mission accomplished. McCaffrey scored on an early 71-yard touchdown run against Miami. He sprinted through a big hole, shed an arm tackle and then ran into the end zone. McCaffrey later hauled in an 18-yard catch where he grabbed a ball that was thrown slightly behind him. McCaffrey finished with 92 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries as well as four receptions for 28 receiving yards. His one mistake was a dropped pass, but he was terrific otherwise.
JULY 30 UPDATE: Top Panthers offensive lineman Daryl Williams tore his MCL and dislocated his kneecap. He'll miss most or all of 2018. This makes Carolina's run blocking much worse, which will adversely affect Christian McCaffrey's fantasy outlook. McCaffrey was already being drafted too high in non-PPR formats. Stay away unless you're being rewarded for catches.
JULY 17 UPDATE: Christian McCaffrey's carry total won't go up much, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. The McCaffrey hype is through the roof, as his ADP is 3.01. That would be great for PPR, but McCaffrey will be sharing his carries with C.J Anderson, whom the Panthers are high on.
Christian McCaffrey didn't get much of a workload on the ground as a rookie, as he had just 117 carries for 435 rushing yards. However, he made up for it with 80 catches for 651 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns. McCaffrey was set to get more opportunities on the ground with Jonathan Stewart gone, but the Panthers brought in C.J. Anderson.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 760 rushing yards. 75 catches. 610 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 179. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 254.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins. Bye: 11. AUG. 26 UPDATE: Frank Gore played in the dress rehearsal, but didn't do much; he lost two yards on his sole carry. Kenyan Drake was featured much more, and he showed some major explosion whenever he touched the ball. Drake gained 32 yards on four attempts and also reeled in a 36-yard reception deep downfield. Drake could've had better receiving numbers, but two of Tannehill's attempts to him were deflected. He's worth a third- or fourth-round fantasy pick.
AUG. 18 UPDATE: Kenyan Drake was the star for the Dolphins in the second preseason game. It didn't begin well for him when he fumbled. He was fortunate to have the ball bounce into a teammate's arms. He was able to rebound from that, especially on a 34-yard gain. He made a nice spin move and sprinted downfield. He also saw three targets from Tannehill. Drake finished with 54 yards on eight carries, and he also caught three passes for four yards. Drake is a solid pick in the fourth round of fantasy drafts.
AUG. 10 UPDATE: Running back Kenyan Drake saw most of the first-team work, and he only left the field to take a breather. Drake looked good, rushing for 16 yards on just three carries. His longest gain, a 10-yarder, featured a nice cut on a third-and-11 draw. He followed that up by converting a fourth-and-1 try. Drake seems like a quality pick in Rounds 4-5 of 12-team leagues.
The Dolphins traded away Jay Ajayi, partly because they were comfortable with moving on to Kenyan Drake. The Alabama product was impressive down the stretch, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and catching 32 passes. The clear-cut starter going forward, Drake seems poised for a strong 2018 campaign.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,010 rushing yards. 48 catches. 350 receiving yards. 7 total TD.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 178. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 226.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles. Bye: 9. AUG. 28 UPDATE: Jay Ajayi has a lower-body injury of some sort that has sidelined him a week. Ajayi should be fine, but it's a bit worrisome for a player whom the Eagles have expressed injury concerns about.
It'll be exciting to see what Jay Ajayi can do with a full season in Philadelphia. Ajayi will have to split the workload with a couple of running backs, but he was given more of the workload as the year progressed. He could have a big 2018 campaign if Carson Wentz is fully healthy.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,050 rushing yards. 24 catches. 140 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 173. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 197.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills. Bye: 11. JULY 11 UPDATE: LeSean McCoy has been accused of beating his ex-girlfriend, his son and his dog. McCoy has denied this, and there is no proof of these allegations, but those could surface in the near future. McCoy could be suspended or banned permanently, depending on what the investigation unearths, so he's undraftable in the first two rounds. I think the earliest I would select him is the middle of the third frame of fantasy drafts.
LeSean McCoy was a huge part of Buffalo's offense once again, rushing for 1,138 yards and catching 59 passes in 2017. He's 30 as of July, but still should be an RB1 this upcoming season, especially if the Bills find an upgrade at quarterback to take some defenders out of the box.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 1,100 rushing yards. 46 catches. 380 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 172. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 218.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions. Bye: 6. AUG. 18 UPDATE: If I were to guess, I'd say Kerryon Johnson will win the job. The Detroit announcers agreed with this sentiment. Johnson is the best back on the roster. He gained just nine yards on four carries versus the Giants, but had an 11-yard burst negated by a hold. It was a shame, as Johnson's run showed some great patience and acceleration. Johnson also did a good job of picking up the blitz. His talent is undeniable, and the Lions won't be able to keep him off the field.
AUG. 11 UPDATE: Kerryon Johnson was spectacular in his preseason debut. He broke countess tackles throughout the evening, gaining 34 yards on seven carries, all while catching four passes for 33 receiving yards. Not included in those numbers is a 57-yard run in the third quarter that was negated by a very questionable holding call by rookie lineman Tyrell Crosby. Had the play stood, Johnson would've accumulated 124 total yards on just 12 touches. If you're looking for the next Alvin Kamara, it could easily be the talented Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson's ADP isn't nearly as low as Kamara's was last year; his ADP is currently at 6.08, and it'll soar after this performance.
AUG. 4 UPDATE: Kerryon Johnson has been praised for his pass protection, which is important for his rookie-year usage. Also, Jeff Risdon, who covers the Lions, called Johnson "legit." The rookie runner's stock is definitely pointing up.
MAY 26 UPDATE: Kerryon Johnson has been a top-two back at OTAs, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. Twentyman listed Johnson and LeGarrette Blount as the best backs on Detroit's roster, so it's nice to hear that Johnson won't be stuck behind Ameer Abdullah on the depth chart.
Kerryon Johnson shouldn't have much of a problem bypassing the disappointing Ameer Abdullah on the roster. Johnson is a great fit for Detroit's offense, as he'll catch lots of Matthew Stafford's short passes. This obviously makes him more appealing in PPR leagues.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 840 rushing yards. 48 catches. 350 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 169. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 217.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers. Bye: 7. AUG. 22 UPDATE: Jamaal Williams has returned to practice. Williams hurt his ankle recently, but it turns out that it wasn't a big deal. Williams has a great chance to start his year on a tear.
AUG. 17 UPDATE: Running back Jamaal Williams suffered an ankle injury against Pittsburgh. It's unclear how severe it is. It would be a shame if this sidelined Williams for a lengthy amount of time because he had a great opportunity to establish himself as Green Bay's bell-cow back.
Jamaal Williams held the starting running back job late in the year, getting 20 or more carries four times beginning in Week 10. If Williams maintains the job - he'll face fierce competition from Aaron Jones - he'll have a tremendous outlook because of his touchdown potential with Aaron Rodgers.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 850 rushing yards. 24 catches. 200 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 162. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 186.