2018 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs 21-40
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.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders. Bye: 7. AUG. 11 UPDATE: Marshawn Lynch exploded for a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the preseason opener. He burst through the hole and showed great acceleration. It didn't count, however, because rookie left tackle Kolton Miller was called for a hold. The penalty was legitimate, but Lynch still would've had the gain regardless; the hold was completely unnecessary. Still, the take-away is that Lynch has plenty of explosion and seems like a relatively safe bet to be productive this year.
Marshawn Lynch was a mild disappointment in his first season with the Raiders. Then again, the same could be said of all the Raiders. Lynch could be in position for many more touchdowns with Jon Gruden and Greg Olson strengthening the offense.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 850 rushing yards. 20 catches. 140 receiving yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 159. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 179.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Bye: 4. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Adrian Peterson made his Redskins debut in the third preseason game. Those who thought he would get just a handful of carries would be pleasantly surprised, as Peterson handled a full workload for most of the opening half. His first attempt was a tough, 7-yard run. He then burst for 13 yards when he made a nice cut and accelerated through a hole opened by Trent Williams. Peterson's next impressive run was a 6-yarder in which he made great move to elude a defender. He closed his night on a fourth-and-1 conversion in which he showed tremendous burst to gain 15 yards. Peterson gashed the Broncos for 56 yards on 11 carries. Peterson has been going way too late in mock drafts; he should be coming off the board in the fifth or sixth round as a player who can rush for 1,000 yards this year. Peterson is now healthy, and he'll be running behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. He's 33, but he's a future Hall of Famer, and I would not recommend doubting someone like that.
Adrian Peterson signed with the Redskins. Peterson had some strong performances for the Cardinals last year, but struggled more often than not. This is because Arizona's offensive line was atrocious. The Redskins have far superior blocking, and I have to think that Peterson is motivated to prove his detractors wrong. It wouldn't surprise me if Peterson approached 1,000 rushing yards this season.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 970 rushing yards. 15 catches. 80 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 159. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 174.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Browns. Bye: 11. AUG. 24 UPDATE: Carlos Hyde has enjoyed some nice performances this preseason, and that trend continued against the Eagles. Hyde began his evening by breaking a 33-yard run by getting to the edge, as he was aided by a great block from rookie Austin Corbett. He then had a great 9-yard run where he was able to juke multiple defenders. Hyde finished with 45 yards on seven attempts.
AUG. 18 UPDATE: Carlos Hyde was the star for Cleveland's offense among the starters. He looked great, tallying 64 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. He gained 10 yards right away, thanks to a big hole on the left side, then rumbled for 28 yards with the help of a great stiff-arm. He scored later on the drive when he bounced outside and ran into the end zone, thanks to a great Jarvis Landry block. Hyde is one of my favorite value players in fantasy this season.
The Browns drafted Nick Chubb in the second round, but I would bet that Carlos Hyde starts until he suffers an injury. He could post RB2-type production until then.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 950 rushing yards. 26 catches. 200 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 157. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 183.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos. Bye: 10. AUG. 15 UPDATE: Royce Freeman will be the Broncos' primary back soon, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. Freeman looked good in the preseason opener, so it should be interesting to see if he starts over Devontae Booker in one of the next two preseason games.
JULY 23 UPDATE: Devontae Booker is the favorite to start for the Broncos in Week 1, according to Mike Klis of 9 News Denver. Many are predicting that third-round rookie Royce Freeman will get the nod - Freeman's ADP is in the fifth round, while Booker is in the 11th - but Booker provides way more value, and that's why he's listed in my Fantasy Football Sleepers list.
Royce Freeman doesn't have much competition. With C.J. Anderson gone, the Broncos didn't really have any viable running backs. Of course, this assumes that Freeman won't be useless himself, so he's no guarantee. The opportunity will be there for him, however.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 910 rushing yards. 10 catches. 90 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 156. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 166.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. Bye: 6.
Mark Ingram had a tremendous year in 2017, pairing with Alvin Kamara to form the league's most potent rushing duo. Ingram rushed for 1,124 yards and caught 58 passes for 416 receiving yards. He found the end zone 12 times. Ingram was likely to lose some more work to Kamara in 2018, but now that's for certain because he has been suspended for four games.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 810 rushing yards. 36 catches. 270 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 150. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 186.
Dion Lewis, RB, Titans. Bye: 8.
With James White, Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee on the roster, Dion Lewis seemed like he would be the odd man out. Lewis didn't handle more than four carries in a game until Week 5. By the end of the year, he handled 50 total attempts in the final two contests, earning him a big contract from Tennessee this offseason. Lewis is still an injury risk, but he'll be getting half the touches with the Titans.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 740 rushing yards. 50 catches. 370 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 147. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 197.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans. Bye: 8. JUNE 24 UPDATE: Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com believes it's too early to tell if right tackle Jack Conklin will be ready for the season opener. This is bad news for Tennessee's offense, as Conklin is a terrific right tackle. His absence will hurt Derrick Henry's production, as Henry is being drafted too early to begin with at his ADP of 3.01.
JUNE 7 UPDATE: Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur told the media that he views Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis as his "1A and 1B" running backs. This is obviously bad news for Henry, who is being overdrafted at his 3.01 ADP.
DeMarco Murray left the team, which seemingly meant that Derrick Henry would finally handle most of the workload. He looked like a rock-solid RB2 heading into the offseason, but that has changed in the wake of the Dion Lewis signing. Henry will still get a healthy amount of carries, but his potential has been capped.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 880 rushing yards. 15 catches. 90 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 145. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 160.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Bye: 7. AUG. 19 UPDATE: Chris Carson started for the Seahawks with Rashaad Penny sidelined. Carson made one grave mistake - he fumbled at the goal line - but he had a strong outing otherwise. He had a nice first run in which he hopped over a defender. He then appeared to score on a 23-yard touchdown with a broken tackle, but it was negated by an illegal block in the back. Carson later had a 12-yard run with numerous broken tackles. The fumble at the goal line soured the evening, but it's enough to make me more confident in Carson, whom I was already high on.
AUG. 16 UPDATE: Chris Carson was referred to as Seattle's "bellcow" back by Ian Rapoport, who cited that Rashaad Penny could miss several games with his hand injury.
AUG. 15 UPDATE: Rashaad Penny broke his finger in Monday's practice and will miss some time. Penny needed practice and in-game reps to overtake Chris Carson ahead of Week 1, but now that won't happen. Penny could eventually be the starter this year, but Carson will be the primary back in the early stages of the season.
Chris Carson is expected to be Seattle's starting running back to open training camp, according to the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta. Carson was Seattle's best runner last year - he averaged 4.2 YPC prior to getting hurt - but first-round rookie Rashaad Penny will get a chance at some point. Either way, none of Seattle's runners will have any sort of blocking behind the team's atrocious front.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 770 rushing yards. 10 catches. 60 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 144. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 154.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots. Bye: 11. AUG. 30 UPDATE: Jeff Howe of the Athletic reports that the Patriots believe Sony Michel may not be ready Week 1. Michel might come along slowly this year, but he's very talented and should be a growing presence in New England's offense as the season progresses.
AUG. 4 UPDATE: Sony Michel injured his knee and will miss most of training camp. He could be back for Week 1, but it sounds like he might get off to a slow start. I wouldn't drop him very far in my rankings.
Bill Belichick tends to use a million running backs, but given that he spent a first-round pick on Sony Michel, he obviously has big plans for the 31st-overall selection. Michel should be able to function as Dion Lewis' replacement in New England's offense.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 710 rushing yards. 28 catches. 220 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 144. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 172.
Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers. Bye: 5. AUG. 25 UPDATE: Peyton Barber was tremendous once again. He ran for 34 yards and a touchdown on just five carries against the Lions. His best run was a 14-yarder where he showed tremendous vision. He later broke a tackle and accelerated into the end zone. It was very telling that Barber played just one drive; he was nowhere to be seen afterward, as the coaches apparently wanted to make sure he didn't get hurt for the start of the season.
AUG. 20 UPDATE: Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter told the media that Peyton Barber has played like an "every-down back" this summer. Koetter showered Barber with praise. Barber figures to start for the Buccaneers, as second-round rookie Ronald Jones has struggled this summer.
AUG. 10 UPDATE: Peyton Barber started at running back over Ronald Jones in the exhibition opener. Barber was better, rushing for 21 yards and a touchdown on just four attempts. Ronald Jones was mixed in, but mustered just nine yards on eight runs. He scored a touchdown, but couldn't do much because of poor blocking. There was one occasion in which he spun out of a Jerome Baker tackle, just to get back to the line of scrimmage. It seems clear that Barber is Tampa's starting running back, though that could change.
Peyton Barber was the starting running back heading into the draft, but the Buccaneers spent a second-round pick on Ronald Jones.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 780 rushing yards. 25 catches. 180 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 142. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 167.
Matt Breida, RB, 49ers. Bye: 11. SEPT. 1 UPDATE: Jerick McKinnon is out for the year. Matt Breida will be the 49er back to own if McKinnon is out for a long time because Kyle Shanahan can use him as a receiver.
Matt Breida had an impressive rookie year, rushing for 465 yards on a 4.4 YPC average. He also caught 21 passes and scored thrice. Carlos Hyde is gone, but Breida will lose touches with the highly paid Jerick McKinnon.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 730 rushing yards. 40 catches. 300 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 141. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 181.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons. Bye: 8.
Tevin Coleman deserves more running work than Devonta Freeman, but that won't happen because of Freeman's price tag. Coleman should be rostered because of his immense upside, should Freeman suffer an injury. Plus, he can be started in a pinch during a bye week, depending on who the opponent is.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 600 rushing yards. 32 catches. 290 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 141. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 173.
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Colts. Bye: 9. AUG. 24 UPDATE: Marlon Mack may not be ready for the beginning of the season, according to Frank Reich. This should give Jordan Wilkins a great opportunity to win the starting job. Make sure to get Wilkins on your fantasy roster in the late rounds.
AUG. 17 UPDATE: Jordan Wilkins received first-team reps in practice Thursday. This is because Marlon Mack is sidelined with an injury, but it's giving the fifth-round rookie a chance to impress the coaches. It's possible that Wilkins could be Indianapolis' starting running back at some point, making him an intriguing late-round sleeper.
AUG. 3 UPDATE: Jordan Wilkins has been thriving in training camp, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. It's tough to trust most training camp puff pieces, but the running back job in Indianapolis is wide open, so Wilkins could be named starter at some point.
JUNE 14 UPDATE: Jordan Wilkins has been mixed in with the Colts' first-team offense in minicamp. Wilkins, a fifth-round rookie, has looked good, though it's worth noting that incumbent Marlon Mack has missed time because of a shoulder injury.
Jordan Wilkins was a fifth-round pick out of Ole Miss. He has a chance to start this year, given that his competition is Marlon Mack. Wilkins is a strong pass-blocker, so that could be a way he gets on the field.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 750 rushing yards. 20 catches. 140 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 135. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 155.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Bye: 7. JULY 4 UPDATE: Aaron Jones has been suspended for two games. It would be great if this worsened his ADP because I like Jones a lot, as he's the most talented running back on Green Bay's roster. His ADP at the moment (7.06) is too high.
Aaron Jones had some terrific performances early in the year, gashing the Cowboys for 125 yards and the Saints for 131. However, he suffered an injury in the following game and then lost his job to Jamaal Williams. Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry and seemed to be the better overall back, so it'll be interesting to see if he can reclaim the starting job.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 650 rushing yards. 12 catches. 160 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 132. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 144.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns. Bye: 11. JUNE 27 UPDATE: According to ESPN's Pat McManamon, it wouldn't be surprising if Nick Chubb handles the majority of the early-down work this season. Carlos Hyde is still the favorite for this role, but it's noteworthy that a Browns reporter believes the team could hand the keys to its second-round rookie.
The Browns spent a high second-round pick on Nick Chubb. Carlos Hyde stands in his way this year, and I don't expect Chubb to pass him on the depth chart, barring injury. Fortunately for Chubb, Hyde has been very injury-prone throughout his career, so he could get some starts in the second half of the season.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 620 rushing yards. 8 catches. 50 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 127. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 135.
Corey Clement, RB, Eagles. Bye: 9.
Corey Clement is a talented runner who gained 321 rushing yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. He'll have more touches with LeGarrette Blount gone. Clement will be an RB2 at the very least if Jay Ajayi goes down with an injury, so he's worth owning, especially since the Eagles tend to use him nearl the goal line.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 480 rushing yards. 20 catches. 180 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 122. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 142.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears. Bye: 5.
Tarik Cohen has big play-making ability, and he would've gotten more touches if the Bears had a competent coaching staff. I expect him to be a bigger part of the offense in 2018.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 450 rushing yards. 67 catches. 510 receiving yards. 4 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 120. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 187.
Doug Martin, RB, Raiders. Bye: 7. MAY 30 UPDATE: Doug Martin has been showing a quick burst throughout OTAs, and he could challenge Marshawn Lynch for the starting running back role, according to Vic Tafur of the Athletic. Martin is desperate for a new contract, so it's not surprising at all that Martin has been impressing.
It's a shame that Doug Martin hasn't taken his career seriously. He was once considered a great running back, but those days are long gone. That said, Jon Gruden has gotten the most out of veterans in the past, and Martin could have a solid season if Marshawn Lynch were to get injured.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 560 rushing yards. 13 catches. 100 receiving yards. 4 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 115. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 128.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos. Bye: 10. AUG. 31 UPDATE: Phillip Lindsay is listed in my Fantasy Football Sleepers page, so I was happy to see that Lindsay didn't play in the preseason finale. That shows me that the Broncos envision a substantial role for Lindsay in their offense.
AUG. 25 UPDATE: Phillip Lindsay tallied 31 yards on five carries against the Redskins. He also caught an 18-yard pass in which he torpedoed out of the backfield and blew by a linebacker. Lindsay really reminds me of Tarik Cohen, and I love him as a final-round sleeper.
The Broncos spent a third-round pick on Royce Freeman, but they found a gem in undrafted free agent rookie Phillip Lindsay. The former Colorado product has been outstanding in training camp and preseason. He routinely beat linebackers in practice and then generated huge bursts during games with some impressive spin moves. Lindsay, who set Colorado's all-time record in yards from scrimmage (4,683), should be Denver's third-down back at the very worst. He could also push for a larger role at some point, especially if Freeman were to get hurt.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 450 rushing yards. 42 catches. 310 receiving yards. 4 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 115. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 157.
Alfred Morris, RB, 49ers. Bye: 11. SEPT. 1 UPDATE: Alfred Morris should to be picked up in the wake of Jerick McKinnon's season-ending injury. He'll split the workload with Matt Breida.
Alfred Morris is getting a stock-up arrow because he's actually in the NFL again. Morris averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year for Dallas. He's not completely irrelevant, but he'll be behind Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida on the depth chart, though Breida is hurt right now.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Stats: 650 rushing yards. 8 catches. 40 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2018 Fantasy Points: 114. Projected 2018 PPR Fantasy Points: 122.