Chet Gresham Fantasy Rankings - Running Back

Published 8/15/2017 1:00 AM

By Chet Gresham

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  • 1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Bye: 8.

    The top spot is a fight between Bell and David Johnson this season, and I'm giving a slight edge to Bell. The Steelers should come back strong in 2017 and get some help back on offense, which should keep Bell in good spots all season long.

  • 2. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals. Bye: 9.

    Johnson could easily top Bell this season, but my main concern is Carson Palmer. I think coach Bruce Arians will keep giving Johnson the ball all over the field, but Palmer is hitting an old age wall. The offense could have trouble in 2017.

  • 3. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills. Bye: 10.

    McCoy was right up near the top last season in ability, and despite missing a little time with injuries, he still finished as a Top-3 fantasy running back. How he will be used exactly with Rex Ryan out of town, I don't know, but he still was at the top of his game last year and deserves to be a top pick this year.

  • 4. Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers. Bye: 11.

    Gordon was a touchdown machine last season, but also showed ability outside of the goal line, especially in the receiving game. With Danny Woodhead in Baltimore, Gordon's receptions should keep him near the top of the fantasy points.

  • 5. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Bye: 11.

    Freeman showed that he has the ability to be a lead back, but Tevin Coleman isn't going to go away anytime soon. If the Falcons' offense regresses at all, Freeman could be squeezed a little in 2017.

  • 6. Jordan Howard, RB, Bears. Bye: 9.

    Howard looked great last season despite not starting the year as the Bears' lead back and playing on a bad football team. His upside is going to be touchdown dependent, but he did catch the ball enough to not knock him too far down. He's going to be a workhorse, and as long as he stays healthy, he'll be a top back this year.

  • 7. Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins. Bye: 8.

    Ajayi was a beast last season and led the league in forced missed tackles. The Dolphins' offensive line is a strong unit, and with Adam Gase as the coach, I believe he can keep this offense on track enough to give Ajayi plenty of work.

  • 8. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. Bye: 8.

    Gurley did not seem engaged last season due to such a horrible offense. Have his skills diminished? Maybe, but it's hard to believe that after his strong first season. I'm willing to take the risk.

  • 9. DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans. Bye: 13.

    Murray isn't going anywhere just yet, even with Derrick Henry waiting in the wings. Murray does have a lot of mileage on his legs and could break down at some point, but until that happens, he will be the lead back.

  • 10. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys. Bye: 7.

    Elliott still is one of the best fantasy backs in the league, so don't take him off your board despite the suspension. But be sure to have a good plan before committing to him.

  • 11. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Bye: 5.

    Fournette landed in a not-great spot, but he will be used and has the ability to put up good numbers, even in a not-great rushing offense. Fournette is also showing signs of proficiency in the receiving game, which would be a huge boon to his numbers.

  • 12. Lamar Miller, RB, Texans. Bye: 9.

    Miller didn't play as well as I had hoped in 2016, but he did see plenty of work in a run-first offense. He should again be used enough to be useful in fantasy.

  • 13. Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. Bye: 9.

    Mixon gets a great opportunity in Cincinnati with a middling Jeremy Hill and a recently injured Gio Bernard to contend with for touches. Mixon has all the measurables to do well as a lead back, and the Bengals like to run the ball.

  • 14. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns. Bye: 13.

    I like Crowell a lot this season, especially with Duke Johnson maybe seeing more time out of the slot. Expect Crowell to see more work than last season in what should be a strong running game.

  • 15. Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. Bye: 6.

    Cook has been praised often this offseason and into training camp. Latavius Murray might have too much ground to make up on Cook, and even if Cook ends up splitting time early, I expect him to win the job fully during the season.

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