2019 Running Backs Fantasy Football Rankings: Saquon Barkley #1 RB

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Perhaps the most scrutinized, important position in fantasy football is that of the running back. Workhorse backs lead to fantasy football championships, and there are only so many elite ball carriers available. Thus, heading into draft day, it’s crucial that you have a plan of attack at this position. Nearly all of the top runners will be gone by the third round, meaning that you have to be ready to pounce when it’s your turn to pick and meaning that you’ll need to find proverbial diamonds in the rough in the latter rounds. To help alleviate the stress of this process, here’s a guide, ranking the best running back options for the 2019 season.

1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

It only took one season for Barkley to establish himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. The Giants figure to go as Barkley goes this season. Without Odell Beckham Jr., Barkley is the unquestioned face of the offense. Not only is he the best runner, but he’s also the best pass catcher. Expect him to post even bigger stats than the video game numbers he put up last year. We could be looking at 1500 yards rushing and close to 1000 receiving.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
292.8 16 261 1,307 5 16.3 7 11 91 7.6 721 4 21.27

2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

Like Barkley, McCaffrey excel catching the ball out of the backfield, as evidenced by his 187 receptions in two seasons. He finished third in fantasy points last year, behind Barkley and Todd Gurley. Expect him to replicate that performance this year.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
274.5 16 219 1,098 5 13.7 4 7 107 7.8 867 6 20.75

3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Mark Ingram is out of town, meaning that Kamara is the unquestioned lead back in New Orleans. Last year’s fourth-ranked fantasy back has a chance to jump into the top three with Gurely ailing. Like the two players ranked above him, he’s a receiving savant, one with a knack for scoring as his 18 total touchdowns would suggest.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
267.2 15 194 883 4.6 12.9 1 14 81 7 709 4 20.91

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Elliot, like Barkley in the same division, represents his team’s offensive identity. Behind an ailing offensive line, Elliot finished as the fifth best back in fantasy football. With Travis Frederick back and with the other linemen entering the season at full health, Elliot has the chance to exceed his league-leading 1434 yards from last year.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
254.2 15 304 1,435 4.7 20.3 7 6 77 6.3 567 3 19.25

5. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

In just 12 games last season, Gordon scored 14 total touchdowns, proving his potency as a Red Zone threat. As with all of the backs on this list so far, Gordon is a true dual threat, equally dangerous carrying the ball as he is catching it. With improved health, he just might become the best fantasy back in Los Angeles.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
221.5 12 175 885 5.1 14.6 3 10 50 5.5 490 4 20.88

6. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

Last season was a down year for Johnson, who disappointed fantasy owners with 1386 total yards. Even still, he finished as the 10th highest scoring back in fantasy football. With more creative play calling, Johnson could return to his fantasy MVP form of 2016.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
198.7 16 258 940 3.6 16.1 1 7 50 4.8 446 3 13.86

7. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner burst onto the scene last year as the replacement for Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the entirety of the 2018 season. He won’t be able to sneak up on anybody this year, and he’ll face more attention in the absence of Antonio Brown, but the hard-running Conner should still produce well in an offense that has always been kind to fantasy football running back owners.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
225 13 215 973 4.5 16.5 5 12 55 5.5 497 1 19.42

8. Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets

Bell has the talent to be the top ranked player on this list, but concerns arise from his year off and from his new team. As discussed earlier with Conner, the Steelers are a haven for fantasy running backs, whereas the Jets are yet to prove the same. Still, the talent of Bell is undeniable. He could very well exceed this ranking.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Last year’s number one fantasy running back falls to nine this year strictly due to health concerns. Arthritis issues threaten to keep Gurley from amassing his usual carriers, which would obviously limit his overall production. Still, his talent, pedigree, and track record make him worthy of top ten placement.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
309.1 14 256 1,251 4.9 18.3 6 17 59 5.8 580 4 24.47

10. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Injuries have derailed Cook’s career to this point, but when he’s on the field, he has shown the potential to be a truly elite fantasy football running back. In ten starts last year, Cook had 920 total yards. His total of six career touchdowns over 15 games is worrisome, but, with full health, he should add to his scoring total this year.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
116 11 133 615 4.6 12.1 1 2 40 4.5 305 2 12

11. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon finished last season as the ninth best running back in fantasy football, despite missing two games. With 1464 total yards and nine touchdowns, Mixon proved himself to be one of the best RB2s in the game. With even slight improvement in his third year, he could very well enter RB1 territory.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
200.4 14 237 1,168 4.9 16.9 4 8 53 4.6 477 5 15.85

12. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

No player ended last season on a higher note than did Henry. In his final four games, Henry totaled 585 of his 1059 rushing yards. The big back out of Alabama rewarded Tennessee’s shift to a ground attack with back-to-back showings of 238 and 170 yards. Despite the dominance he showed to end the year, Henry has a ceiling due to his lack of pass catching production. If he can add that element to his game, he’ll be a true RB1.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
187.8 16 215 1,059 4.9 13.4 2 12 15 1.1 99 0 12.12

13. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Freeman missed nearly the entire 2018 season with injury, but he comes back this year healthy and devoid of Tevin Coleman. Without Coleman to share his touches, Freeman projects as a true workhorse for an always exciting Atlanta offense.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
9.1 2 14 68 4.9 7 0 0 5 3.5 23 0 5.8

14. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

Fournette battled injuries throughout the 2018 season, playing in only eight games. As with his health, his production suffered. He was only able to manage 439 rushing yards. However, there are some positives to take away from last season. Fournette’s yards per target increased from 6.3 to 7.1, suggesting that he’s improving as a pass catcher.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
98.4 8 133 439 3.3 16.6 0 5 22 3.2 185 1 13.68

15. Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs

Taking over for Kareem Hunt towards the end of the 2018 season, Williams was a revelation. In 6 games, the veteran tailback totaled 602 yards and 10 touchdowns. In the playoffs, that production even improved, as, in two games, Williams posted 159 rushing yards, 91 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. If he can hold off competition from Carlos Hyde and some talented rookies, Williams will be a huge contributor for fantasy teams this season.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
77.6 16 50 256 5.1 3.1 1 4 23 1.8 160 2 8.71

16. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

The undrafted rookie out of Colorado burst onto the scene last season and finished as the 13th best running back in fantasy football. Despite his diminutive size, Lindsay was great running up the middle of the field. He added value as a pass catcher as well and should exceed last season’s numbers simply due to the fact that he enters camp as the presumptive starter this season.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
187.8 15 192 1,037 5.4 12.8 3 9 35 3.1 241 1 13.69

17. Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

It took a while for Johnson to grab the reins as the lead back in Detroit, but once he did, he never looked back, racking up 854 yards in just seven starts. C.J. Anderson will probably get some carries this year, but the lead role belongs to the very capable Johnson.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
109.4 10 118 641 5.4 11.8 2 3 32 3.9 213 1 12.34

18. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

In just 12 games, Mack posted 1011 yards and 10 touchdowns, finishing as the 20th best back in fantasy football. This year, if he remains healthy, those already impressive numbers could skyrocket, as he is a vital piece of an offense that threatens to be among the most explosive in the league this season. Of the players listed in this vicinity, Mack has perhaps the most potential to become an RB1.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
161.1 12 195 908 4.7 16.2 4 9 17 2.2 103 1 14.13

19. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

Out of the shadow of Alvin Kamara, Ingram has the opportunity to regain his Pro Bowl form. The bruising back has added an impressive pass catching skillset over the last few years, and he should finally be able to fully showcase that improvement this year as the obvious starter.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
123.5 12 138 645 4.7 11.5 2 6 21 2.2 170 1 11

20. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

Drake has yet to establish himself as a traditional bell cow back, but he has still been a viable fantasy football running back. His 1012 total yards were split pretty evenly between rushing and receiving, and, with nine touchdowns on the year, he showed a nose for the endzone. Last year, he finished as the 21st best back in fantasy football. Expect similar production this season.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
155.2 16 120 535 4.5 7.5 0 4 53 4.6 477 5 11.23

21. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

The rookie out of Alabama figures to be the immediate lead back for Jon Gruden’s Raiders. Skilled as both a runner and a receiver, Jacobs should receive plenty of touches for a Raiders team that should be much improved on the offensive side of the ball. Don’t be surprised if Jacobs surges past Drake, Ingram, and other veterans.

22. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

Jones is inarguably the most talented of the Green Bay running backs, yet he still splits carries with Jamaal Williams from time to time. If that trend changes this season, Jones, with his 5.5 yards per carry average, could find himself as a high-level RB2.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
147.5 12 133 729 5.5 11.1 1 8 26 2.9 206 1 13.21

23. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

Carson is the lead back for one of the most relentless running attacks in football. What he lacks in flashiness, he makes up for in effectiveness. He won’t be among the more sexy selections in fantasy drafts, but he finished as the 14th best back of 2018 and could very well replicate that finish this season.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
185.4 14 247 1,151 4.7 17.6 6 9 20 1.7 163 0 13.67

24. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

If not for the presence of Kareem Hunt and, to a lesser extent, Duke Johnson, Chubb would be higher on this list. Last year, as a rookie, he was the 15th best running back in fantasy football, despite waiting until Week 7 to get legitimate carries. If he can hold off Hunt after the former Chief returns from suspension, then Chubb could finish as high-level RB2 with RB1 potential.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
174.5 16 192 996 5.2 12 4 8 20 1.8 149 2 11.53

25. James White, New England Patriots

Tom Brady’s pass catching back had the best year of his career in 2018, accumulating 751 yards through the air, 425 yards on the ground, and 12 total touchdowns. In PPR formats, White is among the league’s very best, even with the emergence of Sony Michel and the return of Rex Burkhead.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
189.6 16 94 425 4.5 5.9 0 5 87 7.7 751 7 14.57

26. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

Miller has always been a hit-or-miss fantasy option. One game, he’ll rush for 100 yards and a touchdown. Another, he’ll carry the ball just six times. The return of D’Onta Foreman might be enough to dissuade drafters from choosing Miller, but there is still strong potential from the veteran back.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
149.6 14 210 973 4.6 15 4 5 25 2.5 163 1 11.44

27. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

McCoy comes off the worst season of his career. His 514 rushing yards were the fewest he’s ever had in his 10-year career, his 238 receiving yards were his second fewest, and his three touchdowns were a new career low. The addition of T.J. Yeldon could further diminish his stock, so drafters beware.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
93.2 14 161 514 3.2 11.5 1 3 34 3.3 238 0 7.87

28. Sony Michel, New England Patriots

Michel had a very strong rookie season for the Super Bowl champions, rushing for 931 yards in just 13 games. In college, he proved to be a capable pass catcher, but James White had that position locked up last year. If Michel can add a few more targets in the passing game, his 2018 ranking as the 25th best back in fantasy football will be a floor and not a ceiling.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
134.1 13 209 931 4.5 16.1 4 6 7 0.8 50 0 10.43

29. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Montgomery might not have the same hype as has fellow rookie Josh Jacobs, but the Iowa State product enters a similarly fruitful situation. Jordan Howard has departed for the Eagles, leaving plenty of carries for the versatile young back. If he can eat into Tarik Cohen’s targets in the passing game as well, he could have a monster year.

30. Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears

The shifty pass catcher finished as the 11th best running back in PPR formats and 17th in standard leagues. Cohen’s ability to score every time he touches the ball is unparalleled in the NFL. However, newcomers David Montgomery and Mike Davis threaten to encroach on his touches, lowering his fantasy stock a bit.

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
164.6 16 99 441 4.5 6.2 0 3 71 5.6 725 5 12.38

31. Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
162 16 250 935 3.7 15.6 2 9 20 1.7 145 0 10.63

32. Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
161.6 16 167 800 4.8 10.4 2 4 32 2.8 276 5 11.1

33. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
131.8 14 106 554 5.2 7.6 0 3 39 3.8 404 3 10.66

34. Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
90.4 14 172 571 3.3 12.3 0 5 10 1.2 33 0 6.67

35. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
61.4 14 85 419 4.9 6.1 1 2 9 0.9 75 0 5.07

36. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
97.9 16 85 314 3.7 5.3 0 2 63 5.1 425 2 8.09

37. Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
173 16 251 1,042 4.2 15.7 3 7 20 1.6 208 1 11.19

38. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

39. Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
107.9 16 140 578 4.1 8.8 1 6 22 1.6 141 0 7.56

40. Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
103.7 16 155 517 3.3 9.7 0 1 59 4.2 400 1 8.2

41. Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
132.3 16 234 871 3.7 14.6 1 5 20 1.8 92 1 8.77

42. Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

43. Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

44. Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons

45. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins

46. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders

47. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
204.2 11 181 824 4.6 16.5 1 7 26 3.2 378 7 19.75

48. Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

49. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions

50. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

51. Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
89.3 14 130 521 4 9.3 0 5 14 1.4 72 0 6.74

52. D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans

53. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins

54. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

55. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
137.5 14 153 814 5.3 10.9 3 3 27 2.2 261 2 10.64

56. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

57. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
85.4 16 121 464 3.8 7.6 0 3 27 2.6 210 0 6.31

58. Mike Davis, Chicago Bears

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
102.8 15 112 514 4.6 7.5 1 4 34 2.8 214 1 7.99

59. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
85.8 11 137 718 5.2 12.5 3 2 2 0.2 20 0 8.07

60. Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos

61. Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins

62. Damien Harris, New England Patriots

63. Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles

64. T.J. Yeldon, Buffalo Bills

FPTS 2018 GP ATT RU YDS YDS/ATT ATT/G 100+ YDS RU TD REC TGTS/G REC YDS REC TD Yahoo FPTS/G
120.51 14 104 414 4 7.4 0 1 55 5.6 487 4 10.4
  
Brevin Fleischer, originally from Albany, New York, is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a devoted Giants, Yankees, and Rangers fan, but in the NBA, he passionately supports the Sacramento Kings. Beyond sports, Brevin enjoys watching and discussing good movies and television.

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