Updated Preseason 2016 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve seen some minor injuries, some suspensions and various other tidbits that certainly have an impact on our rankings as the opening kickoff nears.  How do our running back rankings currently look?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
  2. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
  3. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  4. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
  5. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans
  6. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
  7. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
  9. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  10. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs
  11. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers
  12. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
  13. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers
  14. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos
  15. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders
  16. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
  17. Matt Forte – New York Jets
  18. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans
  19. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals
  20. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks
  21. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers
  22. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles
  23. Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears
  24. Matt Jones – Washington Redskins
  25. Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens
  26. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants
  27. Arian Foster – Miami Dolphins
  28. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts
  29. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
  30. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers
  31. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns
  32. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
  33. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions
  34. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans
  35. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars
  36. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars
  37. Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks
  38. DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers
  39. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
  40. Bilal Powell – New York Jets

Thoughts:

  • There had been hope that Le’Veon Bell would be able to escape his 4 game suspension, but instead it was just reduced to 3 games.  If he were locked into the full 16 games he’d likely sit atop these rankings, and while he doesn’t fall too far (we all know that there’s a propensity to miss time due to injury across the league) he still can’t sit in the Top 5.  His absence also helps place DeAngelo Williams at the bottom of these rankings, as he will be a must play option over the first few weeks.
  • Lamar Miller is the hot name this offseason, finally being freed from Miami and moving to Houston.  It makes sense, and there’s a chance he could be the most productive running back in the league, but is he really a lock to be a Top 5 running back this season?  That he is, as he has averaged 4.6 yards per carry over his first four seasons and also proven capable in the passing game (47 receptions in ’15).
  • While Ryan Mathews should still be a good option, talk of Darren Sproles being featured in the passing game (something we will discuss soon) has got to knock him down a few spots.
  • If Thomas Rawls were healthy he’d likely be pushed a few spots higher (most likely #14 or 15).  However, while they are saying he’s going to be ready for Week 1 is anyone ready to mark it down as a given?  Even if he’s ready to play, will the injury limit him over the first few weeks?  It makes sense to be cautious.  We’ll be taking a closer look at the Seattle depth chart later on this afternoon.
  • The situation in Miami is a little bit muddy with both Arian Foster and Jay Ajayi in the mix.  If Foster is healthy you would think that he’d be “the man”, though can we really expect him to stay healthy all year long?  Ajayi may not be a great option initially, but he’s well worth stashing.
  • With Dion Lewis sidelined you would think LeGarrette Blount would be a much better option.  That said, does anyone really believe in the Patriots’ game plan on a weekly basis?

Make sure to check out all of our updated preseason rankings:

2016 Preseason Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Updated Preseason 2016 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks

2 comments

  1. Tiffany says:

    I have the option to pick up Christine Michael or Jerick McKinnon for my bench. Who would you recommend? Thanks!

  2. Haggy says:

    Prof.. What do you think of Stashing Ware and Karlos Williams on the bench this year.

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