Our 2017 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings consist of fewer featured backs than we used to see in the ‘90s or even the early 2000s.
But that doesn’t make them any less important!
While others are lining up for the Zero RB Theory, eschewing the running backs position until later in the draft, you should consider yourself lucky, because you’ll be able to get better running backs early, while they load up on wide receivers. Sure, there are some instances where wide receivers are more valuable than some running backs, but don’t be so quick to blindly follow that strategy.
Try out a couple different draft strategies for 2017 by running some free Fantasy Football mock drafts.
As an old school Fantasy player, without several algorithms and a staff of Moneyball scouts to help me, I’ve noticed that the running backs position is starting to return to a featured back system – with a twist.
Sure, we’re not seeing a ton of 300-carry backs anymore, but we’re starting to see more 250-carry backs, with a lot more passing targets, than we used to. The passing game is absolutely changing the way NFL offenses move the ball, and running backs are now becoming bigger parts of that, as opposed to us thinking they were being left behind.
So as you go over these 2017 Fantasy Football rankings, consider their use in their team’s respective passing games. While an 18-touchdown LeGarrette Blount might slip through the cracks once in a while, you’ll do your Fantasy team a disservice by relying on ground-only backs.
Chris Meaney of FNTSY.com shared his 2017 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings earlier this month. He has a couple different opinions on the RB1 position.
Tiers For Fears: Who’s On the Second Shelf?
As you start to peruse this set of 2017 Fantasy Football running back rankings, understand that there are several tiers among the projected Fantasy starters in 12-team leagues (top-24 running backs). Everyone understands that the top tier is made up of Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and Cardinals RB David Johnson, in some sort of order (you’d be happy with any of those three).But do you realize there’s a second tier made up of four running backs who might be tied even closer together in value than the top three.
We’ve already broken down the four tailbacks that are candidates to be the fourth running back drafted in your leagues.
Baby Booming Ball Carriers
Rookie running backs, like most years, have big roles this season, but there is only ONE that is expected to own the starting tailback job on their team coming out of training camp: Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette! There are also some big playmakers that Fantasy owners are banking on to have big years – even if they aren’t handed the top job just yet, like Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, Bengals RB Joe Mixon, and Vikings RB Dalvin Cook.
It should be pointed out in each of the past two NFL seasons, just two rookies have cracked the top 24 running backs in year-end Fantasy points! Here’s my review of the best Fantasy Football rookie running backs ever, along with my 2017 Fantasy Rookie Running Back Rankings.
Don’t forget about the post-hype ball-carriers that could do some damage, too. Remember last year, guys like Jay Ajayi and Melvin Gordon III blew up in a big way. Can we expect a couple big players to come out of the 2017 sophomores, like Derrick Henry, Paul Perkins, Kenneth Dixon, Devontae Booker, and C.J. Prosise? Quite possibly, which makes some of them good pickups at better values than their higher-profile rookie counterparts.
The running backs position is the most important one in Fantasy Football. No position has as few Fantasy relevant players doing as much work in an NFL game as running backs. So load up early – and often.
2017 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
These rankings are based on standard non-PPR leagues, but you can click the PPR tab to see how the rankings change for those leagues.
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No matter where you end up drafting in the first round, you’ll have running backs on your mind – even if you skip them for another position.
These 2017 Fantasy Football running back rankings will likely change several times before NFL Preseason and before Week 1 of the NFL season, so check back often.
Also, keep an eye out for the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football rankings, as well as an updated free Fantasy draft tools list, a new set of Fantasy Football team names and some more great Fantasy Football league ideas.
Photo Credit: Brook Ward