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Early Top 10 RB Rankings

by Aaron Medvidofsky
Jun 1, 2016

A great situation and the large draft investment in him push Ezekiel Elliott into being an early top 10 fantasy back

A great situation and Dallas’ large draft investment in him both push Ezekiel Elliott into being an early top 10 fantasy back

Aaron Medvidofsky provides his Early Top 10 RB Rankings.

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The 2016 fantasy season is still a little ways away but it’s never too early to start looking at the rankings to see where everyone will fall this year. The running back position is always the most interesting to rank because the range of possible outcomes is wider than at any other position. More than half of the consensus top 10 RBs this year were impacted by team changes, injury and other factors which will certainly make for an interesting season at the position. Without further ado here are the early top 10 RB rankings.

Le’Veon Bell (PIT)
When healthy, Bell is the best running back in the NFL, regardless of format. Beyond his ability to run the ball Bell displays elite pass catching and blocking which guarantees he is on the field for every down. Despite the risk in picking a player returning from a significant injury I believe Bell is in a tier of his own and is the type of player that will single-handedly win you weeks in 2016.

Todd Gurley (LA)
Gurley has been described by many as a generational talent and that seems to fit the bill. In 2015 he managed to run for 1,106 yards in only 13 games after returning from a torn ACL.

With a full off-season to work with the team and another year removed from the injury I believe Gurley will build on that performance. If he is able to show improvement in pass protection and stay on the field, every down Gurley could very well pass Le’Veon Bell for the No. 1 spot.

David Johnson (ARI)
Last year Johnson only started in seven games yet managed to rack up over 1,000 total yards and 12 TDs. I’m not into extrapolating a small sample size to project a season but it does give you an idea of what he is capable of. Johnson is always a candidate to give you a multi-TD week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with over 1,600 all-purpose yards this year.

Adrian Peterson (MIN)
Peterson has been producing at elite levels for longer than any other running back in the NFL. There is always concern in drafting a 30-year-old running back but I’m confident that Peterson has at least one more solid year left in him. He has shown no signs of slowing down and I expect yet another top five finish out of AD in 2016.

Doug Martin (TB)
2015 was Martin’s last chance to prove he wasn’t a flash in the pan and he didn’t disappoint. The biggest downside of his performance was the lack of TDs but I believe that will be improved upon due to the Buccaneers’ improvements on both sides of the ball. Were he more involved in the passing game I’d have Martin slightly higher but as it stands he’s a solid RB1 that can anchor the position for you.

Lamar Miller (HOU)
The biggest complaint Miller (and his owners) have had is his puzzlingly limited usage. It seems as if that is going to be rectified with his move to the Texans who have demonstrated they aren’t afraid to feature a talented back.

Miller has no real competition for touches and will have every opportunity to demonstrate his abilities in 2016. This should be the big breakout we’ve been waiting for.

Jamaal Charles (KC)
2015 was a lost season for Charles as he went down with another ACL tear. Despite the age concerns Charles has shown that he can come back from this injury before and assuming there are no red flags in pre-season, I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him. What you are getting is a multi-dimensional player that has No. 1 overall upside.

Mark Ingram (NO)
Before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season, Ingram was pacing to be a top five fantasy back. The Saints haven’t made any additions to the backfield and they lost Khiry Robinson in free agency. This paves the way for Ingram to continue in a role as a feature back in this high-powered offense.

LeSean McCoy (BUF)
Despite a season plagued by soft tissue injury McCoy was a borderline RB1 last year. Assuming he enters the season fully healthy I believe he’ll return to vintage form this year. While it seems like he’s been around for a while McCoy is still in his prime and has the upside to be as good as anyone else in the NFL.

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
For the last two years any conversation about the ideal landing spot for free agent or rookie running backs started and ended with Dallas. With the fourth overall selection in the draft, the Cowboys made those dreams a reality by selecting Elliott.

It’s always difficult to predict how well a player will transition to the NFL level but there is a lot to be excited about here. By using that high of a selection it is almost guaranteed that Elliott will be heavily featured behind this elite offensive line which will certainly result in high-end production.


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