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Who’s Your RB1 in Standard-Scoring Leagues? (Fantasy Football)

Jul 19, 2018

There are several questions when it comes to the first round of fantasy football drafts in 2018. One such question is related to who should be the first running back off the board in standard-scoring leagues. We asked our writers and got their feedback.

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Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
For Dallas to win, they’ve got to run the ball. Dak’s receiving corps is one of the worst in the league. Dallas has one of the best run blocking o-lines and if they feed the ball to Elliott, he will flourish. The only concern with him is his off-field issues. Other than that, all systems a-go!
Marc Mathyk (@Masterjune70)

Le’Veon Bell (PIT)
At this point, LeVeon Bell is still on a franchise tag. Pittsburgh has treated Bell like a player they will ride into the ground. Over the last two seasons, Bell has a 440-touch per 16-game season pace (27.5 per game). Since Bell didn’t sign a long-term extension, I expect another season of expansive volume in a high-powered offense before they let him walk into free agency in 2019.
Jordan McNamara (@mcnamaradynasty)

Bell and Todd Gurley are very close for me. I give the nod to Bell due to the better quarterback and offensive line. And as much of a workhorse as Gurley was last season, Bell averaged over four more touches per game. That will matter when Gurley’s efficiency numbers inevitably regress this season. Bonus points for consistency: Bell has finished top three among running backs in points per game each of the last four seasons.
Scott Cedar (@scedar015)

David Johnson (ARI)
The addition of Sam Bradford, who is a check-down machine, almost guarantees that Johnson will be just as involved in the passing game in 2018 as he was in 2016, if not more. Even though the Cardinals will likely struggle in 2018, Johnson will remain the absolute focal point of their offense, which gives him the highest floor of any running back. Their offensive line is also better than it was in 2016.
Shane Davies (@sbdavies7)

David Johnson comes back to a team in need of a big-time playmaker and with a super accurate QB like Sam Bradford, I expect Johnson to rack up the receptions and receiving yards out of the backfield. I feel as though the only thing stopping him from being the RB1 is injury.
Matthew Fleisher (@FFMattFleisher)

Todd Gurley (LAR)
Any of “the big four” could end the season as the RB1, but for me it has to be Todd Gurley by process of elimination. Le’Veon Bell has never been a high-volume TD scorer. He tied his career high in TDs last season and he only scored 11. He is more suited for PPR leagues. David Johnson will be limited by a bad offense that will either be led by rookie QB Josh Rosen or check-down king Sam Bradford. There just won’t be enough scoring opportunities to be the RB1. Ezekiel Elliott isn’t a big part of the Cowboys passing game, which will limit his scoring opportunities, especially if Dallas is playing from behind like I expect this season. That leaves me with Gurley who checks all the boxes. He plays in a high-powered offense, and he gets a ton of opportunities both on the ground and through the air. In fact, last season he led the league in rushing TDs and led all RBs in receiving TDs. That type of production has Gurley as my RB1 in standard leagues for 2018.
Geoff Lambert (@geofflambert77)

It basically comes down to a process of elimination for me. I don’t trust Le’Veon Bell to play all 16 games, nor to be in tip-top shape for Week 1. David Johnson is coming off an injury and will be playing behind a dreadful offensive line, possibly with a rookie quarterback. And teams are going to be stacking the box against Elliott and the Cowboys with Dallas’ dreadful group of receivers. I just find it impossible to build up anyone higher than Gurley.
Jon Munshaw (@Jon_Munshaw)

It comes down to games played for me. In five NFL seasons, Bell has played 16 games just once, so I’m not willing to risk picking him as my first rounder. Gurley had his best season to date in 2017 and the offense is clearly built around his talents. He should be more involved in the passing game this year and he’s already one of the top rushing backs in the league. Gurley should easily finish among the top three players with a good shot at being number one.
Tim McCullough (@TimsTenz)

Thanks again to our writers for their contributions. Let us know who you think the first running back off the board should be in 2018 standard-scoring leagues.

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