Who’s your RB5 in PPR leagues? (2018 Fantasy Football)
Entering 2018 fantasy football drafts, there is little question as to who makes up the top four running backs available. Sure, everyone may not agree on which is the RB1, but the consensus says Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliott should be the first four running backs selected. But who should owners not lucky enough to land one of the top four RBs target?
We asked our writers who they consider as the RB5 in PPR leagues this fantasy football draft season. Here’s what they said.
Who’s your RB5 in PPR fantasy football leagues?
Saquon’s athleticism has been mentioned over and over again, so there’s no need to keep beating that drum. However, looking at the usage that is projected and the way that the Giants will look to utilize him, there are just too many opportunities for him to “win.” Getting Saquon the ball in space will be the key for the Giants’ success this year and with OBJ, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard taking the top off of the defense, I can’t imagine him facing stacked boxes with any regularity outside of the red zone. Add to that the fact that his receiving game should rival David Johnson and I have absolutely zero concern if none of the Top 4 RBs fall to me. I’m happy with Saquon if I get a chance to grab him.
Ethan Sauers – @ethansauers
Hate to agree with the consensus here but it has to be Barkley. Fantasy is a volume game and it would not be out of the realm of possibility that receives more touches than any of the top four backs. His ceiling becomes that much higher once you factor in his freakish athletic ability and New York’s improvement on the offensive line.
Shane Davies – @fantasysd1
In the first round, I want guaranteed volume. Unfortunately, that rules out Alvin Kamara because he has no prayer of sniffing 300 touches. Saquon Barkley is a lock to touch the ball 350+ times. He has no threat to his carries. He’s on what should be a good offense. Yes, the offensive line is bad, but we’ve seen mediocre players put up RB1 seasons on volume alone. Barkley just has to be average to be an RB1. I stand in the corner that believes Barkley is above average…wayyyyy above average. If Barkley is as talented as most of us think he is, despite being a rookie, he comes with one of the safest floors in fantasy football while having a sky-high ceiling.
Jason Katz – @jasonkatz13
Frankly, this isn’t even a tough decision. Barkley is without a doubt a bell-cow running back and you can’t say that about anyone else still available after the big four running backs. The Giants improved their offensive line and have made it clear that they will feed Barkley 15+ times every single game with an upside of 400 touches. Add in his prowess in the passing game and Saquon both provides an excellent floor and ceiling.
Bobby Sylvester – @bobbyfantasypro
I’ve wavered back and forth between Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara. Upon further review, I’ve recently swapped them to move Barkley into my RB5 slot. My reasoning is the same as everyone else who chose the Big Blue rookie over the Big Easy sophomore: volume. The Saints have already said they don’t intend on significantly bolstering Kamara’s usage during Mark Ingram’s suspension, but the Giants should give their No. 2 pick all the touches they can handle to validate the exorbitant draft capital spent on a running back instead of Eli Manning’s replacement. Both are superbly talented, but Barkley will get more opportunities in the running and receiving game to stuff the stat sheet.
Andrew Gould – @andrewgould4
Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
No, he’s not going to average 6.1 yards per carry or score on 6.5% of his touches like he did his rookie year. But Kamara has a lot of room to regress and still be a top-tier RB, especially if he gets more volume. I think that’s a safe bet considering his touches increased every month of the season and by mid-November, his snap count was routinely above 50%. Mark Ingram’s suspension also helps, obviously, and there’s no guarantee he steps out of the doghouse and back into the role he had last season. Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, and Kareem Hunt are in the discussion as well, but Kamara gets the nod because his quarterback and offensive line are much, much better.
Scott Cedar – @scedar015
It’s fair to assume that we will see a bit of regression out of Kamara’s outrageous efficiency numbers, but he’s still a phenomenal talent who is now slated to see an expanded role as Mark Ingram misses the first month of the season. Kamara is also a good bet to lead all running backs in receptions, regardless of how he’s used in the running game. That makes him a fairly safe option, which is what you’re looking for when locking up one of the coveted first-round running backs.
Jody Smith – @JodySmithNFL
What Alvin Kamara did last year was likely unsustainable, but he should still be the fifth running back taken in PPR leagues. Despite receiving only 20 touches through the first three games, Kamara finished last year as the No. 3 running back in PPR formats. That’s because beginning in Week 4 (through the playoffs), Kamara averaged roughly 14 touches (including five receptions) for 104 yards and a touchdown per game. New Orleans has an excellent offensive line, particularly in terms of run blocking, and Sean Payton is one of the most creative offensive coaches in the game. Even if you factor in some natural regression to his efficiency and touchdown rate, he should balance that out with the increased usage he’ll get over the course of the season, especially with Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games. Absent injury, there’s little to no risk with Kamara in a PPR league.
Dan Harris – @danharris80
Melvin Gordon (RB – LAC)
I’m going to go with Melvin Gordon here before this entire article turns into a love letter to Saquon Barkley. Gordon is currently being taken as the RB8 in PPR leagues behind the “Big 4,” Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, and Kareem Hunt, and he is easily the safest option at the RB5 spot. Barkley has tweaked his hamstring at practice already, he’s playing on a team that has not been particularly kind to Fantasy RBs in recent years, and the Giants have the second-hardest RB Strength of Schedule. Alvin Kamara had a historically efficient season on a per-touch basis, and his 2017 stats won’t be replicated. Hunt now has more competition in the passing game in the form of Sammy Watkins and Spencer Ware, and a Patrick Mahomes-lead offense is unproven. Gordon is running behind a top-10 offensive line, has the eighth easiest RB Strength of Schedule, and the loss of Hunter Henry frees up more passing work. Gordon’s last two seasons average 269 carries, 50 receptions, 1,500 scrimmage yards, and 12 total TDs despite missing three games in 2016. He’s sure to bring a charge to your fantasy lineup this season as the 2018 RB5.
Zak Hanshew – @ZaktheMonster
Zak hit the nail on the head with all of his Melvin Gordon numbers, but I’ll add a bit more to it. Everyone is gushing about Gurley’s dual-threat ability, but where’s the love for Gordon’s? He’ll never be as explosive as some of the other names on this list, but his 83 targets last season were just four behind Gurley and with Hunter Henry being lost for the season there’s no reason he shouldn’t be around that mark again. Tack on that he has an established, high-quality quarterback in Phillip Rivers and he’s someone I want to latch on to over Barkley/Manning and Hunt/Mahomes. The old fantasy adage is “you can’t win your league in the first round, but you can lose it,” and Gordon is your safest guy here while still maintaining the elite counting stats we want for fantasy.
Ryan Melosi – @RTMelos
So there you have it, our writer’s take on the RB5 in PPR fantasy football leagues. Who are you taking after the big four? Let us know at @FantasyPros.
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