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Dan Tortora's Running Back Rankings for 2017-18 Fantasy Football:

2016-17 NFL League Averages Among RBs who had 

at least 160 carries:


1,014 Rushing Yards

36 Catches 

9.6 Total TDs

 

1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals 

2016 Numbers: 1,239 rushing yards / 80 catches / 20 total TDs


Johnson would be a good fantasy pickup as a running back or as a receiver. He brings that Marshall Faulk feel back to the NFL.


This running back rose from low on the depth chart in reality to all the way to #1 in fantasy for running backs and you could argue him to be #1 overall of any position.


There is no question that Johnson is your pick early in the first round as soon as you can get him.

 

2. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 Numbers: 1,268 rushing yards / 75 catches / 9 total TDs


Darn we say that Bell enters into this season NOT on a suspension for the first few games?!


Yes, we dare!


Fantasy owners will have something they have not had over the past two seasons, and that is Bell in their lineup in Week 1 of the NFL season.


But even with being suspended to start each of the last two seasons, Bell finds a way, as made clear in his 1,200+ rushing yards in 12 games last season after a four-game suspension kept him on the sidelines.


If 1,200 rushing yards can come to you in 12 games, then imagine what a healthy 16-game season could be with Bell in your backfield. 


To find out, look back to the 2014-15 season, which was the last time Bell played a full 16 games. In those 16 games, he amounted 1,361 rushing yards, 854 receiving yards on 83 catches, and 11 total TDs.


If you miss Johnson, Bell has to be next off the board.

 

3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

2016 Numbers: 1,267 rushing yards / 50 catches / 14 total TDs


"Shady" has not been throwing any shade on your fantasy team in recent history. If anything, he is brightening up your roster as of late.


After attaining 895 rushing yards & five total TDs in his first season with the Bills (2015-16), coming from the Philadelphia Eagles, McCoy posted 1,267 rushing yards & 14 total TDs last season. All but one of those 14 TDs came on the ground for McCoy.


He is surely a bright spot in an offense that can be frustrating at times, especially as they look for new receivers to elevate the passing game.


Look for QB Tyrod Taylor to give McCoy his fair share of hand-offs, & potentially a few more, if & when Taylor needs to give the ball to someone he trusts to move it down the field.

 

4. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

2016 Numbers: 997 rushing yards / 41 catches / 12 total TDs


If there is indeed such thing as the "sophomore slump", then Gordon had the opposite of it.


After gaining 641 rushing yards & no TDs in 14 games as a rookie in the 2015-16 season, Gordon elevated to 997 yards on the ground & 12 total TDs, 10 of those on the ground, last season.


And he did that in one less game, competing in 13 of the team's 16 games in the 2016-17 campaign.


He essentially was last season what some hoped he would have been as a rookie.


You could catch him falling in your fantasy draft the last couple seasons, but this season, people will be ready to take him early, so be ready as well.

 

5. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

2016 Numbers: 1,313 rushing yards / 29 catches / 7 total TDs


Howard was what felt like the only positive on the Bears' offensive side of the ball last season. His 1,300+ yardage performance on the ground, playing in 15 of 16 games, as a rookie was not only impressive with it being his first NFL season, but also because the Bears' offense had three different QBs under center & plenty of aggravation.


No matter who plays, Howard will have yet another new QB under center, but he demonstrated as a rookie that he can handle moving with the punches that the NFL can & may bring.


He is a starter on your team, & is hopefully just getting started.

 

6. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

2016 Numbers: 1,079 rushing yards / 54 catches / 13 total TDs


Freeman is coming off of back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Falcons.


He has had 11 rushing TDs in each of the last two seasons, & only dropped his receiving TD output by one from 2015-16 to 2016-17.


But he signed a big contract in the off-season which tends to go one of two ways:

1. The player appreciates the job security yet still goes out & works as if they have no security & every game counts OR

2. They see the new contract as an opportunity to not go full steam ahead & their output goes down some.


If Freeman does the former, fantasy owners are in store for more success in their games this season.

 
7. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
2016 Numbers: 1,287 rushing yards / 53 catches / 12 total TDs

Murray has been on a different NFL team in each of the past three seasons, but has found a way to be effective in the fantasy game, spending the 2014-15 season with the Dallas Cowboys, 2015-16 with the Philadelphia Eagles, and last season with the Tennessee Titans. Murray had 1,845 rushing yards & 13 total TDs (all rushing) in 2014-15 & though he had a significant dip in his numbers the following season with the Eagles (702 rushing yards & seven total TDs), he still was able to provide a compliment (RB2) for your fantasy team.

The question after his one season with the Eagles was whether Murray was a strong NFL option at RB or if he looked a lot better than he was because he ran behind such a successful offensive line in Dallas.

That question was answered when he went to Tennessee last season & posted 1,287 rushing yards & came within one TD of matching his final season with Dallas (12 total TDs last season compared to 13 total TDs in 2014-15).

Murray also showed that he continues to be a durable back, playing in all 16 games last season after competing in all 16 in 2014-15 & 15 of 16 games in 2015-16.
 

8. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins

2016 Numbers: 1,272 rushing yards / 27 catches / 8 total TDs


Ajayi has played two seasons in the NFL.


In the first (2015-16), Ajayi accumulated 187 rushing yards, seven catches, & one rushing TD in nine games.


Last season, he elevated himself to 1,272 rushing yards, 27 catches, & eight rushing TDs in 15 games, leaving fantasy owners' hopes very much alive that he will be trending up this season.


Then came the injury to starting QB Ryan Tannehill in the off-season & the move to acquire former Chicago Bears' QB Jay Cutler who was planning on broadcasting this season instead of being on the field.


This situation under center for the Dolphins leaves what Ajayi will be to this offense somewhat in flux coupled with the fact that he sustained a concussion at training camp recently.


If the concussion does not have lingering effects & Cutler can get his timing down with Ajayi & trust Ajayi, then we could see some positive impact in fantasy from Ajayi. But these are a lot of if's from a running back who had good games last season, but lacked consistency overall in helping your fantasy team from week to week.


Ajayi is in this Top-10 because he delivered last season, but he is somewhat a roll of the dice still early in your draft.

 

9. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

2016 Numbers: 1,073 rushing yards / 31 catches / 6 total TDs


This past season was Miller's second time in the last three seasons where he has attained at least 1,000 yards on the ground.


In three seasons combined, Miller has played in 46 of 48 games, so durability on your fantasy team has been met by Miller.


The issue, when it comes to Miller, is getting into the end zone. With the Miami Dolphins in the 2014-15 & 2015-16 seasons, Miller had eight rushing TDs per season & at least nine total TDs per season (9 in 2014-15 & 10 in 2015-16). In his first season with the Texans, which was last season, Miller had five rushing TDs & one receiving TD.


But the addition of rookie QB DeShaun Watson could elevate the offense & as we know, a new QB can have a direct effect on skill players either positively or negatively. 


Again, as with his former teammate Ajayi, drafting Miller is a roll of the dice to a certain extent.

 

10. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

2016 Numbers: 952 rushing yards / 40 catches / 7 total TDs


Crowell has a pristine record in his three seasons in the NFL, playing in all 16 games in each season, an impeccable sign of durability.


He has also seen an increase in his rushing attempts from Year 1 to Year 2 and then Year 2 to Year 3. With the increased workload, Crowell had shown an increase in yards gained on the ground with each passing season, from 607 (2014-15) to 706 (2015-16) to 952 (2016-17).


After scoring eight TDs as a rookie (all rushing), Crowell dipped to five total TDs in the 2015-16 season, but rose himself up to seven last season (all rushing).


He caught more passes out of the backfield last season (40) than in his first two seasons combined in the NFL (28, with nine in 2014-15 & 19 in 2015-16).

 

11 Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

2016 Numbers: 885 rushing yards / 43 catches / 6 total TDs


Gurley ended his freshman season in the NFL (2015-16) with over 1,100 rushing yards, 1,106 to be exact, to go with 10 rushing TDs in 13 games.


Last season, Gurley was a relative ghost to start the campaign, and he never attained 100 rushing yards in any of the Rams' 16 games.


He averaged less than three yards per carry in six games last season & only scored in five of 16 games.


Now, QB Jared Goff has the reins of the offense outright from preseason. 


Here is hoping that he can energize the offense & that Gurley can rise above his sophomore spiral.

 

12. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles

2016 Numbers: 1,161 rushing yards / 7 catches / 18 total TDs (with the New England Patriots)


If Blount was still with the Patriots, one could argue that he should break the Top-10 in these rankings after amounting more rushing yards last season than in any of his other previous six NFL campaigns.


Blount has attained at least 1,000 yards on the ground in two of seven NFL seasons, those being his rookie season in 2010-11, & last season.


He essentially has played his best football seven years into his NFL career, getting into the end zone 18 times on the ground last season, when previously, it took him three seasons combined to gather 18 rushing TDs (2013-14, 2014-15, & 2015-16 seasons added together).


But, he is on a new team, a team that saw DeMarco Murray's astronomical numbers plummet when he was there in the 2015-16 season, only to increase after he left.


Blount will have to show that he can weather the change of an offensive line in front of him better than that. If he excels even in a dip in protection from the offensive line, watch out for a bruiser you would like to have in your stable.

 

13. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


Fournette is a strong back, a powerful runner who can lay the boom or take a hit. He has muscle & speed, & has the opportunity to be a franchise back for the Jaguars for the first time since former Rookie of the Year Fred Taylor.


He creates. Case in point was when his QB was about to be sacked, Fournette had the wherewithal to stand behind him in an emergency situation. The QB flipped the ball to Fournette & Fournette took off, turning what could have been a 10-yard loss on a sack into a 70+ yard TD run.


Fournette's time in the SEC (Southeastern Conference), his muscle, his speed, & his creativity join an offense in Jacksonville that likes to speed the game up & continue to attack.


If the Doug Marrone-Nate Hackett offense catches on quick in Jacksonville, look out for the highlight reel where you will be watching Fournette rack up points for your fantasy squad.

 

14. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


McCaffrey is potentially what can get this Panthers offense looking more explosive again after a quieter campaign last season by the team.


He can run the ball as well as catch it out of the backfield.


With longtime RB Jonathan Stewart not providing consistent productivity for the offense, running the ball has fallen onto QB Cam Newton more than anyone, while he is still responsible for making the plays down the field with his arm.


The addition of McCaffrey can help take pressure off of Newton as he can utilize the option a little bit, where he can keep it or dish it off to McCaffrey.


This one-two punch in the Carolina run game could end up being the spark they need to get back on track, & you will be benefiting as they trend up.

 

15. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


Cook is a big-body back drafted in the second round to a team that is coming off of the Adrian Peterson Era & still looking for their new face of the backfield.


This is a great situation for any rookie back & Cook does not shy away from contact & has played against some of the best competition in the country inside of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).


QB Sam Bradford did not have a back he can could consistently rely on handing the ball off to last season, so this opportunity with Cook should be something for Bradford to look forward to.


Cook could be that RB2 that becomes your RB1 as the season goes on.

 

16. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


If Mixon can stay away from off-the-field issues, he could be the big-time playmaker that the Bengals have been looking for in the backfield.


The two-headed Giovani Bernard/Jeremy Hill project just has not worked, leaving fantasy owners who have only Bernard frustrated, only Hill frustrated, & being frustrated even if they have both because you essentially have to play them both weekly in hopes that they will add together into somewhat of a possible fantasy option in the backfield.


Mixon will have a strong QB in Andy Dalton who has weapons in the receiving game, meaning that all of the pressure will not be on Mixon.


This is a desirable option for a rookie because what Cincinnati has has not been consistently strong, so a positive start & established consistency from one running back can turn Mixon into a good option at an RB2, & even an RB1 down the road.

 

17. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders

2016 Numbers: None (He had Retired from the NFL)


Lynch did not play a down in the NFL last season due to what felt very much like a premature retirement.


In the previous season (2015-16), Lynch amounted 417 rushing yards, gaining just shy of four yards per carry, & had three total TDs (all rushing) in seven games.


The last time Lynch played a full 16-game regular season was back in the 2014-15 campaign, where he rushed for 1,306 yards & had 17 total TDs (13 rushing & 4 receiving).


Therefore, Lynch has shown to be capable of having an electrifying fantasy season, but that was three years ago.


Being away from the game for a full season & not even competing in half of the games the season before make Lynch's durability a question & leaves fantasy owners wondering how long it will take for Lynch to catch on.


Add in that Lynch is a wildcard & could just decide he is done during the season & fantasy owners have even more to be concerned with if you decide to draft him.


But if he stays healthy & focused, the sky is the limit.

 

18. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

2016 Numbers: 1,043 rushing yards / 46 catches / 10 total TDs


Ingram is the returning back in the two-headed backfield that is in New Orleans heading into this season with Adrian Peterson coming in. He knows QB Drew Brees & Brees knows him.


Playing all six of his NFL seasons with the Saints, he is coming off of his first 1,000-yard rushing campaign as a pro. 


Last season, he also had his most total TDs ever among his six NFL campaigns, with 10, & scored his first receiving TD ever in his six-season career. He followed his first career receiving TD by attaining three more receiving TDs before the end of the 2016-17 season.


With Peterson in town, Ingram dropped to this position, but should still be considered a potential RB1 & definitely worth having on your roster.

 

19. Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints

2016 Numbers: 72 rushing yards, eight receiving yards on three catches, & no TDs in three games before getting injured (with the Minnesota Vikings)


Peterson is a long way from his prolific season that gave fantasy owners the notion that he would be a dominant back for seasons to come.


He has played in 20 of 48 regular season games over the past three seasons combined, on the field for not even half of the contests.


Two seasons ago (2015-16), Peterson had 1,485 rushing yards & 11 total TDs (all rushing), which is why he still remains an intriguing fantasy option.


But he is coming off of 72 rushing yards & no TDs last season, where he played in three of 16 regular games.


Having Drew Brees as his QB will help & them together can lead to defenses leaving players open due to Brees & Peterson commanding attention inevitably due to what players & teams know they can both be capable of.


Peterson has to look out for Ingram though, who has had to share the backfield throughout his time in New Orleans, but is coming off of his best single-season performance ever, giving the Saints every reason to keep feeding Ingram.

 

20. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

2016 Numbers: 520 rushing yards / 31 catches / 11 total TDs


Coleman lands in this spot for fantasy rankings because he is on a roster with fellow RB Devonta Freeman.


But he remains in the Top-25 because he has continued to be relevant in the fantasy game despite having to share time with Freeman.


In shared time with Freeman, he had 941 yards of total offense last season & entered the end zone both on the ground (8 TDs) & through the air (3 TDs), making him a viable RB2 on your roster.


In the case that Freeman lowers his effort followed a big contract extension, watch for Coleman, who already can turn heads in a two-headed system.

 

21. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos

2016 Numbers: 437 rushing yards / 16 catches / 5 total TDs


Anderson has not been the back that we thought he would be.


In the 2014-15 season, his second in the NFL, Anderson ran into the end zone eight times.


Anderson would follow by attaining nine rushing TDs over the last two seasons combined.


He resides on this list at the position that he is in because: 1. It is hard to trust him & 2. The Broncos do not have a secure option behind him.


Denver's best option besides Anderson is second-year RB Devontae Booker, who had 612 rushing yards & five total TDs (4 rushing & 1 receiving) in his rookie campaign, playing in 15 of 16 regular season games.


But Booker has sustained a wrist injury in the off-season heading into the 2017-18 campaign & may not be ready for the field until after the season begins.


Besides Booker, the Broncos have brought in RB Jamaal Charles from rival Kansas City, who used to be a #1 option for the Chiefs. However, after reaching 1,033 rushing yards, 291 receiving yards, & 14 total TDs (9 rushing & 5 receiving) in 15 games in the 2014-15 season, Charles has not competed in 15 games over two seasons combined.


In fact, Charles was on the field for about half the games between the 2015-16 & 2016-17 seasons combined (8 games) than he was in in the 2014-15 campaign alone (15).


So, Anderson has not been the consistent explosive back that one thought he could be, but he will have first crack at being the #1 guy for the Broncos.


A healthy Booker may change that.

 

22. Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots

2016 Numbers: 577 rushing yards / 9 catches / 9 total TDs


The Patriots have done it again.


They have taken a player whose has not seemed to reach their ceiling on another team & added them to their squad.


Gillislee made an impact to the tune of nine total TDs (8 rushing & 1 receiving) & had 101 carries on a Buffalo Bills' team that featured #1 option LeSean McCoy.


That is impressive.


Now, he is a Patriot, & players tend to get even better when they put that jersey on.


The stage is definitely set for an uptick for Gillisee with RB LeGarrette Blount moving on to the Philadelphia Eagles this season. That leaves the Patriots with an 18-TD total loss that they would like to make up for, & someone needs to carry the rock. 


Why not the guy that made a name himself besides being behind McCoy?


Seems like a viable option.

 

23. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts

2016 Numbers: 1,025 rushing yards / 38 catches / 8 total TDs


Gore is going into his 13th season in the NFL, yet he has proven to be one of the most durable backs in the league, playing in all 16 regular season games in each of the last six seasons.


In nine of his 12 seasons in the NFL, Gore has reached at least 1,000 yards rushing, including five of the last six seasons.


His most recent 1,000-yard rushing campaign was last season, his second with the Colts, where he rose to 1,025 rushing yards.


He was just shy of 1,000 rushing yards a season ago, his first with the Colts, where he finished with 967 rushing yards.


Gore had his most receiving TDs in a season just last season, with four TDs through the air with the Colts, to go with four on the ground.


There is the notion that Gore cannot run forever, but he consistently reminds people that he is not planning on hanging up the cleats just yet.

 

24. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

2016 Numbers: 988 rushing yards / 27 catches / 9 total TDs


Hyde accumulated more rushing yards (988) last season in 13 games than he did in his prior two seasons combined (803) in 21 games.


He also reached the end zone more times last season (9) than in the prior two seasons together (7). 


Even more impressive is that Hyde had these achievements within a tumultuous season in 2016-17 for the 49ers as a team.


Colin Kaepernick & Blaine Gabbert both shared time under center last season at QB for San Francisco, but Hyde weathered the storm.


None of the four QBs on the roster this season were with the 49ers' in 2016-17.


If anyone can handle the woes that may come with that, it seems to be that Hyde will be able to.

 

25. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys

2016 Numbers: 87 rushing yards / 3 catches / 0 TDs in three games due to injury last season


McFadden, Alfred Morris, & company would have been afterthoughts if Ezekiel Elliott was not facing seven weeks off the field (six-game suspension + Cowboys' bye week).


But now, Dallas' backfield is wide open to seeing who can take the reins.


McFadden will have an opportunity to be the team's leading rusher to start this season.


When he was the Cowboys' starter in the 2015-16 season, prior to Elliott joining the team, McFadden finished with 1,089 rushing yards, 40 catches for 328 yards, & three total TDs (all rushing).


So we already have something to go off of instead of being completely in the dark as to what McFadden can do behind this Cowboys' offensive line.


He is a RB2, high RB3, attractive in fantasy because of that line that seemingly anyone can run behind as of late.

 

26. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


Charcandrick West has had a minimal effect on the fantasy game.


Jamaal Charles did not pan out, & is no longer there.


Spencer Ware took advantage of this opportunity, but did not grab all there is for the taking.


Enter Hunt, drafted in the third round this year.


He has an opportunity to gain some of the carries. What he does with them & how much Ware provides will decide how much Hunt will have as time goes by.


Hunt will be a late-round risk that can offer some reward.

 

27. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens

2016 Numbers: 774 rushing yards / 34 catches / 6 total TDs


Someone has the run the ball in Baltimore, & the Ravens used to lean on the ball-carrier, but have had injuries in recent seasons, leaving them to continue to dig deeper & deeper into their depth chart.


West achieved 774 rushing yards, 236 receiving yards on 34 catches, & six total TDs last season (5 rushing & 1 receiving), competing in all 16 games, making last season, easily his best fantasy output in his three seasons in the NFL.


Durability has been an issue though, with West not playing in all 16 regular season games in each of his first two NFL seasons.


Javorius Allen was only given nine carries in eight games last season & Kenneth Dixon is suspended the first four games of this season, giving West the green light to grab the starting role & hold on.


But watch for rookie RB Taquan Mizzell getting some opportunities, & what that could mean if West falters early.

 

28. Matt Forte, New York Jets

2016 Numbers: 813 rushing yards / 30 catches / 8 total TDs


Forte was a fantasy stud in recent history, achieving at least 1,000 yards rushing in three straight seasons & four of five seasons.


But, since his last 1,000-yard rushing campaign back in the 2014-15 season, Forte's numbers have been dropping. In the 2014-15 season, Forte rushed for 1,038 yards, then 898 yards in 2015-16, followed by 813 yards last season.


Granted he played in less games in 2015-16 (13 of 16 regular season games) & in 2016-17 (14 of 16 games), whereas he competed in all 16 in the 2014-15 season.


His rushing yard total, however, went down 85 yards from 2015-16 to 2016-17 despite having the same amount of carries (218) in both seasons.


Forte has also been utilized less & less in the receiving game, catching 102 balls in 2014-15, 44 in 2015-16, & 30 last season.


He benefits from the Jets not having many options in the backfield, but unless he becomes more consistent on the ground & has his role elevated in the Jets' offense, he is a low RB2 option on an offense that has a lot of questions.

 

29. Paul Perkins, New York Giants

2016 Numbers: 456 rushing yards / 15 catches / 0 total TDs


Perkins did not have a breakout freshman NFL season by any stretch of the imagination.


Yet, he will have the opportunity to be a leader in the backfield in his sophomore season.


The Giants have been a "by committee backfield" for a few seasons now, so do not expect that to change unless Perkins surges.


It is more likely that we will see Perkins, Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, & rookie Wayne Gallman all out there at some point, which is why Perkins is placed here in the fantasy rankings.

 

30. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

2016 Numbers: 839 rushing yards / 21 catches / 9 total TDs


Though the two-headed project of Hill & fellow RB Giovani Bernard has left fantasy owners frustrated, we are in a place to see a changing of the guard in Cincinnati, & Hill could be a compliment to this one, leaving Bernard as the odd man out.


Hill has attained at least nine rushing TDs in all three of his seasons in the NFL.


He can be a handcuff to Mixon.


But be weary that Mixon excelling in his rookie season could mean less & less of Hill.

 

31. Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks

2016 Numbers: 360 rushing yards, 28 yards on four catches, & no TDs last season, playing in five of 16 regular season games (with the Green Bay Packers)


Before Lacy competed in only five of 16 regular season games last season, we saw his numbers take a significant drop. He followed 1,139 rushing yards, 427 yards on 42 catches, & 13 total TDs (9 rushing & 4 receiving) in 16 games in the 2014-15 season with a dip in all categories, amounting 758 rushing yards, 188 yards on 20 catches, & five total TDs (3 rushing & 2 receiving) in 15 games in 2015-16.


Lowered output & durability sent Lacy to this ranking, but he can climb out of this.


An RB2 spot on your roster is not out of the question, depending on how he develops in the Seahawks' offense.

 

32. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings

2016 Numbers:


One thought that Murray being signed by the Vikings meant that he would be their new leader in the backfield.


Then, they drafted Dalvin Cook in the second round of this year's NFL Draft, which appears to be some skepticism on the side of Minnesota as to whether or not they can trust Murray to be an every-down, every-game back.


Add in that Murray has been affected by an ankle injury that has led to off-season surgery, which has taken him away from preseason competition. 


With Cook getting more reps & more time to gel with the offense, Murray may see the rookie take the top spot &, subsequently, Murray's carries may be limited.

 

33. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers

2016 Numbers: 457 rushing yards / 44 catches / 3 total TDs


Montgomery heads into this fantasy season as a veteran with multiple rookies in the Packers' backfield.


Yet, Montgomery does not feel like an every-down back.


He is a flex option in fantasy because he offers opportunities in both the running & the receiving game, ending last season with 805 all-purpose yards, 457 rushing & 348 receiving.


But Montgomery amounted a mere three rushing TDs & no receiving TDs in 15 games in 2016-17.


Not being a traditional back that could have 15-20 carries in a game lowers his fantasy stock, but as a flex, you could hold onto him & see if & where he finds his place in this Green Bay offense.

 

34. James White, New England Patriots

2016 Numbers: 166 rushing yards / 60 catches / 5 total TDs


White was at his best in the Super Bowl, something great for reality, but not for fantasy.


His 166 rushing yards in a full 16-game season leaves much to be desired, but he is a flex option for his ability to catch out of the backfield. His 60 catches last season were 24 above the running back league average of 36.

 

35. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

2016 Numbers:


Elliott fell out of this Top-10, Top-20, & even Top-30 due to his six-game suspension that will end up being seven weeks that fantasy owners will not have the Cowboys' feature back when you include the team's bye week.


Seven weeks out means that fantasy owners will only have Elliott for six to seven weeks of the fantasy regular season if your regular season ends on Week 13 or 14, respectively. That is more than half the fantasy regular season without someone who will be taking up valuable realty on your roster.


Yes, when he is healthy & on the field, watch out.


But, he will not be on the field for awhile, & by the time you get him, you may have a steep hill to climb. Even when he comes back to the field, his body will be in question because nothing can simulate gameplay & the rest of the NFL will have had six to seven games in their resume before he gets his first opportunity.

 

36. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

2016 Numbers:


Two seasons into the NFL & fantasy owners are still waiting for Abdullah to arrive.


As a rookie in the 2015-16 season, Abdullah played in all 16 regular season games, but ended with 597 rushing yards & three total TDs (2 rushing & 1 receiving).


In his sophomore campaign last season, Abdullah played in only two of 16 games due to a foot injury, accumulating 101 rushing yards, five catches, one receiving TD, & no rushing TDs.


This will probably be Abdullah's last opportunity of taking over the backfield for Detroit.


He is a stretch.

 

37. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


Mack is in an exciting place as an NFL rookie.


He gets to learn from one of the most durable backs currently playing, being in the same room as Frank Gore.


On top of that, do not be surprised to see Indianapolis test him out on the field in this his first season.


He could be the definition of a sleeper this season.

 

38. DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders

2016 Numbers: 467 rushing yards / 17 catches / 2 total TDs


In his rookie campaign last season, Washington accumulated 582 all-purpose yards, 467 on the ground & 115 receiving.


Lynch is in front of him on the depth, but Lynch is a full season removed from the NFL & how long he wants to continue on the field is in question.


Washington will get some looks this season, but his opportunities go as Lynch goes.

 
 

39. D'Onta Foreman, Houston Texans

2016 Numbers: None (This is his Rookie season)


Foreman will have an opportunity to show what he can do in the Houston backfield, with Miller having only brought five rushing TDs to the Texans last season.


Although, with Miller being a durable back, he will most likely have to share.

 

40. Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 Numbers: 560 rushing yards / 13 catches / 2 total TDs


Rodgers put together his best rushing-yard amount of any of his six NFL campaigns last season, playing in 10 of 16 regular season games.


Prior to amounting 560 rushing yards last season, his first with the Buccaneers, Rodgers had 590 over his three previous seasons cumulatively.


With RB Doug Martin suspended for the first three games of this season, Rodgers will have even more time to showcase what he can do, but will share it with fellow RB Charles Sims, who offers a nice out to QB Jameis Winston in the open field as a receiver.


Martin has had two seasons where he reach 1,400+ rushing yards, yet his durability in his other three NFL seasons & inconsistency overall leave his weekly carry totals in jeopardy if Rodgers elevates his game consistently.

 

41. Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins

2016 Numbers: 704 rushing yards / 12 catches / 7 total TDs


Kelley, as a rookie out of Tulane, played in 15 of Washington's 16 games last season, averaging a little over four yards per carry.


In a backfield that looked like it could belong to Matt Jones, Kelley emerged as the leading rusher in his first crack at the NFL.


Kelley had seven games with at least 14 carries, three of those games with at least 20 carries, as a rookie.


Now, another rookie is chomping at the paydirt.


Samaje Perine could make this backfield situation interesting, but if Kelley holds his own, he will find a place in this backfield, and potentially as a late addition to your team.

 

Others to Mention:


Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins


Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks


Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans


Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers


Bilal Powell, New York Jets


Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions


Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns


James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers