Ezekiel Elliot- always the favorite to lead the league in rushing attempts and yards, Zeke is as safe as it comes. He also possesses tremendous upside as his reception totals rose way up last year, showing that the Cowboys want to utilize him as a receiver more. He’s also due for some positive TD regression.
Alvin Kamara- Kamara will probably carry the ball less than anyone else on this list. But what makes him so valuable is his massive TD upside, and prowess in the passing game. New Orleans is always at the very top of rushing TDs at the end of the year, so Kamara’s opportunity to produce TDs is better than anyone else on this list.
Saquon Barkley- I have Saquon a tad lower than most people do. Most have him at #1, some at #2 but I have him all the way down at 3! Saquon is the most talented RB in the league without a doubt. However the offense he is in severely hurts Saquon’s upside for touchdowns. His volume as a rusher and a pass catcher is absolutely safe, but I fear the poor NY offense will struggle to keep drives alive throughout the year, and have less redxone attempts than most teams.
Christian McCaffery- CMC is the best pass catching back in this league, trailed closely by Saquon and Kamara. CMC is almost like having a high end WR 2 whom will also rush the ball 15+ times a game. Overall CMC may regress as he was on the field way more than every other RB in the league. I feel like the panthers will want to save him a little more this year. But his safety in the passing game will absolutely keep him as a high-mid RB1.
Melvin Gordon- Gordon comes in at #5, as the leader of the tier 2 RBs in my rankings. Gordon is a lock to be a top 5 RB if he’s healthy. But that’s the thing…if he’s healthy. Gordon has been very injury prone the past few seasons. If he wasn’t so injury prone, I’d rank Gordon as the #3 RB ahead of Barkley.
Davin Johnson- In what felt like a busy season last year, DJ actually finished as the #10 RB in .5 PPR leagues. Playing for the worst offense in the league, it was a miracle that DJ was able to be a top 10 Fantasy RB. In a revamped offense, DJ is due to have a better season as he will have the opportunity to get more touches, and TD upside. I can easily see DJ finishing the year as a top 3 RB if everything goes to plan in AZ.
Joe Mixon- Mixon starts my 3rd tier of RBs. Mixon is hard to rank, as there are a lot of moving parts with this team. New coach, new system, and a new role. Similar to DJ, however DJ has proven he can be the #1 fantasy player before. Mixon has proven that he can handle a big workload, and his talent showed last year.
Connor- Offseason reports have stated that Pitt May run more of a committee style approach to the backfield. I’m not convinced of this, as Pitt has always implemented a workhorse style RB in the recent past. I can see Samuels take some passing downs work as he is a tremendous pass catcher, but I see Connor the far and away leader in touches for Pitt. He is a safe bet to get the ball close to 20 times every game.
Gurley- Gurley comes in at #9, right after the 8 guys whom I feel are total workhorses and have little to no competition for touches on their respective teams. By now, everyone knows about Gurley’s knee arthritis. I feel like people are completely overemphasizing this, as Gurley has reported to feel great, and he is cutting weight in attempt to lighten the load on said knee. Gurley will absolutely touch the ball less this year. He will never see the type of workload he has seen the past 2 years. However, if you take away 25% of Gurley’s points last year, he would still finish as the RB 5. Absolutely crazy. Gurley can potentially be the value of the draft.
Cook- Cook comes in at 10 over guys who very well could have placed here such as Bell, Williams, Fournette and Mack. I feel Cook is the safer bet over the rest of these guys as he is doesn’t have as many huge question marks as the other guys. Bell is in a bad offense, Fournette has off field issues and injury prone, Mack doesn’t get pass catching opportunities, and Williams has never been seen as an Uber talented RB. Cook holds injury risk, but unlike the other guys’s flaws I mentioned, Cook Is elite in all those categories.