Most fantasy football experts agree that you should load up on running backs during the first half of your fantasy draft. After all, they contribute the most to your point totals and potentially your bragging rights and winnings over your buddies after a prolific week of racking up yards and touchdowns. With that in mind, here are the top 5 running backs to draft.
Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Even with the Michigan State alum’s three-game suspension due to “medicinal issues,” his fantasy production potential cannot be overstated. Before Bell’s injury last year, he averaged over 125 yards a game, which would have led the league for the second straight season. Thirteen games of unequivocally, the most productive player in fantasy far outweighs the cost of three games without him.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
With the Rams organization going through so much change, a new city, a rookie quarterback and a fresh fan base, Todd Gurley is a constant. Expect the bruising tail back to rack up yards as he will trend toward the top of the league in carries until rookie quarterback Jared Goff can get acclimated to coach Jeff Fisher’s system. Gurley had a four-game stretch last year in which he had 125 yards or more, including 159 at Green bay. If Bell’s injury throws you off his scent, Gurley is a fine second choice.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
“All Day” has been as consistent as his nickname, churning out at least 1,200 yards in every season that he played at least 13 games. With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater beginning to come into his own, some of the focus from defenses will slough off of Peterson’s broad shoulders. You can pencil him in for 80-100 yards per game, and two or three monster performances throughout the season. He’s been doing this for a decade. Great production from him won’t be a fantasy of yours; it will be reality.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller was poorly used in Miami. He wasn’t given enough opportunity with the ball in his hands to make plays, which is odd to say for a player who totaled over 1,250 yards last year. This is a stark contrast to how he will be used in Houston, and with a heavier workload, his production will increase exponentially. Factor in his receiving ability, Miller tallied 397 receiving yards last year, and you could have one of the most complete and productive backs all season running up the numbers for your team.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
The late singer Aaliyah famously crooned “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” The same applies for Elliott. The rookie from Ohio State will be running behind the best offensive line in football with a fully-realized supporting cast of teammates to divert focus from him. Dallas’ most recent successful year was in 2014 when DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing, and with Romo coming off another injury, expect the Cowboys to follow that model again. This bodes well for Elliott and as a result, his fantasy owners. This is the only year to grab him before he is a known commodity, so strike now.