Fantasy Football: Post-NFL Draft Running Back Depth Chart

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Every year after the NFL Draft, running back depth charts are shaken up by incoming rookies. Last weekend, we saw some top tier talent like Saquon Barkley, Rashaad Penny, and Ronald Jones II land in very favorable situations, likely landing them atop their respective team’s depth chart. For a more detailed analysis on all the winners and losers from the NFL Draft, be sure to check out The Fantasy Footballers podcast on the AFC winners and NFC winners. I’ll highlight a few notable changes to the running back depth chart in this article, but for a more detailed view of the depth chart before the NFL Draft, check out that article here.

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Veteran Winners

Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders
Jon Gruden’s 1994 approach to football seems to be taking shape, as they will roll into 2018 with 32-year old Marshawn Lynch atop the depth chart. Beast Mode should have every opportunity to lead the Oakland backfield in touches in what should be an old school ‘ground and pound’ offense.

Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
After a lot of buzz as the #1 back in Houston two years ago, Miller was disappointing, leaving a bad taste in fantasy owners’ mouths. Last year, Miller had an up and down campaign but still managed to finish as the RB16 overall in half point formats. The Texans chose to pass on running backs in the NFL Draft, and with D’Onta Foreman likely to start the season on the PUP list due to his Achilles injury, Miller should be poised for RB2 numbers once again in 2018.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts were a team who had a major need at the running back position, but they chose to address other areas of need early in the draft. They did select Nyheim Hines in the fourth round and Jordan Wilkins in the fifth, so they did add to their depth chart. Hines projects as more of a pass catching back, leaving Mack a real opportunity to compete for early down work. Because the Colts didn’t spend high draft capital on a back, I consider Mack a winner here.

Rookie Winners

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
With the #2 overall pick, the New York Giants have found their three-down work horse back. He will dominate touches in the Giants’ backfield, making Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman irrelevant for fantasy football purposes.

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks surprised everyone when they selected Penny late in the first round of the NFL Draft, but he finds himself atop the depth chart with little competition behind him. Pete Carroll has already described Penny as a three-down back, so with the volume he’ll have in Seattle, he should be able to push for RB2 numbers in 2018.

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were in desperate need of running back help as they entered the NFL Draft with Peyton Barber atop the depth chart after losing Doug Martin. They filled that need in a major way after selecting Ronald Jones out of USC in the second round. He immediately becomes the starter in an up and coming offense not void of play makers.

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