Fantasy Football: Early Top 20 RB Rankings
It’s April and there is no better time to start talking some rankings! In this edition, we will cover The Fantasy Footballers’ Early RB rankings for the 2018 season and include context for some of the players we feel necessary to address. Be sure to listen to the full episodes below if you would like to hear thoughts on these RBs from Andy, Mike, and Jason!
Half PPR Scoring
Consensus Ranking: 3
Just 2 seasons ago, David Johnson was the #1 RB in fantasy football. Many people are forgetting just how good he was and as a result, he has not been talked about enough nor is he getting the ranking he deserves from some. Andy, Mike, and Jason are self-proclaimed Arizona Cardinal fans and they know just how good David Johnson is as their number 3 consensus RB. There is a noticeable trend with the top-ranked running backs… volume. In 2016, when David Johnson was healthy, he finished the season 3rd in carries and 1st in targets and receptions among running backs.
He is a dual threat in both the run and pass game, something that is becoming the standard for a top-ranked, workhorse back. The Cardinals do have some concerns in their offense heading into the 2018 season. Whether it’s the questionable health and sustainability of their new quarterback, Sam Bradford, or their aging number one wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, who will turn 35 just before the start of the season, one thing is certain: David Johnson is not a concern and will be the focal point of this offense in 2018.
Consensus Ranking: 5
It should be no surprise, the leader in rushing yards in 2017 is listed in the top 5 running backs. Kareem Hunt had some of the best games from a fantasy perspective in the first few weeks of the season. Andy Reid pivoted from utilizing Hunt and his full potential in the middle of the season which essentially hurt his value during that time. Hunt (or Andy Reid) eventually turned things around and returned to his better production at the end of the season. The return of Spencer Ware and the uncertainty of the Chiefs’ play calling are the only reasons to have Kareem Hunt “fall” to number 5 on the guys’ consensus ranking.
Consensus Ranking: 10
LeSean McCoy will turn 30 years old before the start of the 2018 season. Around this age for a running back is when you truly start questioning their ability to keep up their elite play. Just when you think the Buffalo Bills offense couldn’t get any worse, they trade Tyrod Taylor and will likely look to the draft to find their future/franchise QB. This does not help your Shady McCoy shares. The Bills do not have enough offensive weapons to steer defenses away from stacking the box and game planning for McCoy.
Given all the negatives, LeSean McCoy cannot be counted out due to his age as we have yet to see a decline in his production. The combination of the offensive woes and the emergence of other talented RBs in much better situations are enough to rank McCoy at 10.
Consensus Ranking: 14
Jerick McKinnon is new to a workhorse role but already has the trust of 49ers Coach, Kyle Shanahan. At least there seems to be enough trust to pay Jerick McKinnon top 5 type money. The 49ers are making all the right moves in all the right places to build a great foundation for a successful team. This team has already shown how much better they are with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. Now, Coach Shanahan has who he wanted as the 49ers workhorse back in McKinnon. It would appear McKinnon will not only get the bulk of the carries but will also be targeted in the passing game as well.
Despite all of the positives coming from Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers organization in McKinnon, the fact is, he simply has never handled a full workload as an NFL running back for any considerable amount of time. He has never started more than 7 NFL games in any given season and has yet to top 570 rushing yards in a season. Until we all see what he can do with the volume on a consistent basis, Mckinnon will not be considered in the RB1 conversation, at least not for the 2018 season.
Consensus Ranking: 18
Carlos Hyde is a good running back and his talent alone may be the only reason he made the consensus top 20 ranking. Unfortunately, this is what happens to your value when you land on the Cleveland Browns. Mike and Jason have Hyde ranked in the 18-19 range but Andy is the least convinced giving him a ranking of 24th RB.
If this Browns offense can finally get things clicking this season (and that is a big “if”), it will be an uphill battle for Hyde to maintain a full workload. He should lose 3rd down opportunities to Duke Johnson and there’s a potential of a rookie RB taking carries/opportunities away from Hyde, especially if they land Saquon Barkley. It is possible that after the draft Carlos Hyde is pushed out of the top 20 RB consensus rankings from The Fantasy Footballers.
Be sure to look out for the other consensus ranking episodes and articles as they become available on the website!