2016 Fantasy Football Rankings - PPR Rankings - Running Backs- Updated: Tuesday, September 6th
Scoring: These rankings are based on point-per-reception (PPR) scoring -- one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per reception, one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown.
These rankings are from Kevin Hanson and are for the 2016 NFL season.
Here are our PPR Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings for 2016:
1. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Injuries finally led to Johnson getting a shot at the featured role, but the third-rounder out of Northern Iowa had been productive in limited opportunities before that. Johnson scored a total of 13 touchdowns -- eight rushing, four receiving and one return -- on only 161 touches last season. Finishing as a top-five weekly performer in three of his five starts, Johnson could lead all running backs in fantasy points in 2016.
2. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Perennially under-involved in Miami's offense, Miller has been highly productive on a per-touch basis. Despite his modest workload (194 carries, 18th-most in 2015), Miller scored the sixth-most fantasy points last year and has now finished as a top-10 fantasy running back in back-to-back seasons. Given the change of scenery, Miller is poised for a huge jump in workload as the new lead back in Houston. Since Bill O'Brien has taken over as coach, only the Seahawks (1,025 carries including 221 from Russell Wilson) have run the ball more than the Texans (1,023).
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
With the skill set to be a true three-down back and workhorse, Elliott could not have ended up in a better situation as he gets to run behind the NFL's best offensive line. With Tony Romo (back) already set to miss the first half of the season, the Cowboys will rely heavily on Zeke and their ground game. It wouldn't be a big surprise if Elliott finished as fantasy's RB1 in 2016.
4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
While few (read: nobody) saw it coming, no running back scored more fantasy points in 2015 than Freeman. Not only did Freeman rush for more than 1,000 yards, but he hauled in 73 catches, third-most among running backs, for 578 yards, and scored a league-leading 14 total touchdowns last season. While he's shown a three-down skill set, the Falcons want to lower Freeman's workload and get second-year back Tevin Coleman more involved in the offense in 2016.
5. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Should you draft Gurley first overall? Well, if you ask Gurley, you should. Although Gurley shouldn't be the first player off the board in fantasy drafts (Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown should), you could argue that he should be the first running back off the board. Despite missing the first three games of last season, Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,106 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Despite running behind a poor offensive line with a rookie quarterback (at some point) under center, Gurley will be one more year removed from his torn ACL and could lead the league in rush attempts in 2016.
6. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Injuries at the position are obviously a huge risk with any running back and Bell missed a huge chunk of last season due to both injury and suspension. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, Bell is suspended three games (cut from four games) to start the 2016 season. A highly productive, true three-down back on the field, Bell has averaged 23.18 touches, 132.14 YFS and 0.64 touchdowns -- or more than 17 (standard) fantasy points -- per game over the past two seasons. In other words, Bell should lead all running backs in fantasy points on a per-game basis once he returns in Week 4.
7. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
After sitting out virtually all of the 2014 season, Peterson led the NFL in carries (327), rushing yards (1,485) and rushing touchdowns (11). The Vikings will continue to ride AP as their workhorse, especially with the injury to Bridgewater. Despite his superhuman physical traits, the only concern is that he turned 31 years old in March, but I have Peterson projected for the more touches (334) than any other back.
8. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After two injury-plagued and disappointing campaigns, Martin exceeded the value of his 2015 draft slot and finished second to only Adrian Peterson for the 2015 NFL rushing title. With 1,673 YFS and seven touchdowns last season, Martin should rank near the top of the league in workload and production provided he can stay healthy.
8. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
The biggest issue with Ingram has been durability. The 26-year-old back has missed three or more games in four of five seasons including four games in 2015. Over the past two seasons, however, Ingram has averaged 18.84 touches, 91.32 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. Despite playing just 12 games, Ingram still finished as fantasy's RB15 (RB10 in PPR) in 2015.
10. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Totaling 3,001 yards from scrimmage with 24 total touchdowns in his first two seasons, Lacy disappointed fantasy owners with less than 1,000 YFS and just five total touchdowns in 2015. Ceding more work than expected to James Starks last season, Lacy has shed weight this offseason and a fitter version is poised to bounce back as he enters a contract season.
11. Matt Forte, New York Jets
One of the most versatile running backs in the league, Forte turned 30 in December and signed as a free agent with the Jets this offseason. Even though he missed three games last season, Forte averaged close to 100 yards -- 69.1 rushing and 29.9 receiving -- per game in 2015. Forte won't dominate touches in the Jets' backfield the way he did in Chicago, but he's a solid RB2 in 2016.
12. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
Drafted as a late first-round pick in many 2015 fantasy drafts, Anderson started slowly and spent much of the season in a timeshare with Ronnie Hillman. In the second half of the season, however, CJA was much better than both his first half and Hillman. Starting with Week 8, Anderson carried the ball 85 times for 540 yards (6.35 YPC) and five touchdowns and he enters 2016 as the team's clear lead back.
13. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
Not only did Murray rank fourth in the NFL in touches (307), but no other running back had as many games with 15-plus touches than Murray (15). With one of the league's best offensive lines, the team's overall roster improvements should lead to more positive game flows conducive to running the football. In addition, Del Rio has said that he wants Murray to get more carries in 2016 than he had in 2015.
14. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
Missing four games in his first season with the Bills, McCoy averaged nearly 20 touches (19.58/G) and 100 YFS (98.92/G) per game. Assuming good health, McCoy should rank near the top of the league leaders in usage and YFS in 2016 for the run-heavy Bills.
15. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
No running back had more receptions (80) or receiving yards (755) than Woodhead, who totaled 1,091 YFS and nine touchdowns last season. Woodhead played just three games in 2014, but Woodhead has finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in each of his past three full seasons. In fact, he finished as a top-10 fantasy running back (RB3 in PPR behind only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson) in 2015.
16. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles (ACL) has essentially been ruled out for the opener as Andy Reid called it "a stretch for him to play" in Week 1. Assuming he misses the opener, you have to wonder how slowly he'll be worked back to his full usage rate. Before the injury, Charles averaged 18.4 touches, 108.2 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game in five games last season.
17. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Part of a platoon with Jeremy Hill, Bernard still finished as a top-21 fantasy running back in standard-scoring formats (RB16 in PPR) last season despite scoring just two touchdowns. In fact, RB21 was the worst finish of his young three-year career. In his three seasons, Bernard has averaged 213.33 touches (including 49.33 receptions) and 1,146.67 YFS per season and he should easily reach -- or exceed -- value at his current ADP (RB30).
18. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
Only four running backs had more receptions than Johnson (61) had as a rookie last season. Better in PPR formats (RB23 in 2015), Johnson still managed to finish as a top-35 fantasy running back in standard-scoring formats as well. I project a fairly even split in usage between Johnson (216 touches) and Isaiah Crowell (214), but I would unquestionably prefer Johnson over Crowell in either scoring format.
19. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
After leading the NFL in rushing (1,845 yards) in 2014 and signing a large free-agent deal with the Eagles, Murray rushed for only 702 yards in 2015 and set career lows in YPG (46.8) and YPC (3.6). If things go according to (the coaching staff's) plan, Murray will get the largest workload share of a run-heavy offense. Both Murray and second-round rookie Derrick Henry have looked good in the preseason.
20. Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers
Failing to score a touchdown on 217 touches and averaging just 3.48 YPC, Gordon disappointed fantasy owners as a rookie. Provided MG3 stays healthy, it shouldn't be difficult for things to go better for Gordon in year two. Even though he had offseason microfracture surgery, Gordon has looked great this preseason -- 13/81/1 rushing (6.2 YPC) and 2/49/1 receiving.
- Continue to Fantasy Football PPR RB Rankings: 21-40
- Standard-scoring Fantasy Running Back Rankings
More Rankings from Hanson:
- Fantasy Football QB Rankings
- Fantasy Football RB Rankings
- Fantasy Football WR Rankings
- Fantasy Football TE Rankings
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator
- Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule
- Fantasy Football Projections
- Fantasy Football Profiles
- Fantasy Football Mock Drafts
- Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP)
- Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Cheat Sheets