2019 Fantasy Football Half-PPR Running Back Rankings- Updated: Sunday, July 7th
Scoring: These rankings are based on half-PPR formats -- one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus 0.5 points per reception, one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown. These rankings are for the 2019 NFL season.
More running back rankings: Kevin Hanson:
1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
The Giants ranked middle of the pack in total offense (17th) and scoring offense (16th), but Barkley was an absolute stud in a mediocre offense. Leading the NFL in scrimmage yards, Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns and added 91 catches for 721 yards and four more touchdowns. A sure-thing top-four pick in fantasy drafts, Barkley is my top-ranked player in half-PPR and standard-scoring formats and second in (full) PPR formats.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
The iron man of NFL running backs, McCaffrey almost never comes off the field and the do-it-all back would have eclipsed the 2,000-YFS mark if he played his normal allotment of snaps in a meaningless Week 17. Breaking Matt Forte's single-season record for receptions by a running back, Run CMC totalled 1,965 yards from scrimmage, 107 catches and 13 total touchdowns in his sophomore campagain. Even though I have Saquon Barkley ranked ahead of him, McCaffrey (or any of the top four backs) have a case to be the first player off the board in fantasy drafts this summer.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Not only does he have two rushing titles in his three NFL seasons, but Elliott has actually led the NFL in rushing yards per game every year that he's been in the league. His passing-game role expanded greatly in 2018 as he converted his 95 targets into 77 receptions for 567 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career highs. With the Vegas incident now behind him in terms of potential league discipline, the workhorse back is a threat for a 2,000/10 YFS/TD season. Elliott's 16-game average has been 2,099 YFS and 13.6 TDs over his 40 NFL games.
4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Even though he has a total of only 476 touches through two seasons, Kamara has finished as a top-four fantasy running back (any scoring format) in both of his first two NFL seasons. Another top-four season is the most likely outcome based on his ADP. Kamara has scored 32 touchdowns -- 22 rushing, nine receiving and one return -- in his 31 NFL games with more than 1,500 scrimmage yards in both seasons.
5. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Believing 2019 will be "similar to 2016" (2,118 YFS and 20 TDs), Johnson (once again) has his sights set on a 1,000/1,000 season. Given the up-tempo and wide-open nature of the offense, Johnson should have a lot more opportunities to make plays in space and significantly improve upon last year's numbers.
6. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Gordon has now missed multiple games in three of his four NFL seasons. MG3's YPC average spiked to 5.1 in 2018 and he set a career high in touchdowns (14). After a scoreless rookie campaign, Gordon has finished with 12-plus touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. Only Todd Gurley averaged more fantasy points per game than Gordon last season (standard scoring) so there is plenty of upside from his current rankings, projections and ADP if he's able to stay healthy for a full season.
7. Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
Returning to the field after sitting out 2018, Bell trades the high-powered Steelers offense for an improving-yet-not-as-potent Jets offense. In addition, Football Outsiders ranked the Jets offensive line 32nd (i.e., last) in run blocking (Adjusted Line Yards) in 2018. Even though he averaged only 4.0 yards per carry in 2017, Bell had a career-high 406 touches, 1,946 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns in his most recent season. Bell is ranked as a RB1 in my rankings, but he isn't a lock for a top-five fantasy finish like he once was.
8. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
While he missed two games last season, Mixon was an efficient workhorse when he was on the field. The second-year back averaged 20.0 touches per game and 4.9 yards per carry as he finished fourth in the NFL in rushing (1,168 yards). Unfortunately, the Bengals have already lost first-round pick Jonah Williams for the season, but the increased offensive creativity that the new coaching staff brings should only boost Mixon's outlook going into his age-23 season.
9. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner missed three games and was less productive in the second half of the season, but he still finished as fantasy's RB7 (top-six in PPR). In his first eight games, Conner rushed for 100-plus yards five times and scored multiple touchdowns in four of those games. Conner failed to exceed 65 rushing yards in his final five games. Especially if he can stay healthy and be more consistent from start to end, the sky's the limit for the Pittsburgh's workhorse back.
10. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Last year, Gurley was the no-brainer No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts and he delivered. Even though he missed two games, no running back scored more fantasy points than Gurley, who has 3,924 scrimmage yards and 40 total touchdowns over the past two seasons combined.
Going into 2019, however, there is concern (perhaps less by Gurley himself) over his knee and specifically what it means to the workload he will get (or not get).
- MORE: Check out Kevin Hanson's way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
11. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
Durability (11 missed games in two seasons) and inefficiency (career 3.7 YPC) are negatives, but there are some reasons for optimism. A true workhorse, Fournette has averaged nearly 20 carries per game (19.09) when he's been active and the team should sustain more drives with improved quarterback play. Season-ending injuries sidelined Jacksonville's LT/LG/C for major chunks of the season, but running lanes should be wider with their return to health and the addition of road-grading RT Jawaan Taylor in this year's draft. Plus, Fournette could be more involved in the passing game as well.
12. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Through two seasons, Cook has missed more games (17) than he's played in (15). When he's been on the field, however, he's been efficient -- 4.68 yards per carry -- despite a terrible offensive line. If Cook is able to stay on the field, the team's investment in their interior offensive line this offseason and run-first approach could help lead to a big season for Minnesota's featured back.
13. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
A partial-year starter, Chubb ranked third in the NFL in carries (176) and fourth in rushing yards (823) from Weeks 7 to 17. Even though the team signed suspended free-agent Kareem Hunt, Chubb is expected to retain his lead-back role once Hunt is eligible to return. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. to the receiving corps, the ascending Cleveland offense should give Chubb plenty of scoring opportunities.
14. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
Missing almost all of last season, Freeman is poised for a bounce-back with good health (of course). Not only is Tevin Coleman now in San Francisco, but the Falcons used a pair of first-rounders on the offensive line. I have Freeman projected for a conservative 273 touches and 1,358 yards from scrimmage and perhaps a less-modest 10 touchdowns. Then again, Freeman had a total of 35 touchdowns in the previous three seasons and my projections assume a lower touchdown rate on his rush attempts than his career average (3.91%).
15. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
Missing four games in 2018, Mack has now missed multiple games in each of his first two seasons. Highly productive when he was on the field, the second-year back had at least 119 rushing yards and a touchdown (or more) in five of his final 12 games counting the playoffs. During that 12-game span, Mack scored 11 total touchdowns. Running behind one of the league's best offensive lines, Mack has legitimate top-five upside despite having a late-second round ADP.
16. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Injuries and/or suspensions have cost Jones eight games in his first two seasons (four each). Missing Weeks 1 and 2 and 16 and 17, Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry on his opportunities in between for a second consecutive season. During that span, he was a top-15 back in both PPR and standard-scoring formats. A solid RB2 entering 2019, Jones has RB1 upside if he can stay on the field for most of the season.
17. Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
From Week 14 through the postseason, Williams went on a scoring spree with 10 touchdowns (six rushing and four receiving) and racked up 602 scrimmage yards on 105 touches including 28 receptions. The Chiefs only added Carlos Hyde (free agency) and Darwin Thompson (sixth round) as competition this offseason so Williams will open the season as the unquestioned lead back. If he maintains that role for the entire season, there is enormous upside in Kansas City's high-powered offense.
18. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
A disappointment through Week 13, Henry failed to rush for more than 58 yards in any of his first 12 games. Then he went off for 585 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the last four games of the season. Fantasy's RB34 (RB39 in PPR) through Week 13, Henry was fantasy's RB1 (RB2 in PPR) over the final quarter of the season. Although he's a non-factor in the passing game, I project Henry to finish fourth in the NFL in rushing in 2019.
19. Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Playing just 10 games as a rookie, Johnson had exactly 150 touches -- 118 carries and 32 receptions. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry, Johnson was fantasy's RB15 (RB14 in PPR) through Week 11 before missing the remainder of the season. Provided he stays healthy in 2019, the second-year back should see north of last year's 15 touches per game and could once again perform as a top-15 back when he's on the field.
20. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens
Suspended the first four games of the season, Ingram had a down year as Alvin Kamara took over as lead back in New Orleans. In the two seasons before that, however, Ingram rushed for 2,167 yards, added 104 catches for 735 yards and scored a total of 22 touchdowns. No team ran the ball as much as Baltimore in 2018 and that trend should continue in 2019 with Ingram as their lead back and my projection of 250 touches could prove too conservative.
21. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
From UDFA to Pro Bowler, Lindsay vastly exceeded the expectations that the fantasy community and general public had for him entering the season. Expected to be ready for the start of training camp, Lindsday (wrist) rushed for 1,037 yards (5.4 YPC), added 35 catches for 241 yards and scored a total of 10 touchdowns as a rookie. Even if the split with fellow second-year back Royce Freeman is narrower than last year's split, Lindsay should get more than the 227 touches he had as a rookie.
22. James White, New England Patriots
Coming off a career-best season, White shattered his previous marks with 181 touches including 87 receptions, 1,176 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season. White may see fewer carries, but there's the potential that he's even more involved as a receiver with the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. A top-11 performer (in both PPR and standard-scoring formats) last year, there's a pretty good chance that White outperforms his flex-range ADP in 2019.
23. Sony Michel, New England Patriots
The Patriots ran the ball 478 times, their third-most over the past 10 seasons, and it's likely that they run the ball even more in 2019 than they did in 2018. Most dominant during their Super Bowl run, Michel had 71 carries for 336 yards (4.73 YPC) and six touchdowns combined in the three games that mattered most. While Michel should continue to lead the team in rush attempts, there are a few concerns as well. He's a non-factor in the passing game (11 regular-season targets), there are reports that suggest rookie Damian Harris could cut into his early-down workload and his chronic knee issues could lead to the Patriots intentionally managing his workload during the regular season.
24. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
With little tread on the tires, Jacobs, one of Oakland's three first-round picks, will assume the lead-back role for the revamped Oakland offense. More important than possessing the top-end speed that he lacks, Jacobs has the quickness, elusiveness and power to become the every-down back that Oakland has drafted him to become.
25. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
Despite a dearth of draft picks, the Bears gave up even more draft capital for the opportunity to move up in the third round for their first selection in 2019. Drawing comparisons to Kareem Hunt, Montgomery is clearly a more natural fit as the primary back for Chicago's offense than Jordan Howard. As a coach Matt Nagy says, Montgomery has "great hands" and is a "really good route runner." The only concern, if there is one, is that Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis are going to get decent workloads as well.
26. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins
Drake finished second on the team in carries (120) to Frank Gore (156) and in targets (73) to Danny Amendola (79) last season. With Gore in Buffalo and a new coaching staff in town, perhaps Drake will see the year-over-year bump in usage that we expected from 2017 to 2018. Despite the less-than-expected workload, Drake was efficient as he averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 9.0 yards per catch while scoring nine total touchdowns on his 173 offensive touches last season.
27. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Dominating running back touches over first-round rookie Rashaad Penny, Carson toted the rock 247 times for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns and added 20 catches for 163 more over 14 games. The disparity in workload between Carson (267 touches, 73.96%) and Penny (94, 26.04%) won't be as large as it was last year, but I'd expect Carson to still get the larger share of the workload in one of the league's most run-heavy attacks.
28. Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
In addition to a year-over-year bump in touches (140 to 170), Cohen was more efficient (10.2 Y/R, 4.5 YPC) on his opportunities and scored eight total touchdowns in 2018. Converting his 91 targets into 71 receptions, Cohen is obviously a better option in PPR formats (RB11 last year), but he still finished as a fantasy's RB17 in non-PPR formats. Even if Montgomery's do-it-all skill set scales Cohen's opportunities back a tad, he's a viable RB2 in PPR formats and flex option in others.
29. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller was more efficient in 2018 (4.6 YPC) than he was in either of his first two seasons (4.0 in 2016 and 3.7 in 2017) in Houston. If D'Onta Foreman (Achilles) stays healthy, it's possible that Miller sees a year-over-year dip in workload even though he figures to enter the season as the 1 or 1(a) to Foreman's 1(b) or 2.
30. Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers
Reunited with his former coach, Coleman is the "clear favorite" (via NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco) for the most touches among the team's running backs. With Devonta Freeman sidelined nearly all of 2018, Coleman set career highs in both workload (199 touches) and scrimmage yards (1,076) and scored nine touchdowns last season. Perhaps he outperforms my expectations, I have Coleman projected for close to (but less than) last year's workload and production.
31. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanders joins a crowded Philly backfield, but he figures to lead the group in workload and production. That said, the team has used (and still plans to use) a committee approach to their backfield.
32. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
In better shape than last year, Penny was on the short end of last year's 74-26 split in workload with Carson, but that margin should narrow in 2019. Earlier this year, coach Pete Carroll said of the Carson-Penny duo that "I don't know who's one and who's two, it doesn't matter to me." Given his first-round pedigree, Penny has enormous upside in Seattle's run-first attack even if he enters the season as Carson's backup.
33. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
An ACL injury wiped out Guice's rookie season. Early reports were that Guice's rehab was coming along slower than expected, but Gruden said it was "ahead of schedule." Given how productive Adrian Peterson was last season, it's unlikely that the team rushes Guice back into the mix. I expect the 2018 second-rounder to lead the team in rushing and workload, but AP should be heavily involved in 2019 as well.
34. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Once again, Ekeler averaged more than five yards per carry and 10 yards per reception. But as he nearly doubled his workload (74 to 145 touches), MG3's complementary back finished as the RB27 (RB25 in PPR) last season. Given Gordon's injury history, there is a better chance than not that Ekeler will get an opportunity to make a start or two, but he has stand-alone value even if Gordon stays healthy.
35. Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Terrible may be too kind of a word to describe Jones' rookie season -- 77 yards from scrimmage, 1.9 YPC and 4.7 Y/R. Without adding any serious competition to the backfield, last year's 38th-overall pick is in position to put his 2018 season behind him. He gets a fresh start with a new coaching staff and the new staff is excited about his progress this offseason.
36. Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Averaging just 3.7 yards per carry as the team's starter in 2018, Barber got a sizable workload -- 234 carries and 20 receptions -- and finished as fantasy's RB26 (RB31 in PPR). That volume is sure to decrease in 2019 as the workload split between Barber and Jones will be more evenly split.
37. Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints
Before last season (RB32, RB38 in PPR), Murray had finished as a top-20 fantasy running back in standard-scoring formats for three consecutive seasons. While he's unlikely to bounce back to that level of fantasy production, we've seen the Saints offense support to productive running backs with Kamara and Mark Ingram so it's possibly that Murray flirts with back-end RB2 production in standard-scoring formats as a Saint.
38. Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos
Overdrafted compared to his lofty 2018 ADP (mid-third round), Freeman carried the ball 130 times for 521 yards and five touchdowns and added 14 catches for 72 yards. With a more reasonable 2019 Fantasy Football ADP, Freeman is expected to see a boost in workload in his second season.
39. D'Onta Foreman, Houston Texans
Last year, I outgained Foreman by one rushing yard as the 235-pound back missed virtually all of 2018 and lost one yard on his seven carries. Feeling much better now, Foreman's battle to overtake Miller could be categorized more like a slight incline than an uphill battle.
40. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
After the NFL Draft, GM Brandon Beane said that McCoy is "still here" and "the starter." Inefficient with a career-low 3.2 yards per carry, the 31-year-old (in July) finished second on the team in rushing behind rookie quarterback Josh Allen and tied his career low in touches (195, 2009). Even if he's still there in Week 1, the Bills seem ready to employ a committee approach with McCoy, Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary. I currently project Shady to get 10-12 touches per game.
41. Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans
Lewis set career highs as a receiver with 59 receptions and 400 yards, but he isn't much more than a change-of-pace back to Henry heading into 2019.
42. Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles
Howard has 250-plus carries in each of his first three seasons, but now that he's in Philadelphia, that streak is sure to come to an end. Howard has 18 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons combined and he'll likely be a TD-dependent play on a weekly basis with Sanders more likely to out-touch him.
43. Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers
Coming off a lost season and torn ACL, McKinnon is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Before the injury, McKinnon notched a tad more than 200 touches per season in 2016 and 2017, but he'll battle it out with Matt Breida for the second-most touches in San Francisco's backfield.
44. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
The selection of second-round receiver Parris Campbell could cut into his receiving opportunities some, but Hines should get north of 50 receptions as a change-of-pace to Mack.
45. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead talked about Henderson giving the Rams a "Kamara element." While expecting an Alvin Kamara-type rookie season from Henderson is perhaps too lofty of an expectation, the team obviously likes Henderson a lot to make him a top-70 pick and make that comparison. Given the uncertainty around Gurley's knee, could Henderson have a couple C.J. Anderson-like games down the stretch?
46. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
With 36 of his touches coming in the two games that Mixon missed, Bernard had just 55 in his other 10 games played. Outside of deep PPR leagues, Bernard won't have much fantasy relevance barring an injury to Mixon, but there are reports suggesting he could see in the neighborhood of 10-12 touches per week.
47. Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers
Despite talk of splitting the workload more evenly in Pittsburgh's backfield, Samuels remains a handcuff to Conner, who should continue to be the team's workhorse. Samuels had 42 (75 percent) of his 56 carries in the three games that Conner missed.
48. Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
The fourth-round rookie got 28 of his 36 carries in the final three games of the season with Gore sidelined. Although his workload will certainly expand in 2019, he'll form a timeshare with Drake and likely get the smaller share of that split, but there is certainly upside compared to his 14th-round ADP.
49. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
Through two NFL seasons, Williams has averaged a pedestrian 3.72 YPC -- nearly two yards per carry less than Jones. As noted earlier, Jones has missed a quarter of a season both years, so there could be an opportunity for Williams to pick up the (workload) void if Jones were to miss time again.
50. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers
Breida dealt with some injuries himself but led the team in rushing (814 yards on 153 carries) and had three 100-yard games. The skill set of Breida, Coleman and McKinnon gives Shanahan an interchangeable group of backs, but there's a good chance that one of them ends up a healthy game-day scratch, as Maiocco notes.
The next best 25 running backs:
51. C.J. Anderson, Detroit Lions
52. Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs
53. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
54. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders
55. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
56. Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons
57. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
58. Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
59. Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens
60. Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions
61. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
62. T.J. Yeldon, Buffalo Bills
63. Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills
64. Mike Davis, Chicago Bears
65. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
66. Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs
67. Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders
68. Damien Harris, New England Patriots
69. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
70. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
71. Alfred Blue, Jacksonville Jaguars
72. Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars
73. Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
74. Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
75. Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers
More Fantasy Football Rankings:
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