News & Analysis

2018 Fantasy Football Rankings: running back tiers

By Jeff Ratcliffe
Aug 7, 2018

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Sep 24, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) looks on following the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Putting together tiers is one of the most important exercises to go through when building your fantasy football draft board. It allows you to see exactly how each player at a position stacks up against each other and gives you a more dynamic list than traditional static rankings.

We’ve already covered the quarterback tiers, now let’s check out the 2018 running back tiers. Please note that these tiers are for standard leagues.

Tier 1 – Round 1

Le’Veon Bell
Todd Gurley
David Johnson
Ezekiel Elliott
Alvin Kamara
Saquon Barkley
Kareem Hunt
Melvin Gordon
Dalvin Cook
Leonard Fournette

Either Gurley or Bell will likely go first overall in most fantasy drafts this year. Both players are true three-down backs who have heavy involvement in the passing game. Bell tops the list, but only by a razor thin margin. He’s the preferred option, though, after topping the 400-touch mark last year. Johnson was no slouch in this department with 343 touches on the season, but be careful to not overvalue his 19 combined scores. That number is likely to regress this year. Either way, Bell and Gurley are the cream of the fantasy crop this year.

After the Big 2, Johnson and Elliott are likely to go next in your draft. Johnson is returning from injury, and while he may not have the best surrounding cast, he figures to continue to see high volume especially in the passing game. Despite missing six games due to suspension, Elliott still nearly topped 1,000 rushing yards. He’s the odds-on favorite to lead the league in rushing yards but may not be as involved in the passing game as the top three options in this tier.

We can say the opposite of Kamara, who is coming off a surprise breakout rookie season. But while he may not get a ton of carries, his role in the passing game gives him borderline elite PPR value. Barkley is a bit of a wild card, but it’s tough to not get behind the talented rookie as an immediate RB1. Hunt is coming off a rushing title and will remain heavily involved in the Chiefs’ offense. Likewise, Gordon was one of last year’s highest-volume backs. Look for that to continue will little competition for touches on the Chargers’ depth chart. We only got a month of Cook last year, but he’s poised to put up big numbers on an offense that should see plenty of favorable game scripts. Like Elliott, Fournette isn’t heavily involved as a receiver, but his carry volume slides him into the back end of this tier.

Tier 2 – Round 2

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