DeMarco Murray just turned 30 years old. In the world of football, particularly as a running back, he’s practically ancient, and as such he’s still unsigned. Frank Gore, a month shy of his 35th birthday, got a contract with the Dolphins and it was a crazy, man-bites-dog-ish headline that a running back that old still could be an NFL player.
Unlike quarterbacks, where Aaron Rodgers is in his prime at 34 and even almost-41-year-old Tom Brady could have a year or two left at the top of the quarterback charts, running backs burn hot and fast, going from draft pick to fantasy powerhouse to old and forgotten in the time it takes a quarterback to just establish himself.
So how long will the current notable running backs remain fantasy starters? To answer that question, I’ve created a little game. I gathered three PFF Fantasy writers (Dan Clasgens, Michael Moore, Dan Schneier), and they and I will be attempting to figure out how long the current fantasy starters will remain as such.
The premise: You can keep Player X for as long as you want, but you have to decide on that duration right now.
The cost: You can keep the player indefinitely at the cost of the last starter at the position. So a quarterback will cost you the draft slot of the 10th quarterback off the board, while a wide receiver will cost you the 20th receiver. In short, the question at hand is: How long will Player X be a fantasy starter?
Below is the chart of their answers, followed by individual bios with some comments on each player. We did quarterbacks a week ago, and wide receivers and tight ends will follow over the next couple weeks.
|How long will the top running backs be fantasy starters?|
|Number of years|
Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles
|Age||G||Rushing Yds||Rush TDs||Receptions||Receiving Yds||Receiving TDs||Fantasy rank|
1 year: I like his upside as the clear-cut, early-down running back in 2018 for the high-powered Eagles’ offense, but long-term the knee issue he has since college scares me. — Dan Clasgens
4 years: Ajayi proved in 2017 he doesn't many touches to be an effective fantasy back and his role should only increase going forward in Philadelphia before he hits the open market and could potentially join an even better situation. Ajayi is one of the most elusive running backs in the NFL — year after year his forced missed tackles and yards after contact prove it. We tend to believe in those players. — Dan Schneier