2023 Running Back Rankings for the Fantasy Football Draft - play-casino-games-now.com data-rsssl=1>

Fantasy Football Rankings for Running Backs in the 2023 NFL

By Michael Wynn
Published on August 04, 2023
Fantasy Football on Football Field with Lights

The quarterback might be the most important position in terms of real-life success on the football field. But when it comes to fantasy football, the generally reigns supreme.

There is a reason why running backs are the first players taken off the board early in round 1. It isn’t by coincidence that many will wait on other positions but almost always draft a couple of running backs within the first few rounds.

In order to make sure you don’t get left behind in your fantasy football league this year, you need to be ultra-prepared by the time your draft night arrives. You can find RB rankings where players are listed in one big table, but that can be overwhelming. Sometimes, nothing is written other than the players’ names.

This guide will be much more in-depth.

Are you ready for detailed rankings of the top-50 fantasy running backs in 2023?

I prefer PPR leagues, as I think they are more well-rounded. With that being said, this is my RB rankings for PPR leagues.

I’ve laid them out for you in an organized list below while grouping them into 6 different tiers, with tier 1 being the absolute stud RBs, all the way down to the tier 6 guys, who are worth nothing more than a late-round flier in your draft.

Let’s jump right in!

Tier 1

The following five running backs are in the first tier for me in 2023.

1 - Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley emerged in 2017 as the top-scoring running back in fantasy football, and I don’t see many reasons this should change in 2023.

Coming off a mammoth season in which he accumulated over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns, Gurley is more than worthy of being the 1st overall pick in your fantasy draft this season. In fact, not only is he more than worthy, but he should be chosen with the first pick.

Todd is a 3-down back whose production is virtually independent to game-flow. Those who land Gurley will be in a great position to build out the remainder of their roster.

2 - David Johnson

Those who drafted Johnson with a top-2 pick in 2017 were clearly devastated when the Cardinals running back injured his left wrist during the opening quarter of Week 1.

The good news is that the former star at the University of Northern Iowa has rehabbed tremendously and is itching to get back onto the field.

Don’t forget that the last time this guy was healthy for a full season, he accounted for more than 2,100 yards rushing and receiving, not to mention that he found the end zone a ridiculous 21 times. David is “Mr. Do Everything” in Arizona, so don’t be afraid to take him with a top-2 pick.

Barring another injury, he’ll be right near or at the top of the running back rankings.

3 - Le’Veon Bell

Some NFL touts have Le’Veon Bell as the top-rated fantasy running back, and it’s certainly warranted. The Steelers bell cow had 321 rushes and saw 106 targets in 2017, and that was in just 15 games!

LeVeon Bell
Le’Veon Bell

As long as the Steelers continue to force-feed Bell the football, he’ll be amongst the highest-scoring fantasy running backs in 2023. is a bit unsettling, but not enough to make me avoid him with an early pick.

In PPR leagues, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bell winds up as the top dog. As long as he’s healthy, a top-5 finish is essentially a foregone conclusion.

4 - Alvin Kamara

If you played season-long fantasy football or DFS in 2017, then the name Alvin Kamara should be plenty familiar. He entered the year as nothing more than a backup to Mark Ingram, but his superb play quickly elevated him into one of the absolute “fantasy beasts” that we have in this league.

A total dual-threat to run and catch the ball out of the backfield, Alvin’s stats will be bolstered early on as Ingram serves a 4-game suspension for violating PEDs.

Kamara split time all last season and finished as the third-highest-scoring running back in ESPN standard leagues. Draft Kamara in 2023 with the utmost confidence that he’ll be a high-end number-1 RB with the potential to be the head honcho.

5 - Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekial Elliott endured a difficult sophomore season in which he was suspended for 6 games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

The Cowboys running back is excited to start the year with his personal distractions behind him, and he should be in for a huge load in 2023. Through his first two seasons, Zeke has averaged 22.6 rushes per game. Add in the 3.8 targets per game he saw last year, and you are talking about one of the true workhorses in the NFL.

He’s not nearly as involved in the passing game as the guys above him. However, his ability to rush for over a 100 yards and multiple touchdowns on any given week makes him a fine choice for your RB1.

Tier 2

There are seven players to have made my list of second-tier running backs for the upcoming season. Here are my thoughts on them.

6 - Melvin Gordon

The fifth-highest-scoring fantasy RB in ESPN leagues in 2017 should be in for another big year for the Chargers. His 284 attempts were the third-most in the league, plus he caught 58 balls out of the backfield.

After scoring 12 touchdowns in 2016 and another 12 in 2017, it’s realistic to hope that Gordon gets to 15 this year. The Chargers defense is so good that I envision Melvin having a plethora of opportunities inside the 5-yard line throughout the season.

Draft Melvin confidently once those first 5 backs go off the board and know that he has serious upside of being a top-3 back.

7 - Leonard Fournette

Similar to Melvin Gordon’s situation in LA, the Jacksonville Jaguars have such a stout defensive unit. That means that this team’s recipe for success is to habitually pound the ball between the tackles with #27.

The translation is this: Leonard Fournette, who averaged 20.6 rushes as a rookie, could see as many as 24-25 handoffs per game in 2023.

He won’t be the electric “factor back” on third-down like Le’Veon Bell or Alvin Kamara, but that won’t stop Fournette from being a top-10 fantasy running back in 2023.

Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette

He’ll lose a little value late in games if Jacksonville is trailing, but remember this. All those times the Jags build a lead in the second half just means you’ll be seeing a HEAVY dosage of Mr. Fournette.

8 - Kareem Hunt

After taking the league by storm as a rookie through the first 5 weeks in 2017, Kareem Hunt started to taper off a bit. The positive sign is that he picked up his form late in the season and doesn’t have anyone outside of Spencer Ware to really push him for playing time.

If Hunt can eclipse 1,300 yards on the ground and catch 50+ balls again like he did last season, then Kareem absolutely needs to be drafted in the first round.

I’m eager to see how this Chiefs offense plays under Patrick Mahomes, but in any case, Hunt should be a big part of what Kansas City wants to do.

9 - Dalvin Cook

Who knows where we’d be talking about Dalvin Cook being drafted if he would have been able to play the entire year. Dalvin was impressive during the Vikings’ first four games in 2017 before the FSU rookie tore his left ACL.

Minnesota fans should be excited to know that and looks like he’ll be “full-systems go” by Week 1.

If Dalvin is featured on 3rd down like OC John DeFilippo has stated, Dalvin could put up similar numbers to the tier-1 running backs.

The great part is that you’ll probably be able to get him nearly a full round later. If you aren’t concerned about past injuries, don’t be afraid to reach for Cook at the end of round 1.

10 - Saquon Barkley

No running back in the league is more intriguing to fantasy players this coming year than Giants rookie Saquon Barkley. Because of at the NFL Draft Combine, the NFL community is on pins and needles to see if this kid lives up to the hype.

What he has going for him is the fact that New York’s backfield is fairly depleted, as 31-year-old backup Jonathan Stewart isn’t a real threat to steal much of the workload.

Despite being a first-year player, Barkley legitimately has the chance to carry the ball 18+ times per game, plus be utilized in the screen passing game.

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley

That could add up to a big, big season for the Penn State rookie.

11 - Christian McCaffrey

Obviously, in non-PPR formats, Christian McCaffrey loses a significant amount of value. But if you are playing in a PPR league, don’t be afraid to take McCaffrey early in the second round.

The Panthers offense targeted their rookie running back a whopping 113 times in 2017, the most among any RB in the league, including Le’Veon Bell. Christian caught more balls and saw more targets than names like Rob Gronkowski and T.Y. Hilton.

I’m not buying into Panthers HC Ron Rivera in 2023, but I do think 18-20 is realistic. Given that the majority of those will come in open space, I expect Christian to do loads of damage this season.

12 - Jerick McKinnon

If you are high on Jerick McKinnon this year, don’t wait for one of your buddies to draft him, and then tell him or her it was a great pick.

With Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Joe Williams filling out the running back core in San Fran, McKinnon finally has the chance to be featured substantially in an offense. I expect Jimmy Garoppolo to use Jerick early and often in the short passing game, and that will help bloat his stats in a PPR league.

McKinnon is a guy that could be a no-brainer 1st-round pick in 2019 fantasy drafts, and if that’s the case, you’ll want him on your squad this year.

Tier 3

Now let’s take a look at the six running backs in tier 3 of my rankings.

13 - Joe Mixon

As much as his character has been questioned, the talent and skill level of Joe Mixon is hard to argue with. After spending a portion of his rookie season fighting off Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard for carries, Mixon heads into 2023 with a stranglehold on the lead role in the Cincinnati backfield.

If Marvin Lewis is intent on feeding him the ball 20 times per game, Mixon has the chance to break out in the fantasy department. He’s quick enough to be productive in the passing game and strong enough to fight for tough yards at the line of scrimmage.

Joe fits the profile of a player that at least 1 of the 12 participants in your league is going to reach for in round 2. So if you want Mixon on your team, be prepared to spend one of your first two picks on him.

14 - Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry will finally get the chance to be the lead man in Tennessee, although Dion Lewis will steal most (if not all) of the third-down work.

I still think Henry will touch the ball enough to be considered here, as the former Alabama RB has devoted this offseason to making sure he is in the best shape of his life. He’ll get all the work around the goal line and is explosive enough to have a handful of 100+ yard games on the ground.

I like Henry a lot this year. It’s just hard to imagine that Dion Lewis won’t strip away at least some of the spotlight.

15 - Kenyan Drake

Fans in Miami caught a glimpse of what Kenyan Drake was capable of doing once Jay Ajayi was shipped out to Philly.

The agile runner can make big plays in the passing game, and that’s where I see him being a real factor. Ryan Tannehill will be under pressure, and I expect that to result in lots of short dump-offs. This means that PPR-league owners of Kenyan Drake will be the beneficiaries.

Kenyan Drake
Kenyan Drake

Frank Gore will push him for some 1st- and 2nd-down work, but Kenyan should see more than enough touches in Miami to factor in as a solid choice for your RB2.

16 - Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman is still the lead back in Atlanta, but the timeshare between him and Tevin Coleman has gotten closer to an even split.

Matt Ryan likes to spread the ball around, and there are so many viable targets in Atlanta that it’s hard to predict exactly how many touches Freeman will get.

Considering that he’ll be the Falcons’ choice of runners inside the 5-yard line, and he’s still involved in the passing game, Freeman should receive enough work to approach 1200-1500 total yards from scrimmage.

If he can score around 8-10 touchdowns, then Devonta is a solid choice as your second running back. I’d try and handcuff him with Coleman, though, because if either one gets hurt, the other immediately vaults up to being a top-10 back.

17 - Rashaad Penny

As a San Diego State grad, obviously I’m going to be high on Rashaad Penny this season. However, what fascinates me more than him being a former Aztec is the fact that the Seattle organization is in love with the 220-pound speedy back.

I envision Rashaad playing well enough to stay on the field for the bulk of the snaps, and I could see him being a pleasant addition in the passing game as well. There’s no reason to question this guy’s motor, as the 22-year-old rushed 289 times last season for an NCAA-leading 2,248 yards.

He’s got an enormous amount of upside, and he’s in the right situation to excel from the get-go. Draft Penny before the season, and reap the rewards once it starts.

18 - Jordan Howard

Jordan Howard gains value in non-PPR leagues, as the Bears will use Tarik Cohen to catch balls out of the backfield on third down. But an absence in the passing game hasn’t stopped Howard from gaining 1,313 yards on the ground as a rookie and another 1,122 yards rushing last season.

Even if he sees a minimal number of targets, 1,200 yards on the ground and 8-10 touchdowns are more than a reasonable expectation from Howard.

When you look at the numbers across the National Football League, that’s more than worthy of being one of the top-20 running backs taken off the board during your upcoming draft.

Tier 4

For the fourth tier of my rankings, I’ve got the following 14 players to discuss.

19 - Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi is another terrific back who is unfortunately in a situation that will lend itself to him losing work throughout the games. The Eagles have Corey Clement penciled in as a guy who will receive carries, not to mention that Darren Sproles is back and healthy, and Wendell Smallwood will be mixed in sparingly.

With that being said, the Eagles are so good and should find themselves leading in enough games that Ajayi should still be able to eke out 15 or so carries per game.

Because the Eagles should have more opportunities to score touchdowns than most teams, I feel like that’s enough for Ajayi to still wind up as a top-20 fantasy running back.

20 - Derrius Guice

The Redskins selected Derrius Guice in the second round of April’s NFL Draft, and the former LSU tailback figures to shoulder the load for Jay Gruden’s club from the outset.

Guice has speed and power and should have a chance to break the 1,000-yard mark as a rookie. Chris Thompson figures to steal most of the third-down work, but Guice has the potential to be a serviceable number-2 back. Perhaps I’m underselling Guice, and his ceiling is even higher, but I’m not 100% sold that the Redskins offensive line is all that good.

The better Alex Smith can play, the more things will open up for Washington’s running game.

21 - Doug Martin

You probably won’t find Doug Martin as high as #21 on most other RB rankings, and I’m totally okay with that. The Oakland native was let go by his old team and finds a new home in a familiar place.

I know that Marshawn Lynch is slated to receive the lion’s share of the workload as of now, but I see Martin surpassing Lynch on the depth chart as early as Week 4 or 5. Doug rushed for over 1,400 yards in 2012 and 2015.

I’m not saying he gets there in 2023, but I expect a big bounce-back for the “muscle hamster” in his first year under Jon Gruden.

22 - Lamar Miller

The torch might not be ready to be passed to D’Onta Foreman just yet in Houston. Lamar Miller reported to camp in much better shape than last year, and Foreman’s Achilles injury is still not fully healed.

If Deshaun Watson can march this offense up and down the football field like I anticipate, then Miller is in a great position to score 7+ touchdowns. He should catch between 40-50 balls, which makes him a solid choice as high-end RB3 with the upside of being an RB2.

23 - Dion Lewis

Dion Lewis won’t have Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels calling plays, but he’ll still have a chance to be a factor in fantasy football in 2023. Dion will join Derrick Henry and form the two-headed monster backfield in Tennessee.

You’ve seen how effective Dion can be out of the passing game, and if the Titans are trailing in the second half, you’ll probably see more Lewis and less Henry.

Dion Lewis
Dion Lewis

I don’t think he’ll score 9 touchdowns like he did last year, but over 1,000 yards from scrimmage is more than a real possibility.

24 - Tevin Coleman

For now, Tevin Coleman will be the change of pace back for Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons. Should anything happen to Devonta Freeman, Coleman’s stock would take a huge boost.

The better the Falcons’ offense can perform, the more scoring opportunities Coleman will have. The fact that he can run and catch the ball will at least keep Tevin on the field and in the mix in Atlanta, and that should be enough to spit out RB3 value.

25 - Carlos Hyde

Carlos Hyde gets a change of scenery in 2023. He goes from the sunny west coast in San Francisco to the cold weather in Cleveland. I certainly don’t expect Carlos to haul in 59 balls like he did a year ago, especially now with Duke Johnson to contend with.

But Hyde is strong and sturdy enough to be in line for 15+ carries per game plus the goal line work. If you draft Carlos, hopefully, it will be as your third RB.

But if that’s the case, you should be in decent shape.

26 - Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram had a monster year in 2017, totaling over 1,400 yards from scrimmage. Throw in his 58 receptions and 12 touchdowns, and you’ll see why he finished as RB6 in standard leagues on ESPN.

But fast forward to 2023, and it’s a different story. Mark Ingram will miss the first four weeks of the season for . When he returns, I expect him to be a solid backup to Alvin Kamara, but a backup at that.

Don’t look at Ingram’s 2017 numbers and draft him with those expectations. Temper them, understanding that you’ll have to take the “wait and see” approach.

It could pay dividends, but I’m not spending an early-round pick on Mark this time around. Missing 4 games is nearly 1/3 of the regular season for most fantasy leagues.

27 - Duke Johnson Jr.

If you are playing non-PPR, then Duke Johnson is a guy you’ll certainly want to avoid drafting. However, the Browns passing back has caught 50+ balls in each of his three years in the league, including a career-high 74 in 2017.

Duke Johnson Jr
Duke Johnson Jr.

That provides a solid chunk of value in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues. With the Browns likely to be playing from behind in the majority of their games, Duke should be in there for lots of snaps and see an abundance of targets.

Duke ended 2017 with more fantasy points than guys like Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis, and Jordan Howard. Don’t be shy about selecting the former Miami Hurricane speedster before some of your counterparts. They probably haven’t done their homework.

28 - Ronald Jones

The rookie running back out of USC has been battling Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers for playing time so far in training camp. Given that Jones is the youngest with the most explosion, I see Jones ending up being the guy who gets the most carries in Tampa.

Unfortunately, he probably won’t score many TDs, as the Bucs offense figures to be near the bottom of the league. But if he is getting 12-15 carries and catching 3-5 balls per game, that should be enough to provide some fantasy value out of the flex position.

29 - Royce Freeman

Royce Freeman has a chance to put up solid numbers in Denver, but nothing is guaranteed at this point. The rookie from the University of Oregon is a truckload for opposing defenses to bring down, and I assume that Vance Joseph will employ this style of power running early and often to keep the pressure off Case Keenum.

Devontae Booker has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry over two seasons in Denver, and I suspect that OC Bill Musgrave will want to lean on Freeman as the season progresses.

I like Freeman as a mid-round selection with tons of upside if and when he gains command of the Broncos backfield.

30 - Sony Michel

It’s tough to rank the Georgia rookie RB any higher than this given how OC Josh McDaniels likes to rotate his running backs in New England. However, the Patriots figure to have so, so many scoring opportunities. Sony should be one of the guys who benefits from that the most.

Michel is in line to be the player who replaces LeGarrette Blount as the Pats’ goal line back.

If that’s the case, we could see double-digit touchdowns from Sony, and that’s some serious fantasy value.

31 - LeSean McCoy

Don’t freak out that I am putting LeSean McCoy way down here. By the time the NFL season starts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McCoy receive a suspension, and an elongated one at that.

Quite frankly, as I’ve stated since the news of his ex-girlfriend being beaten up came out, I don’t anticipate McCoy playing a single down this season.

LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy

For that reason, I won’t be touching him with a 10-foot pole. If you are in the camp that thinks he’ll be cleared and that he will play, then obviously you’ll draft him much higher than this.

But everything considered, I don’t see him ending the year as a top-30 fantasy back because I just don’t see him having the opportunity.

32 - James White

The crowded backfield in New England won’t help James White’s cause, but the departure of Dion Lewis most definitely will.

James might not rush for a TD in 2023, but guess what, folks?

In PPR-leagues, he doesn’t need to in order to be effective and provide value. James will be one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets, especially early on while Julian Edelman serves his 4-game suspension. Don’t draft White early, but you could do a lot worse than grabbing #28 in New England as your third RB.

Tier 5

As we move further down my rankings, here are the eleven players I’ve placed in tier 5.

33 - Theo Riddick

The Detroit Lions backfield is incredibly crowded in 2023. The only thing certain is that in passing situations, Theo Riddick will be the running back who is leaned on most. Matthew Stafford has already formed a bond with Riddick, as he’s caught over 50 balls in Detroit each of the past three years.

I know LeGarrette Blount will get the goal line carries, and I actually like Kerryon Johnson as a sleeper this season. But the Lions figure to trail plenty, giving Riddick the chance to have a handful of 5+ catch games.

That should include at least a few long screen passes and hopefully 5-7 TDs by season’s end.

34 - Alex Collins

The word out of the Ravens camp is that Alex Collins will be the guy leading the running back group in Baltimore. With Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon still having a presence, I have a hard time conceding that Alex Collins is a guarantee for 17+ carries per game like I’ve heard some scouts say.

With Buck Allen being featured on passing downs and the Ravens likely to not be near the top of the league in rushing TDs, I wouldn’t be that excited about drafting Alex Collins.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before!

35 - Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen had 53 catches and tallied more than 700 yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 2017. I don’t expect the Bears to be great this season, but I do expect Mitchell Trubisky to look the way of Tarik Cohen on multiple occasions throughout the year.

Jordan Howard is Chicago’s lead back, and I don’t imagine Cohen will see more than 5-6 carries per game. But he should have enough of a role in the passing game to be a satisfactory asset in PPR leagues.

36 - Isaiah Crowell

Isaiah Crowell was a solid back in Cleveland who never had the chance to shine because of how poor the Browns were. Unfortunately for Isaiah, the situation won’t be much better, as the Jets figure to be one of the teams who struggle mightily in 2023.

Isaiah Crowell
Isaiah Crowell

It should be close to an even split between Crowell and Bilal Powell, but I certainly expect Isaiah to receive the lion’s share of goal line work. I think Crowell is a borderline RB3 but will be better used as a backup to relieve your starters during bye weeks.

37 - Gio Bernard

Jeremy Hill is out of Cincy, but Joe Mixon is now the lead back. That leaves Gio Bernard to see a fair share of work, plus handle a good portion of the passing downs.

Gio won’t bang through tackles nor will he be the Bengals’ first option in short yardage plays, but this is a team that should be behind more than they are ahead.

If that rings true, Bernard might only see around 5-8 carries per game, but 50-60 receptions won’t be out of the question.

38 - Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory’s usage is still hanging in the balance, as the NFL waits to hear what Roger Goodell decides to do with LeSean McCoy. If the commissioner ends up hammering down with a lengthy suspension, which I fully believe he will, then Chris Ivory suddenly vaults himself into a 15+ carry per game situation in Buffalo.

As long as Buffalo’s defense plays well, Ivory could end up being a nice pickup who could score a handful of rushing touchdowns.

Chris Ivory
Chris Ivory

If you do draft McCoy, I strongly recommend handcuffing him with the guy who is right behind him on the depth chart. That guy is Chris Ivory.

39 - Kerryon Johnson

Kerryon Johnson is probably the most talented running back in Detroit, but he’ll start the season being boxed out of playing time due to who’s in front of him. LeGarrette Blount gets the goal line touches, and Theo Riddick is the passing back.

But if the Lions want to employ a back who can do it all, they can if they opt to use the rookie out of Auburn. Johnson led the SEC in rushing a season ago and has been touted as by bleacherreport.com.

Don’t expect much early, but he could play a big factor in time for your fantasy league’s postseason.

40 - Rex Burkhead

The fact that Rex Burkhead gets to play with Tom Brady automatically means he’s a candidate to score touchdowns and catch short passes.

Nonetheless, the fact that Sony Michel and James White are going to eat away at Burkhead’s work makes me wary about playing Rex on a week-to-week basis. It’s still unclear if Jeremy Hill or Mike Gillislee will have roles, which would also take away from Rex’s productivity.

However, if any of those aforementioned names go down, Rex is a guy who can pick up the slack both running and catching the ball. I don’t see a really high ceiling, but his floor should be a bit higher than the backs drafted around him.

41 - Nyheim Hines

Watch out for this name, ladies and gentlemen. Nyheim Hines is in a crowded running back room that includes Marlon Mack and fellow rookie Jordan Wilkins. Hines is a guy who has a chance to flourish in the passing game, which makes him an intriguing late-round flier in PPR leagues.

Nyheim Hines
Nyheim Hines

He’s referred to as a “Swiss Army Knife,” as he doesn’t really have a designated position on the field. You can line the NC State rookie up in the slot, on the outside, or in the backfield, and he’s bound to make plays.

Once you draft your starters and are looking for backups with some upside, take a hard look at Colts RB Nyheim Hines.

42 - Bilal Powell

Bilal Powell has proven to be a guy who can be a sneaky good fantasy player when put in the right spot. For example, he exploded in a Week 4 victory over the Jags last season, rushing 21 times for 163 yards and a score. He lit the Chargers run defense up for 145 yards on 19 carries in Week 16.

The point is, if Isaiah Crowell gets injured or misses time for any reason, Powell is a guy who could end up being a top-20 fantasy running back.

I’m not counting on injuries and expect Crowell to see a “60-40” type of split, but Bilal has significant upside if he sees a situation where he’s in line for 18 or more carries.

43 - Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson had solidified his role in Washington as the third-down running back. He was off to a nice start last year, catching 39 balls for 510 yards and 4 touchdowns through the first 10 games.

Throw in his 294 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, and Chris Thompson was a viable fantasy player.

Then he broke his fibula in Week 11 against the Saints. That means he’s still trying to get back to full strength, and it remains to be seen if that happens by Week 1. In any case, if and when Thompson returns to the Redskins lineup, look to see Alex Smith dumping the ball to him quite frequently.

He won’t hold off Derrius Guice for carries, but Thompson will be heavily featured in the screen passing game once he takes the field. That makes him an interesting late-round pick in PPR leagues.

Tier 6

The following seven running backs are in the final tier of my rankings for the upcoming season.

44 - Chris Carson

Chris Carson has been trying desperately to fend off Rashaad Penny in Seattle for the starting nod. Regardless of who starts, one has to imagine that first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will rotate both throughout the course of each game.

It could be a circumstance where whichever back plays better earns more time, so it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring.

I’ll give the edge to Penny for now, but the fact that’ll you’ll be able to draft Carson much later on means that he might be worth a look.

45 - D’Onta Foreman

The fact that the Texans are for the start of the season is why I have the former Longhorn running back way down at #45.

After tearing his Achilles during a Week 11 game versus Arizona, Foreman has been diligently rehabbing to try and get back in time for the start of the season.

It’s not looking good, and it’s hard to put a ton of faith or confidence in a guy coming off such a serious and pronounced injury.

If and when D’Onta returns, it might not take him long to pry the starting tailback job away from incumbent starter Lamar Miller. There’s a lot of uncertainty here, and it may not pan out. But towards the later rounds of your draft with little to risk, it may be a pick worthy of consideration.

46 - Corey Clement

Corey Clement was an unheralded rookie when the Philadelphia Eagles began training camp in 2017. Time warp to present day, and the former University of Wisconsin running back is sharing first-team reps with Jay Ajayi for the defending Super Bowl champs.

Corey rushed for 321 yards and 4 TDs as a rookie, not to mention caught 4 balls for 100 yards in their Super Bowl victory. I’m not sure exactly how many touches per game Clement will see, but I suspect he’ll have a hard time having a consistent fantasy impact so long as Ajayi is healthy.

Corey Clement
Corey Clement

Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles figure to see most of the passing down work, thus lowering the ceiling of Clement’s fantasy output.

However, follow closely. Because if Ajayi or Smallwood were to sustain injuries, Clement will become a big, big deal.

47 - Nick Chubb

Despite staring up at Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson on the depth chart, Nick Chubb is a guy whose hard work and determination might be what wills himself onto the field and into the rotation.

After playing 4 years at the University of Georgia and facing SEC defenses throughout his entire college career, don’t be surprised if the former Bulldog has a fairly smooth transition from playing on Saturdays to joining the big boys on Sundays.

However, unless Carlos Hyde or Duke Johnson go down, Chubb’s upside may be limited.

48 - Ty Montgomery

Ty Montgomery is one of the many players on this running back rankings list who will greatly benefit in the passing game. Montgomery, a wide receiver by trade, was forced into playing the RB position in 2016 and 2017 due to the Packers’ ineptitude to run the ball with natural running backs.

Aaron Jones starts the year in the doghouse with a two-game suspension, and Jamaal Williams is still raw and unproven. Ty Montgomery is the Packers running back who is most involved in Aaron Rodgers’ passing attack, so he’s the only one worth drafting in my eyes.

49 - CJ Anderson

If Christian McCaffrey is unable to handle a full workload like HC Ron Rivera intends he’ll be given, then free agent acquisition CJ Anderson will be the next man up.

CJ has averaged 4.4 yards per carry since entering the league in 2013 and even posted a 1,000-yard rushing season last year in Denver.

Cam Newton’s prowess at the goal line combined with McCaffrey’s high usage rate in the passing game might make it tough for Anderson to be fantasy-relevant every week. But if and when the Panthers build leads in the fourth quarter of games, expect CJ to be their workhorse that brings the games home.

50 - TJ Yeldon

I fully anticipate Leonard Fournette being an absolute beast in 2023, but here’s what else I know. The running back is an extremely volatile position, and those who play it are not invincible to getting dinged up throughout the course of a 16-game season.

TJ Yeldon
TJ Yeldon

With not much else on the Jaguars’ depth chart, TJ Yeldon could be in line for some serious work if Fournette ends up having to miss time. If that situation arose, Yeldon would be a red-hot waiver pickup in those leagues he wasn’t already owned in.

If you get Fournette in the first round, handcuffing him with Yeldon at the tail end of your draft makes a lot of sense.


If you are going to be competitive in your fantasy league this year, then chances are you’ll need to draft a pair of “stud” running backs.

If you are able to key in on two guys that are constant fixtures in their respective teams’ offenses, then you will be in a position to win every single one of your matchups.

The discrepancy between the 7th-best QB and 15th-best QB each week won’t be all that much. However, if you consistently have two of the higher-scoring running backs each and every week, you’ll be awfully hard to beat.

Take that thought into account before your draft starts, and feel free to use this ranking sheet to help you get a leg up! Good luck in your draft, and be sure to check back here shortly for my 2023 fantasy football wide receiver rankings!

Fantasy Football Rankings for Running Backs in the 2018 NFL
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Fantasy Football Rankings for Running Backs in the 2023 NFL
Drafting a pair of stud RBs can be your golden ticket to a fantasy football championship. Here is my list of the top-50 running backs in a PPR league.
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