HERE’S THE RUN­DOWN

We look at the top 50 run­ning backs you should con­sider for your fan­tasy draft

The Province - - SPORTS / FOOTBALL - DAN BILICKI

A strong run­ning back or two can go a long way to­ward win­ning your fan­tasy league. It’s also a po­si­tion with a lot of turnover, thanks to a large num­ber of in­juries and back­ups of­ten thrust into big sit­u­a­tions.

1 David John­son, ArI 1239 rush­ing yards, 879 re­ceiv­ing yards, 20 TDs, 327.8 points De­spite the Car­di­nals’ strug­gles last sea­son, John­son led the league in to­tal yards by 124 and TDs by four. He was also one of two non-QBs in the top 20 of over­all scor­ing.

2 le’Veon Bell, PIt 1268 rush­ing yards, 616 re­ceiv­ing yards, 9 TDs, 242.4 points Due to sus­pen­sions and in­juries, he has only played 18 games in the past two years. But when he’s on the field, he’s in­cred­i­ble.

3 Devonta Free­man, Atl

1079 rush­ing yards, 462 re­ceiv­ing yards, 13 TDs, 230.1 points Has be­come more ef­fi­cient ev­ery year and now has backto-back 11-TD sea­sons. Signed huge ex­ten­sion in the off-sea­son, too.

4 lesean mcCoy, BUF 1267 rush­ing yards, 356 re­ceiv­ing yards, 14 TDs, 248.3 points Was third in the league in yards per carry, but the big wor­ries are his age (29) and a coach­ing change in Buf­falo.

5 melvin Gor­don, lAC

997 rush­ing yards, 419 re­ceiv­ing yards, 12 TDs, 209.6 points Went from no TDs in his rookie sea­son to 12 in his sopho­more cam­paign, but still hasn’t played an en­tire sea­son.

6 Jor­dan howard, ChI 1313 rush­ing yards, 298 re­ceiv­ing yards, 7 TDs, 201.1 points Fin­ished sec­ond in the league in rush­ing yards de­spite only be­com­ing the starter in Oc­to­ber.

7 Jay Ajayi, mIA 1272 rush­ing yards, 151 re­ceiv­ing yards, 8 TDs, 188.3 points An as­tound­ing 420 of his rush­ing yards came in his two games against the Buf­falo Bills.

8 Demarco mur­ray, teN 1287 rush­ing yards, 377 re­ceiv­ing yards, 12 TDs, 240.8 points Bounced back from dis­ap­point­ing 2015 in Philly and claimed fea­ture role over highly touted pick Der­rick Henry.

9 leonard Four­nette, JAC 2017 rookie The fourth-over­all pick is go­ing to get plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties, but he’s al­ready nurs­ing a foot in­jury and has a spotty his­tory.

10 todd Gur­ley, lAr 885 rush­ing yards, 327 re­ceiv­ing yards, 6 TDs, 155.2 points Af­ter a strong rookie sea­son, Gur­ley strug­gled. His yards per carry fell from 4.8 to 3.2, and his long­est run was just 24 — the same as Alex Smith.

11 la­mar miller, hoU 1073 rush­ing yards, 188 re­ceiv­ing yards, 6 TDs, 160.1 points Hit the 1,000-yard mark in his first sea­son with Houston, see­ing more us­age than he ever did in Mi­ami, de­spite miss­ing two games.

12 ezekiel el­liott, DAl

1631 rush­ing yards, 363 re­ceiv­ing yards, 16 TDs, 293.4 points One of the big­gest dilem­mas in your draft will be where to take El­liott. In his rookie sea­son, he led the league in rush­ing and was sec­ond in to­tal yards, touches and touch­downs. But, he’s go­ing to miss the six weeks due to sus­pen­sion — which is un­likely to be over­turned or re­duced, so don’t bet on it — and the Cow­boys’ bye week. His of­fen­sive line also took a cou­ple of hits in the off­sea­son. The end of the sec­ond round could be a good spot to grab him, but there’s al­ways a Cow­boys fan that may pull the trig­ger early.

13 Dalvin Cook, mIN 2017 rookie The sec­ond-rounder took his op­por­tu­nity and looks to have earned a fea­tured role over free-agent ad­di­tion Latavius Mur­ray, at least early on.

14 Car­los hyde, sF 988 rush­ing yards, 163 re­ceiv­ing yards, 9 TDs, 165.1 points He might be the only Niner taken in your fan­tasy draft and can be a solid RB2, though Hyde’s in­jury his­tory is wor­ri­some.

15 mar­shawn lynch, oAK Did not play in 2016 (re­tired) At the very least, he’ll be in­volved around the goal line, but you have to be wary of a 31-year-old back re­turn­ing af­ter a year of re­tire­ment.

16 Ka­reem hunt, KC 2017 rookie The third-round pick will be thrust into the spot­light af­ter Spencer Ware’s sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury.

17 Joe mixon, CIN 2017 rookie Tech­ni­cally, the sec­ond-rounder is be­hind Jeremy Hill and Gio­vani Bernard on the depth chart, but he has been the most im­pres­sive back in camp and has in­cred­i­ble up­side.

18 Isa­iah Crow­ell, Cle 952 rush­ing yards, 319 re­ceiv­ing yards, 7 TDs, 155.2 points He’s highly de­pen­dent on the amount of touches he gets, but when the ball’s in his hands, he’ll score some de­cent points.

19 Chris­tian mcCaffrey, CAr 2017 rookie Has a lot of added value in PPR leagues and could see some ac­tion in the slot. We wouldn’t count on a lot of

TDs, though.

20 ty mont­gomery, GB 457 rush­ing yards, 348 re­ceiv­ing yards, 3 TDs, 96.5 points Last sea­son’s dar­ling WR/RB hy­brid, Mont­gomery is listed as only an RB now, but has value as the top dog for the Pack­ers.

21 C.J. An­der­son, DeN 437 rush­ing yards, 128 re­ceiv­ing yards, 5 TDs, 86.5 points A strong camp has him com­ing into the sea­son as Den­ver’s top back, but a time­share with Jamaal Charles and De’An­gelo Hen­der­son seems likely.

22 mike Gil­lislee, Ne 577 rush­ing yards, 50 re­ceiv­ing yards, 9 TDs, 116.7 points If he takes LeGar­rette Blount’s old role, he has a ton of po­ten­tial, but Belichick doesn’t seem im­pressed, go­ing off early in­di­ca­tions.

23 Mark In­gram, NO 1043 rush­ing yards, 319 re­ceiv­ing yards, 10 TDs, 196.2 points Has seen his car­ries per game go down by the sea­son and it looks like there’s go­ing to be a com­mit­tee in New Or­leans, again.

24 LeGar­rette Blount, PHI 1161 rush­ing yards, 38 re­ceiv­ing yards, 18 TDs, 225.9 points Eleven of his 18 TDs came from the one­yard line — a num­ber that will cer­tainly regress this year.

25 Frank Gore, IND 1025 rush­ing yards, 277 re­ceiv­ing yards, 8 TDs, 176.2 points The vet­eran con­tin­ues to press on and is rid­ing an in­cred­i­ble streak of 11 straight sea­sons with at least 1,200 yards from scrim­mage.

26 Bi­lal Pow­ell, NYJ 722 rush­ing yards, 388 re­ceiv­ing yards, 5 TDs, 139 points Was sec­ond in the league in yards per carry and was one of the best re­ceiv­ing backs, too, catch­ing 58 passes.

27 Danny Wood­head, BAL 116 rush­ing yards, 35 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TD, 21.1 points Ravens backs had 26.9% of the team’s re­cep­tions and Bal­ti­more had the most pass at­tempts in the league. That could add up to PPR gold for Wood­head own­ers.

28 Adrian Peter­son, NO 72 rush­ing yards, 8 re­ceiv­ing yards, 6 points He is def­i­nitely the su­per­star he was in the past, but has some up­side as a midround pick that will likely see goal-line work.

29 Paul Perkins, NYG 456 rush­ing yards, 162 re­ceiv­ing yards, 61.8 points Has the start­ing role locked down for now, but a big com­mit­tee is ex­pected in New York.

30 Ameer Ab­dul­lah, DET 101 rush­ing yards, 57 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TD, 21.8 points He’ll be Detroit’s pri­mary rush­ing back, but the Lions had the least rush at­tempts as a team last year.

31 Tevin Cole­man, ATL 520 rush­ing yards, 421 re­ceiv­ing yards, 11 TDs, 160.1 points Scored a TD on 7% of his touches and had the most fan­tasy points per touch at 1.13 last year. Per­haps the league’s top hand­cuff.

32 Ed­die Lacy, SEA 360 rush­ing yards, 28 re­ceiv­ing yards, 38.8 points The big RB was one of the big­gest fan­tasy busts last sea­son and his role in Seat­tle is un­clear, though we’d bet on him get­ting goal-line work.

33 Rob Kel­ley, WAS 704 rush­ing yards, 82 re­ceiv­ing yards, 7 TDs, 120.6 points Af­ter tak­ing over as a starter in Week 8, he was a top-10 fan­tasy RB over the rest of the sea­son.

34 Der­rick Henry, TEN 490 rush­ing yards, 137 re­ceiv­ing yards, 5 TDs, 92.7 points Re­mains be­hind Mur­ray on the depth chart and doesn’t have much fan­tasy value other than as a hand­cuff to start the sea­son.

35 Doug Martin, TB 421 rush­ing yards, 134 re­ceiv­ing yards, 3 TDs, 71.5 points He’s From left: Car­di­nals’ David John­son, Colts’ Frank Gore, Fal­cons’ Devonta Free­man and Cow­boys’ Ezekiel El­liott. sus­pended for the first three games, but should get a heavy work­load when he re­turns. Martin was fourth in touches per game in 2016.

36 Ter­rance West, BAL 774 rush­ing yards, 236 re­ceiv­ing yards, 6 TDs, 137 points Had a re­spectable 4.0 yards per carry last year and is in line for all of the Ravens’ early down work.

37 Jonathan Ste­wart, CAR 824 rush­ing yards, 60 re­ceiv­ing yards, 9 TDs, 138.4 points He’ll split time in the back­field with McCaf­fery, but he still has fan­tasy po­ten­tial and a split work­load may help with in­jury is­sues.

38 Thomas Rawls, SEA 349 rush­ing yards, 96 re­ceiv­ing yards, 3 TDs, 62.5 points The Sea­hawks list him as their start­ing RB, but that’s merely a for­mal­ity with a run­ning-back-by-com­mit­tee ap­proach loom­ing.

39 Theo Rid­dick, DET 357 rush­ing yards, 371 re­ceiv­ing yards, 6 TDs, 108.8 points Av­er­aged the most catches per game by a RB and should con­tinue to be a key piece in Lions pass-first of­fence.

40 Duke John­son Jr., CLE 358 rush­ing yards, 514 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TD, 91.2 points A PPR dar­ling, John­son will see most of his use in the pass­ing game, which we should see a lot of in Cleve­land.

41 Dar­ren McFad­den, DAL 87 rush­ing yards, 17 re­ceiv­ing yards, 10.4 points For as long as El­liott is sus­pended, Run DMC should be a solid fan­tasy op­tion.

42 Matt Forte, NYJ 813 rush­ing yards, 263 re­ceiv­ing yards, 8 TDs, 153.6 points A ham­string in­jury has side­lined him through much of camp, but the Jets’ starter will be fine for Week 1.

43 James White, NE 166 rush­ing yards, 551 re­ceiv­ing yards, 5 TDs, 101.7 points Had the game of his life in the Su­per Bowl and should be set for most of the re­ceiv­ing work out of the Pats back­field.

44 Jeremy Hill, CIN 839 rush­ing yards, 174 re­ceiv­ing yards, 9 TDs, 155.3 points He’s the Ben­gals’ starter, but for how long with Mixon loom­ing? Hill does have an im­pres­sive 30 TDs in three sea­sons, though.

45 Jac­quizz Rodgers, TB 560 rush­ing yards, 98 re­ceiv­ing yards, 2 TDs, 77.8 points He’ll start the first three weeks of the sea­son, but then likely slides into a backup role with Martin re­turn­ing.

46 Sa­maje Per­ine, WAS 2017 rookie Fourth-rounder has some sleeper po­ten­tial, but will have to earn his car­ries in Wash­ing­ton early on.

47 C.J. Pro­sise, SEA 172 rush­ing yards, 208 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TD, 44 points Won’t get many car­ries, but could be a solid PPR player with his good play­mak­ing abil­ity on third down.

48 Dar­ren Spro­les, PHI 438 rush­ing yards, 427 re­ceiv­ing yards, 4 TDs, 110.5 points In his fi­nal sea­son, Spro­les re­mains a good op­tion in PPR leagues and is on punt re­turns.

49 Jamaal Charles, DEN 40 rush­ing yards, 14 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TD, 11.4 points Com­ing off an­other big knee in­jury, Charles has a chance to be the ‘1B’ back in Den­ver with An­der­son.

50 Shane Vereen, NYG 158 rush­ing yards, 94 re­ceiv­ing yards, 1 TDs, 27.2 points Had his sea­son end early due to in­jury, but should be a big part of Giants of­fence, es­pe­cially in the pass­ing game.

From left: Steel­ers’ Le’Veon Bell, Dol­phins’ Jay Ajayi, Bears’ Jor­dan Howard and Bills’ LeSean McCoy.

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