2016 PPR RB Rankings with Sortable Projections
Bell has averaged 23.2 touches for 132 total yards and 0.64 TD in his last 22 games and is the clear cut #1 RB when healthy. If he is truly 100 percent ready to go (after MCL/PCL surgery) for training camp, then he is a very solid pick in the 1st round of fantasy drafts. The Steelers would be wise to utilize the very capable DeAngelo Williams to keep Bell fresh, but they haven't shown much of a willingness to do so, as Bell has averaged 22.8 touches (for 115 total yards) in six games with Williams available.
Gurley averaged 91.6 rushing yards in his final 12 games, which is a 16-game pace of 1,465 yards. But he only caught 21 passes for 188 yards, which serves to limit his value in PPR formats. If his offseason work as a receiver pays off during the season, that would change.
It's doubtful that the Cowboys drafted Elliott #4 overall to let him sit behind Darren McFadden and/or Alfred Morris as a rookie. As long as he doesn't fall on his face, he should be the workhorse, with McFadden and Morris sprinkling in as change-of-pace backs. McFadden’s offseason injury only serves to help Elliott’s chances of RB1 touches.
Charles was playing at an elite RB1 pace prior to tearing his ACL in Week 5. Our injury expert, Russell Manalastas, predicts that Charles will be limited in camp and good to go for Week 1, and that his recovery is an opportunity to get him at a discount. The Chiefs found solid contributors in Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, so Andy Reid could elect to reduce his workload in an effort to keep him healthy.
Last year, McCoy finished #17 in standard formats and #19 in PPR, but was a low-end RB1 in both formats on a per game basis since he only played 12 games. He averaged 19.6 touches for 98.9 total yards per game, and should continue to see that type of workload as he enters his age 28 season. He's been going in the early 4th round in recent drafts, but his ADP should climb into the 3rd if he manages to avoid charges and suspension this summer.
In his first two seasons, Lacy posted back-to-back top 8 finishes in both standard and PPR formats. In 2015, he finished 25th and 32nd, respectively, struggling both with his health and staying out of Mike McCarthy’s doghouse. His playing weight was a major topic of conversation all year, and to his credit, Lacy followed through this offseason by working out with P90X creator Tony Horton, who estimates that Lacy lost 15-20 lbs over the course of two months. If he keeps the weight off for the rest of the summer, he has a good chance of returning to the top 10.
Forte may lose carries to Bilal Powell and/or Khiry Robinson, and is unlikely to score many rushing touchdowns. But if he's utilized regularly in the slot, he should be able to catch at least 50 passes, maybe more. Jets running backs caught a total of 90 balls last season under OC Chan Gailey. Forte hasn’t finished outside the top 12 in PPR formats in his eight-year career.
Anderson wasn’t fully healthy heading into the season and struggled at the onset, averaging just 2.69 YPC on 11.4 rushing attempts through the first six weeks of the season. He turned it around in a big way after the Week 7 bye, however, racking up an average of 64.5 yards on 11.6 carries (5.57 YPC) and 0.58 TD over his final 12 games, including the playoffs. Those are mid-level RB1 numbers in standard formats and low-end RB1 numbers in PPR. Moreover, the Broncos committed to Anderson down the stretch, feeding him 15.6 carries over the final five games. In that span, he averaged 13.7 fantasy points in standard (and 15.9 FP in PPR). Those averages would have been good enough to finish #3 in both formats. Even though he finished strong, playoff numbers don’t count for fantasy, so the fact remains that Anderson burned his owners in 2015. As a result, his ADP is likely to remain a bit depressed heading into 2016 fantasy drafts.
Lewis was New England’s best fantasy back through the first eight weeks of the season before tearing his ACL in Week 9. In six healthy games in that span, Lewis averaged 12.8 touches for 95 yards and 0.67 TD. On a per game basis, he was #10 in standard and #5 in PPR at the time of his injury. According to ESPN Boston, Lewis’s recovery is ahead of schedule and “there’s no reason to think Lewis won’t be available for when the games count.” If he’s good to go for Week 1, we believe he’ll be the team’s RB1 heading to the season, barring the addition of Arian Foster.
Woodhead finished #12 in standard formats and #3 in PPR in 2015. He’ll have a new offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, who returns to the Chargers after coordinating the offense back in 2013. In that season, Woodhead averaged 9.3 FP (standard) and 13.8 FP (PPR) in 18 games, including the postseason. Those are solid RB2 (standard) and RB1 (PPR) numbers, respectively. Worries about the potential emergence of Melvin Gordon will depress Woodhead’s ADP, which is currently residing in the 7th round of early standard drafts (5th in PPR). He’s a fantastic target for owners who want to wait on value at the RB position.
With Marshawn Lynch out of the way, Rawls is first in line for workhorse back duties given his performance in 2015. In the six games in which Rawls played and Lynch did not, the rookie averaged 20.5 touches for 120 yards and 0.84 touchdowns (on a stellar 5.6 YPC). That doesn't even include Week 3, when he turned 16 carries into 104 yards while Lynch was limited to five carries. A fractured ankle ended his season, but it didn't require surgery and he should be ready to for training camp, though they may be targeting a Week 1 return. If he's fully healthy, Rawls' ADP should climb into the 3rd round (or higher).
Hyde was the #14 RB (PPR) through the first six weeks before missing the rest of the season with a foot injury. Chip Kelly's teams in Philadelphia had an average ranking of 7.3 in total rush attempts, so Hyde should get plenty of work as the team's lead back. The team re-signed Shaun Draughn after he showed solid productivity down the stretch, but Hyde is the better talent and should serve as the team's RB1.
It appears that Mathews will be the workhorse for new HC Doug Pederson, who helped coordinate a run-heavy approach under Andy Reid in Kansas City. In the 24 games over the past three seasons where Mathews has at least 10 carries, he has averaged 87 total yards and 0.50 TD, or 13.4 PPR points per game. Those are solid RB1 numbers. Sure, he has a long injury history, but at his 5th- or 6th-round ADP, he’s worth the risk.
Crowell outscored Johnson in standard formats, but Johnson (61 catches) had the edge in PPR, finishing #24 on the year. We can glean new HC Hue Jackson's playcalling tendencies from his usage of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill last year in Cincinnati. When the Bengals were trailing by a field goal or more, Bernard saw 33 touches to Hill's 32. When the Bengals were trailing by two points or less, tied or leading, Hill saw 206 touches to 170 for Bernard. Since the 2016 Browns are likely to be trailing far more often than the 2015 Bengals, Johnson has a chance at an even larger share of the touches than Bernard, who finished #17 in PPR formats last season. Given Johnson's 6th-round ADP in early PPR drafts, he looks like a nice target for the "wait on RB" crowd.
The team tried but failed to sign C.J. Anderson this offseason, so they aren’t completely sold on Ajayi. However, after spring workouts new HC Adam Gase said that Ajayi “kind of separated himself” in the running back competition, so it looks like he’ll be the primary running back in Miami provided the team doesn’t sign Arian Foster once his Achilles is healthy.
The Bears saw enough from Langford to convince the team to let Matt Forte walk. Langford averaged 21.3 touches for 122 yards and 1.3 TD in the three games that Forte missed. He finished as the #23 RB in standard formats with a significant role even when Forte was healthy enough to play. He only averaged 3.6 YPC and caught just 22 of the 42 targets that came his way. His NFL talent is a topic of hot debate this offseason, but no one can question the opportunity he has in Chicago.
Jones had a few moments as a rookie, but they were mostly in the passing game, where he averaged 16.0 yards per catch on 19 receptions. As a runner, he averaged 3.4 YPC on 144 totes. It appears that he'll be the primary running back, though Chris Thompson led the Washington backs with 35 receptions last season and may form a two-man committee by taking most of the third-down work.
Sims quietly finished as the #22 RB in standard formats and #17 in PPR leagues, catching at least three passes in 10 of 16 games. He also averaged 4.94 YPC on 107 carries, so he showed the ability to be effective as a runner as well. GM Jason Licht went so far as to say that the team views Sims as a capable three-down back, so if Doug Martin goes down with an injury, Sims’ value would skyrocket this offseason. He's currently the 32nd running back off the board in early PPR drafts (i.e. MFL10s and MyFantasyLeague), so he's a great target in the 6th/7th round for those utilizing a "wait on RB" strategy.
After the team's Week 9 bye, and with new-OC Jim Bob Cooter calling the plays, Abdullah averaged 11.5 touches for 55.3 yards and 0.12 TD per game. He averaged 4.65 YPC in that span, and the running game as a whole improved considerably under Cooter (+6.75 carries, +27.5 yards and +0.37 TD per game). Joique Bell saw 9.4 touches per game during that stretch, and that work is up for grabs now that Bell is gone. If healthy, Abdullah will probably lead the Lions in carries, and may be a post-hype sleeper if his touches increase significantly. But Theo Riddick will serve as the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Stevan Ridley and Zach Zenner could eat into Abdullah's early-down and short-yardage touches, so Abdullah’s upside is somewhat capped.
Prior to the Chris Ivory signing, Yeldon was an intriguing middle round pick thanks to a large projected workload, but the duo is expected to split carries with Ivory getting most of the goal line work. Yeldon figures to be the primary pass-catching back, so his value is a bit higher in PPR formats.
Gordon missed the final two games, but through the first 15 weeks, he was the #44 RB in PPR formats. When Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator in 2013, Ryan Mathews was the #17 RB (PPR), so there is definitely potential in this offense if Gordon remains healthy and the team can sort out its offensive line. We believe that Danny Woodhead will finish as the top Charger running back in both formats, but Gordon is the wild card in San Diego.
Forsett's YPC (4.25) was better than Javorius Allen's (3.75), but the rookie showed good receiving chops, hauling in 45 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. Allen was the #6 RB in standard formats (#3 in PPR) from Week 11 to Week 17, while Forsett was sidelined with a wrist injury. Forsett was #17 in standard and #12 in PPR through the first 10 weeks. According to HC John Harbaugh, the two will compete for touches in 2016. Rookie Kenneth Dixon is another potential headache for Forsett owners.
Blount will probably be the "2" in a 1-2 punch with Dion Lewis. In the six games in which they both played, Lewis averaged 11.0 touches (5.3 rec) for 84 yards and 0.66 TD, which extrapolates to high-end RB1 numbers both PPR and standard formats. Meanwhile, Blount averaged 16.3 touches for 80 yards (4.74 YPC) and 1.0 TD in the six games that Lewis also played. Blount slipped down the stretch, averaging 13.4 carries for 51 yards (3.61 YPC) and 0.20 TD in his final five games with Lewis sidelined. James White, Donald Brown and Brandon Bolden figure to compete, but this is shaping up to be a Lewis/Blount backfield.
Allen was the #6 RB in standard formats (#3 in PPR) from Week 11 to Week 17, while Justin Forsett was sidelined with a wrist injury. Unfortunately, he only averaged 3.48 YPC, so it wasn’t like he made a strong case to usurp Forsett (who averaged 4.25 YPC on the season). According to HC John Harbaugh, the two will compete for touches in 2016. Allen will also have to deal with rookie Kenneth Dixon.
Powell held more value when he was playing alongside Chris Ivory, since the two players have complementary skillsets. That's not the case with new Jet Matt Forte, who is a rich man's Powell. Both Forte and Powell are capable runners but make their mark in the receiving game. Will the Jets take their RB1 off the field to give Powell snaps? Last year, the answer was a resounding yes, but with Forte on board, we're not so sure about the size of Powell's role in 2016. The signing is a concern for Forte as well, since Powell’s presence threatens his receiving role.
We recommend Hightower as the handcuff to Mark Ingram given the way the veteran finished the season in 2015. Hightower averaged 24.0 touches for 114 yards and 1.0 TD over the final four games last year with Ingram sidelined.
McFadden was looking like a nice sleeper until the team drafted Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th overall pick. Now he has an elbow injury that will keep him out for most of the summer.
Full 4for4 offensive projection data in CSV format (for Excel etc.)
# = 4for4 ranking derived from our time proven forecasting model
GC = General Consensus Rank: Prevailing General Consensus Ranking
Dif = Difference between 4for4.com and General Consensus
C = Player's consistency rankings (+ or -)
SYS = Player's offensive system (A-D)
♥ = Player's Durability graded A to E. Player Rankings are key, but you also want to keep your eye out on other factors while drafting. Example: you might not always want to draft the highest ranked RB if doing so would give you a backfield with two E-Grade Durability RBs. In some cases, taking a slightly lower ranked RB with proven durability is the wise move.
ADP10/ADP12 = Average Draft Position; spot player is typically getting drafted from in a 10 or 12 round draft (Round.Pick). This helps you determine where a player will get picked and your job is to grab your targeted player just before he would have been drafted, but no sooner. ADP is capped at 16 rounds.