Fantasy Football RB Draft Rankings
Last update . 3 hours ago . 07:16 PM EDT
What is an RB in Fantasy Football?
The running back lines up in the backfield and is the player who handles the majority of the team’s carries. More recently teams have started implementing a more committee-based approach to this position, which entails multiple guys pitching in. Fantasy managers have also become accustomed to scat backs or change of pace backs and these players are generally smaller in stature and are better pass-catchers. They provide the offense with a different skill set and are not as equipped to handle rush attempts up the middle. For fantasy football, running backs typically have the highest ceiling of any position. Guys like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara who not only are excellent rushers, but extremely productive pass catchers are cheat codes. 10 years ago, running backs were the building block for any championship team, but now, with the shift towards the passing game and full-PPR leagues, running backs have lost some of their appeal. However, the elite guys still carry league-winning upside.
Who is the best fantasy RB?
This very much is based on scoring format. In standard scoring leagues, Jonathan Taylor is most likely the consensus No. 1 pick. He paced the position in 2021. Many expect him to be the odds-on favorite to lead the league in rushing and he should have 15+ touchdowns again in 2022. He’s not used as heavily in the passing game as others, but his overall yardage should be comparable. While any running back can get injured at any time, the perception is that he’s a safer choice than Christian McCaffrey. However, in PPR scoring leagues, Christian McCaffrey is, without a doubt, the best fantasy player on the planet. His upside is substantial because of how frequently he’s used in the passing game. He has a 1,000/1,000-yard season to his credit and has over 100 receptions in a single season. He's struggled with injuries the last two seasons, but when he’s healthy, fantasy managers are essentially getting two players with one selection. He’s a top-10 running back while also playing the part of a mid-range WR2. Fantasy managers can debate about injury prone and if he’s worth the risk, but when McCaffrey is healthy, there’s not a single player that can rival his upside.
How Many RBs Should I have on my Roster?
The running back position is annually hit the hardest by injuries. It is the most physically demanding position and it’s common for guys to miss 1-2 games each season. Due to this fact, fantasy managers should have plenty of replacement options available. Most leagues require two starting running backs with the upside for a third in the form of a flex play. With three possible starters, fantasy managers should plan on having around 4–6 running backs on their squad. If you start off heavy on running backs with two early selections, you might be able to get by on the lower end. If you wait on running back until the later rounds, you should be adding more potential starter-worthy players late in hopes of getting lucky.
What is Zero RB Strategy?
Zero-RB is a strategy that seeks to benefit from the high rate of injuries that typically occur among running backs. By avoiding this position in the first 5-7 rounds of your draft, you’re able to load up on quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end. This strategy will allow you to create positional advantages at these three other positions. While your running back group will most likely be worse than your league mates, if you are able to hit on a backup running back or waiver wire addition at the position, it can send your lineup into overdrive. It makes sense when implementing this strategy to target backs who have a wide range of outcomes and who are one injury away from a significant increase in their workload. The increase in PPR leagues is also making this a more viable strategy because there are plenty of pass-catching backs that are often devalued in fantasy leagues but carry plenty of weekly consistency. With more and more teams using multiple backs instead of just one workhorse, fantasy managers have more options to find quality running backs.
When Should I Draft an RB?
This is largely dependent on what scoring format your league operates under. If it’s a standard scoring league, it’ll be important for you to attack the running back position earlier than later. In this type of format, running back is the most important position, so it’s important to get a player you can consistently depend on. If it’s a PPR scoring league, fantasy managers have a little more flexibility in how they want to form their roster. In full-PPR leagues, it can make a lot of sense to wait on running back until the fifth or sixth round and target backs who will have consistent volume in the passing game, such as Chase Edmonds, Cordarrelle Patterson, Kareem Hunt, and Tony Pollard. These decisions will often be driven by how your draft board falls, but in PPR scoring leagues, you have a lot more flexibility in when you want to attack the position because there are more viable options later and because the PPR settings increase the value of receivers and tight ends, making it a more reasonable decision to select those positions first.
What Should I look for in Drafting Fantasy RBs?
What fantasy managers are looking for in their running back is greatly determined by what kind of scoring format they’re playing under. In standard scoring leagues, it’s important to not only chase volume, but runners on good offenses because this will increase their touchdown scoring potential. Players who offer a high number of touches per game provide fantasy managers with a safe floor. In PPR scoring leagues, fantasy managers should be looking at targets and high-value touches. High-value touches are defined as any touches inside the red zone. These are especially important because they come with higher scoring potential. Someone like D’Andre Swift did not have the number of overall carries as Jonathan Taylor, but his high number of receptions per game helped him make up the difference. Receptions are significantly more valuable than carries in this setting unless the carry comes with a high rate of scoring, such as being a carry inside the five or 10-yard line. In general, fantasy managers should be prioritizing running backs who have a high number of overall touches with preferably their fair share coming in the form of targets. Running backs who have a three-down skill set are also highly desirable because they rarely come off the field.
Do Different Scoring Formats affect RBs?
The different scoring formats will play a big factor in how you value the running back position. Certain players are more and less valuable depending on what scoring format they’re being used in. In standard scoring leagues, running backs who don’t catch a lot of passes are not downgraded as they would be in PPR. This works in the opposite direction for running backs who do catch a lot of passes. Fantasy managers will want to target overall touch totals and touchdown potential in standard leagues. In PPR leagues, they’ll want to focus on targets and high-value touches. These two different criteria will result in some players that fit into both and other players who are best in one format or the other. It’s important to recognize which scoring format you’re playing in so you can target the right kind of player.
M/U = 4for4 matchup ranking (Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed). 1 = Worst Matchup, 32 = Best Matchup