[brid autoplay=”true” video=”1380460″ player=”10951″ title=”2013 Fantasy Football Tight Ends” duration=”160″ description=”0:23 Darren Waller 0:56 Cole Kmet 1:45 Kyle Pitts” uploaddate=”2023-08-13″ thumbnailurl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/9233/snapshot/1380460_th_64d83e81af895_1691893377.jpg” image=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/9233/snapshot/1380460_sd_64d83e81af895_1691893377.jpg” contenturl=”https://cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/9233/sd/1380460.mp4″ width=”480″ height=”270″]

Today I’ll be taking you through the latest update of my redraft running back rankings, with my commenting focussing on any major changes since my previous article, but click here to check out those original comments if you missed them. These are set up for a half-point per reception (PPR) league, so minor adjustments to heavy pass-catchers and early-down runners should be made if you’re in a PPR league.

I finished 2022 as the third most accurate expert on FantasyPros, so I hope that you can use these rankings with confidence. You can find my full rankings, including dynasty, at ffdfantasyfootball.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments but you can also hit me up on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown where I answer all questions. Meanwhile, if you need specific rankings for your league settings, check out my latest offer for Razzball readers here.

To make things a little easier, I’ve broken things up into tiers, grouping players who are, in my opinion, close in value. Where you actually draft these players in drafts really depends on your specific league settings, so you can click here for those details.

Tier 1: The All-Purpose Weapons:

  1. Christian McCaffrey (SF)
  2. Austin Ekeler (LAC)

In my initial post-draft rankings, I had five players in this first tier but I’m starting to see a real difference between these top two and the guys below. I’m really drawn to the comparative safety between these two studs and the unknown quantities below. CMC and Ekeler have five Top 2 seasons between them, and if they can say healthy, it’s hard to see them not making it seven. The workload is locked in, the offenses are top-notch, and the talent is off-the-charts for both runners.

Tier 2: The Workhorse Runners with risk:

  1. Saquon Barkley (NYG)
  2. Bijan Robinson (ATL)
  3. Derrick Henry (TEN)
  4. Nick Chubb (CLE)
  5. Jonathan Taylor (IND)
  6. Josh Jacobs (LV)
  7. Tony Pollard (DAL)

I’m really drawn to the safety of Saquon Barkley compared to the others in this tier, though he arguably lacks their upside. There’s no real touch competition in East Rutherford, which explains Saquon’s 352 touches in 2022 and indicates a repeat is likely, health pending. Having said that, his touch efficiency will likely be far lower than the others in this tier which limits his upside. Bijan, meanwhile is an all-purpose weapon who should get a heavy rushing and passing workload in Atlanta. But if the Falcons fall out of contention early, do they really want to load a heap of tread onto Robinson’s tires when they have such a strong backup?

Rookies taken high in the first round are essentially a lock for a top-10 fantasy finish, but can he compete with the impending free agents whose teams will run them into the ground? Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb both rise past Jonathan Taylor for me. They both have incredible rushing floors, and Henry had a big bump in receiving usage last season, while Chubb is expected to get that same increase in 2023. Jonathan Taylor has far more upside (as we saw from his 2021 season), but the Colts are no longer a contender, so it’s very possible JT lacks the TD points and overall rushing volume to sustain a top 5 finish. Josh Jacobs equally carries a heap of risk as there’s talk of a sit-out, a trade or a release. Given how well Vegas used him last year, none of those outcomes would be a positive. If he stays at the Raiders and they remain a contender though, Jacobs could be a major bargain again this year.Tony Pollard meanwhile makes the jump to this tier as the Cowboys are still yet to sign a veteran back to contend for touches. If that remains the case, he could easily rise a little. Having said that, I still wouldn’t allow him into my top 6 as his efficiency should drop a lot as he gets more low-value touches.

Tier 3: The Awkward Situations

  1. Rhamondre Stevenson (NE)
  2. Najee Harris (PIT)
  3. Joe Mixon (CIN)

You just never know what Bill Belichick will do with his running backs. Every time one seems to emerge as the workhorse, a new challenger appears. Stevan Ridley was the stud then LeGarrette Blount arrived, then it alternated between a committee and Blount the workhorse for years until Sony Michel turned up, but after two 900 yard seasons, he lost out to Damien Harris, who in turn slowly gave way to Rhamondre Stevenson. Can Stevenson finally hold on, or will we see another committee with Pierre Strong and Ty Montgomery? Who knows! But if Stevenson owns this backfield, the value is very much there. Najee Harris also lost a lot of touches to Jaylen Warren, including a concerning near-halving of those valuable receptions. The good news is that the Steelers have been very vocal about leaning on their rushing attack and that makes Najee a solid late-RB1 option. Joe Mixon also had a huge drop-off in quality last year, even though his receptions increased by 50%. It’s starting to look like 2021 was just a one-off, as Mixon once again profiles as a low-end RB1.

Tier 4: The Risk-it for the Biscuits:

  1. Kenneth Walker (SEA)
  2. Jahmyr Gibbs (DET)
  3. Travis Etienne (JAC)
  4. Aaron Jones (GB)

I’m struggling badly with this tier and have rearranged the players in this group almost daily. Kenneth Walker currently sits on top as I can’t look past his brilliant finish to last season. While Zach Charbonnet is a scary inclusion, Pete Carroll has a long history of letting rookie running backs sit. It usually takes an injury ahead before he really lets them loose, but that does add to the risk with Walker and keeps him well below the top three tiers. Speaking of rookies, Jahmyr Gibbs has major upside as Top 12-drafted rookie running backs tend to finish as a fantasy RB1. The split backfield with David Montgomery isn’t ideal, but we saw last year that there are plenty of touches to go around. Gibbs will undoubtedly be heavily involved in the passing game, especially with Jameson Williams suspended for a third of the season, but his rushing workload will likely be quite high too, even if it doesn’t include the valuable red zone work. Nevertheless, this split makes it hard to move Gibbs much higher than this, even if Christian McCaffrey showed you can be in a committee as a rookie and still finish in the fantasy Top 10. Travis Etienne finally got going in the second half of 2022 but it’s hard to feel confident that his workload will be high enough to offer him much upside this season. Doug Peterson and OC Press Taylor have spoken of the need to keep Etienne fresh for their playoffs run, while Etienne himself has spoken positively of the committee approach. They’re scary words to hear about your RB2. Having said that, many committee backs have still been fantasy stars, just ask Aaron Jones. After four straight Top 10 finishes in a committee, you’d have to think Jones has a safe fantasy floor. You’d be wrong though. This offense seems destined to crumble with Aaron Rodgers out of town. I just can’t see it’s running backs maintaining the scoring and rushing efficiency that made them fantasy studs. Jones is still a solid upside bet if things do somehow click though.

Tier 5: Team Risk and Injury Risk:

  1. Alexander Mattison (MIN)
  2. James Conner (ARI)
  3. Javonte Williams (DEN)
  4. Breece Hall (NYJ)
  5. Cam Akers (LAR)
  6. Miles Sanders (CAR)

These athletes should all be workhorses but they all come with a sizeable amount of risk. Javonte Williams and Breece Hall would both be threatening RB1 status if they were fully healthy and there’s a lot of temptation to take them projecting that value; but history has shown us that would be a mistake. Likewise, Alexander Mattison and James Conner have very little competition and should easily carry the load in their respective backfields. We’ve seen Dalvin Cook produce RB1 numbers most seasons and Mattison has been very productive during spot starts so he is a solid option who will usually be available here. Likewise James Conner is an excellent producer when healthy, finishing as the RB4 in the last eight weeks of 2022. This included five TDs in the four games he shared with Colt McCoy as QB. Expect a solid workload and plenty of TD production. Cam Akers is another in a mediocre offense. He topped 100 yards in the last three games of last season and is likely to be let loose in 2023, though given the team will probably be chasing games a lot this year, it’s hard to know how much volume he’ll get. Miles Sanders is the real wildcard here. It’s hard to know just how much the Panthers will use him with Raheem Blackshear getting surprising receiving role chat and Chuba Hubbard the kind of back you’d expect to get 20-30% of the snaps. Carolina had a good rushing offense last season but it’s hard to know how that will transfer to 2023. He’s risky but the upside is there.

Tier 6: The One-Trick Ponies and The Boom-Busters:

  1. Dameon Pierce (HOU)
  2. JK Dobbins (BAL)
  3. Rachaad White (TB)
  4. James Cook (BUF)
  5. David Montgomery (DET)
  6. Alvin Kamara (NO)
  7. Isaih Pacheco (KC)
  8. D’Andre Swift (PHI)

This isn’t a true tier (in that Dameon Pierce and D’Andre Swift aren’t particularly close in value) but there’s no obvious jump in value at any point making it natural to place all of these RB3-types together. Pierce is an interesting one for me. He’s getting a lot of buzz as if he’s the clear Texans workhorse but that’s evidently not the case. Signing Devin Singletary was no mistake and he’ll certainly take a lot of valuable third-down and change-of-pace touches in a middling offense that lacks the upside to support a two-down runner. He finished as the RB25 last year even though he finished 11th in carries. I expect that carry count to drop, though the TDs may rise to compensate. JK Dobbins has never finished above the RB30 in PPG (points per game) and with the Ravens playing with a more balanced offense, it’s hard to see Dobbins making much more than a minor jump caused by better health. Having said that, he’s on the PUP list and is also in the midst of a contract dispute so is he a guy you really want to pay up for? Rachaad White and James Cook are both projected to take over 1A roles in their respective offenses. White is the popular pick but Chase Edmonds is a passing down threat and I’m concerned that White has never been a heavy workload guy, even at Arizona State when he weekly frustrated me in College Fantasy. Cook on the other hand has little competition for volume and it’s easy to forget the Bills spent a second round pick on him in 2022. Bills training camp buzz has been all about how Cook is the clear lead back with Damien Harris a distant second. If he can earn an every down role he’ll be a league winner. David Montgomery could be this year’s Jamaal Williams and if so, he’ll be a real bargain. But Jahmyr Gibbs is likely to get a lot more volume than D’Andre Swift did last year. Speaking of Swift, he’s in an ugly committee with Rashaad Penny and Kenny Gainwell with talk he’ll get the receiving work and Penny will do the heavy lifting with Gainwell getting the two minute drills. With Jalen Hurts also thieving a lot of red zone carries, it’s hard to see Swift offering much value here. Alvin Kamara has a three game suspension and the team may be adding Kareem Hunt to Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller (at time of writing), it’s hard to know how much volume we should expect from Kamara. He’s no longer the fantasy stud he once was and will likely be overdrafted due to his name recognition. Isaih Pacheco is another being over-drafted with many discounting the impact Jerick McKinnon will have on his output. Pacheco may be the starter but he’ll have to share a lot of the limited volume Chiefs backs get.

Tier 7: The Best Back-ups and The Zero-RB Fillers:

  1. Brian Robinson (WAS)
  2. Rashaad Penny (PHI)
  3. Dalvin Cook (FA)
  4. Antonio Gibson (WAS)
  5. Khalil Herbert (CHI)
  6. Samaje Perine (DEN)
  7. Elijah Mitchell (SF)
  8. Zach Charbonnet (SEA)
  9. Devin Singletary (HOU)
  10. AJ Dillon (GB)
  11. Tyler Allgeier (ATL)
  12. Jaylen Warren (PIT)
  13. Jerick McKinnon (KC)
  14. De’Von Achane (MIA)
  15. Damien Harris (BUF)
  16. Jamaal Williams (NO)
  17. D’Onta Foreman (CHI)
  18. Raheem Mostert (MIA)

There’s two types of players in this region and you need to be very clear on what your team needs here. If you have two of fewer running backs on your roster, you’ll likely want to add at least one of the role players here. We’re talking Robinson, Penny, Cook, Gibson, Herbert, Singletary, McKinnon, Achane, Harris, Williams, Foreman and Mostert. They have limited upside and no amount of injuries will give them a workhorse role. But if you need someone to get you through the first few weeks until you can work the waiver wire, these are the guys to get. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a solid RB stable earlier in the draft, it’s time to shoot for upside. Perine, Mitchell, Charbonnet, Dillon, Allgeier and Warren could all be in the RB1/high-RB2 conversation if they get an injury ahead of them. That makes them very valuable bench players.

Tier 8: Cross Your Fingers and Toes:

  1. Chuba Hubbard (CAR)
  2. Tank Bigsby (JAC)
  3. Jerome Ford (CLE)
  4. Jeff Wilson (MIA)
  5. Kendre Miller (NO)
  6. Roschon Johnson (CHI)
  7. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
  8. Leonard Fournette (TB)
  9. Tyjae Spears (TEN)
  10. Gus Edwards (BAL)
  11. Joshua Kelley (LAC)
  12. Zamir White (LV)

These backups have far less upside than the guys above which is why they’re down a tier. If you’re well set at RB, your best bets here are Hubbard, Bigsby, Ford, Spears, Kelly and White who likely just need an injury to become a weekly RB2. On the other hand, Kendre Miller and Roschon Johnson are youngsters who will probably act as backups but could stumble into a committee role at least. On the other hand, Wilson and Edwards will provide some limited weekly value if you’re really struggling for starters in a deep league but lack upside. Elliott and Fournette seem unlikely to sign before Week 1 but if they do, they’ll jump up depending on where they land. Just don’t expect league-winning production from them.

Next week I’ll be back with a breakdown of my wide receiver rankings. Remember to check out my full rankings for all positions at ffdfantasyfootball.com Also click here to check out my other Razzball content and don’t forget to follow @FantasyFirstDwn on Twitter.