Top 10 Running Backs heading into the 2019 season
Yesterday I ranked my top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2019 season. Today I'll look at the best RBs into today's league. I'll be looking for special backs that change the dynamic of an offense or can carry the offense when the QB struggles. I'll be grading on durability, workhorse back that can make explosive plays, gaining constant yardage, pound out the hard 3rd/4th and short yardage, goal-line work, pass blocking and of course receiving ability and yards after the catch ability.
Top 10 RBs:
1. Saquon Barkley - Barkley's rookie campaign speaks for itself. He's a freak athlete, can make anyone miss in space and has great receiving ability. He totaled a league-high 2,028 scrimmage yards and topped off his first season with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
2. Ezekiel Elliott - The Cowboys' offense runs through the two-time Pro Bowler. Zeke is the clear candidate to lead the league in rushing if he isn't suspended again by the commissioner. Zeke is a physical downhill runner who punishes opposing defenders. He has enough speed to take it to the house and has been a durable workhouse back for Dallas since drafted 4th overall in 2016.
3. Alvin Kamara - Kamara's dynamic ability both on the ground and through the air was on full display during the first four games of last season while Ingram served his suspension. Kamara averaged an NFL-best 152.8 scrimmage yards per game and tied for a league-high six scrimmage TDs during that span.
4. Christian McCaffrey - McCaffrey's had a monster year 2 in the league. He led the team in most offensive categories, including carries, rushing yards, rushing TDs, receptions, receiving yards, receiving TDs, offensive touches, scrimmage yards and scrimmage TDs. McCaffrey is much like Barkley and almost a receiver and playmaker 1st, running back 2nd. He's great in the open field and a home-run threat.
5. Todd Gurley - Gurley was one of the most productive backs in the league in 2018 despite missing 2 games. He was near the top for all running backs with rushing yards per game (89.4) and scrimmage yards per game (130.8). He also scored a league-high 21 touchdowns. It's yet to be known how Gurley's knees will hold up but based off last season it's very hard to put him any lower than 5th on this list.
6. David Johnson - The former All-Pro has had two rough back-to-back seasons, 2017 with injury and last season being on the league's worst offense. Johnson had over 2100 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 2016. Look for a big bounce back year for Johnson this season within Kliff Kingsbury's new offense and with #1 overall pick Kyler Murray at the helm.
7. Joe Mixon - Mixon racked up nearly 1,500 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns in 2018 on a bad Cincinnati team. Mixon has the vision and cutting ability to make defenders miss in the hole or open field. He doesn't get the credit due playing for a small market team. Like many of the top players on this list, Mixon is a workhorse back that beat you on the ground or with his receiving skills.
8. Melvin Gordon - Gordon had a bit of a break-out year despite only playing 12 games. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had 14 touchdowns in just 12 games. He isn't as great as some of the guys on this list for receiving ability but he running ability makes up for it.
9. Nick Chubb - Chubb burst onto the scene last year with 11 big runs (20+ yards) and strong performances, while averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 84.2 rushing yards in his nine starts. Some might not realize how good Chubb was the end of the last year but Chubb was PFF's top rated running back in 2018.
10. Le'Veon Bell - The last time Bell played a full season (2017), he was an absolute fantasy football MVP: 321 carries, 1,291 rush yards, nine rush TDs; 85 receptions, 655 receiving yards and two receiving TDs. Bell might be a bit rusty after the year off but one thing he should bring to the Jets is durability; he's use to touching the ball 25+ times per game week in and week out. He just lacks break-a-way speed to hit the big plays.
Just missed the cut: 11. James Connor, 12. Dalvin Cook, 13. Kerryon Johnson, 14. James White, 15. Derrick Henry
What do you think of my Top 10 RBs? Am I missing anyone you would've included? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and make sure to follow me on Twitter @TylerJaggi