The NFL season is right around the corner. That means one very important thing, fantasy season is as well. Fantasy football leagues have been forming, having their drafts throughout the preseason, all while keeping an eye on any and all injuries.
While quarterbacks typically score more points, it is hard to argue that the running back has taken over as the most important fantasy football position. Many of the top running backs will be the first players taken.
If you have a top pick in your fantasy draft, this list will be helpful in deciding who to choose. Here are the top ten fantasy running backs for the 2019 season.
10. Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets
This is as low as Bell has ever landed on a fantasy list. He is usually near the top three. Now he finds himself lower for multiple reasons. Bell missed the entire 2018 season because of a contract dispute. He is now a member of the Jets instead of the Pittsburgh Steelers and he is another year older. With that being said, Bell is still a strong option.
At age 27, Bell is still very much in the prime of his career. He has been a workhorse his entire career including 2017 when he led the NFL with 321 carries. Bell revolutionized the position and became a receiving back before it was normal. He may not be a No. 1 option anymore, but if Bell lands as your RB2, you are off to a great start to your fantasy football league draft.
9. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
This could be the year that Cook finally hits his potential. He has been limited to just 15 games in his first two seasons because of injuries. When he has been on the field, he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. On this Vikings’ offense, there should be plenty of opportunity for Cook.
Cook has only scored four touchdowns in his professional career. He has had goal line touches taken away by the likes of Latavius Murray and C.J. Ham. Even with Ameer Abdullah now on the team, Cook will be the Vikings’ first option at the goal line. He is a legitimate back who has great potential. If he can stay healthy, there is a big year coming.
8. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
The current state of the Bengals does not represent Mixon’s fantasy value. Cincinnati is a low level team with a high level back. Mixon has emerged as the team’s main threat. He is well on his way to taking over as the star of the team, a position held for many years by A.J. Green.
Mixon finished with 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns last season in only 14 games. His production can be expected to go up in 2019.
7. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley has led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. In 2018, Gurley finished with 17 rushing touchdowns and four more receiving. He is a legitimate duel threat who can be used as a ball carrier or pass catcher.
The Rams has one of the best offenses last season led by Gurley and head coach Sean McVay. There is a feeling that the Rams will take a step back in 2019, but Gurley will be getting his. He will be looking for his third straight season scoring double-digit touchdowns.
6. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers did not miss Bell last season. Conner was the reason. He came in and made an impact immediately at running back. Conner rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He added 497 yards receiving.
Conner will not be sneaking up on teams in 2019. He will be near the top of the list when it comes to players to prepare for when playing Pittsburgh. His talent is great enough to believe in him as a starting fantasy back.
5. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson was limited to just one game in 2017. He bounced back nicely last season with 940 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He will look to see an increase in production with Kyler Murray under center and Kliff Kingsbury calling the shots.
Fantasy football owners are hoping that Johnson can duplicate his 2016 season when he led the NFL with 2,113 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns.
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott is the best pure runner in the NFL. He is not the same threat in the pass game. Regardless, Elliott has led the league in carries and rushing yards twice in three years. This includes last season when he finished with 304 carries for 1,434 yards.
Obviously, this ranking depends on if Elliott reports to the team. He is still a no show as he awaits a new contract.
3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Kamara is a video game character. He has done things in two years that are eye popping. Kamara has never had 200 carries in a season, but he is averaging 5.1 yards per carry for his career. In the passing game, he has eclipsed 100 or more targets twice and finished with 81 catches in both seasons.
The Saints have a top offense in the league. With Mark Ingram now in Baltimore, Kamara will be leaned on a little more this season.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey set the NFL record for catches by a running back last season with 107. He rushed for 1,098 yards and seven touchdowns on top of that. McCaffrey is true PPR gold, but is a top three pick in any format.
The Panthers made it clear that McCaffrey is their No. 1 option. It is unlikely that McCaffrey finishes with 100 or more catches again this season, but he is a legit 1,000 yard rusher who runs excellent routes and can carry a work load.
1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Well, it didn’t take Barkley long to top this list. He is a physical freak. In his rookie year, Barkley finished with 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had 91 catches for 721 yards and four touchdowns. Barkley came in and completely took over New York.
If you have the first pick in your fantasy draft, Barkley is the clear option in all formats. He is a player that can do it all and will be the No. 1 option on the Giants. Barkley is an MVP caliber player who can lead a fantasy team to a league championship.