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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Running Backs

A list of the top running backs to draft for the 2016 fantasy football season.

Fantasy Football Rankings:

Standard

PPR

Keeper

Rookie

IDP

Custom

Custom IDP

Offensive Line

Weekly

By Position:

OVERALL

QB

RB

WR

TE

K

DEF

1. David Johnson (ARZ)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2016 Projections View David Johnson's 2016 projected stats.

After a splashy combine and a third-round selection in the spring draft, Johnson's rookie year stumbled from the gate. A balky hamstring held him down in August, and two ball-security issues from Johnson in Week 4 (one fumble, one dropped touchdown pass) sparked a stunning Rams victory in Arizona. Johnson resided in the Bruce Arians doghouse for the next seven games, limited to 30 inconsequential touches, but when the Cardinals needed the rookie for the stretch run, everything exploded. Johnson racked up 599 total yards and five TDs over the next four weeks, averaging 5.3 yards a carry and securing 14 of 20 targets. His signature performance came in front of a national TV audience — a 187-yard, three-touchdown trampling at Philadelphia. Arians confirmed in spring Johnson will be the team's No. 1 back entering camp, with veterans Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington clearly in the background. Johnson is the rare combination of a home-run hitter and a grinder—someone who can score from anywhere on the field, but also a physical back who finishes runs. He's capable of being an electric receiver. The Cardinals finished the season with a stinker, but they had one of the NFL's best offenses. This is a team you want to invest in, and you need to consider Johnson at any point of the first round.

2. Todd Gurley (LA)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2016 Projections View Todd Gurley's 2016 projected stats.

Gurley was a wait-and-see pick for fantasy last year, but the patient were rewarded — if you grade all the running backs in PPR value for the segment of games Gurley played, he finishes as the No. 3 player. A splashy comeback from someone who tore his ACL as recently as November 2014. In-game, patience was often the key to Gurley, as he went for a modest 3.5 YPC in the first half of games, then spiked it up to 6.2 YPC in the second half. Given the style of coach Jeff Fisher, it's not surprising the Rams remained committed to the running game consistently. Gurley went for 100 total yards or a TD in 10 of his 13 games, the type of consistency we pray for at this position. We'd like to see more work as a receiver, though — Gurley had 16 receptions in his first six games, but just five catches in his last six. While Gurley doesn't have the same outside-the-numbers wiggle as some of the other pass-catching backs, there's something to be said for unleashing him on a defense in different ways. And just getting him away from the mass of humanity between the tackles is a good thing; it's a sneaky way to protect wear and tear on your bell cow. And ring the bell the Rams will, over and over. They're in a new city, but the blueprint is the same — plus defense, rookie quarterback, so-so offensive line.

3. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2016 Projections View Ezekiel Elliott's 2016 projected stats.

Elliott ran through, around and over collegiate defenses the last two years, collecting 41 touchdowns and 4,125 yards from scrimmage. As dominant as Elliott was in the Big 10, he was even better during three career Bowl games: 83 carries, 625 yards, 10 touchdowns, 7.5 a carry. Not too shabby for someone who finished eighth in the Heisman voting as a junior; maybe they should run that election after the season is over. He showed the ability to play on all downs and in all packages, making him an unusually polished running back entering his freshman season in the NFL The Pokes snagged him with the fourth overall pick in May. You can have a long discussion about who should go No. 2 in a rookies-only draft, but Elliott is going to be the obvious No. 1 dynasty league pick everywhere — mostly because of his talent, but it also speaks to an unexciting crop of rookies. With that in mind, the isolation of Elliott is only going to make him more expensive in most pools. Ah, but there's plenty to like. The Cowboys still have the consensus No. 1 offensive line (it graded first in both run and pass blocking last year, per Pro Football Focus), and Dallas has a paper-thin schedule.The window to win is narrow in Dallas, given the age of the key core — and with that, it's unlikely the Cowboys will make Elliott wait to prove much.

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2016 Positional Rankings

Quarterback Rankings

Find out where Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and other quarterbacks are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Running Back Rankings

Find out where Todd Gurley, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and other running backs are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Wide Receiver Rankings

Find out where A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham and other wide receivers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Tight End Rankings

Find out where Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and other tight ends are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Kicker Rankings

Find out where Justin Tucker, Adam Vinatieri, Blair Walsh, Graham Gano and other kickers are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Team Defense Rankings

Which team will stand out on defense this year? Our team defense rankings will help you find the right defense to draft this season.

IDP Rankings

Find out where J.J. Watt, Lavonte David, Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and other defensive players are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Offensive Line Rankings

A team's offensive line can have a tremendous impact on how its quarterback, running backs, and wide receivers perform. Consult our rankings for help.