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2017 Fantasy Football Rankings – Running Backs

A list of the top running backs to draft for the 2017 fantasy football season.

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1. David Johnson (ARZ)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2017 Projections View David Johnson's 2017 projected stats.

After a dominant finish to his rookie campaign, big things were expected from Johnson in 2016, but it's doubtful even his most enthusiastic boosters foresaw what was coming. The 25-year-old seized the Cardinals' starting job by the throat and never let go, recording at least 100 yards from scrimmage in an NFL-record 15 straight games before finally being held in check by a limited snap count in a meaningless Week 17 contest against the Rams. Along the way he scored 20 TDs, piled up 2,118 combined yards and received 72 red-zone touches, leading the league in all three categories and establishing himself as one of the few true every-down backs left in the modern game. Johnson's 6-1, 224-pound frame allows him to run with some power, but it's his elusiveness and speed in the open field that set him apart as a home run threat, and his 34 runs of 10 yards or more tied him for fifth in the NFL. Bruce Arians' offense also took full advantage of Johnson's pass-catching skills, and his 54.9 receiving yards per game led all NFL backs. That 2016 performance may not even represent his ceiling, though. With Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald both in the twilight of their careers, the Arizona attack may end up relying even more heavily on its young stud RB in the coming years, which is a scary thought for opposition defenses.

2. Le'Veon Bell (PIT)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2017 Projections View Le'Veon Bell's 2017 projected stats.

Heading into his fifth NFL season, Bell has established himself as arguably the most dangerous and productive all-around running back in the league. He's delivered at least 100 scrimmage yards in an amazing 28 of 34 regular-season games over the last three years, and in 2016 he overcame a three-game suspension (and Week 17 absence) to finish second among RBs in targets, receptions and receiving yards and fifth in rushing yards while leading the NFL in total yards after contact. Unfortunately, the most important number in that list might be the '34', as Bell has missed 14 games over those three seasons due to various injuries and suspensions. Last year ended with another injury sustained in a playoff loss to the Patriots, and he underwent core muscle surgery in the offseason, but he's expected to be healthy by Week 1. Whether he can stay that way is another question. The Steelers certainly seem prepared to give him another big workload, heading into camp with only third-round pick James Conner, former Chiefs backup Knile Davis, and special teams ace Fitzgerald Toussaint behind Bell on the depth chart, but despite a combination of elite vision, patience and elusiveness that allows him to avoid plenty of contact, his questionable durability is still a major drawback.

3. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)

  Rushing Stats Receiving Stats
Year Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg
2017 Projections View Ezekiel Elliott's 2017 projected stats.

Elliott hit the jackpot in the 2016 draft, landing with a Cowboys squad that was perfectly set up for an every-down back to come in and put up huge numbers behind their dominant offensive line. The 6-0, 225-pound dynamo out of Ohio State more than held up his end of that bargain, teasing a run at Eric Dickerson's 1983 record for rushing yards by a rookie before eventually settling for his first of what could be many rushing crowns. Elliott combined elite vision and plus elusiveness with the burst to break into the second level and the speed to run away from defenders once he got there. Perhaps the most valuable weapon in his arsenal is his uncanny patience, as he demonstrated the ability to wait for plays to develop and his blocks to get set up before attacking the hole. Depressingly for opposition defenses, Elliott may just be scratching the surface of his potential. He wasn't as involved in the passing game as he could have been, something that should change as Dak Prescott develops right alongside him, as Elliott was charged with only one drop last year. The Dallas O-line may take a small step back this season after losing two starters in the offseason, but the real concern surfaced in mid-August when Elliott was handed a six-game suspension. He was granted an injunction and temporary restraining order that allow him to keep playing for the Cowboys while his lawsuit plays out in court, but there is a small chance he could miss time later in the season if the case is wraps up quicker than expected.

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2017 Positional Rankings

Quarterback Rankings

Find out where Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Marcus Mariota, Aaron Rodgers and other quarterbacks are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Running Back Rankings

Find out where David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, Devonta Freeman and other running backs are ranked going into your fantasy draft.

Wide Receiver Rankings

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

Tight End Rankings

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

Kicker Rankings

Find out where Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey, Matt Bryant, Mason Crosby 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, Kwon Alexander 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.