In what is certainly the most important position in fantasy football, injuries seem to impact this position more than any other as well. Each year brings with it the certainty of looking for the next man up, but we got a taste of that earlier than usual this year, with two young running backs lost for the season before camp even broke. It has felt like a more volatile season than normal. Multiple blue chip running backs have been lost for a few games to a few months or more. Many of us know the pain of losing Derrick Henry for the season. Some may even feel more pain from that injury than the player himself. Join us as we dig into our latest iteration of dynasty rankings.
Indeed, Derrick Henry was absolutely otherworldly when he was healthy, no better outlined than the fact that it took Jonathan Taylor almost 3 games with man sized performances to surpass his totals. Based on that fact alone, I have to keep him in my top-10. Meanwhile, you’ve got Tessmonster valuing someone who can’t currently fend off Melvin Gordon for lead back more than him. My affinity for Henry lies in the fact that he was so seldom used in the first handful of years he was in the NFL, coupled with the fact that he really hasn’t gotten hurt until this season. Even taking his age into consideration I really think he comes back healthy next year (possibly even this season) and continues to put coal in the pants of defensive backfields. It has been pretty apparent how important he is with watching the Titans go from Big Game hopeful’s to potential playoff pushovers. Conversely, I am much more bearish on the player I listed one spot higher than Henry, Saquon Barkley. To be honest I am more down on him than my spot would even suggest. The big thing that keeps him in my top 10 is just truly how unbelievable athletically gifted he is. He is in a terrible situation in New York with those “football” Giants. Until everything changes with that situation or Saquon is on another team, I just can’t help but see him slide down in my mind. The other part is that he just doesn’t seem right from the injury yet either, whether it is mental, physical or both he just hasn’t had enough of a “get right” stretch this year.
The rest of the top 10 looks to be pretty similar as far as the parties involved between the other thinking heads, save for some shifting differences with their spots. I will tell you three names that kind of excite me in the long term: Akers, Carter and Dillon. I don’t buy into Sony Michel or Darrel Henderson Jr. long term. I know it was only a few games and a major injury was sustained by Akers, but he looked like something special at the end of last season. It should also not go unnoticed that that was not a Rams offense that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. It was the kind of offense that got Jared Goff jettisoned to Detroilet and not even getting notified until the deal was done. That was the team that Akers performed for. I really think he comes back and takes over that RB room without a ton of opposition from either of his current teammates. I love the idea of buying low on him in the hopes of him looking every part the same player. At the risk of being repetitive, I am going to be repetitive. I like Michael Carter for the same reason, he has been putting up solid fantasy numbers for an RB3 type player despite playing for a bad franchise. His involvement in the passing game is also extremely encouraging. Now if things don’t continue to trend upward for that team, I will look like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth after what I said about Barkley. Lastly, I am extremely intrigued by A.J. Dillon. There was plenty of confusion as to why Aaron Jones was resigned coupled with the drafting of Dillon. While he did not necessarily dominate in Jones’ absence this year, he has completely out performed him in a few games where they were both active. I kind of have this gut feeling that Aaron Jones is out after this year and with the certainly possible exit of the other Aaron, I see a path to a run heavy offense. He’s another guy I like in a buy low capacity. -Jason
I've gotta be honest - I never thought I'd be put on blast for how "high" Javonte Williams is ranked on my list, but after seeing what he brought to the table in prime time, how can you not be excited about this kid. I'm buying every bit of what you're selling on Michael Carter, and have been on his train since he was drafted. Prime position with all the talent in the world, but he's shown an affinity for catching the kind of dump offs we've seen from Zach Wilson this year as well which is promising. I like Akers as well, but I'm going to pump the brakes on A.J. Dillon a bit. Aaron Jones has another year on the books with the Packers, and with what we've seen in the last couple weeks between injuries and inconsistency, I don't see A.J. Dillon winning that backfield outright between this year and next to advance in him as highly as you're touting. -Tessmonster
Now it’s time for my favorite segment. What is Tessmonster thinking? Elijah Mitchell falls into that list. Top 20 RB? Yeah I don’t know about that. Can he take the beatings as a lead back past this year? He’s been almost a weekly participant in the injury report this year. No one should look past the angle that he also plays on a Kyle Shanahan run offense. It wouldn’t be surprising to me to see a 4-headed monster at RB for the 49ers last year. BUT he has been extremely productive so I can see where Tessmonster’s head is at, but his glasses may need a little cleaning. As much as I want to find further fault with his thoughts, I agree with him more than I care to admit on a vast majority of the other backs. -Jason
I can see your reasons to fade Mitchell, but unless they draft another back, nobody else on that roster, save Deebo Samuel, is even an "average runner". I can see the rationale behind a couple rank changes, but you've completely missed the boat on the New England RBs. I know that Bellichick is notorious in fantasy circles for his RB carousels, but Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have been pretty effective this year. Even in a committee, they've both been serviceable in deeper leagues, and I'm buying in on their value over guys like Ronald Jones. -Tessmonster
Travis Etienne Jr.
Darrell Henderson Jr.
Melvin Gordon III
Ronald Jones II