2019 Fantasy Football Running Backs: Studs, Sleepers and Busts

The NFL season begins here in a couple months and I’m here to help you draft a team to have you competing for your fantasy league championship. Here are a couple of studs, sleepers, and busts at the running back position going into this season.

Studs – These running backs should be top five draft picks in every league. They will produce week in and week out so you shouldn’t have any problem having a consistent production week out of these guys.

Christian McCaffrey

As we know, dual threat running backs are the key to fantasy football. McCaffrey was the top receiving back last season with 867 yards to go along with 107 receptions. He had more receptions than some of the big-name wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, and Keenan Allen.

McCaffrey just shocked the Internet with his latest photo (above). It seems like he’s spent some quality time in the weight room this off season and is looking to repeat and increase his production from last season. To be the top fantasy running back, McCaffrey will need to find the endzone just a couple more times next season to be a top three running back.

Saquon Barkley

With the departure of Odell Beckham Jr., Barkley becomes the main threat for the New York Giants offense and should see a slight increase in usage. Like McCaffrey, Barkely is one of the leagues best dual threat running backs. He finished the season with 721 receiving yards on 91 receptions. While being one of the league’s top receiving backs, Barkley still finished the 2018 season with the second most total rushing yards and the fifth most rushing yards per game. After a season in the books, look for Barkley to be one of the first running backs off the board in your NFL Fantasy Football draft.

Sleepers – These running backs will be overlooked during your draft. They will be taken later in the draft but could help provide much needed depth at the running back position.

Josh Jacobs

The Oakland Raiders used their 24th overall draft pick to select Josh Jacobs out of Alabama. Jacobs was the top running back in the 2019 draft class. The Raiders went out and used this pick after finding out Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement in the days leading up to the draft. This left Jalen Richard, Isaiah Crowell, and DeAndre Washington as their top backs before drafting Jacobs. The addition of Jacobs meant that he would be competing with Crowell for the lead back role. That was until Crowell tore his achilles before the season actually started.

The Raiders signed former Raider Doug Martin following the news, but if I had to guess, Jacobs will be the lead back going into the season.

Kerryon Johnson

Johnson had an impressive showing in the limited time he saw the field for Detroit’s 2018 campaign. LeGarrette Blount was the main back last season with Johnson getting the second most touches. With Blount off the roster, the Lions are all in on Kerryon Johnson while Theo Riddick we be used in limited fashion, mainly as a pass catcher. Johnson ranked third last season in yards per rush out of all the qualified running backs, and he should be a great running back to add depth to your squad.

Busts – These running backs will be drafted higher than they should have been. They will not produce on a consistent basis and should not be expected too. Don’t get caught drafting one of these guys too early.

Adrian Peterson

The name is enticing. I’ve had Peterson on my team for the last couple years but this will be the year that I will not be looking to pickup the future Hall of Famer. The 34-year-old running back will be competing for snaps with Chris Thompson (mainly a pass catcher), Derrius Guice, and Bryce Love.

Derrius Guice looks to be the biggest contender for snaps as long as recovery from his season ending knee injury goes as planned. Gruden says Guice could be ready for training camp, or maybe even sooner.

The key point is this: we may not see the touches from AP as we are accustomed to, so be cautious before you think about picking him up.

Leonard Fournette

Fournette surprised us with a very impressive rookie campaign but had a less than stellar second year in only eight games of play. The thing with Fournette is he has been a bell cow back, but only averaged 3.3 yards per rush attempt last season.

Usually I’m all over running backs who get a lot of touches per game, but I’m going to want to see him rush for more yards and find the endzone more before I consider rostering him. He’s also missed 11 games in the last two seasons due to injury. Fournette would make a decent RB2, but don’t draft him to be your top back this season.

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