Fantasy Football isn’t all about having the top scoring guy in the league. While that helps, depth is more important. Most of your tier one running backs will be taken in the first round. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon (maybe?), Todd Gurley, and Le’Veon Bell are your tier one group. You’ll want to roster at least one of these guys as your RB1, but picking your next running backs are just as important.
Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals
I’ve said Mixon’s breakout year was supposed to be last season. In his second year, he managed to finish 9th in fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. Now with Zac Taylor as head coach, Mixon should see an increase from last season. Taylor may have only been a quarterbacks coach last season with the Rams but he has some experience with one of the better running backs in the league. Gurley was a threat through the air just as much as he was on the ground. Look for Mixon to play a similar role this year (hopefully without the late season injury). Mixon stats jumped quite a bit from his rookie year. Last season, Mixon rushed for 1168 rushing yards increasing his yard per game average by nearly 40 yards. He also doubled his touchdown production from his rookie year by finding the end zone eight times last season. Most impressively he went from averaging 3.5 yards per carry his rookie year to 4.9 last season. Look for Mixon to become even a better threat next season and one of the top tier two running backs in the league and may even move into that tier one list with the help of new head coach Zac Taylor.
James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers
James Conner really made a name for himself last season while Le’Veon Bell sat due to the two sides not being able to negotiate a contract. The Steelers will be bringing back four of their starting linemen from last season, which was already one of the top lines in the league. Losing right tackle Marcus Gilbert and offensive line coach Mike Munchak could hurt Conner a little but he will still have a solid squad protecting him. Conner finished last season with 973 rushing yards and finding the end zone a total of 13 times (12 rushing and 1 receiving). It also wasn’t rare for him to have 40 or 50 rushing yards which is just an added bonus. If the Steelers decide to rely on him more after losing their best receiver, Conner would be a solid RB2 for your fantasy team.
Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns
The thing that scares me the most about Chubb is the quality of running backs behind him. We saw how impactful Kareem Hunt was with the Kansas City Chiefs last season. Even though Hunt will be suspended the first eight games it makes me wonder if he will take some of the work load away from Chubb. Duke Johnson has been that 3rd down back Cleveland has relied on. While I don’t see him being much of a threat to Chubb’s workload, it could get tricky once Hunt is back. Johnson has requested a trade but the Browns have no intention on trading him. Chubb became a very important pickup last season after picking up a heavy work load in week seven. While not getting a full workload until nearly halfway through the season, Chubb still finished top ten in rushing yards and found the end zone 8 times. Given a full workload all season his numbers would have been right up there with the best of them.