Here it is! My complete 1-66 PPR Running Back Cheat Sheet for the 2017 season! It is complete with outlook blurbs and projected stats for my current Top 66 running backs. The cheat sheet is subject to change as the offseason and practices continue, but as it stands, here is my complete ranking sheet for all draftable running backs!
1. David Johnson, ARI
2017 Projection: 310 attempts / 1364 rush yards / 14 rushing touchdowns; 82 receptions / 943 receiving yards / 4 receiving touchdowns (420 points)
Outlook: In just his second season in the NFL, David Johnson took the NFL and the fantasy world by storm en route to a historic fantasy campaign. Entering his second full year as the lead dog in the Arizona backfield with no real competition or threat to steal carries, DJ is the concensus #1 overall player in most formats this year, PPR included.
2. Le’veon Bell, PIT
2017 Projection: 320 attempts / 1600 rush yards / 12 rushing touchdowns; 70 receptions / 577 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (371 points)
Outlook: Le’veon Bell had a great year last year despite missing time due to a suspension. A full 16 game schedule and the motivation of the mystical contract year mean Le’veon pushes the limits of what we have seen from him through his first four years in the NFL en route to a #2 overall running back finish. Draft with confidence.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
2017 Projection: 310 attempts / 1590 rushing yards / 12 rushing touchdowns; 38 receptions / 40 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (322 points)
Outlook: Running behind the dominant Dallas offensive line, Elliott set all kinds of team and rookie records last season in a great year for the Cowboys offense. However, with some pieces missing from that offensive line this year and the development of Dak Prescott at quarterback, I believe Elliott takes a small step back from his massive 2016. Still a clear and easy top 3 option at the position, however.
4. Demarco Murray, TEN
2017 Projection: 275 attempts / 1237 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 48 receptions / 336 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (264 points)
Outlook: Murray looked revitalized after a trade sent him to the Tennessee Titans during the 2016 offseason after a down year in Philadelphia. One of the best all-around backs in the game, Murray returns to an offense dedicated to pounding the run every which way they can and has some new weapons around him on offense to hopefully take some of the defenders out of the box on early downs. I think Murray has a few years of relevance left and I am quite high on the Tennessee offense as a whole, Murray included, in 2017.
5. Jordan Howard, CHI
2017 Projection: 275 attempts / 1265 rushing yards / 7 rushing touchdowns; 38 receptions / 418 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (259 points)
Outlook: After taking over the starting role in Week 4, Howard literally ran away with the job. He performed extremely well on a sub-par Bears offense in 2016 and seemed to earn the confidence of the coaching staff almost instantly. With no real threat for carries behind him while being the object of many pre-season puff pieces in the media this year, Howard projects to be the bell cow running back on a team which has shown a dedication to handing him the ball each week.
6. Lesean McCoy, BUF
2017 Projection: 215 attempts / 1032 rushing yards / 9 rushing touchdowns; 45 receptions / 360 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (250 points)
Outlook: McCoy was simply a great running back in 2016 despite numberous touchdowns being vultured by backup Mike Gillislee. After losing Gillislee to the rival Patriots, McCoy returns as the clear favorite for every-down work in the Buffalo backfield. Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Williams will get their carries here and there, but 2016 demonstrated that McCoy has plenty left in the tank and will be the centerpiece, yet again, for the Buffalo offense. Attempts will be down as the Bills aim to keep McCoy fresh, but he is still a playmaker and will finish very well yet again this year (barring injury.)
7. Melvin Gordon, LAC
2017 Projection: 280 attempts / 1148 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 38 receptions / 304 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (242 points)
Outlook: Melvin Gordon burst onto the fantasy scene in 2016 after the Week 1 losses of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead. He quickly began to live up to his draft pedigree, demonstrating great hands in the passing game and good running out of the I-formation. However, a sub-4.0 yards per rush stat gives owners pause heading into 2017. I project Gordon to perform well again in a Los Angeles attack that projects to be much better at full health.
8. Devonta Freeman, ATL
2017 Projection: 240 attempts / 1080 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 40 receptions / 320 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdowns (240 points)
Outlook: Since 2015, Devonta Freeman has been one of the premier backs in the game while splitting time with Tevin Coleman. The guy simply gets it done week in and week out and usually finds a way to impact the game most weeks. He will be splitting duties with Coleman again this year, however he will be heavily involved in the Atlanta offense. I predict rushing attempts to rise in Atlanta with the loss of incumbent OC Kyle Shanahan, paving the way for excellent fantasy production for both Freeman and Coleman.
9. Mark Ingram, NO
2017 Projection: 180 attempts / 882 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 40 receptions / 280 receiving yards / 4 receiving touchdowns (228 points)
Outlook: The arrival of Adrian Peterson seemingly puts a large dent in Ingram’s fantasy value… or does it? Appearing to be on his last legs last year in Minnesota, there is perhaps not a more talked-about free agency arrival in the league than Peterson. Ingram, however, has continued to thrive when splitting time between guys like Darren Sproles, CJ Spiller and Tim Hightower throughout his career, and we cannot forget his passing game chops. I expect Ingram to be, well… Ingram, and catch his way to PPR value this year at a lower price than what he was valued at over the past few seasons. A good bargain.
10. Isaiah Crowell, CLE
2017 Projection: 240 attempts / 1080 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 34 receptions / 289 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (225 points)
Outlook: No running back did more with less last year than Isaiah Crowell. He averaged the fewest carries per game for a running back scoring in the Top 15 last year. This year, coach Hue Jackson has promised to get Crowell more involved on a team that projects to be a bit better this year than last. With Duke Johnson an option on passing downs, Crowell will still be involved through the air on a team with plenty of young and not-so-good options at quarterback. A dedication to establishing the run and grinding the clock in 2017 gives me a lot of faith in Crowell as a Top 10 producer this year.
11. Jay Ajayi, MIA
2017 Projection: 290 attempts / 1392 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 22 receptions / 143 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (223 points)
Outlook: One of 2016’s surprise performers, Ajayi demonstrated his skills as one of the NFL’s most balanced runners between power, speed, and shiftiness. He ran wild in a few games and brought the Dolphins back to the playoffs. This year, the coaching staff wants to get him even more involved, with rumors of 350+ touches being floated out there. Obviously, that’s a heavy burden, but if there is any year to get on the Ajayi bandwagon, it’s this year. Volume hog on an offense that projects to be better led by underappreciated coach Adam Gase. This is a team on the rise.
12. Tevin Coleman, ATL
2017 Projection: 130 rush / 625 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 42 receptions / 504 receiving yards / 5 receivinng touchdowns (220 points)
Outlook: Tevin Coleman has always had tantalizing talent, even in a time-share situation in Atlanta. Though he has been a bit frail through his first two NFL seasons, his talent is made clear every time he suits up as healthy for a game, especially through the air. Coleman and Freeman combine to form the most dangerous running back duo in the NFL. In a year where I expect him to be even more involved in the offense, Coleman offers great PPR upside for his modest price compared to the rest of the Top 12 and I believe he runs with his opportunities this year. If he plays all 16 games, he is a lock for Top 12 production in PPR leagues.
13. Bilal Powell, NYJ
2017 Projection: 150 attempts / 750 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 60 receptions / 420 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (213 points)
Outlook: Powell really caught on in the second half of the 2016 season as Matt Forte began to slow down. Young quarterbacks have a tendency to check down a lot to running backs, and the Jets boast two of the youngest (and worst) quarterbacks in football. Josh McCown has demonstrated a knack for involving running backs in the passing game in his career as well, and on a team that projects to be behind quite frequently (which leads to more passing plays being called) I like Powell to heavilg outdo Matt Forte in both offensive snaps and fantasy production.
14. Joe Mixon, CIN
2017 Projection: 220 attempts / 1056 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 20 receptions / 200 rushing yards / 3 receiving touchdowns (211 points)
Outlook: A first round talent, Mixon fell in the 2016 draft due to major character concerns. He was drafted to a team that doesn’t really have a truly great running back, but just a couple of guys who do certain things very well in Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard (coming off of a torn ACL.) Bernard will not be ready for Week 1, which bodes well for Mixon’s involvement in the passing game early. Said to look fast, strong, and shifty in his early practices with Cincinnati, and coming out of a program that has produced many NFL talents in Adrian Peterson and Demarco Murray, I expect Mixon to be the runaway Rookie of the Year and put some good games on tape. A great RB2 if you can get him. Beware the hype machine.
15. Todd Gurley, LAR
2017 Projection: 260 attempts / 1040 rushing yards / 10 rushing touchdowns; 22 receptions / 176 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (203 points)
Outlook: Gurley had an absolutely horrific 2016. The offense was horrible under old coach Jeff Fisher, and first overall pick Jared Goff looked like a deer in the headlights on every single drop back. After adding to the offensive line with the addition of Andrew Whitworth and adding some actual threats on offense, combined with adding a great new offensive mind in head coach Sean McVay, I project Gurley to be a great bounce-back player this year en route to a season we expected him to have last year.
16. Lamar Miller, HOU
2017 Projection: 200 attempts / 840 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 35 receptions / 245 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (197 points)
Outlook: Lamar Miller is not an every-down NFL running back. He just isn’t. He breaks down constantly and gets progressively worse with more carries. The Texans invested a draft pick in D’Onta Foreman this offseason to take heat off Miller, and this addition will negatively impact Miller’s opportunities in 2017. However, when used properly, he is a dangerous weapon on a team full of them. I expect the coaching staff to better manage Miller’s touches this year, which I believe will actually lead to slightly less production but a higher chance of durability and consistency in Miller’s game. When the Texans are up, I can see him coming out of the game, which is a dangerous proposition on a team with such a great defense. Opportunities for him to score will still be there, though.
17. Theo Riddick, DET
2017 Projection: 45 attempts / 157 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown; 75 receptions / 600 receiving yards / 6 receiving touchdowns (192 points)
Outlook: A receiver in a running back’s body, Theo Riddick is one of the most proficient receiving backs in the NFL today. Signed to an extension last offseason, Riddick is a cemented part of the Lions aerial attack. The departure of Anquan Boldin frees up some red zone opportunities for other members of this offense, and I expect Riddick to thrive in his reprised role as passing-game specialist. Always a threat for big weeks in PPR combined with his relatively low-cost to others in the Top 20, Riddick will continue to be a great pick and valued part of the Lions attack. Stafford loves him, and it will show again this year.
18. Leonard Fournette, JAX
2017 Projection: 230 attempts / 920 rushing yards / 10 rushing touchdowns; 15 receptions / 160 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (189 points)
Outlook: The first running back taken in this year’s NFL Draft lands on a team which has not experienced much success on the ground since the days of (prime) Maurice Jones-Drew. New coach Doug Marrone brought life to a dead offense after taking over as coach late in 2016, and has a history of running the ball well and letting his quarterbacks manage the game, in a sense, after his run in Buffalo. The team seemed to play much better for Marrone last year after he took over, and Fournette’s power, tenacity and strong lower body will bode well for his chances at a Year 1 impact. On an offense that seems poised to bounce back to respectable, I expect Fournette to get carries early and often and turn those carries into a Top-20 fantasy season.
19. Terrance West, BAL
2017 Projection: 220 attempts / 924 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 28 receptions / 196 receptions / 0 receiving touchdowns (187 points)
Outlook: After revitalizing his career in Baltimore in 2016, West looked the part of a two-down running back in the Baltimore attack. Looking spry and decisive as a runner, things he lacked in Cleveland to start his career, West got accustomed to the lead back role and turned in a respectable fantasy season. Continuity in Baltimore and the increase in weapons in the attack, combined with the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta, lend me to believe that the opportunities will be there for West on a team that projects to slow the game down and grind the clock. Kenneth Dixon is a threat to his production, but he is suspended for the first four games of the season, and as a result I like West to produce low-end RB2 production in his role. He is probably likely to average 10-12 points a week, and he can be had much later in drafts.
20. Ameer Abdullah, DET
2017 Projection: 160 attempts / 768 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 32 receptions / 256 receiving yards / 2 recieving touchdowns (181 points)
Outlook: After missing the entire 2016 season due to a Lisfranc injury in his foot, Abdullah looks to return to form and cash in on his draft pedigree that the Lions trusted in the 2015 draft. On a team with a lot of guys who only do certain things right in the running game, Abdullah returns with clear opportunity to run away with the job. A shifty, small runner with passing game talent, Abdullah will get his chances in the Detroit backfield this season. The question is: will he hold up? He has never rushed for 80 yards in a game in his career. Will his time away harm him, or get him healed up and ready to produce? This is a player well-worth the risk in 2017.
21. Marshawn Lynch, OAK
2017 Projection: 200 attempts / 1000 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 200 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (180 points)
Outlook: Marshawn Lynch returns to the NFL for his hometown team, the Oakland Raiders. Bringing life to a disenfranchised fan base due to their impending move to Las Vegas, Lynch returns healthy and with a renewed focus as he looks to be the missing piece to spurring his hometown team to new heights in 2017. Always a threat to run over multiple defenders and seemingly will himself into the end zone, I expect him to have value if his body holds up. After a year away from the game and with new motivation, I’d never bet against Lynch.
22. Kareem Hunt, KC
2017 Projection: 140 attempts / 700 rushing yards / 9 rushing touchdowns; 28 receptions / 182 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (176 points)
Outlook: I’m pretty high on Kareem Hunt. Andy Reid running backs are always excellent fantasy plays (see: Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, and Spencer Ware when he is healthy.) The problem with Ware is that he is frequently banged up and had concussion issues last year. I think the Chiefs added Hunt to their already-crowded backfield for a reason and as a result, believe he will put up low-end RB2 numbers in what is sure to be a time share. The hype won’t die on this kid and I believe he plays well despite it.
23. Duke Johnson Jr., CLE
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 360 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown; 60 receptions / 600 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (174 points)
Outlook: The complimentary back to Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson has some of the best hands and moves out of the backfield in the entire NFL. Playing for a coach dedicated to getting every running back involved, combined with young quarterbacks aplenty on the roster, means that the check downs will be there. Hue Jackson realizes that Crow and Johnson are the two best weapons on the team and give the Browns their best chance to win; both will be fed early and often. A good flex play based on passing game volume.
24. Christian McCaffery, CAR
2017 Projection: 100 attempts / 500 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 26 receptions / 286 receiving yards / 4 receiving touchdowns (164 points)
Outlook: The Panthers seemed locked in on Christian McCaffery from the beginning of draft season, and they made him a Top 10 pick in April’s draft. A dynamic threat from everywhere on the field in college, McCaffery is one of the most polarizing prospects at the position in years. He lands in Carolina with Cam Newton, who will help McCaffery become an instant hit in the run-option game. With brittle Jonathan Stewart in front of him, McCaffery will be a playmaker from Week 1 in the Carolina offense. Beware the time share with Stewart… but if he goes down, McCaffery is a great play.
25. C.J. Prosise, SEA
2017 Projection: 35 attempts / 175 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown; 58 receptions / 580 receiving yards / 4 receiving touchdowns (163 points)
Outlook: It took Prosise a little while to get going last year in Seattle, but once he established himself as a weapon (albeit briefly,) he really got a lot of buzz in the Seattle backfield. A dynamic passing game weapon, a healthy Prosise brings another element to the Seattle offense as a back with breakaway speed who can take little dump off passes all the way to the end zone. Prosise is going to get a lot of play when Seattle is behind, which may happen more often than not this year. This defense is getting older, and I project Prosise to have his fair share of opportunities. If he figures out how to run the ball in the NFL, he will have massive value.
26. C.J. Anderson, DEN
2017 Projection: 150 attempts / 675 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 20 receptions / 160 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (163 points)
Outlook: The Denver backfield has all the makings of a messy running back by committee in 2017, but Anderson is by far the most talented. After an injury-plagued 2016, the Broncos signed free agent Jamaal Charles to help out and return fantasy flame-out Devontae Booker. Anderson is the best player in this committee and will likely play on the first two downs. With a history of being a bell-cow back, he could take over the lion’s share of the backfield work in Denver on a team that projects to grind clock each week. A great pick at his current ADP.
27. Dalvin Cook, MIN
2017 Projection: 160 attempts / 640 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 30 receptions / 240 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (160 points)
Outlook: A prolific running back at Florida State, Cook lands in a situation where he can quickly and easily ascend to the top of the depth chart. Free agent signing Latavius Murray is incredibly mediocre, and Jerrick McKinnon can’t handle more than 5 carries a game. That leaves plenty of room for Dalvin Cook to run away with the Vikings running back job. Will he? I can see it. Already deemed “special” by the coaching staff, I expect Cook to take over by the middle of the season and run away with the majority of the carries. How involved will he be in the first few weeks is the real question. Pass protection is always a big thing with rookie running backs. He will have to master that before he gets a big role.
28. Doug Martin, TB
2017 Projection: 180 attempts / 792 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 20 receptions / 180 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (159 points)
Outlook: Suspended for the first four weeks of this season, perhaps no player was a bigger bust in 2016 than Doug Martin. After losing the final few weeks of last season due to an addiction problem, Martin returns to a backfield that really didn’t add much in 2017. He appears to have a renewed focus on both football and fitness, and has historically played well when playing for more guaranteed money. With no guarantees left on his current deal, Martin has all the motivation – and opportunity, in the world, to win many teams some championships. A value at his current ADP (as of mid-June.)
29. Spencer Ware, KC
2017 Projection: 140 attempts / 630 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 28 receptions / 280 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (155 points)
Outlook: Ware has proven to be a pretty good NFL running back in his career. After being a late-round pick by Seattle, he established himself in Kansas City and earned an extension as a stop-gap running back to whoever the Chiefs may find next. A bigger back, Ware lacks the speed and elusiveness to be a lead NFL runner. However, he is an excellent back-up and all-around weapon for the Chiefs. I believe he starts the year as the starter, and then gives way to upstart rookie Kareem Hunt. Still will be useful if Hunt gets injured, and on his own, not a bad option some weeks.
30. Frank Gore, IND
2017 Projection: 160 attempts / 576 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 30 receptions / 228 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (154 points)
Outlook: Another ho-hum year for the ageless wonder Frank Gore. Gore led the Indy backfield in usage again last year, and seems to have settled in as a guy the Colts can rely on for a bunch of carries per game and a few receptions as well. The Colts drafted Marlon Mack in the fourth round this year to take some heat off of Gore, and I believe this has the makings of a full-blown committee in Indy. I like Mack as a runner, and I also don’t trust Gore’s durability. In an aerial-attack oriented offense, I’d leave Gore to be someone else’s problem.
31. James White, NE
2017 Projection: 35 attempts / 140 rushing yards / 0 rushing touchdowns; 57 receptions / 558 receiving yards / 4 receiving touchdowns (151 points)
Outlook: Last year’s Super Bowl hero, White returns to a New England backfield that stocked up on runners this offseason, resigning Brandon Bolden and signing Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet. Even with Dion Lewis already in tow (but reportedly on the way out,) White is still the primary passing down weapon in New England and will be the go-to guy for receptions. I don’t think he’s a great NFL runner, but he has the trust of Brady and the coaching staff in the passing game, which I believe will make him valuable most weeks, and especially in games where the Patriots fall behind.
32. Paul Perkins, NYG
2017 Projection: 170 attempts / 731 rushing yards / 5 rushing touchdowns; 20 receptions / 220 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (151 points)
Outlook: Perkins returns for his second year in New York with no real competition for carries. Selected by the current front office regime in New York, Perkins will have an opportunity to run away with the job in training camp. The incumbent #1 running back on the depth chart, it’s up to Perkins to determine the pecking order at the position. Will he cash in? Even if he does, Shane Vereen looms for passing formations on a team that throws it more than most in the NFL. He will have value and be worth a roster spot, however New York passes the ball so much, and it’ll be tough to predict when Perkins will be startable.
33. Mike Gillislee, NE
2017 Projection: 160 attempts / 800 rushing yards / 10 rushing touchdowns; 6 receptions / 36 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (149 points)
Outlook: A touchdown dynamo during his time in Buffalo, Gillislee signed with rival New England in pursuit of a feature back role. Gillislee projects to be the running back when the Patriots are ahead and also on early downs, which is a role that carries huge fantasy value. Gillislee will get his opportunities to pound the ball into the end zone and grind clock. He could easily outperform these yardage projections this year, but the Patriots figure to involve the swiss army knife in Rex Burkhead on early downs as well. He will produce scores in this offense.
34. Rob Kelley, WSH
2017 Projection: 140 attempts / 644 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 15 receptions / 105 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (143 points)
Outlook: Kelley burst onto the scene last year and had a few good weeks of fantasy production. However, the new Redskins regime selected running back Samaje Perine in the fourth round of this year’s draft, and he is naturally more quick, elusive, and plainly talented than Kelley. Jay Gruden is always a fan of incorporating multiple runners in his history as an NFL coach, and I expect this backfield to be pretty evenly cut between Kelley and Perine. Chris Thompson will also have a role as well, which leads me to believe that Kelley regresses a bit from last year’s stats (through no fault of his own.)
35. Derrick Henry, TEN
2017 Projection: 130 attempts / 624 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 18 receptions / 180 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (134 points)
Outlook: Derrick Henry is a bad man. He runs so angry and is impossible to take down one on one. Unfortunately, Demarco Murray has a stranglehold on the lead back job in Tennessee, leaving Henry as just a change of pace guy and grinder. He is a very talented runner who showed skill in a variety of situations during his rookie year last year, and he will find ways to maximize his opportunities in the Tennessee offense. If Murray goes down, Henry is an instant RB1. One of the only handcuffs worth actually rostering. Henry will surprise in a starting role.
36. Latavius Murray, MIN
2017 Projection: 120 attempts / 480 rushing yards / 7 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 163 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (131 points)
Outlook: From one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to one of the worst, no player made out as well in free agency this year than Latavius Murray. A completely mediocre running back with no real quickness (who also can’t break tackles,) Murray enters a backfield with rookie Dalvin Cook, who is naturally much more talented. Murray was a beast on the goal line last year though, and figures to have a similar opportunity for production in this new Vikings offense. I don’t believe he holds the starting job all season, but I believe he finds his niche on the goal line for sure. Not a threat in the receiving game, let someone else draft Latavius Murray, even at his falling ADP.
37. Carlos Hyde, SF
2017 Projection: 160 attempts / 672 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 18 receptions / 90 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (130 points)
Outlook: Carlos Hyde is on his way out of San Francisco. An injury-prone enigma, Hyde enters Year 4 with San Francisco with his role in flux. The new front office brought in rookies Matt Breida and Joe Williams to compete with Hyde, and early reports are that both look impressive and are fixing to have roles. I don’t feel like Hyde makes it to the season with the 49ers, truthfully. I think he will be moved for a pick to an AFC team. He’s not a reliable running back as far as durability goes, and on a team that projects to be very, very bad offensively, I’d let him be someone else’s headache.
38. Jalen Richard, OAK
2017 Projection: 100 attempts / 500 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 32 receptions / 240 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (130 points)
Outlook: Jalen Richard is a playmaker. He won’t have the opportunity this year with Marshawn Lynch in town, but this kid can play. Settling in as the third down back and passing game contributor, Richard is a force in the passing game and has elite quickness. Lynch is obviously the back to own, but in games that project to be shootouts, Richard has some sneaky value. Will be a better DFS piece than season-long piece for owners, but he will make some noise in the league this year. A great piece for the Raiders offense.
39. Chris Thompson, WSH
2017 Projection: 55 attempts / 275 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 45 receptions / 324 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (128 points)
Outlook: Chris Thompson will always have a role on the Redskins. A true passing down weapon, he will be in the game when the Skins are behind and airing it out. The problem is, they are usually in some close games and like to grind the clock, and project to run more with the loss of passing down weapons Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson. Thompson will have good weeks and have very bad weeks. Players like him are great weapons for teams, but practically unusable unless you know something the general public doesn’t know. A much better real-life player than fantasy player.
40. Jeremy Hill, CIN
2017 Projection: 120 attempts / 456 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 18 receptions / 135 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (124 points)
Outlook: No player is more efficient at scoring touchdowns over the last 3 years than Jeremy Hill. He leads the league in touchdowns scored at his position, thanks in large part to owning the feature back role in Cincinnati over that time. However, Hill struggles a bit between the 20s and this inefficiency caused the Bengals to select the all-purpose runner Joe Mixon in the second round of this year’s draft. I expect Hill to take a back-seat to Mixon but still retain his role down near the goal line. I also expect this Cincinnati offense to score a lot more than recent years, with some new passing game weapons and a continued dedication to running the ball. I like Mixon a lot more, but in touchdown-only leagues, much like Latavius Murray before him, Hill can have some sneaky value.
41. Matt Forte, NYJ
2017 Projection: 120 attempts / 420 rushing yards / 5 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 200 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdowns (123 points)
Outlook: Matt Forte returns for his second year in New York and appears to hae been overtaken in the backfield by Bilal Powell, who looks something like a young Matt Forte. The New York offense isn’t scaring anyone, and as the most proven threat on offense, defenses will be keying in on Forte early in most games, forcing the Jets to beat them through the air. I think this projects as a tough year for Matt Forte. Powell looks to snare the #1 role at running back.
42. Legarrette Blount, PHI
2017 Projection: 170 attempts / 680 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 5 receptions / 25 yards / 0 touchdowns (123 points)
Outlook: LeGarrette Blount finally found a home in Philadelphia after a long portion of the offseason was spent on the street. Last year’s leader in rushing touchdowns, Blount brings his newfound scoring prowess to a Philadelphia offense that hasn’t been set at the position in many years. Blount has always played poorly on good teams outside of New England, and I expect a bit of a regression for Blount now that he has earned himself some money. I also expect him to split plenty of time with the younger, fresher backs on the Eagles roster, along with Darren Sproles. Don’t buy.
43. Jonathan Stewart, CAR
2017 Projection: 180 attempts / 666 rushing yards / 8 rushing touchdowns; 5 receptions / 35 yards / 0 touchdowns (122 points)
Outlook: The Panthers brought in a new backfield mate for Stewart this offseason, investing their first round pick in the dynamic Christian McCaffery. McCaffery will eat into Stewart’s time in the backfield, and he projects to take over completely if the brittle Stewart suffers an in-season injury. I expect the time to be split pretty evenly between the two of them, with Newton stealing red zone and goal line opportunities from both. I think Stewart still has some scoring upside left to his name, but the yards may not be there. He will be valuable at the right price.
44. Thomas Rawls, SEA
2017 Projection: 100 attempts / 500 rushing yards / 6 rushing touchdowns; 16 receptions / 120 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (120 points)
Outlook: Rawls returned from a broken leg in 2016 only to experience more complications which ultimately torpedoed his fantasy season. After showing off some serious skills in a limited sample size in 2015, Rawls returns to split backfield work with free agent signee Eddie Lacy. I expect Rawls to form the smaller part of the committee but still have some value. He also has to contend with receiving specialist C.J. Prosise. This is an ugly backfield and though talented, I think Rawls will struggle for relevance.
45. Darren Sproles, PHI
2017 Projection: 70 attempts / 280 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 40 receptions / 280 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (120 points)
Outlook: Sproles had a pretty serviceable year last year in Philadelphia, but the Eagles brought in LeGarrette Blount and Donnel Pumphrey, and return Wendell Smallwood to this crowded backfield. Sproles is a hit-or-miss option in most leagues, but could have PPR value in weeks that the Eagles project to be behind. I’d avoid Sproles in most leagues unless you want to stream him in tougher matchups.
46. Kenneth Dixon, BAL
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 320 rushing yards / 3 rushing touchdowns; 35 receptions / 210 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (118 points)
Outlook: Kenneth Dixon showed us he could play in the NFL last year. The problem is, I believe Terrance West is a better overall back. Dixon is suspended for the first four weeks of the 2017 season, and I believe West cements himself as the top option in the backfield during his absence. The Ravens signed somewhat of a redundant pass-catching talent in the offseason by bringing in Danny Woodhead, who is more likely to eat into Dixon’s snaps than West’s. Overall, I think Dixon does well with his opportunities, but I also think they are limited.
47. Tim Hightower, SF
2017 Projection: 110 attempts / 440 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 18 receptions / 162 receiing yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (114 points)
Outlook: Hightower revived his career down in New Orleans, and parlayed it into a new deal with the 49ers. A pass-protecting dynamo with some receiving skills as well, I project Hightower to get some work near the goal line and on long yardage downs. He can clearly still play and the time off seems to have served him well. A trade or injury to Carlos Hyde will have him playing much more than he currently projects to. A great real-life player and a mediocre at best fantasy option.
48. Rex Burkhead, NE
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 352 rushing yards / 3 rushing touchdowns; 24 receptions / 240 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (113 points)
Outlook: Rex Burkhead is very quietly an excellent player. He literally does everything you need a third-string running back to do, and he does it well. He is also an excellent athlete. Landing in New England, there are a ton of mouths to feed and Burkhead finds himself in a position battle with Mike Gillislee. If Burkhead wins, he will smash these projections. I just don’t expect him to. A great third-down option and special teams ace who will have opportunities due to the mismatches he creates. The hype could be justified.
49. Danny Woodhead, BAL
2017 Projection: 25 rushes / 100 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown; 50 receptions / 350 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (113 points)
Outlook: Woodhead left San Diego for Baltimore this offseason, and with him he brings his excellent passing game skills. However, he is 31 and coming off of a torn ACL, which could hamper the start he is able to get with the Ravens. There is a crowded backfield in Baltimore, and it’s possible that Dixon beats out Woodhead for passing down work. In any case, West is the lead dog and Woodhead’s role remains to be seem. I think we’ve seen the best from Woodhead already and that he becomes a small part of the offense as a result. Too small of a role for fantasy.
50. Zack Zenner, DET
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 320 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 225 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (109 points)
Outlook: I think Zack Zenner is an excellent football player. He just isn’t as athletic as the other players at his position on the Lions roster. Riddick is a great pass catcher, and Abdullah is a better pure runner. He will still get his opportunities, as the Lions like to spread the love at the position, however he will struggle for relevance unless there is an injury in front of him.
51. Marlon Mack, IND
2017 Projection: 110 attempts / 440 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 150 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (108 points)
Outlook: The Colts drafted Mack in the fourth round of this year’s draft as Frank Gore’s successor in the near future. However, Robert Turbin had a mega-efficient year last year when carrying the ball near the goal line, and is a proven commodity in the league. Mack will get his share of chances, but Turbin would be the back to own if you were looking to handcuff Gore.
52. Shane Vereen, NYG
2017 Projection: 40 attempts / 180 rushing yards / 0 rushing touchdowns; 40 receptions / 340 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (104 points)
Outlook: Vereen is the most competent pass catcher ona team that throws the ball a ton. Unfortunately, he’s about the fifth option or so on passing downs. He will get a few targets per game and be playing when the Giants are behind, but ona team that projects to be pretty good, I find it hard to believe that Vereen grasps fantasy relevance as a pass catching specialist on an offense so loaded.
53. Giovanni Bernard, CIN
2017 Projection: 60 attempts / 228 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 30 receptions / 240 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (100 points)
Outlook: A once highly thought of prospect is now an afterthought in the Cincinnati offense, especially due to the fact that Bernard is coming off of a torn ACL. A close call for Week 1, he will be eased back in and have even more limited opportunities with the drafting of Joe Mixon. He needs a change of scenery to return to fantasy relevance.
54. Joe Williams, SF
2017 Projection: 100 attempts / 380 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 28 receptions / 224 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (100 points)
Outlook: A favorite of the new regime, the front office talked up Joe Williams all offseason long. However, reports out of 49ers OTAs state that UDFA Matt Breida is performing better, and with Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower still in tow, it’s going to be hard for Joe Williams to make a rookie year impact. He could factor into things on passing downs, but I’d ignore him for fantasy purposes.
55. Adrian Peterson, NO
2017 Projection: 100 rushes / 500 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 10 receptions / 60 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (96 points)
Outlook: A lot of websites and cheat sheets have Adrian Peterson ranked pretty high. However, I don’t really like him in New Orleans. I don’t think he fits the offense too well, and I believe his skills and durability have really declined badly. Mark Ingram is the best running back in New Orleans – a hot take? Yes, but there is certainly truth to it. He knows the offense, catches the ball well and can protect Drew Brees from the blitz. I think Peterson contributes in small batches, but don’t feel like he still has the skills or durability necessary to become a reliable, weekly fantasy option.
56. Eddie Lacy, SEA
2017 Projection: 120 attempts / 576 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 10 receptions / 50 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (96 points)
Outlook: The Seahwks signed Eddie Lacy to a one-year deal this offseason, and he is now firmly entrenched in a committee with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. Lacy’s motivation has always been in question, however he is now reportedly as committed to the game as he has ever been. Unfortunately, he’s in a committee behind the worst offensive line in the game. I don’t expect much from the Seahawks ground attack this year. Let someone else worry about Eddie Lacy.
57. Samaje Perine, WSH
2017 Projection: 110 attempts / 440 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 10 receptions / 80 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (92 points)
Outlook: A lot of people are high on Perine, but a rookie running back needs to nail down pass protection if they are going to get playing time. Rob Kelley does it better and proved himself to be a competent running back last year. I think Perine gets opportunities in certain spots, but struggles to find consistent playing time. An injury to Kelley puts him firmly on the map, however. I just don’t buy the hype on this kid at this point in the offseason.
58. Jacquizz Rodgers, TB
2017 Projection: 110 attempts / 450 rushing yards / 3 rushing touchdowns; 15 receptions / 120 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (90 points)
Outlook: The projected starter for the first 3 weeks of the season until Doug Martin returns, Rodgers is a servicebale NFL backup. He won’t break many tackles or kill you with speed, but he will get the yards that are there. He needs 25+ carries in a game to have a great day. I don’t see him having much relevance once Martin comes back from suspension. He could help you in Weeks 1-3 as long as the cost associated isn’t too high. Afterwards, he will be waiver wire fodder.
59. Jamaal Charles, DEN
2017 Projection: 70 attempts / 280 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 22 receptions / 154 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (83 points)
Outlook: Charles’ knees are shot. I think he finds a small healthy window this season, but as the distant third of a committee behind CJ Anderson and Devontae Booker, Charles won’t be able to be relied upon as a fantasy starter. He’s near the end. He will make a few plays for the Broncos for sure, but not enough to warrant serious consideration as a rosterable guy.
60. Jerrick McKinnon, MIN
2017 Projection: 50 attempts / 190 rushing yards / 0 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions / 150 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (71 points)
Outlook: McKinnon had his chance last year to run away with the Vikings starting running back job and rolled over. He isn’t an NFL caliber running back. Behind Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook, McKinnon is closer to being out of the league than to grasping fantasy relevance. The SPARQ freak can be left on the wire.
61. Robert Turbin, IND
2017 Projection: 40 attempts / 140 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 20 receptions / 100 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (68)
Outlook: The handcuff to own behind Frank Gore, Turbin is deadly efficient on the goal line. The problem is that he doesn’t get too many cracks at it. Marlon Mack is the better all around running back, but Turbin has proven that he can do most things at least at an average rate. He will vulture touchdowns in this backfield, but it will take an injury for him to gain relevance in the fantasy world.
62. Damien Williams, MIA
2017 Projection: 30 attempts / 102 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 18 receptions / 162 receiving yards / 2 receiving touchdowns (68 points)
Outlook: Kenyon Drake is the handcuff to own in Miami. Williams chips in in spots and around the goal line, but Drake is the guy to cuff Ajayi with. I expect Drake to be very good if Ajayi goes down, however if he doesn’t I expect Drake to have similar stats as Williams here. Not a very messy fantasy situation, which is good.
63. Chris Ivory, JAX
2017 Projection: 60 attempts / 234 rushing yards / 4 rushing touchdowns; 10 receptions / 90 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (66 points)
Outlook: A huge free agent miss by Jacksonville, Ivory’s role has now been stolen by Leonard Fournette. Will still get carries here and there when Fournette needs a breather, but totally avoidable for fantasy purposes for anything other than handcuffing Fournette.
64. Jonathan Williams, BUF
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 320 rushing yards / 3 rushing touchdowns; 5 receptions / 35 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown (64 points)
Outlook: Hasn’t shown much yet and couldn’t find his way into any meaningful time in the Buffalo backfield last season. McCoy will dominate work in Buffalo, and again, this is only a player you take as a handcuff, if you want to burn a roster spot. Avoidable.
65. Charcandrick West, KC
2017 Projection: 60 attempts / 216 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown; 18 receptions / 144 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (59 points)
Outlook: An afterthought on offense, West will only be usable if there is an injury in the KC backfield. He’s a fringe NFL prospect and could get cut by the end of camp.
66. Jamaal Williams, GB
2017 Projection: 80 attempts / 300 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns; 5 receptions / 50 receiving yards / 0 receiving touchdowns (52 points)
Outlook: I’m pretty high on Ty Montgomery as the Packers running back, so while many think Williams can be a sneaky pick-up, I’m of the opposite opinion that he won’t have much value this season unless Montgomery completely face plants as the starter. Could have huge value with an injury, so he isn’t a bad stash if your handcuffs get scooped up.