So many running backs, so little time! This week I wanted to give a quick snap shot of the running back to roster for each of the 32 NFL teams and their average draft position (ADP). The list is alphabetical; these are not rankings!
Arizona Cardinals – David Johnson (ADP 1)
With 58 red zone carries resulting in 14 rushing touchdowns in 2016, it’s plain to see Johnson is the top option in scoring situations for Arizona. Opportunity is king and right now Johnson is arguable the king of fantasy football.
Atlanta Falcons – Devonta Freeman (ADP 11)
The offensive coordinator is gone and everyone in the fantasy community is expecting regression for one reason or another. His 11th overall ADP will force you to spend a high pick if you want him but he’s got a better track record than most of the backs going just behind him. His versatility should lessen the blow of any regression and his big contract cements his status as lead dog in this backfield.
Baltimore Ravens – Danny Woodhead (ADP 71)
Easily the best pass catching back in Baltimore. Joe Flacco attempted the second-most passes in the NFL last season (672) with 18 percent of those receptions going to the backfield. I expect that number to rise with Woodhead in town. Terrance West‘s ADP keeps rising with Ken Dixon on Injured Reserve, but Danny Woodhead remains the back to own in 2017 given his defined role.
Buffalo Bills – LeSean McCoy (ADP 7)
He is 29 years young and still one of the best in the business. The departure from a dedicated run-first offense won’t affect a back who caught 50 passes – 10th among running backs – in 2016.
Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffrey (ADP 36)
The do-it-all electrifying Stanford product may be splitting carries with Jonathan Stewart this season but he should still get the bulk of the work given his versatility in all facets of the game. He won’t be cheap but if you have any doubt about investing just go watch some of his Stanford film. He is a special talent.
Chicago Bears – Jordan Howard (ADP 14)
There is “sophomore slump” risk at his current 14th overall ADP but his involvement in the passing game should allow for plenty of volume despite game flow. I’m not concerned about the whole “he’s on a bad team” stigma – the Bears were pretty bad last season too!
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon (ADP 39)
Much like McCaffrey, Joe Mixon will be sharing carries with his predecessors. Mixon combines the early down abilities possessed by Jeremy Hill with the passing down chops Giovani Bernard brings to the table. Having Mixon on the field could give the Bengals offense a new dimension to kick things up a notch and get this team over the hump.
Cleveland Browns – Duke Johnson (ADP 111)
Johnson had 53 receptions last season (good for sixth-most among running backs and just one reception shy of first-rounder Devonta Freeman). The backfield split was 55/45 in favor of Crowell last season too so it’s not all Crowell’s show as many would think. If Johnson had found the end zone a few more times last season Crowell’s hype train might not be what it is today. It’s also likely Johnson will have dual eligibility (running back/wide receiver) in many leagues, making him all the more useful in 2017.