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2018 Fantasy Review: Top 10 Running Backs

Saquon Barkley top ten running backs

Running backs have been all the rage the past few seasons in fantasy football. This is true whether you pound running backs early in your drafts or adhere to a #ZeroRB strategy. No matter what side of that debate you sit on, it still is helpful to see what it takes to be a top 10 running back. I’ll be looking at each players’ ADP, season-long stats, fantasy points, and their team share of carries and targets. This will give us a better picture of what to look for in our upcoming drafts when we’re searching for difference makers for our fantasy teams.

The Top 10

Player ADP (Pos) Carries (%) RuYDS (%) RuTD Tgts (%) Rec RecYd RecTDs PPR Points
S. Barkley 7 (RB6) 261 (80.3%) 1307 (85.7%) 11 121 (21.1%) 91 721 4 383.8
C. McCaffrey 15 (RB11) 219 (77.7%) 1098 (84.3% 7 124 (22.8%) 107 867 6 381.5
T. Gurley 1 (RB1) 256 (69%) 1251 (67.4%) 17 81 (14.9%) 59 580 4 368.1
A. Kamara 6 (RB5) 194 (51.3%) 883 (50%) 14 105 (20.5%) 81 709 4 348.2
E. Elliott 4 (RB4) 304 (85.9%) 1434 (90.9%) 6 95 (18.4%) 77 567 3 331.2
J. Conner 153 (RB55) 215 (71.4%) 973 (74.1%) 12 71 (10.5%) 55 497 1 280
J. White 111 (RB41) 94 (21.8%) 425 (22.7%) 5 123 (22.1%) 87 751 7 276.6
M. Gordon 12 (RB9) 175 (50.6%) 885 (51.9%) 10 66 (19%) 50 490 4 271.5
D. Johnson 3 (RB3) 258 (80.1%) 940 (81.5%) 7 76 (16.1%) 50 446 3 248.7
J. Mixon 24 (RB14) 237 (77.2%) 1168 (82.7%) 8 55 (10.4%) 43 296 1 243.3

*Fantasy points taken from FFToday. Statistical numbers taken from Pro Football Reference. ADP taken from FantasyPros.

Takeaways

There aren’t a lot of surprises here amongst the top 10 running backs from 2018. We want running backs that are going to be volume monsters. Only three of the ten running backs had fewer than 68% of their teams’ carries – Alvin Kamara, James White, and Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s lower carry numbers can be partially explained away by him appearing in just 12 games. Alvin Kamara we knew would be splitting time with Mark Ingram. James White got to the top by dominating the passing game – he was in the top-two in all of the categories I listed in terms of the passing game and his seven touchdowns through the air was first amongst the top ten running backs.

Something else that jumps out – our top ten running backs can’t be zeroes in the passing game. Every single back had at least 50 catches except for Joe Mixon. He was also the only running back to not surpass 300 receiving yards. With Zac Taylor coming in as the Bengals new head coach, I would expect his receiving numbers to see an increase.

Eight of the ten running backs had double-digit touchdowns, the two exceptions being Ezekiel Elliott and the aforementioned Mixon. Elliott made up for not hitting ten touchdowns by leading the NFL in rush yards and having the fifth-most receptions. Mixon quietly had the fourth-most rushing yards last year.

 

That’ll do it for recapping the top ten running backs from 2018. Keep your eyes peeled for the next article as I dive into the rest of the running backs to fill out the top 20! Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with our podcasts, as the guys have already given their early thoughts on 2019’s top ten running backs!

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