Next, we’ve got the running backs. There are some intriguing names out there this year, and I’ve got some hot takes to share.
- Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
It’s been many years since anyone has repeated as RB1, but JT is by far the safest pick in fantasy football this season. Although he was touchdown-dependent last season, Matt Ryan will elevate this Colts offense.
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey has faced some brutal injury luck in the past two seasons, but if he can stay healthy, he’s the most well-rounded fantasy back in the league. Baker Mayfield should be a substantial upgrade over Sam Darnold, too.
- Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers look like a contender this season, and Ekeler is their top offensive weapon. Look for him to get more opportunities on the ground this season, as LA should be up in more games than last season.
- Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Harris was incredibly inefficient last season, but his league-leading volume (381 touches) allowed him to have a stellar fantasy season. With a more developed offensive line and a more inexperienced group of QBs that’ll lean on him a ton, Harris should reach Le’Veon Bell status this season.
- D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
I’m a huge fan of Swift this season. He was incredible for the Lions before his season-derailing injury last season. Detroit will certainly give this young buck more work, and I think he’ll flourish this season.
- Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is coming off a career year, and his prospects have only improved. The Bengals revamped their offensive line almost completely, so he’ll have much more space to operate this season.
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Injuries have been the consistent plague to Cook’s career, but his speed has always propelled him to big fantasy seasons. Kevin O’Connell’s new offense should bring him more work in the passing game.
- Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
The news is out that Kamara’s trial has been pushed back even farther, meaning he most likely won’t face a suspension this season. Kamara’s connection with Jameis Winston is questionable, but he’s still the ultra-talented back that’s dominated the past few seasons.
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
I’m fading Derrick Henry for a number of reasons. He’s already over 28 years old, with his 29th birthday coming up in January. That’s well past the threshold for when running backs typically decline, not to mention he’s coming off a major foot injury. Furthermore, the Titans’ offense lost AJ Brown, who was a major space creator for Henry.
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
After an electric start to his career, injuries have slowed down Barkley’s development. However, Barkley is in a contract year, and I expect him to turn up (if he can stay on the field).
- Cam Akers, LA Rams
A torn Achilles tendon delayed the breakout of Cam Akers, but don’t expect it to be delayed any farther. He’s the sole proprietor of the Rams’ backfield, and I believe he’ll make the most of that opportunity.
- Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
Williams is already a prolific runner, he just needs the chance to be an every-down back. Melvin Gordon still lingers in Denver’s backfield, but expect Williams to gain a larger role as the season goes on.
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
While it’s true Jones will see an uptick in his receiving production due to the Packers’ loss of Davante Adams, he’s still aging and declining in production. Plus, the young stud AJ Dillon will steal plenty of touches from Jones.
- Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
By pure talent, Nick Chubb is a top-five RB in the NFL. However, Kareem Hunt is back this season, and we’ll see the Browns’ usual committee-run scheme in play.
- Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fournette popped off last season, but his weight and his age are concerning factors. The Bucs drafted Rachaad White this past offseason, so it doesn’t seem like they’re sold on Playoff Lenny for this season, too.
- David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
- James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
- Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
- J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
- Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
- Breece Hall, New York Jets
- Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
- Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
- Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
- Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
- AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
- Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
- Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
- Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins
- Damien Harris, New England Patriots
- Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
- Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
- Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots