Running Back Drafting Advice

Every couple of years, I add more advice to these pages. If you are a beginner to fantasy football, you should take a look at the sections below. For this season, the advice doesn't really change for each position; but I still want to give you some advice to follow for this season's draft.

If you are looking for a running back that is likely to have a better season based upon a coaching or scheme change, try drafting one of the following RBs: Reggie Bush, Jamaal Charles, C.J. Spiller.

If you are looking for a running back with an increased snap count, draft the following RBs: David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Shane Vereen, Bernard Pierce, Bilal Powell.

If you are looking for a quite running back that has the most upside, draft the following RBs: DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram, LaMichael James.

If you are looking to avoid a running back that has moved into a less favorable position, you should avoid the following RBs: Chris Johnson, Joique Bell, Fred Jackson, Ryan Mathews.

Undervalued Running Backs

  1. Jamaal Charles - Kansas City Chiefs
  2. C.J. Spiller - Buffalo Bills
  3. Alfred Morris - Washington Redskins
  4. Frank Gore - San Francisco 49ers
  5. Darren Sproles - New Orleans Saints
  6. Reggie Bush - Detroit Lions
  7. Lamar Miller - Miami Dolphins
  8. Daryl Richardson - St Louis Rams
  9. Bernard Pierce - Baltimore Ravens
  10. Johnathan Franklin - Green Bay Packers

Overvalued Running Backs

  1. Ray Rice - Baltimore Ravens
  2. Trent Richardson - Cleveland Browns
  3. Steven Jackson - Atlanta Falcons
  4. Steven Ridley - New England Patriots
  5. Darren McFadden - Oakland Raiders
  6. Montee Ball - Denver Broncos
  7. Ryan Mathews - San Diego Chargers
  8. Chris Ivory - New York Jets

Best Backup Running Backs

  1. Ben Tate - Houston Texans
  2. Andre Brown - New York Giants
  3. Giovani Bernard - Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Bernard Pierce - Baltimore Ravens
  5. Bryce Brown - Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Shane Vereen - New England Patriots
  7. Fred Jackson - Buffalo Bills
  8. Knile Davis - Kansas City Chiefs
  9. Marcel Reece - Oakland Raiders
  10. Toby Gerhart - Minnesota Vikings

Top Rookie Running Backs

  1. Eddie Lacy - Green Bay Packers
  2. Montee Ball - Denver Broncos
  3. Giovani Bernard - Cincinnati Bengals

Running backs are still the most important position in fantasy football in my opinion. In each league that I have played in the past 3 years, 3 out of every 4 playoff teams can still run 3 or 4 running backs deep into the late part of the season.

Part of this is luck; part of this is being on top of the waiver wire. You can probably expect 1 of your best 3 running backs in the draft to go down with an injury. If you do not, then you are lucky and lucky teams often make the playoffs.

However, I no longer think it is necessary to draft a RB in 3 out of the first 4 or 5 rounds. Two running backs in the first 4 rounds ...  Yes, I still recommend this!

You are going to see anomalies with the draft this year. This includes a pair of tight ends that should be off the board before the 3rd round is over. If you are drafting in the 1, 2 or 3 spot in your league, you should pick up one of the 3 top running backs (Foster, Rice, McCoy).

Other than that, it is up to you to determine if the upside of a running back like Chris Johnson is better than drafting Aaron Rodgers or Calvin Johnson. There are many potential WRs, QBs and TEs that may be more valuable than the 14th best running back.

Previous Running Back Advice


When selecting running backs for your fantasy football team, try to be aware of the following things:

Make sure your top two running backs don’t have the same bye week (be aware of this at every position). Every week in your fantasy football league is important towards getting to the playoffs. While having your top two running backs on the bench in the same week won’t necessarily automatically result in a loss, it will start you off on an uphill battle for the week.

Try to avoid the running backs that run between the 20’s. While they might get a lot of rushing yardage, they will often be taken off the field in goal line formations, leading to a complete lack of touchdowns. Classic examples of these running backs are Julius Jones and Warrick Dunn. Also, try to avoid running backs on teams that like to throw near the end zone, such as the Detroit Lions.

If you play in a league with a Running back/Wide Receiver flex position:

Running backs are by far the most important position in your fantasy football league. Load up on running backs early and often in your draft. Along with the quarterback position, running backs are the most consistent scorers in your fantasy football league. At the very least, you should pick a running back with two of your top three picks in your fantasy football draft.

You can play three running backs on a given week as opposed to only one quarterback, which will make running backs the most sought after position in your fantasy football league after the season starts.

Running backs are the most likely skilled position players to get injured during the course of the fantasy football season. Not only can your running backs get injured, but also your fellow fantasy football competitors’ running backs will get injured.

If you have extra running backs on your team, they can always be used as trader bait. Often times, the value of even a marginal starting running back can net you an equivalently more talented quarterback or wide receiver in a trade, especially if the person you are trading with has a hole at running back. So even if you don’t have a great wide receiving corps, you can often make up for it by trading a couple of your drafted running backs.

If you play in a league without a Running back/Wide Receiver flex position:

Running backs are still a very important position, equally as important as the quarterback position. Unlike the leagues with the flex position though, you do not want to load up on running backs.

It is still important to make sure you have enough quality starting running backs on your fantasy football roster. Depending on how many teams are in your fantasy football league, you will probably want to draft a more well-rounded team. You might be better served getting a premier quarterback, running back, and wide receiver in the first three rounds of your fantasy football draft.