I mentioned in my quarterback rankings column that the difference between the overall QB1 and QB12 last season was over eight points per game. The spread was roughly the same for last year’s RB1 (Gurley, 313 points) versus the RB12 (Phillip Lindsay, 188). Gurley was the only running back to score at least 300 points in standard leagues. He was also the only back to accomplish the feat in 2017. To put Gurley’s recent dominance into perspective, it’s worth noting that he missed two games last season. The rest of last year’s top-5 averaged just under 17.8 points per game. Gurley averaged 22.4 points per game last year, a year after averaging 21.3 points. That should be enough to make Gurley an easy pick to top my running back rankings, right? Well, not so fast…
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Gurley is among the most polarizing players in fantasy circles this offseason. The 24-year-old has been the position’s most bankable commodity for two years as the featured piece in a potent offense, but there are serious concerns about how much work he can handle heading into 2019. Gurley has been diagnosed as having arthritis in his knee. The Rams can downplay Gurley’s injury all they want, but actions speak louder than words. The team matched restricted free agent Malcolm Brown’s offer sheet from Detroit and then traded up to select Darrell Henderson in the third round of this April’s draft. Running backs are already riskier fantasy investments due to their increased risk for injury. I have serious concerns about spending a first-round fantasy pick on a player with an arthritic knee. If you draft Gurley, you must add Henderson, and probably a couple of rounds earlier than his ADP.
Below are my early running back rankings for standard fantasy football leagues. Running backs are the most volatile position group in fantasy, so these are likely to change between now and the height of draft season. Stay tuned for updates on these rankings throughout the preseason. If you have any questions about your team, comment below or on Twitter.
Running Back Rankings for 2019 Fantasy Football
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Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. Mick was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.
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