Summer is just about here. For NFL Fantasy fans, the running back position has always been the most important position to fill. Without a solid couple of running backs, it's almost impossible to win games in season long fantasy football, or daily fantasy football contests.
Check out my Top 10 fantasy running backs heading into the summer. I'm pretty sure the list will change. So, don't quote me on this current list.
NFL Fantasy: Top 10 Running Backs Heading into the Summer
1. Todd Gurley, L.A. Rams
Gurley was fantastic in 2017. He scored a total of 19 touchdowns. He caught 6 TDs. He rushed for 13 TDs. He also rushed for 1,305 yards on 279 attempts. That's a 4.7 per carry average. There's no doubt that this season he could eclipse all those numbers.
But, perhaps, the real reason to jump on Gurley is that he caught 64 passes last season. His per catch average, over 12 yards, rivaled some of the better WR2s in the league. When playing daily fantasy football, catches add up to points. That's why Gurley is easily (at this point at least!) not only the top RB for this season, but also the top overall fantasy player for this season.
2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Fellow starting RB Mark Ingram won't be eligible to play until Week 5. That's not the real reason to draft Alvin Kamara, though. The real reason to draft Alvin Kamra is because he rushed for 728 yards, a 6.1 per carry average, and scored 8 rushing TDs while catching 81 passes for 826 yards and catching 5 TD passes.
Kamara's numbers should be better in 2018 than they were in 2017. The reason is because Kamara didn't get going until Week 3. He'll pick up a few more carries with Ingram on the bench. Don't expect over usage while Ingram is out, though. That's a good thing season long fantasy fans that draft him.
3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
In the first 5 weeks of last season, Hunt was en fugeo. He rushed for over 100 yards in 4 of the 5 weeks. In the one week where he didn't rush for over 100 yards, he scored 2 rushing TDs. After the first 5 weeks, his production slowed. The reason could be because the Chiefs had begun to rely on Kareem way too much.
Hunt wasn't just a rusher last season. He also caught 53 passes for 455 yards. He had 3 TD catches. All Hunt's numbers could go up this season. The reason is because KC won't over use him early, the way they did last season. The Chiefs will also allow Hunt to flourish in the passing game.
KC breaks in a new QB, Patrick Mahomes III, in 2018. Mahomes should check down to Hunt on more than a few occassions. That could help Hunt eclipse the 65, maybe even 70, catch threshold.
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott had to wait out a 6 game suspension. That drastically affected his total numbers. He still managed to rush for 983 yards. He also scored a combined 9 TDs. That was playing in 10 games. Think about what Zeke could do playing a full 16 games.
Elliott should have a monster season. QB Dak Prescott lost his top two wide receiver targets. The Boys decided not to resign WR Dak Prescott. TE Jason Witten left. Prescott's a good QB. It could take him some time to develop a rapport with WR Allen Hurns, whom the Cowboys are counting on this season.
Another reason to like Zeke is because Dallas saw how going to more of a rushing attack helped teams like the Eagles, Vikings, and Saints. The Cowboys believe they can win the Super Bowl. That means rushing the football.
5. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
For many fantasy football fans, Pittsburgh RB Le'Veon Bell is the man. I'm not sure. I believe running backs hit the wall. Bell could hit the wall this season. I don't believe he scores 11 combined TDs in 2018 like he did in 2017. I also don't believe he catches 85 passes. He could rush for close to 1,300 yards like he did last year.
That makes him a Top 5 RB. If I'm wrong and he does score more fantasy points than Kamara, Hunt, and Elliott, I'll gladly accept the egg on my face. I just don't see it happening, though. Pitt appears set to move on while Bell will want to save something in the tank for his 2019 employer.
6. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Last year, David Johnson was the first pick in almost every season long NFL Fantasy Draft. Why not? DJ went into last season after a year where he had rushed for 16 touchdowns. He had also caught 4 TD passes.
Johnson got hurt early, though. That not only ended his season, it also ended the season's of any fantasy fan that had drafted him number 1 overall. Could Johnson be in line for a huge bounce back season? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends. He injured his wrist last season. That means his knees and ankles are perfectly fine.
That's the good news. The bad news in terms of fantasy production is that the Cards break in a rookie QB and a new coaching staff. DJ could get more carries this season than he did in 2016 and not produce as many rushing TDs and rushing yards. It's hard to see him catching more than 80 passes as well.
7. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Barkley could be an absolute stud. Or, he could need a season to develop. The Giants managed to create a strong offensive line that will block for Saquon. I believe he ends up with around 1200 rushing yards and at least 10 total TDs unless the G-Men over use him early, in which case he'll pull a Kareem Hunt and produce less fantasy points in the second half of the season.
8. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
In his rookie year, Fournette showed no durability issues. He rushed for over 1,000 yards. He also rushed for 9 TDs. He's in the second half of my Top 10, though, because he only caught 36 passes and caught only a single TD pass.
I see Leonard producing numbers close to what he produced last season. He might score one or two more TDs, but that's about it.
9. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
I like Dalvin Cook. If he stays healthy, he could easily score as many fantasy football points as Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt. He could eclipse Zeke's fantasy production this season. But, Dalvin showed during his college years that he often gets hurt. It was no surprise that he got hurt in his rookie NFL Season. Cook could fall to Round 2 or 3. He's a good pick up at that point.
10. Melvin Gordon, L.A. Chargers
I'm just not sure how good of an NFL running back Melvin Gordon is. He scored 10 rushing TDs his rookie season. He scored 8 rushing TDs his sophomore NFL season. However, he only averaged 3.9 yards per rush in both seasons.
Austin Ekeler averaged 5.5 yards per rush his rookie season. The Bolts could decide to roll with Ekeler instead of Gordon. Or, they could decide to split Gordon's and Ekeler's carries more evenly. Gordon might fall to RB 2 status before the season even starts.