The 2017 season was a major resurgence year for running backs in fantasy football. 12 tailbacks ran for at least 1,000 yards, while a whopping 22 running backs tallied at least 1,000 total yards from scrimmage. This was a major improvement from 2015, when only seven running backs hit the millennium mark for rushing yards.
Bounce back seasons from DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Le’Veon Bell, and Melvin Gordon aided to this running back explosion. The full-fledged emergence of Jay Ajayi, Jordan Howard, and Ezekiel Elliott made teams that loaded up on running backs virtually unstoppable. The 2015 season was more of an exception than the rule in terms of fantasy football. Running backs need to be the highest valued players in the game because of their multi-purpose utilities on offense.
I am a firm believer against the zero-running back strategy. I generally will not draft a receiver until I have taken a RB1 off the board. Receivers have more consistent value later in the draft. It is easier to load up on wideouts as the draft goes on. Trusting running backs drafted after round four as your starters is a risk I am not willing to take.
Value is going to be important when drafting running backs next season. Finding the Ajayi’s, Howard’s, Murray’s, and Gordon’s will win fantasy leagues regardless of scoring format. These five interesting statistics from 2016 could be directions towards the breakout stars of next season.