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Devy Fantasy Football: Top Ten Running Backs

Bruce Matson breaks down the top ten running backs in devy leagues right now.

Bijan Robinson

The college football season is going to be here before we know it. Like any other year, the devy landscape is going to shake up from week to week once the season starts. What’s better to prepare for the college football season by analyzing DLF’s top ten devy running back rankings? Some of these running backs will be future top ten dynasty assets and others will be heavily anticipated rookie draft picks in the next few years.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the top running backs in college football.

1. Bijan Robinson, Texas

We’ve had a lot of good running back prospects cross our path in recent years, but not many of them were on the talent scale of Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Taylor. Robinson is one of those few running backs who instantly turn heads when they get the ball in their hands. Even football fans who don’t pay attention to college football know who he is. His highlight reel is enough to get dynasty gamers for their 2023 rookie drafts.

Robinson is one of the most electric running backs we’ve ever seen. He runs with a lot of pop in his step and the lateral agility to allow him to chain together moves in the open field. On 195 rushing attempts last year, Robinson averaged 3.94 yards after contact per attempt while racking up 27 runs for 10 years or more.

His ability to run routes makes him a multidimensional weapon. He has very good hands and is quick to turn upfield after the catch to maximize yardage gain. The second-year running back ran 216 routes while averaging 10.7 yards after contact last season. His usage in the passing game will make him a big factor in PPR leagues once he comes out for the draft.

Even with him missing the backend of the season due to an elbow issue, he’s still flirting with getting drafted in the first round of next year’s NFL Draft. Combine that with last year’s 1,127-yard season, and you have the reason why most dynasty gamers already have him as the 1.01 for 2023 rookie drafts.

2. TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

A lot of people have Henderson ranked as the top running back for devy. It’s between him and Robinson. You can’t make a wrong choice between the two players. Henderson broke out during his freshman season last year by rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Usually, when you get a performance like that from a freshman running who plays for a top-tier power-five school, devy gamers tend to go nuts over them.

Henderson is a threat to score from anywhere on the football field. Once he started touching the ball at Ohio State, we instantly saw how special of a talent he is. He is on a trajectory of finishing his career as one of the best Ohio State running backs of all time. All he has to do is to continue to develop at this rapid pace, and dynasty gamers will have another “generational’’ running back to select in rookie drafts as early as 2024.

3. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama

No running back in devy experienced a bigger increase in value than Gibbs this off-season. He is going from a dismal situation at Georgia Tech to one of the best in the country. There’s a very good possibility that we see him pull a Jameson Williams, and instantly take over as the workhorse for the Crimson Tide.

During his two seasons at Georgia Tech, Gibbs produced 1,974 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. He also owned a 19.75 percent market share of the team’s passing production. In 19 games, he averaged 3.63 yards after contact per attempt.

His best attribute is his burst in the open field. Once he sees daylight he’s going to eat chunks of yards. We also see him do this a lot in the passing game where he gets even more space to make things happen while catching passes in the flat. Last season he averaged 14.1 yards after the catch per reception.

If he takes over at Alabama and does what he did at Georgia Tech, Gibbs is going to be one of the first running backs selected in next year’s draft. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will elevate his fantasy potential. We could be looking at a future RB1 here.

4. Zach Evans, Ole Miss

Evans spent his first two seasons at TCU where he rushed for 1,063 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. He was a former five-star prospect who was rated as the second-best running back in the 2020 recruiting class behind Bijan Robinson.

There aren’t many running backs in college football who pack as much upside as Evans. He runs with a lot of burst and can make things happen if he finds space. Last season, he averaged 4.30 yards after contact per attempt while carrying the ball 17 times for ten yards or more. His ability to eat yards once he finds a crease makes him a very dangerous player when he has the ball in his hands.

Courtesy of Sports Reference.

His stock is going to be very dependent on how he ends his career at Ole Miss. We saw flashes on tape at TCU, but we need him to put together a full season of top-tier production. He needs to take the tools that he has and prove that he can be one of the top producers in the country.

A productive season will make him more than a talented speculative devy asset, but increase his odds of receiving the draft capital necessary to get the opportunities necessary for him to hit his upside.

5. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

Freshman running backs who instantly produce skyrocket up the boards in devy. Last season, Allen rushed for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns with eight 100-yard rushing performances. His best performance came against Nebraska when he rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

Allen is a big 238-pound running back who is very tough to tackle once he starts accelerating downfield. He averaged an incredible 4.68 yards after contact per attempt while forcing carrying the ball 17 times for 15 yards or more. He did only catch five passes for 39 yards last season, but that’s a trend we’ve seen from Wisconsin running backs through the years. Jonathan Taylor and Melvin Gordon were both on the lower end of their receiving volume when they were coming out for the draft. Plus, Allen has two more years to churn out more production in the passing game.

6. Tank Bigsby, Auburn

Bigsby was a big-time four-star recruit back in 2020. Since then, Bigsby has rushed for 1,933 yards and 15 touchdowns during his two-year tenure with the Auburn Tigers. He rushed for his first 1,000-yard season last season along with five games with over 100 yards rushing. Another strong season and we are talking about another strong running back profile who will get good draft capital in the 2023 NFL Draft.

What I like about Bigsby is his ability to explode through contact. He also has enough short-area quickness to create space away from defenders in the open field. His best game last year came against South Carolina when he rushed for 164 yards and one touchdown.

One thing to remember is that he almost entered the transfer portal this off-season. If it wasn’t for him making the decision to stay in Auburn, we could have been seeing him suit up with a different team this fall. Nonetheless, he’s one of the top talents in the country. Bigsby will be looking to add to his resume this season.

7. Sean Tucker, Syracuse

Tucker might be the most underrated running back in devy. He’s still very expensive in terms of draft capital and trade value, but he has the talent to be a top-five back in the league. He exploded for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. His production stemmed from nine 100-yard performances.

I get the feeling if you don’t have your nose to the drown to Syracuse football or you’re not big into devy leagues, you might not be aware of how good Tucker is. He ranked second among all running backs with 66 missed tackles forced which helped him achieve 4.11 yards after contact per attempt. The junior running back is currently listed at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds and has the appropriate build to handle a full workload.

His approach to the line of scrimmage is very cool, calm, and collected. He has excellent vision and does a good job at reading the momentum of the players around him. Another big season and we are going to see him easily drafted on day two in next year’s draft.

8. Will Shipley, Clemson

Shipley was one of the few bright spots on Clemson’s offense last year. He was a lucrative five-star running back prospect who has a good receiving profile dating back to his time in high school. During his freshman season, he rushed for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In devy terms, he’s a young speculative asset with a lot of upside. He’s a very explosive runner and can make defenses pay if he gets the ball in space. We saw him get better throughout the season. He led the team in rushing and proved he can get it done in the passing game. Even though he only caught 16 passes, it’s important to note the team’s leading receiver, Justyn Ross, only caught 46 passes for 514 yards which is a testament to how dismal Clemson’s passing attack was in 2021.

Devy gamers are drafting Shipley with the hopes that he continues to grow into his role in Clemson. He has the talent to be one of the better running backs in college football and has two more seasons to prove it before he is eligible to come out for the draft in 2024.

9. Nicholas Singleton, Penn State

Singleton is a five-star running back from this year’s recruiting class. He’s listed at 6-foot-0 and weighs 210 pounds. On tape, he looks thick and has the size-adjusted speed to potentially make an impact during his freshman season. He ran a 10.89 100-meter during his junior season which is a good indicator that he has home run hitting speed that will translate to the college level.

There are many devy gamers who have Singleton rated as the top back in this year’s recruiting class. He should remain valuable in devy for a good bit considering he has a five-star rating tagged to his name. Penn State has a history of developing good running backs and sending them to the league. It’s also important to note that 247Sports currently has him compared to Nick Chubb.

10. Donovan Edwards, Michigan

Edwards was a four-star running back from last year’s recruiting class. He showed flashes during his freshman season, rushing for 174 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 20 balls for 265 yards and one touchdown. With Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins holding things down, the team didn’t need to rely on their freshman running back.

Many people are predicting Edwards to break out this season. It felt like every time he touched the ball last year, he was a threat to make a big play. He’s a very explosive runner who has the long speed to take it to the house. Edwards averaged 13.5 yards after the catch per reception. As we all know the better a running back is in the passing game, the more lucrative they are in fantasy.

Devy Fantasy Football: Top Ten Running Backs
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Eric Wallker
9 days ago

I don’t think NICHOLAS SINGLETON is 6’10

Steve Ross
4 days ago

No charbonnet huh?

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