Dynasty Running Back Danger Rankings: 32-25

Ken Kelly

The NFL Draft is finally upon us and we again have a strange situation brewing at the running back position. This particular draft seems to be full of elite receiving prospects but few ultra-elite runners. We’ve witnessed the running back position lose value in both fantasy and reality over the years and it’s safe to expect a few of your favorite rookies to slip to day three, yet again. Still, the current landscape isn’t so safe, either. Let’s look at the NFL’s current depth charts and assess the current backfields in danger of being usurped by younger talent in this year’s draft and assess some value for the future.

A team unlikely to draft a running back means their current starter would rank low on this “danger scale,” while a team almost certain to draft a running back means their current back is very dangerous to own right now. We’ll go in reverse order, meaning these are some of the “safer” backs to own in dynasty leagues. Remember, this is not a ranking of the value of these backs, only their danger level. In short, the lower their number, the less likely they are to lose value at the end of this month.

Remember as well, this is the worst time to trade for a running back because you simply never know what their team will do in the NFL Draft. If you’re committed to trading for one, look for a safe one and that’s where we start today.

32.) Christian McCaffrey, RB SF

This past season, McCaffrey again showed just why he’s the most valuable weapon in all of fantasy football. A career high 1,459 rushing yards to go along with 67 catches, 564 receiving yards and 21 total touchdowns again put any dynasty manager in contention. He’s 27 and the regression will start at some point. However, there isn’t a running back in this draft who could come close to challenging him for touches next season. The 49ers are going to use him until he just doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

31.) Breece Hall, RB NYJ

I’ve been on record for a while saying Hall could be the next big thing in fantasy football, Unfortunately, an early career ACL injury set his timeline back a bit. However, he returned to form last season and got better as the year went on. Hall should benefit greatly from the return of Aaron Rodgers as every team simply keyed on him last season since the Jets were completely inept at throwing the football. If Rodgers is healthy, those boxes just won’t be stacked any longer. Regardless, Hall is just about as safe as they come at this point.

30.) Bijan Robinson, RB ATL

The biggest competition Robinson has is already on the roster in the form of  Tyler Allgeier. Still, it doesn’t really matter much. Robinson was criminally underutilized last season and should benefit greatly from a coaching change. There’s simply no way a new regime is going to “protect” Robinson as much as they did last season. If there’s a “buy low” window with Robinson, it’s likely now as he looks poised to finally post that breakout season we so badly wanted last year.

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29.) Jonathan Taylor, RB IND

There’s no more Zack Moss in Indianapolis and that does nothing but help Taylor. People forget this is player who was at the very top of the rankings not too long ago. Sure, he had a strange contract holdout and has battled some injuries. However, a healthy Taylor has proven to be an unbelievable weapon in fantasy football. It would surprise few to see him finish as the overall RB1 next season. Anthony Richardson will need to improve to make the Colts legitimate contenders but this offense is going to revolve around Taylor moving forward.

28.) D’Andre Swift, RB CHI

Swift landed in a weird spot as the Bears signed him quickly in free agency. While he’s going to get some competition from Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert, it seems pretty far-fetched to see the Bears add yet another running. back to their roster. They simply have too many needs and legitimately have three players who could start an NFL game. While Swift may not be the safest running back to own in general, it’s simply hard to see the Bears muddying the waters even more.

27.) Kenneth Walker, RB SEA

The Seahawks threw everyone for a loop last year when they drafted former UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet. They’ve also been a hotbed for drafting running backs for years. However, with Pete Carroll and his philosophy of non-stop running back competition now out the window for good, Walker looks like a pretty safe bet moving forward. Charbonnet should be a solid backup for him but I don’t see Walker being challenged much, nor do I see running back as a priority for Seattle this year.

26.) Jahmyr Gibbs, RB DET

Gibbs is still going to need to share touches with David Montgomery, but we saw just how explosive he can be at points last season. Montgomery is going to continue to be a thorn in the sides of dynasty owners but that should be relatively short-lived. Regardless, the Lions just don’t seemed poised to have running back high on their draft priorities. Gibbs certainly looked the part in stretches last year and it’s going to be fun to watch his progression moving forward.

25.) Derrick Henry, RB BAL

You could make a case for moving Henry down on this list (meaning even safer) as the Ravens simply wouldn’t have given him this much money not to feed him the football early and often. Henry is going to be the engine that runs this backfield at least for the upcoming season and should create one of the league’s most potent rushing attacks as the pairs with Lamar Jackson.

We’ll be back with part two in the next few days, focusing on the running backs who are in more danger of losing playing time or being replaced. Remember, this is going to get more and more dangerous as we move closer and closer to the top spot.

ken kelly