Dynasty Running Back Danger Rankings: 8-1

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 clearly not in the range where we continue today. In my opinion, the list today represents the running backs who are in the most danger of losing playing time or losing their job in general.

Let’s take a look.

8.) Zamir White, RB LV

Seeing White this high (low) on this list might be a surprise to some. However, I just don’t think the Raiders are done after adding just Alexander Mattison to their depth chart during free agency. I could be wrong but I just don’t have White on the safe side in this group at the moment. He clearly had some really good moments last season but it stands to reason the Raiders could add at least a third down back to their stable. Again, this could be controversial. However, I just have this weird feeling Las Vegas isn’t done.

7.) Chuba Hubbard, RB CAR

Hubbard was actually pretty solid last year with over 900 yards on the ground. His 39 catches were also nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately, Hubbard just isn’t very dynamic and his 3.8 yards per carry and 6.0 yards per reception illustrate that. The Panthers have a lot of needs out there but also need to add some talent to their running back room. Hubbard just looks the part of a change-of-pace or backup level player at this point in his career.

6.) Nick Chubb, RB CLE

A true workhorse since he stepped foot on the grass in Cleveland, Chubb’s future is uncertain. The addition of D’Onta Foreman could actually be a good thing as it could indicate the Browns are looking to use him and Jerome Ford as a tandem until Chubb gets back from his injury. It’s also fair to wonder just what he’ll be as Chubb is recovering from his second truly gruesome knee injury. The Browns have to be looking to the future soon and while I honestly believe Chubb’s ADP has slipped too far, it’s also time to face reality.

5.) James Conner, RB ARI

Say what you will about Conner and his history of nagging injuries, but he’s been ultra-effective when healthy. In fact, he posted a career high with 1,040 rushing yards last season on a healthy five yards per carry. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have very little behind him on the depth chart and Conner turns 29 in May. At this point, it seems reasonable to think this would be the year Arizona looks to find someone who can be the future at the position – they could be playing with fire if they don’t.

4.) Zack Moss, RB CIN

Look, I love the possibility of Moss being “the guy” in Cincinnati. In fact, I’m drooling over it. However, he got just a two-year “$8 million” contract with only $3 million of that in guaranteed money. The Bengals are thus not married to him in any kind of way and it stands to reason they add to this group that also featured Chase Brown. Dynasty managers are hoping the Bengals really do roll with Moss moving forward but it’s far from a certainty and every time the Bengals draft, dynasty managers are going to be on pins and needles.

3.) Devin Singletary, RB NYG

I get it. The Giants signed Singletary to a three-year deal worth “16.5 million.” However, it’s nearly impossible to think they see the 5’7″, 203-pound Singletary as a three-down option. If their line couldn’t keep Saquon Barkley upright, it’s hard to see them doing this with someone even smaller. That, combined with the fact the Giants are woefully thin at the position and this just seems like a situation ripe for them to take someone else to pair with Singletary. While they paid him too much for him to be replaced, it seems a complement is going to be a priority.

2.) Gus Edwards, RB LAC

Are they really going to do this? The Chargers are saying all the right things in terms of making The Gus Bus a true workhorse but the likes of Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson, and Jaret Patterson is about as thin as as one-ply toilet paper behind him and the addition of JK Dobbins doesn’t help much, either. While he could still maintain his status as the starter, it’s really tough to see the Chargers coming out of the draft without at least someone to challenge him one way or another.

1.) Rico Dowdle, RB DAL

They’re not really going to do this, are they? Dowdle is currently at the top of a depth chart that features Deuce Vaughn, Malik Davis and Snoop Conner. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, that’s hardly keeping the NFC East up at night. Dallas has already hosted many of the premier rookies for visits and it seems likely (not just possible) their starter for next season isn’t currently on their depth chart. While Dowdle was solid in spurts, it would be a total shock to see them pass in free agency AND the NFL Draft and just hand him the keys. If they do, go ahead and just put Stephen A. Smith on for an hour after the NFL Draft so we can get it over with.

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ken kelly