Note that I am defaulting to half-PPR scoring, so feel free to adjust players up or down a bit for standard or full-PPR formats. Best of luck to you in your drafts!
1. Saquon Barkley, Giants (bye: 11)
The Giants appear set to have a lousy offense, which is usually a major red flag for fantasy RB success. Barkley, though, appears to be such a rare, transcendent talent that the normal rules may not always apply. The other contenders for the top spot can be dinged in various ways, as well.
2. Alvin Kamara, Saints (9)
The only ding here is projected touches, with New Orleans bringing in Latavius Murray to play at least some version of the Mark Ingram role. Of the top dogs, Kamara is in the best offense and is the most efficient performer (per Football Outsiders’ 2018 rankings).
3. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (7)
In stark contrast to Kamara, McCaffrey hardly ever came off the field last season, leading all RBs in snap percentage at a gaudy 91.3. A glance at his backups — uninspiring veteran Cameron Artis-Payne, fifth-round draft pick Jordan Scarlett, undrafted rookie Elijah Holyfield and someone named Reggie Bonnafon — suggests another massive workload is in store, but McCaffrey’s snaps have nowhere to go but down and improvements in Carolina’s receiving corps mean he likely won’t reach 107 receptions again.
4. David Johnson, Cardinals (12)
If he can manage a top-10 RB performance amid last year’s offensive train wreck in Arizona, he seems like a good bet to finish in the top five this year with Kyler Murray orchestrating Kliff Kingsbury’s fast-paced, unorthodox attack.
5. Le’Veon Bell, Jets (4)
Bell almost certainly won’t get the same volume of work he did in Pittsburgh, but touches should not be any sort of issue and I’m fairly bullish on Sam Darnold’s continued development and ability to lead a respectable Jets offense.
6. James Conner, Steelers (7)
Pittsburgh has tended to favor bell-cow backs, and Conner more than looked the part for much of last season. He appeared to wear down toward the end, though, and Jaylen Samuels looked good enough in Conner’s absence to have carved out a role this year.
7. Nick Chubb, Browns (7)
If Kareem Hunt weren’t set to join Cleveland’s backfield in Week 10, Chubb would be another strong candidate for top-five consideration. As it is, he’s worth taking in the second round for his potential to lead fantasy teams to strong starts, which has a ton of value. Chubb also might just be good enough to keep Hunt at stiff-arm’s length after his return from suspension. At least he won’t have to contend with Duke Johnson after the passing-game oriented RB was dealt to the Houston Texans.
8. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (12)
Fortunately for this oft-injured player, there’s no logical reason to think he’s doomed to never finish a season. As long as he’s healthy, Cook is set up nicely on a team that wants and should be able to run the ball with great frequency.
9. Joe Mixon, Bengals (9)
While the losses along Cincinnati’s offensive line are concerning, it’s more encouraging that a young offensive mind in Zac Taylor has replaced Marvin Lewis at head coach. Mixon took a huge step forward last year in terms of his comfort at the NFL level, and his skill set should ensure that Giovani Bernard remains no more than a change-of-pace back.
10. Aaron Jones, Packers (11)
This third-year back has the talent and situation to explode, but it remains to be seen if new Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur commits to him more than Mike McCarthy did. Jones also needs to prove that he can stay healthy and be more of a factor in the passing game before he climbs the fantasy RB ranks any further.
11. Todd Gurley, Rams (9)
One of the draft’s biggest mystery men. Are fears over Gurley’s knee and the addition of RB Darrell Henderson overblown, or is he far too much of a risk to take anywhere in the first two rounds? I’m sort of splitting the difference here with a ranking that reflects optimism toward him returning good value while likely not reproducing his eye-popping numbers of the past two seasons.
12. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (8)
I still believe he and Jerry Jones will figure something out, and Elliott’s holdout won’t extend into the regular season, but it’s going right to the wire, isn’t it? It’s important to keep in mind that Elliott, who has two years left on his rookie contract, is in a much different position than Le’Veon Bell was in 2018, when he was eyeballing unrestricted free agency in just a few months.
13. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (10)
He’ll need to stay healthy and in the good graces of Jacksonville management, but there’s a lot to like here. With Nick Foles giving the Jags a sorely needed dose of QB competence in place of Blake Bortles, the team should be better at moving the ball and de-stacking the box for Fournette, who is reportedly being prepped for a greater role in the passing game.
14. Devonta Freeman, Falcons (9)
Freeman is in a better spot than Fournette in terms of surrounding offense and expected role, but he strikes me as a greater injury risk, given that he’s smaller and has had over twice as many NFL touches. He appeared to benefit from Atlanta letting Tevin Coleman walk in the offseason, leaving the less accomplished Ito Smith as the No. 2.
15. Chris Carson, Seahawks (11)
As with Ingram and Baltimore, Seattle is so committed to the ground game that it might not matter much if Carson splits time with Rashaad Penny. Recent reports indicate that Carson has not only solidified his hold on the starting job, he may have greater involvement as a receiver.
16. Kerryon Johnson, Lions (5)
Johnson was already a darling of the fantasy smart set before Detroit released Theo Riddick. With the longtime pass-catching specialist out of the picture, Johnson looked positioned to pick up a significant chunk of extra work, but he might still be stuck in a committee, and C.J. Anderson could be an annoying TD vulture.
17. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (6)
It seems safe to assume that Oakland didn’t spend a first-round pick on Jacobs not to use him extensively, making him a solid RB2 prospect.
18. Derrick Henry, Titans (11)
This 6-foot-3, 247-pound behemoth started lighting it up down the stretch last season after Tennessee finally unleashed him, and the Titans appear ready to pick up where it left off in that regard. Henry, whose receptions have gone 15-17-18 in his three seasons, still projects as an early-downs back, putting him in a somewhat precarious position on an offense that might well be in the league’s bottom half.
19. Mark Ingram, Ravens (8)
If Lamar Jackson can keep the chains moving, Baltimore might be able to run the ball so ridiculously often that it might not matter much that Ingram is in a committee. That’s assuming he actually is, with the likes of Gus Edwards and rookie Justice Hill. If Ingram is the clear lead back on a competent offense, he could be a major steal at his draft position.
20. Sony Michel, Patriots (10)
A disconcertingly wide range of outcomes seem to await those who draft Michel and his history of knee issues, but at his average draft position, it’s not a bad roll of the dice at all. Last seen shining in the playoffs, with at least 94 yards rushing in each of New England’s three games, Michel is coming off a season in which he had an alarming seven receptions, but training camp reports indicate more passes could be coming his way.
21. Marlon Mack, Colts (6)
Even without Andrew Luck, Mack is set to be a consistent, if somewhat ceiling-capped, fantasy producer. Indianapolis still has a stellar offensive line and QB Jacoby Brissett should be a competent fill-in. Nyheim Hines is also still around, which will hinder Mack’s usage on passing downs.
22. James White, Patriots (10)
It’s generally a losing play to proceed with any confidence about what New England will do with its RBs, but it’s also hard to see White losing the trust of Tom Brady as a preferred receiving option, especially given Rob Gronkowski’s retirement and the lack of depth at WR.
23. David Montgomery, Bears (6)
A third-round pick who fits the mold of a workhorse, Montgomery won’t be tasked with a full load right away, with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis also competing for touches. The Bears will, however, give Montgomery enough chances to make him an instant fantasy starter.
24. Duke Johnson, Texans (7)
Houston has added a veteran RB in Carlos Hyde, but Johnson should still be the primary beneficiary of Lamar Miller’s season-ending injury. The Texans also recently added an above-average left tackle in Laremy Tunsil, which should benefit everyone on the team’s offense.
25. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (12)
26. Phillip Lindsay, Broncos (10)
27. Tevin Coleman, 49ers (4)
28. Damien Williams, Chiefs (12)
29. Miles Sanders, Eagles (10)
30. Latavius Murray, Saints (9)
31. Matt Breida, 49ers (4)
32. Royce Freeman, Broncos (10)
33. Melvin Gordon, Chargers (12)
34. Tarik Cohen, Bears (6)
35. LeSean McCoy, Bills (6)
36. Devin Singletary, Bills (6)
37. Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (5)
38. Jordan Howard, Eagles (10)
39. Darrell Henderson, Rams (9)
40. Derrius Guice, Redskins (10)
41. Peyton Barber, Buccaneers (7)
42. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (11)
43. Dion Lewis, Titans (11)
44. Ito Smith, Falcons (9)
45. Kalen Ballage, Dolphins (5)
46. Justin Jackson, Chargers (12)
47. Nyheim Hines, Colts (6)
48. Chris Thompson, Redskins (10)
49. Tony Pollard, Cowboys (8)
50. Jaylen Samuels, Steelers (7)
51. Justice Hill, Ravens (8)
52. Darwin Thompson, Chiefs (12)
53. Adrian Peterson, Redskins (10)
54. Damien Harris, Patriots (10)
55. Jalen Richard, Raiders (6)
56. Alexander Mattison, Vikings (12)
57. Frank Gore, Bills (6)
58. Carlos Hyde, Texans (10)
59. Mike Davis, Bears (6)
60. Malcolm Brown, Rams (9)