Updated Running Back Tiers, Targets, and Players to Avoid

A look at 2019 fantasy running back options through the lens of tiers, with camp updates and a peek at the early season schedule

Running backs will dominate the top of drafts of every format, with a clear top four (for now) and lots of difficult risk/reward propositions to parse at almost every juncture of the draft. It helps to understand the groups that represent similar ranges of outcomes or whose values hinge on similar factors. Understanding and navigating the 2019 running back landscape is the most important part of your draft strategy

The Triumvirate

Yes, I am not including Zeke here until his holdout is over. In a post-2018 Le'Veon Bell world, it’s clear that there’s more to lose by underestimating a holdout than there is to gain by fading it. I won’t go to the mat for the order of the three, but mine probably differs from most.

Christian McCaffrey, CAR - Target at ADP

The only downside here is the possibility that McCaffrey’s target share was out of necessity more than design. The offense should be better across the board to compensate for, if not negate or be larger than any target volume drop in his value.

Update: An uneventful camp for Cam Newton is a good one. No real changes here, despite a report that the Panthers want to give short yardage to another back to save Mccaffrey.

Schedule: Rams sans Suh to open and the Bucs and Cardinals. McCaffrey could help teams get off to a hot start

Saquon Barkley, NYG - Target at ADP

Perhaps Barkley is so much better than the field at running back that having a bottom five quarterback situation won’t affect his value. The line should be better, but he didn’t produce like a #1 overall pick when Odell Beckham Jr was out last year.

Update: Daniel Jones actually looks good! Golden Tate will be suspended for the first four games. The offense could be hampered early but bounce back by midseason

Schedule: Cowboys, Bills, Bucs, Washington to open, but Barkley is matchup proof

Alvin Kamara, NO - Faller - Target at ADP

Latavius Murray doesn’t have the history that Mark Ingram II had with this team. Look for Kamara to post career highs in touches and play the most central role in the offense of his career to date.

Update: Sean Payton sounds like he wants to keep Kamara at previous usage levels with Mark Ingram II in the lineup, so the case for him #1 overall is less compelling.

Schedule: Texans, Rams, Seahawks, Cowboys to open should be strong early, but the Cowboys corralled Kamara last year.

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