The Duel

Early-Round Running Backs Could Provide Elite Fantasy Football Value Due to 300-Touch Potential

Mike Esposito
Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys
Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The workhorse running back is a dying breed in today's NFL, which makes drafting an elite RB1 all the more important in the early rounds of fantasy football drafts.

Running back usage has been on a downward trend since 2010 and last year was no exception, as Ezekiel Elliott (381), Saquon Barkley (352), Christian McCaffrey (326), Todd Gurley (315) and David Johnson (308) were the only RBs to tally at least 300 total touches.

The kind of volume that the above-mentioned quintet received last season points to their elite fantasy value going into 2019. However, not everyone will have the good fortune of landing one of those potential studs.

While total touches are down, a running back's ever-increasing role in the passing game has given pass-catching backs incredible fantasy potential, especially in PPR leagues.

James White is the perfect example. His involvement in the passing game in 2018 (87 receptions, 751 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns) gave him ample opportunity to produce for his fantasy owners. As a result, White finished the last season as RB7 in PPR leagues.

However, there's no replacing the elite value that the likes of Barkley, Elliott, Gurley, Johnson and McCaffrey can potentially give their fantasy owners. With the possibility of another 300-touch season in 2019, fantasy football owners should jump at the chance to draft any of them.


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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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