2016 Fantasy Football Running Back Tiers

Every year novice fantasy owners make the mistake of solely using fantasy rankings to draft players. You often hear them say, “Oh, I have to grab a top 20 running back! If I don’t I won’t have a RB2 level player!” In reality, the amount of running backs who obtain a starting grade varies year to year. If 20 different backs are a worthy RB1/2, fantasy would be much simpler.

What causes the inconsistency in their tiers? Everything. Whether it’s coaching changes, injury history, last years production, a talented back up, or age, it all plays into how they are ranked.

Tiers are a better way of looking at positional choices because they give a more accurate look at how much of a drop off you actually have if you were to wait another round before drafting a running back.

Tiers are broken down into ten groups. High-End RB1, Mid RB1, Low-End RB1, High-end RB2, RB2, Startable Flex, Low End Starting RBS, High-End Handcuff, and Hand-Cuff.

Though the difference between two players in rankings may be only one different, the drop off between a High-End RB2 and a normal RB2 is much more staunch.

Here are my running back tiers for 2016

Tier 1: Elite High-End RB1  (3)

Gurley 2

Sophomore RB Todd Gurley is one of the best fantasy options this year.

Le’Veon Bell, PIT

Todd Gurley, STL

Adrian Peterson, MIN

Tier 2: RB1 (4)

Lamar Miller, MIA

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL

David Johnson, ARI

Doug Martin, TB

Tier 3: Low-End RB1 (3) 

Mccoy 1

Lesean McCoy will try to play a full season without injury

LeSean McCoy, BUF

Devonta Freeman, ATL

Tier 4: High-End RB2 (3)

Jamaal Charles, KC

Eddie Lacy, GB

Thomas Rawls, SEA

Mark Ingram, NO

Tier 5: RB2 (3)

Matt Forte, NYJ

Jonathan Stewart, CAR

CJ Anderson, DEN

Tier 6: Startable Flex (5)

Jay Ajayi, MIA

Carlos Hyde, SF

Jeremy Hill, CIN

Ryan Matthews, PHI

Latavius Murray, OAK

Matt Jones, WAS

Demarco Murray, TEN

Tier 7: Fantasy Backups  (RB3) Real Life Starters (9)

D Murray 3

Demarco Murray will be in a new offense this year, but will it matter?

Jeremy Langford, CHI

TJ Yeldon, JAX

Duke Johnson, CLE

Justin Forsett, BAL

Melvin Gordon, SD

Dion Lewis, NE

Rashad Jennings, NYG

Frank Gore, IND

Tier 8: High-End Handcuffs (13)

Booker 1

If Devontae Booker starts in Denver, make sure you pick him up

Giovani Bernard, CIN

Jordan Howard, CHI

CJ Prosise, SEA

Charles Sims, TB

Derrick Henry, TEN

Kenneth Dixon, BAL

Devontae Booker, DEN

Deangelo Williams, PIT

Paul Perkins, NYG

Karlos Williams, BUF

Chris Ivory, JAX

Tim Hightower, NO

Danny Woodhead, SD

Tier 9: Murky RB Situations (2)

Ameer Abdullah, DET

Theo Riddick, DET

Tier 10: Handcuffs (17)

Alfred Morris, Sean Lissemore, Jason Hatcher

Alfred Morris was a great starter for three years, but his situation in Dallas is not ideal

James Starks, GB

Chris Johnson, ARI

Robert Turbin, IND

Alfred Blue, HOU

Alfred Morris, DAL

Chris Thompson, WAS

Shaun Draughn, SF

Wendell Smallwood, PHI

DeAndre Washington, OAK

Bilal Powell, NYJ

LeGarrette Blount, NE

Kenyan Drake, MIA

Jerick McKinnon, MIN

Tre Mason, LA

Charcandrick West, KC

Isaiah Crowell, CLE

Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR


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