In fantasy football for the 2017 season, running backs will again be the work-horses for your team, just like this past year.
Ezekiel Elliott. David Johnson. Le’Veon Bell. These three premier running backs alone were the talk of many fantasy football leagues last season. They all had over 1,000 rushing yards, a lot of touchdowns, and have brought a resurgence to the running back position that hasn’t been seen in years.
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The NFL has largely became a passing league and, as a result, plenty of fantasy football owners tend to stay away from using early-to-mid round draft picks on running backs. Everyone surely went after top wide receivers, tight ends, and of course, quarterbacks before thinking about which primary running back to acquire. Heading into next season, expect that to change dramatically.
Almost all the top running backs in the NFL ranging from Melvin Gordon to even Jay Ajayi are rather young. We’re talking about mid-20s that still have their best years ahead of them. Since many franchises in the league don’t have definitive answers at quarterback, offensive coordinators are committing more to the ground game in order to keep those chains moving.
Even veteran running backs are taking care of business. Look at the destruction LeSean McCoy put up with the Buffalo Bills last season or how Bilal Powell of the New York Jets was the only bright spot in a forgettable season. Either way, running backs will undoubtedly make some serious noise come next season.
Fantasy owners will start to make bold moves come draft time to land top running backs since they’re becoming consistent machines in scoring points. Sure, many owners will still have to hit the waiver wires to pick up running backs entering favorable matchups. But whether you use a first-round pick in your draft on a top-tier running back or are hitting the wire throughout the season, there’s a good chance that running backs will lead the way for your team in 2017.
Overall, make sure to put a high priority on actually spending a second or even third round pick on a top running back. Many should be available since the fantasy football world isn’t ready to completely shift to prioritizing running backs over wide receivers—even if the positional group will make some serious noise come next season.