Top Fantasy Football Running Backs to draft in 2023

Next up, the backfield
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Now that we've made it through the most important position in fantasy, it's time to get to the trickiest to get right. The running backs. Due to having more than two on the roster, I will be going to 40 RBs instead of only 20 as I did with QBs.

1. Christian McCaffery

CMC may well be the second-best player in the draft. While his ESPN ADP (Average Draft Position) has him listed at 4.5, under Austin Ekeler, I cannot justify that. McCaffery can run, catch, block, and even pass. He is the best utility player in the NFL. He had 1,880 total yards on the season. While he wasn't the top rusher, in a PPR (Points per Reception) league, the catches matter more. As a receiving back, he cannot be ignored. If you have picks 2 or 3 in your league, take him.

T-2. Derrick Henry

Another RB that can do it all. Derrick Henry ended up as the second leading rusher in the 2022 season. With a Tennesee offense that still doesn't have the receivers they need (DeAndre Hopkins and not much else), Henry should still get fed the ball quite a bit. That, combined with 4.41 yards per attempt in 2022, as well as a weak AFC South makes for a great recipe for success in the 2023 season. His ESPN ADP is 11.7. If he's still on the board at 11, I would take him there.

T-2. Saquon Barkley

As injury prone as Saquon is, when he is healthy, he's a contender for best running back in the league. Though, that could be said of most of this top 10 list. Barkley finished as the fourth-leading rusher, but had more yards per attempt than Derrick Henry. And considering he is in a contract year again, he will be playing for money. I don't expect the same level of play out of Daniel Jones that we saw last season, so the Giants may be riding on the shoulders of Saquon Barkley yet again. His ESPN ADP is 11.2. Like Henry, I would take him about where his ADP is. The two should be relatively interchangeable.

4. Nick Chubb

Without a second RB to steal touches from him, Nick Chubb will be primed to be one of the top backs in the league. One problem. Deshaun Watson has an entire season to perform for the first time since 2020. But I've always been a Watson hater, so we'll see if he's actually as good as his contract. Nick Chubb will find a way to get his yards. Count on it. I agree with his ADP here too. Snag him in the mid-second round.

5. Tony Pollard

Tony Pollard is the marquee name in the Cowboys' RB room now. With that offensive line and the team's willingness to run the ball, Pollard should be a clear top 10 RB pick. Top 5 would not be out of the question. His ADP is 16.0, so if he's sliding down the board and you don't know who to choose, be on the lookout.

6. Austin Ekeler

Yes, Ekeler finished as RB1 last season. Yes, he's led the position in touchdowns for two consecutive seasons. But, how many times will we be fooled by this? Since 2013, there has not been a single season in which a running back has finished as RB1 in two consecutive seasons. In a PPR league, that is. Todd Gurley finished first in standard scoring in 2017 and 2018. While Ekeler may be a good pick as far as RBs go, he will not be the best and you could get similar production down the line.

7. Josh Jacobs

While Jacobs finished as RB1 in standard scoring and RB3 in PPR in 2022, I don't believe he'll be in the top 5 in PPR this season. He has a worse QB and his offensive line is hot garbage. While he may finish high in standard scoring, he likely won't get the receptions he needs to finish as a top five RB. His ADP is 20.2 and I agree with that placement. Early third round or later would be best.

8. Joe Mixon

Last season, Joe Mixon finished as RB10 in PPR. Now that he doesn't have Samaje Perine to take touches from him his fantasy points should increase. While I don't believe it will take him into the top 5 RBs this season, I do believe it will make for a top 10 campaign. Mixon's ESPN ADP is 28.8. I would also take him in the mid-3rd round.

9. Jonathan Taylor

With the Colts' lack of weapons and the fact that Anthony Richardson is not the type to make something out of nothing (at least when it comes to player talent), Jonathan Taylor will once again be looked to for support. If you are worried about his holdout, don't be. That debacle ended on August 14. Though he's not currently participating due to personal matters, with the organization's blessing. Taylor looks like a third-round selection at the moment. If you like the looks, go for it.

10. Aaron Jones

The Packers are in a deep mess at the moment. Jordan Love likely isn't the answer and their receiver room doesn't look deep. The only issue with Jones, and the reason he's so low on this list is - A.J. Dillon. Splitting touches with another running back typically doesn't yield good fantasy results. However, he split touches with Dillon last year and still finished as RB9 in PPR. So there is a silver lining. You should be able to snag Jones in the mid third to fourth rounds. Take him if you can.

11. Najee Harris
12. Travis Etienne Jr.
13. Dameon Pierce
14. Kenneth Walker III
15. Isiah Pacheco
16. Alexander Mattison
17. James Conner
18. James Cook
19. Javonte Williams
20. Dalvin Cook
21. David Montgomery
22. Rachaad White
23. Bijan Robinson
24. Rhamondre Stevenson
25. Breece Hall
26. Miles Sanders
27. D'Andre Swift
28. Khalil Herbert
29. Cam Akers
30. Brian Robinson Jr.
31. Jeff Wilson Jr.
32. Jerick McKinnon
33. Zach Charbonnet
34. J.K. Dobbins
35. A.J. Dillon
36. Antonio Gibson
37. Samaje Perine
38. Devin Singletary
39. Ezekiel Elliot
40. Rashaad Penny

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