In my final installment of analyzing July ADP’s using MFL10 ADP, we will look at the running back position (take a look at the other versions: wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks). Who is sticking out as overvalued and undervalued at their current draft positions?

MFL10 Running Back ADP

After a 2016 season which saw many early-drafted running backs win leagues and some early-drafted wide receivers falter, the importance of the running back position in the minds of many fantasy owners is back with a vengeance. How are they being drafted as of late July?

NamePositional ADPActual ADP
Johnson, David ARI11.08
Bell, Le'Veon PIT22.03
Elliott, Ezekiel DAL34.56
McCoy, LeSean BUF48.72
Gordon, Melvin LAC59.62
Freeman, Devonta ATL611.17
Ajayi, Jay MIA714.09
Howard, Jordan CHI815.41
Murray, DeMarco TEN917.07
Gurley, Todd LAR1021.94
Fournette, Leonard JAC1122.50
Miller, Lamar HOU1228.65
Crowell, Isaiah CLE1332.64
Mixon, Joe CIN1434.02
Lynch, Marshawn OAK1539.28
McCaffrey, Christian CAR1641.51
Montgomery, Ty GBP1741.75
Cook, Dalvin MIN1849.03
Hyde, Carlos SFO1951.52
Abdullah, Ameer DET2059.32
Gillislee, Mike NEP2160.56
Ware, Spencer KCC2262.40
Ingram, Mark NOS2363.20
Coleman, Tevin ATL2463.45
Anderson, C.J. DEN2566.20
Woodhead, Danny BAL2669.59
Powell, Bilal NYJ2770.90
Martin, Doug TBB2875.22
Perkins, Paul NYG2977.10
Lacy, Eddie SEA3077.55
Henry, Derrick TEN3179.56
Peterson, Adrian NOS3280.54
Riddick, Theo DET3386.94
Gore, Frank IND3489.03
Perine, Samaje WAS3589.74
  • Flip a coin for David Johnson vs. Le’Veon Bell. Bell has the better offense, Martavis Bryant returning to the fold (which historically has helped his numbers) and is actually younger than Johnson, but Johnson doesn’t have the suspension and injury history of Bell. Either way, they should always be the top two runners off the board.
  • Surely Zeke Elliot’s ADP will begin falling as a probable suspension looms. If he misses three games, where should he be taken? A few years ago, Ryan Mathews broke his collarbone in August – before that, his ADP was middle of the first round. It fell into the middle of the second. That could be a baseline for Zeke, but uncertainty dominates his situation.
  • Can Jay Ajayi take the next step? He was dominant for stretches of 2016, but he split passing-down work often with Damien Williams, who he barely out-targeted 35-31. The Dolphins are going to most likely run him into the ground, but can he contribute in the passing game more? Much of what you believe about Ajayi depends on how many games you think they will win:

  • Jordan Howard had a really nice rookie year, but color me a bit skeptical for his 2017 prospects. On what looks like a 5-win team, what is stopping defenses from stacking the box against Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez or Mitch Trubisky? For a running back on a team that only won three total games last year, he only saw 29 targets (35th in the league). For a team that figures to lose a lot of games, it is troubling that Howard doesn’t see many receptions considering they figure to be down plenty. He could be the 2017 version of 2016 Todd Gurley.
  • Isaiah Crowell is another polarizing runner. He had four 100-yard games, but also eight games where he was held under 45. A promising development was his passing game usage though – he saw multiple targets in all but two contests, finishing 18th among RBs in total targets. With quarterback uncertainty and a questionable defense, he is a cheaper version of Jordan Howard.
  • Marshawn Lynch going at the beginning of the 4th round as RB15? That is quite a leap of faith in a 31 year-old runner who has been out of the game for a season. As Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and even Jamize Olawale will see some passing down work, fantasy drafters are banking on Lynch replacing Murray’s 12 touchdowns. They have an elite offensive line, but can Lynch justify his ADP? His ceiling is probably RB10 with such limited pass-game usage.
  • Ty Montgomery is someone I can’t truly make sense of. He is the clear starter on a top-three NFL offense…but how good was he actually? He saw three or less targets in all but four games, and got double-digit carries once in the regular season. With a full offseason to prepare as an RB, will his usage improve? It’ll cost you a mid-4th round pick to find out.
  • I really think Carlos Hyde is undervalued. Things may be different under Kyle Shanahan, but Hyde saw 16.6 carries per game, never seeing less than 13 whenever he was active. Even on the NFLs 32nd (last) ranked passing offense, he turned that into 4.55 yards per carry. With a new regime and plenty of competition added to the backfield, Hyde’s May and June were filled with everything from benching rumors to talks of release. Joe Williams and Matt Breida are rookies, and Tim Hightower doesn’t possess the running talent of Hyde (although he could see more passing-down work). It looks like the 49ers brass is warming up to Hyde as training camp begins.
  • Ameer Abdullah doesn’t look like a fantasy difference-maker. While he has the most running talent of anyone on Detroit’s roster, Theo Riddick has locked down the passing-down gig and Zach Zenner possibly taking goal-line work, Abdullah may be locked into a role where he needs to churn out yards between the 20s to have fantasy value. With a limited touchdown and reception ceiling, he should be a few spots lower.
  • Like Hyde, Mark Ingram looks like a tremendous bargain. Adrian Peterson may see some early down work, but let’s not forget that since his 2012 MVP campaign, he has played one full season. In that timeframe, he has seen 2.5 targets per game with a total of one receiving touchdown. On an offense that passes to running backs so frequently, someone else is going to cash in. Alvin Kamara is obviously a threat after the Saints traded up to get him, but I’m banking on Ingram shouldering a huge load in New Orleans even if Peterson stays healthy and Kamara can prove himself in pass-protection. Quietly last year’s overall RB8, Ingram saw the 13th-most targets at RB and double-digit carries in 11 games despite a quasi-benching in favor of Tim Hightower.
  • How are Danny Woodhead and Bilal Powell available at the end of the 6th round? It should surprise no one if these two finish in the top-5 of RB targets. With basically just Terrance West as competition, Woodhead could push for 100 targets like he did in 2015 as the overall PPR RB3. That year, he only posted a 97/335/3 rushing line, so he doesn’t need an every-down role to be a league-winner. Powell had the 4th-most RB targets last season en route to a RB17 finish while supplanting Matt Forte down the stretch.
  • Theo Riddick finished as 2015’s RB18 and was averaging 16.2 PPG (would’ve made him RB8 for 2016) when he went down with wrist injuries…but he is going as RB33? He won’t see the workload he saw last season as a runner as long as Abdullah is healthy, but he is going to surpass 80 targets as long as he stays on the field. Bargain.