Top 10 Running Back Rankings For 2017 MFL Best Ball Leagues

If you love drafting fantasy football teams as much as I do then you have to check out My Fantasy League (MFL) leagues (if you already haven’t). For those that don’t know, MFL leagues are draft only leagues that are done in a slow, snake style draft. They are best ball leagues meaning you draft a team of 20 players and your lineup is “set” each week based on your best performers at each position. Once your team is drafted it can never be changed. Scoring is PPR format. Below are my top 10 rankings for MFL best ball leagues.

Tier 1

David Johnson, Arizona
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
No surprise here. Johnson and Bell finished 1-2 in fantasy points per game with both averaging more than 3 points over 3rd place Aaron Rodgers. The thing that makes both so much more valuable than all other running backs is their usage in each team’s respective passing games. Johnson led all running backs with 123 targets (80 receptions) while Bell finished second with 97 targets (76 completions) despite missing the first 3 games due to suspension. With Palmer and Fitzgerald likely back in Arizona there is no reason to think Johnson won’t once again be heavily involved. I already wrote about how I feel Bell should still be successful even if Big Ben retires.

Tier 2

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
Elliott had a monster rookie season and was right on the heels of Johnson and Bell. Still he finished a full 5 points per game behind the other two in PPR leagues. The reason? His lack of usage in the passing game in Dallas. Elliott had just 40 targets on the season and Dallas often preferred to use Lance Dunbar in obvious passing situations. Still, Elliott is running behind one of the best offensive lines in football on a team that is one of the most run heavy teams in the league. Elliott will likely see 300 or more carries again and is a locked in weekly workhorse.

Tier 3

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta
Jordan Howard, Chicago
Melvin Gordon, San Diego
There is a big drop-off from the top 2 tiers to this one but all of these running backs looked poised for solid years. The big concern with McCoy is health as he will be entering his age 29 season, but he was pretty much the entire Buffalo offense last year and was the only other running back to average over 20 fantasy points per game. There is always the concern of Tevin Coleman’s role when it comes to Freeman, but Freeman’s elusiveness and pass catching ability make him a bigger threat in this offense. He finished 9th in running back targets with 67 and totaled over 1500 yards on the season. Howard was an absolute monster for the Bears and looks to the be the real deal. Though he only caught 33 passes he did see 55 targets so if he can improve his hands he could be even better his sophomore year. He was also one of only 6 running backs to average over 3 yards after contact. Gordon had a breakout sophomore year but there is worry about Danny Woodhead stealing targets in the passing game. Still Gordon’s running ability and red zone usage make him a top option at the position.

Tier 4

Jay Ajayi, Miami
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles
Ajayi led all running backs in yards after contact and made the decision to sign, and start, Arian Foster look about as bad as could be. He struggled a bit down the stretch but his offensive line was also beat up. With a healthy line in 2016 Ajayi should be poised for a big year. Hyde doesn’t get the love he deserves as he averaged 15 PPG on a terrible San Francisco team. Now he gets a big boost as former Atlanta OC Kyle Shanahan has accepted the head coaching job for the Niners. In 9 years as an OC, RB1’s have had 5 top 10 finishes under Shanahan. Assuming he can stay healthy I expect big things from Hyde this year. Gurley may seem like a surprise pick but I already wrote about why I like him this year. His usage in the passing game really adds to the appeal and I expect a bounceback year from him. The best part is he will probably have a 2nd round ADP.

Disagree with my rankings? Someone you think belongs in the top 10? Let me know in the comments below.

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