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2023 Way Too Early Start Up Rankings – RB

Start up season is just around the corner. @Culture_Coach dives into the Way Too Early positional rankings.

najee harris player value

We have just closed out the 2022 regular season. For those who just started playing dynasty in the past year or two, you might be getting that start up fever. If you are just hearing about dynasty and want to dip your toe into the pool, you have come to the right place. Dynasty Nerds has bevy of great resources to get you started down the path to dynasty glory.

This series will look at the top of each position. I take into account not just recent performance, but what the next 2-3 seasons might look like. Is the player in a stable situation? Is their contract set? Are they nearing an age cliff? All things you want to consider when building a dynasty. I am looking at the running backs today.

Running Back Rankings

  1. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
    • Taylor is going to be 24-years-old next season. Despite an off 2022 I still believe he is the best young running back in the game.
  2. Breece Hall, New York Jets
    • Hall suffered a season ending injury just as he was hitting his stride. Look for him to return to his three-down role in 2023.
  3. Christian McCaffrey San Francisco 49ers
    • After two injury plagued seasons, McCaffrey returned to his pre-injury production level. Still, he will be 27 years old and is approaching 1500 touches so I have him at RB3.
  4. Kenneth Walker III Seattle Seahawks
    • Walker is locked into a three-down role. He is an explosive back that can take any touch the distance.
  5. Saquon Barkley New York Giants
    • Five years is and Barkley is not yet 26. He is excellent in all three phases – bunning, catching, and blocking.
  6. Austin Ekeler Los Angeles Chargers
    • The soon to be 28-year-old Ekeler still has a lot in the tank. The Chargers have been drafting running backs to complement Ekeler for the last few years. I do not expect his role to change.
  7. Javonte Williams Denver Broncos
    • Our hopes were high with the exit of Melvin Gordon. And then Gordon returned. And then Williams got injured. The dynamic Williams will be atop the depth chart in 2023.
  8. Rhamondre Stevenson New England Patriots
    • Stevenson looks the be the first three-down-back in New England since Corey Dillon.
  9. Josh Jacobs Las Vegas Raiders
    • The Raiders did not pick up Jacobs fifth-year option and he is making the entire league pay. There is a chance Jacobs stays in Las Vegas, but if he moves on to a new team look for him to keep proving the Raiders wrong.
  10. Najee Harris Pittsburgh Steelers
    • The only thing that kept Harris from building on his great rookie season was a poor offensive line. A young three-down back on a rookie contract is primed for a bounce back to RB1 status in 2023.
  11. Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals
    • Mixon doesn’t get much respect. He is on a high powered offense and is currently RB4 in ppg. He is a three-down back but the Bengals can get pass happy. He will be 27 before next season.
  12. Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings
    • A true three-down back who will be 28 at the start of the 2022 season. His contract runs through 2025, but it isn’t to expensive to get out of if his play drops off.
  13. JK Dobbins Baltimore Ravens
    • Dobbins missed most of 2022 and 2023 due to injury. Since returning to the field he shown his trademark vision, but the long speed is still missing. Look for a full return in 2023.
  14. Dameon Pierce Houston Texans
    • The fourth round pick grabbed the starting job in training camp and never looked back. A late season injury has slowed things, but look for a return to the top of the depth chart next year.
  15. Nick Chubb Cleveland Browns
    • Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the NFL. The Browns reluctance to regularly use Chubb in the passing game limits his upside.
  16. D’Andre Swift Detroit Lions
    • Swift had a disappointing season by fantasy standards in 2022. The talent is there and the Lions have expressed visions of an early career Alvin Kamara usage for Swift.
  17. Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans
    • Time has to run out on the King doesn’t it? He’ll ne 29-years-old in January. Henry probably has a couple more seasons in him, but with over 1800 touches to his credit the cliff isn’t too far off.
  18. Alvin Kamara New Orleans Saints
    • Speaking of Kamara. The nagging injuries are starting to be more frequent. The shift to a more run heavy usage after Payton’s retirement has dropped the six year vets fantasy production.
  19. Aaron Jones Green Bay Packers
    • We are in a group of running backs who are nearing the age cliff and Jones is another. Still productive, but AJ Dillon is knocking on the door.
  20. Tony Pollard Dallas Cowboys
    • Fantasy managers have been waiting for the explosive Pollard to take the mantle from Zeke Elliott. 2022 has Pollard trending for his first RB1 season.
  21. Mikes Sanders Philadelphia Eagles
    • To be clear– Miles Sanders hates your fantasy team. That being said, he still scores points. There is volatility with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, but Sanders is a good RB2.
  22. Travis Etienne Jacksonville Jaguars
    • Etienne has great straight-line speed and is a decent pass catcher. His history of foot trouble gives me pause. I’m ok with him as my RB2, but as my RB1 I’d be nervous.
  23. Rachaad White Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • White has come on late this season and is now splitting time with Fournette. I expect White to be the lead back in 2023.
  24. James Cook Buffalo Bills
    • Cook will move into the 1A slot in 2023 with Singletary hitting free agency. Cook is explosive and a great pass catcher. He can run inside the tackles well, but doesn’t have the size to carry a heavy workload.
  25. Isiah Pacheco Kansas City Chiefs
    • A classic #2-3yearwindow back, Pacheco has grabbed onto the lead back role in Kansas City. The Chiefs don’t throw him the ball much, but when they get a lead they let Pacheco rack up the production.
  26. AJ Dillon Green Bay Packers
    • A bruising back who is pushing Aaron Jones for touches, Dillon looks to be a year away from having the top job in Green Bay.
  27. Brian Robinson Washington Commanders
    • Robinson has had a nice rookie season and has taken over the top spot in the Washington backfield. BRob is an average talent who will get a couple of years of run.
  28. James Conner Arizona Cardinals
    • Soon to be 28, Conner is a bruising back, who is capable in the passing game. His contract has him tied to the Cardinals for at least one more year.
  29. Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys
    • Thank you for your fantasy service Mr. Elliott. The writing is on the wall, whether Pollard leaves as a free agent or not, Elliott is coming to the twilight of a great career.
  30. David Montgomery Chicago Bears
    • Monty is a good all-around back. It is easy to get hung up on what he doesn’t do well, but he had great vision, is a good pass catcher, and has a couple more seasons a platoon back in his future.
  31. Cam Akers Los Angeles Rams
    • If Akers continues to bounce back from the Achilles injury I can see him moving up the rankings this off season.
  32. Elijah Mitchell San Francisco 49ers
    • Mitchell is now behind McCaffrey, but before he was injured he flashed great productivity. He is on a cheap rookie contract so he isn’t going anywhere for a couple of years. He is a great handcuff or zero-RB option.
  33. Khalil Herbert Chicago Bears
    • Herbert is in line to get a shot to replace Montgomery in 2023. Returning from injury late in 2022 will give him a chance to audition.
  34. Antonio Gibson Washington Commanders
    • A free agent after the 2023 season, Gibson should get a chance to push for a starting somewhere in 2024. Until then he will be the passing down back in Washington.
  35. Leonard Fournette Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Fournette is entering the Lat Murray phase of his career. I don’t think he gets signed to be a starter again, but as a teams #2 he will provide security and step in if your starter goes down.
  36. Devin Singletary Buffalo Bills
    • Singletary is a free agent after the 2022 season and I don’t think he returns to the Bills. I expect him to sign somewhere and be the 1B in a split backfield.

That is the top 36 running backs according to me. The 2023 rookie class will shake this up. Leave a comment and tell me what you think. Or stop the the Dynasty Nerds Show on the Bettor Sports Network on Thursday nights and hit the call button ant tell me in person.

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