Part two: Top 10 Underrated and Overrated Running Backs

Underrated


10. Nick Chubb RB/Cleveland Browns

Chubb is a top ten fantasy RB but still doesn't get talked about as much as he should. Arguably the best RB in the AFC North, Chubb rushed for over 1000 yards this season while scoring 10 touchdowns. Chubb is on the Cleveland Browns, while they have been getting hype in the past year they are still overlooked for the players they do have. Chubb is a heavy back standing at 5'11 227 pounds, his speed combined with his big body makes him a torpedo and he can run you over, he had a 92 yard touchdown last year. Chubb is looking for a huge year and with the addition of a new OL man, Chubb should easily break 1000 yards rushing and get more than 10 touchdowns.


9. Marlon Mack RB/Indianapolis Colts

Marlon Mack is a dual threat back, he can run the ball and catch the ball very well, why is he not recognized for what he does? Mack does miss some games due to injury but he is coming off his first 1000 yard rushing season while scoring 8 touchdowns. With the recent addition of rookie Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, Mack and teammate Nyheim Hines will battle for the speed spot on the roster and will also fight for playing time, Hines misses more time so that means Mack has been the featured back. Mack averaged 4.4 yards per carry last year which is very good considering how small he is. Mack can stretch the field when healthy, he is also a good flex player or pick up option in fantasy when your main RB/flex player is on a bye.


8. Latavius Murray RB/New Orleans Saints

Murray is starting material, he's an extremely underrated RB, if the Saints wanted to do running back by committee it would work because of Kamara and Murray. This is his first team he has not started for (played with Raiders and Vikings) but Murray still puts up numbers and is liked by teammates. Putting up 637 yards rushing with 5 touchdowns on 146 touches and 235 yards receiving with 1 touchdown in 16 games, keep in mind he probably gets around 10-15 snaps at most per game, sometimes less. When he was a starting running back he tallied 2278 yards rushing in 3 years with the Raiders along with 20 TDs. With the Vikings he put up 1420 yards and 14 TDs in 2 years with the team. Last year was his first year the Saints and as long as he produces he should remain in Louisiana.


7. Jaylen Samuels RB/Pittsburgh Steelers

Samuels took over as the main back when James Conner was hurt and did pretty well, also played QB a few times. His main game Steeler fans remember was his rookie year (2018) against the Patriots. Samuels had big play after big play that helped them beat the Patriots for the first time in a very long time. While doing little on the ground this year Samuels did most of his work in the catching game and behind center from the wild cat, while bringing in 305 yards catching while scoring only 1 TD. Rushing wise he ran for 175 yards with only 1 TD. He isn't a scorer like more RBs, he's more of a work horse and will get you out of sticky situations, if he does score its mainly from the goal line and short yardage plays. Samuels can also play TE and FB, he plays a little bit of everything on offense.


6. Ronald Jones II RB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The new starting running back in Tampa Bay hasn't had a legit starting opportunity yet so this year is his first year starting. Jones put up 724 yards and 6 touchdowns in 16 games this past season, Jones didn't get enough snaps this past season to show what he can do but we caught a glimpse in 2019. Jones will be running behind first round pick Tristan Wirfs and will have new weapons like TE Rob Gronkowski and rookie RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt and now LeSean McCoy. I could easily see Jones and Vaughn being a one two punch, with Vaughn being the third down back or McCoy.


5. Derrius Guice RB/Washington Football Team

Guice has had an unfortunate start to his NFL career. Tearing one ACL his rookie year then tearing his other one 5 games into his second season. Guice showed signs of promise during his 5 game activity putting up 245 yards and 2 touchdowns while having 1 receiving touchdown including his longest run being 60 yards. Guice is capable of being a good starting running back and has a motor like other young running backs on this list, Guice will of course share time with another running back who has had an unfortunate start to his career with ACL surgery in Bryce Love. Those two will compete for the number two back spot behind veteran Adrian Peterson and eventually one of those two will start. Guice has the edge because he actually has NFL game experience unlike Love.


4. Tony Pollard RB/Dallas Cowboys

A very surprising rookie year for someone who only played 15 games and only ran the ball 86 times. Tony rushed for 455 yards and 2 touchdowns including a 21 yards rush as his longest run. Tony also caught 15 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Tony racked up a whopping 25 total first downs with 21 running the ball, the first downs mostly came at the end of the game when the Cowboys had it put away but some of them came on third downs. Pollard has a strong motor and legs that never stop moving and that can make it hard to bring him down, he would be a starter on some teams this year if he wasn't with Dallas. Tony Pollard is looking to have an increased roll this year and should put up 500+ yards along with 5+ touchdowns barring any injuries.


3. Matt Breida RB/Miami Dolphins

Traded during the NFL Draft to the Dolphins, Breida gives Miami a better and more experienced option at running back. While he is injury prone, Breida can be helpful to a offense, especially like Miami's. Breida put up 623 yards and one touchdown on the ground, but in the passing game Breida had 120 yards and a touchdown while playing 13 games and starting 5 of them. A pass happy offense is looking to change in Miami as they added two new offensive lineman and a QB that can scramble in this years draft. Breida will be used as a utility and will mainly be used as a receiving back due to Kalen Ballage being the featured back this year. Don't sleep on Breida as he has proved to be useful when healthy.


2. Chase Edmonds RB/Arizona Cardinals

Edmonds stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park this year when he was called upon to start. Edmonds recorded 303 yards and 4 touchdowns running the ball and 105 yards and a touchdown catching the ball in two starts and 13 games. It doesn't look like much but he averaged 5.1 yards per carry and no fumbles including 17 first downs and 12 of them were rushing. Edmonds kept them in the game and the defense on their toes, Murray had a blanket in Edmonds if nothing was open. Put Edmonds in a normal role in the offense behind Drake and let him play in all 16 games, his stats will sky rocket. Don't sleep on him.


  1. Ezekiel Elliott RB/Dallas Cowboys

Elliott is constantly undermined in the NFL. He ranked 24 in the top 100 this year, even though those rankings are jokes, it's still frustrating to see a top 10 running back not even crack the top 20. Elliott has passed 1000 rushing yards in 3 of his 4 seasons, he misses 6 games in 2017 due to injury. Elliott put up 1357 yards with 12 touchdowns and a 4.5 yards per carry average. In the passing game he recorded 420 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns while having only three fumbles this entire season. Elliott is a train of a runner, he is a bulldozer to be brought down and can change the game when in open field. Despite his size he has pretty good speed and that speed helped him run for a 33 yard gain and catch and go for a 27 yard gain, those were his longest attempts of the year. Elliott also recorded 99 first downs and 71 of those he got running the football. He said he feels "disrespected" and that will be motivation for this season.




Overrated


10. Todd Gurley RB/Atlanta Falcons

Gurley has arthritis in his knee, that extremely limited his performance last year as he put up 857 rush yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games. Gurley just won't be the same and he continues to be regarded as a top back in the league. Now he's with the Falcons and behind a worse offensive line in a roughly similar defensive division, he is used to being the main source of offense but the Falcons have other playmakers on their offense, who knows, maybe that will benefit Gurley.


9. Kareem Hunt RB/Cleveland Browns

Reporters and analysts have started saying the Browns have the best backfield in football, my question is how? Nick Chubb (who appeared on the underrated list) and Kareem Hunt are the players that make the duo. Hunt played 8 games last season due to being suspended for the first 8 and he put up 179 rush yards and 2 touchdowns. Hunt would not get the same reps he did in Kansas City unless he clearly wins the starting job which just won't happen, plus there is no room for Hunt to become his old self again without there being a clash of egos in the locker room. If Hunt were to become his old self again he would take the starting job from Chubb which would then have Chubb request for a trade and egos along with Hunt and Chubb like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry would clash kind of like with the Steelers and Antonio Brown and Le'veon Bell, it got too much for the team.


8. Kerryon Johnson RB/Detroit Lions

I'm a big fan of Kerryon Johnson, I think he can be the back in Detroit for a long time, if he stays healthy. In his two years he has played 18 out of 32 games and has barely over 1000 yards rushing with 1044 yards. This is a case of the injury bug keeping Johnson from showing what he can, which is the reason why he is on this list. He is talked about like he hasn't missed any games when he has missed 14 games, all in the second half of the season. Johnson, like Chubb is a big back with speed and a motor to not go down. Johnson is entering the most important year in his career, this is the make it or break it year for him, he cannot risk missing any more than 3 games.


7. Jonathan Taylor RB/Indianapolis Colts

At first glimpse of Taylor you think he is going to be a star in the NFL, but that won't be the case. Jonathan Taylor has had a lot of wear and tear in his three years at Wisconsin, the rookie running back has touched the ball 926 times in those three years and he hasn't even touched a pro field yet. While rushing for over 2000 yards for the last two years, that just adds to the wear and tear. His career won't be as long as other RBs and he will be more injury prone and if that is the case will receive less touches. This isn't a case of he lacks talent, its just all the use he got with the Badgers and that might cut his career short.


6. J.K. Dobbins RB/Baltimore Ravens

Same case as with Taylor, the wear and tear on Dobbins is a lot, barely less than Taylor, but still a lot. Dobbins shared 2003 rushing yards last season with Jonatan Taylor as they both rushed for the same amount. Their stats were scary similar last college season and they faced each other in a tournament game, even though OSU prevailed Taylor out rushed Dobbins. Dobbins is in a crowded running back room while Taylor isn't, Dobbins will be limited because its his rookie year but I just don't see him becoming much of a number one back later in his career.


5. Nyheim Hines RB/Indianapolis Colts

There is some hype about Hines and it's not just about him on special teams. He is being picked as a 'sleeper' in fantasy by YouTuber The Underdog and another YouTuber The Podfather is questioning if Rivers will turn Hines into a Austin Ekler type of player. Don't count on seeing him make the roster if not for special teams, he barely gets any touches rushing and receiving wise. With the addition of Jonathan Taylor, Hines with get even less playing time on offense. Tallying only 519 yards in 16 games and scoring 2 touchdowns he isn't much of San offensive threat. He is a special teamer, a returner, that is where he thrives, Hines had 2 punt returns for touchdowns in one game in week 16. Expect his time on offense to be little and not much.


4. D'Andre Swift RB/Detroit Lions

Even thought Swift is arguably the best RB in the 2020 draft class, NBC Sports Philadelphia is predicting him to take the starting job from Kerryon Johnson. I don't see him taking the starting job until (most likely) Johnson gets hurt, this is a case of experience gets the job done and Swift just hasn't got any NFL playing time. Eventually Swift will prevail and show what he is capable of bur for right now, he is overrated and should not get the starting job.


3. Melvin Gordon RB/Denver Broncos

A friend brought Gordon to my attention as being overrated and at first I was questioning it but then I looked into it and my friend couldn't have said it better, "He hasn't really lived up to that Wisconsin record breaking hype." Gordon has only had one season where he rushed for over 1000 yards, hence that was the only season he played a full 16 games but he will be competing against Phillip Lindsay in Denver and Lindsay has a chance to take the starting role. Last year he sat out 4 games and put up 612 yards, 8 touchdowns and a 3.8 yards per carry average. Gordon is joining a Broncos team with WR and RB positions figured out, the Chargers didn't have as many WRs as Denver so Gordon was used more and a bigger part of that offense. Gordon will look to prove people wrong but it will be hard this year.


2. David Johnson RB/Houston Texans

David Johnson has fallen off the wagon. After a very impressive 2016 season putting up 1239 rushing yards and 16 TDs, Johnson missed the 2017 season due to injury and hasn't been the same since. A writer on NFL.com predicts Johnson will prove the doubters wrong, another writer on NBC sports has said the Texans think Johnson was worth the (unbelievably terrible) trade and will be a good investment. The Texans have a very poor running back room and the organization is banking on Johnson to return to his 2016 form or else Houston has no running game. Johnsons stats this past year including 345 rush yards and 2 touchdowns in 13 games as he was hurt this year, he has became a little bit of a injury prone back.


  1. Le'Veon Bell RB/New York Jets

Going from the best running back in the NFL to a overrated, money seeking bust(yes I'm still a bit salty), Bell has produced way below expectations, why is that? Bell doesn't have the O-line, the other targets on offense, the quarterback or the coaches anymore to succeed, its just him there. Bell only ran for 789 yards on 245 rush attempts and scoring 3 touchdowns, in the air he hauled in 461 yards and a touchdown. Bell did have a terrible team around him last year but he just isn't electric without the pieces that made him unlike any other back in the league. Fans continue to state that Bell is like his old self, his old self would run over 1000 yards and caught over 600 yards while scoring 8-11 touchdowns a year in both running and receiving.

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