FFWC ADP Series: How Many Running Backs Are You Drafting In First Five Rounds?

Senior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs sees the tide changing on when and how many running backs Fantasy owners should target early

FFWC ADP Series
QB1 | QB2 | Starting RBs | Backup RBs | Starting WRs | Backup WRs | TEs

After looking at the overall ADPs, I thought I would take some time to look at the player flow by position. Here’s what a Fantasy owner will be looking at from the RB1 position in 2018:

This season the top RBs will get snapped quickly in the first round with Fantasy owners almost splitting hairs on who will be the top player. Early this week, I gave an in-depth write-up on the top eight RBs in the 2018 World Championship First Round Draft Review plus each starting RB has a written profile in their team’s outlook. Let’s just saw 2018 have the best talent at the front end of RB1 that I’ve seen playing in the high-stakes market over the last 15 years.

It’s almost a lock that the top seven RBs will get drafted in the first nine picks in just about every draft with PPR scoring in the high-stakes market. Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, and Melvin Gordon have similar ranges in the ADP with each player having plenty of upside if healthy.

I’m going to bring forward my two write-ups on Dalvin Cook as he will be the big wild card at the RB1 position. First, here’s my profile of Cook in FFWC First Round Draft Review: “When reviewing the RBs drafted in the first round, Dalvin Cook is a mistake for me. I know he looked great early in 2017, and the overall RB output by the Vikings projects well this based on their success last season. I can’t see paying full price for a player coming off a significant injury. As time passes this summer and Fantasy owners see Cook on the field, he may push his way into this area of the draft. I can’t make this type of bet in the middle of July.”

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When reviewing the RBs drafted in the first round, Dalvin Cook is a mistake for me. I know he looked great early in 2017, and the overall RB output by the Vikings projects well this based on their success last season. I can’t see paying full price for a player coming off a significant injury. As time passes this summer and Fantasy owners see Cook on the field, he may push his way into this area of the draft. I can’t make this type of bet in the middle of July.

Here’s my write-up found on the Minnesota Vikings Outlook:

Dalvin Cook (RB) – There’s a lot to like in Cook’s resume at Florida State. He rushed for 4,464 yards on 687 carries over three seasons while scoring 48 TDs. Dalvin even chipped in with 79 catches for 935 yards. His looked more explosive rushing the ball in 2015 (7.4 yards per rush), but he gained an amazing 14.8 yards per catch last season. His running style has something in common with Devonta Freeman who also went to FSU. The key for his upside will breaking free at the second level of the defense where his vision and his open field quickness will create huge plays. Cook will make plenty of yards after contact due to his strength and ability to break arms tackles. Dalvin will be a massive threat in the passing game, but he needs to improve his technique and toughness in pass protection. In 2017, Cook blew out his ACL in his left knee. I’m never a fan of a player coming off an injury as too much could go wrong in his recovery. Last season the Vikings’ RBs finished with 457 rushes for 1,803 yards and 14 TDs plus 84 catches for another 681 yards and two more TDs. With repeated success, Minnesota will once again have a special run game, but their offensive line will rank at the backend of the league. Of all the backs on the Vikings in 2017, Cook was by far the most dynamic with three down value. In his four games, he had 95 touches for 444 yards with two TDs and 11 catches. His skill set points to 50+ catches at the minimum with a floor of 275 rushes. Possible 1,300+ yards with six to eight TDs and 40+ catches with the best value coming late in the season.


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Based on looking at the value of the RB1 Position this month, Cook has that talent when healthy to fill a back-end RB1 bucket. I would rather secure an elite WR1 with a high floor before adding Delvin to my roster in the first round.

The top RBs in the game will score over 300 Fantasy points, which puts a Cook owner between 75 to 150 points down after one pick in the draft.

All three RBs listed at the end of the RB1 position will split time and touches with another RB on the roster. With one injury, each one of these options could push their way much higher in the RB rankings.

The RB2 position in 2018 has plenty of talent while multiple players have upside or breakout ability. My favorite player in this group is Sony Michel, but you’ll have to read my profile in the New England Patriots Outlook  to find out why.

The off the field news on LeSean McCoy puts him on the do not draft list for now. McCoy’s issue should have a cleaner view later in August.

The most frustrating player in this grouping is Derrick Henry. I’ve chased him around over the last two seasons leading to short scores in most weeks due to his split role. In 2018, he gains the starter tag for the Titans while still losing touches to Dion Lewis. His high ADP is 28, which is too rich for my blood. If he falls into the fifth round, Derrick will be an excellent buy.

Rashard Penny comes with a short resume, but he did show some big plays in the run game and while returning kicks in his last year in college. I don’t like the Seahawks’ offensive line, but it won’t be as bad as 2017.

Jerick McKinnon, Joe Mixon, Jordan Howard, Derrius Guice, and Alex Collins will split time with another RB on the roster. Pass catching ability tends to define a player’s floor in PPR leagues, which shows why McKinnon is gaining so much respect this year.

After the first 53 picks in PPR leagues in 2018, there will be 24 RBs drafted forcing the WR strong owners to chase at the RB position. I’d suggest a Fantasy owner review the RB options over the first five rounds. If possible, grab an elite edge at RB1 while finding the right balance to add a second RB while developing an impactful core at the WR position.

If you cheat the RB2 position, it is important to get a feel for possible handcuffs. I know every Fantasy owner would love to have depth at the RB position, but most Fantasy teams will be lucky to own two strong running backs in 2018 if they still want to be competitive at the other position on their team.

2018 NFL Team Outlooks

AFC East
AFC North
AFC South
AFC West
NFC East
NFC North
NFC South
NFC West



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Shawn Childs
About Shawn Childs 407 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros.As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.