In the modern day, the feature back is a dwindling element of fantasy. We remember the glory years of over a dozen backs that would see well over 300 carries. You used to be able to easily name every team’s starter and rarely new the backup. Now days it seems the complete opposite considering all the teams that prefer running backs by committee, the matchup the offense faces, the hot hand, and a variety of other reasons. However, there are still a few RBs so great that they deserve your attention. Now the nominees for best fantasy back of 2016.
David Johnson (ARI) – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know all about DJ’s dominance since taking over the starting job late in 2015. The second year back has been simply unbelievable in his limited action with a streak of 15 or more consecutive games that he surpassed 100 total yards and some of the highest scoring fantasy performances I can remember in modern day history of fantasy football. Perhaps the one area that often goes unnoticed is his receiving skills. Over 800 yards receiving in 2016. Next year DJ wants 1,000 and who am I to say he can’t get it.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – As I prefaced in the intro, the glory days of between the tackles Power I backs seems to be dwindling. However, there are still a few rams like Zeke Elliott. The rookie was the perfect marriage of skillset and team with the Cowboy’s excellent front five and Dem Boys bulldozed oppositions by feeding the former Buckeye the ball early and often. Zeke led the league in carries and yards and nearly averaged 20 points per game this season. Pretty impressive for a rookie RB with a rookie QB. Now if we can get him to quit groping women….
Le’Veon Bell (PIT) – If you drafted Bell despite his three game suspension for skipping or refusing to take a drug test last offseason then you got an excellent return on the Steelers’ superstar. Bell finished the season just shy of 1,900 total yards in only 13 games played. He also surpassed 20 points per game with an average of 20.2 on the year. Considering the Steelers just tagged the man and considering Roethlisberger’s questionable status for 2017, the Steelers will be ringing the Bell a lot in 2017. Now lets hope he’s not smoking too much of that green stuff.
All three of these backs were fantastic; however, David Johnson was simply the best in 2016. DJ was the only back to surpass 2,000 total yards of offense, he was one of only three to score 15 or more rushing TDs, he had over 200 more yards receiving than any other back, and he averaged a ridiculous 20.5 points/game on the year which was the best of any non-QB. Simply put, DJ is the king of fantasy and we should all apologize to him for not selecting with the first pick in every single draft.