We’re in thick of fantasy draft season, which means we need all the strategy and information we can get. While the draft doesn’t determine the final outcome, it can certainly put you on the right path for a championship. One of the most important decisions you will make is selecting your starting running backs. Getting trustworthy players to lock in at the RB position has become a luxury. At such a volatile position, matchups can be as important as ever. With that being said, here are the five toughest running back strength of schedules.
The data used to determine strength of schedules comes from FantasyPros, the players’ ranks are my rankings here on FlurrySports, and their ADP is from 10-team PPR leagues, according to Fantasy Football Calculator. I am only listing players who carry value right now, ignoring the handcuffs.
For the full strength of schedule graphs, along with 19 other pages of fantasy goodness, get our Fantasy Football Draft Kit HERE.
1– Los Angeles Rams
Rank: #2 | ADP: 1.02
The toughest schedule goes to last year’s top back. Makes sense. While it’s not a reason to panic, this could be the way you split hairs between him and Bell.
2– New York Giants
Rank: #8 | ADP: 1.07
The rookie has been hyped possibly more than any other player. He’s a first round pick based on potential alone. Does the second-toughest schedule and the fact that he’s already banged up raise any red flags to you? I do have a gut feeling that may cause Barkley to drop a couple spots, but either way, he’s still an RB1.
3– Washington Redskins
Rank: #50 | ADP: Undrafted
Rank: #30 | ADP: 7.08
Rank: #51 | ADP: 14.01
Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the season, so Washington turned to Samaje Perine. In his first rush this past week, he went for an impressive 30 yards, but sprained his ankle. Though not serious, it was enough for the Redskins to make the mistake of bringing Peterson in. The inefficient veteran will have the third-toughest schedule. I expect him to eventually split early down work with Perine, then Thompson will remain in his energizer role.
4– Detroit Lions
Rank: #31 | ADP: 6.07
Rank: #53 | ADP: 14.01
Rank: #45 | ADP: 13.10
Rookie Kerryon Johnson has impressed so far this preseason. The Lions haven’t had a 100-yard rushing performance since Thanksgiving 2013, when Reggie Bush was the one to do it. Johnson seems to be the man to break this streak, but he is in a crowded backfield and has a tough schedule. Blount will be the hammer for this offense, and Riddick will continue to be the impressive receiver out of the backfield.
5– Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rank: #44 | ADP: 11.10
Ronald Jones II
Rank: #33 | ADP: 7.06
Head coach Dirk Koetter insists that Peyton Barber is the starting running back and the more talented Ronald Jones is the backup. Which will happen first: Ronald Jones gets named the starter, or Koetter gets canned? It’s too close to tell. His reluctance to start the rookie kills both players’ value for the time being. However, if he is stubborn enough to give Barber 12-15 touches, he’d be a steal for his ADP, though the value won’t last long.
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Head over to MyBookie and use the promo code FlurrySports to make guaranteed money on this easy bet. Cardinals center AQ Shipley was lost for the season with a torn ACL. This left third-round rookie Cole Mason as the only guy to be the starter. He’s locked in. The bet is simple: put as much money on Cole Mason to be the Cardinals starter week 1 under the NFL Specials tab. As you can see, it was between him and Shipley, and Shipley is now out of the equation. Happy betting!
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