It’s time to get hyped for the return of the NFL. Or at least get as hyped as one can be before their team becomes irrelevant and they’re stuck at a Super Bowl party watching the New England Patriots win another chip.
The running back position has been devalued in recent years yet we have the deepest batch of running back talent. 2019 might be the running back Renaissance.
Here are the Top 25 running backs heading into the 2019 NFL season:
25. Sony Michel
2018 stats: 931 rushing yards 50 receiving yards 6 TDs
Sony Michel is in no way a complete back and he’s in no way a finished product but he plays for Bill Belichick which means he’ll be making huge plays in the Super Bowl so he’s making this list simply for SEO purposes. When everyone’s Googling his name next February, I’m getting those clicks.
24. Marlon Mack
2018 stats: 908 rushing yards 103 receiving yards 10 TDs
Last season, the second year back emerged as the full time starter for Indy and was so vital to their success that the Colts elected to ride Mack for another season as opposed to using all of their cap space and bringing in a guy like Le’Veon Bell.
23. Aaron Jones
2018 stats: 728 rushing yards 206 receiving yards 9 TDs
Aaron Jones may have not had the most carries in the league but when he did get the ball in the backfield, he made the most of it. He led the NFL with 5.5 yards per carry.
If Matt LaFleur’s new offense looks anything like Sean McVay’s than Jones is about to have a massive year. Or Aaron Rodgers is going to audible out of every running play. Probably that.
22. LeSean McCoy
2018 stats: 514 rushing yards 238 receiving yards 3 TDs
Shady McCoy is most likely washed. Running backs don’t get better when they turn 31. Josh Allen scrambling all over the place and turning every play into a QB run probably isn’t great for McCoy’s numbers but Buffalo might have a more balanced passing threat next season which should maaaaybe open things up for this asshole.
21. Devonta Freeman
2018 stats: Missed most of season with groin injury.
Prior to 2018, Devonta Freeman had never missed more than two games in a season so although he was riddled with injuries last year, there is no reason to believe the 27-year old will fall off a cliff in 2019.
20. James Conner
2018 stats: 973 rushing yards 497 receiving yards 13 TDs
Antonio Brown: gone.
Le’Veon Bell: gone.
Ben Roethlisberger: still an asshole.
It’s up to James Conner now to lead this Steelers time to victory or else Big Ben will go on the radio Monday afternoon and talk about how small your dick is in the showers.
19. Mark Ingram
2018 stats: 645 rushing yards 170 receiving yards 10 TDs
Ingram has been splitting carries with Alvin Kamara and has still managed to stand out on his own so imagine the season he is about to have in the Baltimore Ravens 1950’s rush-first, rush-second style offense in which forward passes are outlawed.
18. Josh Jacobs
2018 stats: Rookie
Josh Jacobs was drafted 24th overall by the Oakland Raiders so let’s be very clear about one thing, he will never be as great as Khalil Mack is BUT Oakland did invest quite a bit of money in their offensive line and Derek Carr is the check down god so he’s in a position to flourish. Roll tide.
17. Adrian Peterson
2018 stats: 1,042 rushing yards 208 receiving yards 8 TDs
Adrian Peterson is 74-years old and somehow managed to record his first 1,000 yard season since 2015 and with Case Keenum as his new starting QB, he might put up 2,000 yards again.
When Emmit Smith played far past his prime, he looked like an elderly man. Adrian Peterson comes into training camp built like a rookie every single year. Totally normal.
16. Jordan Howard
2018 stats: 935 rushing yards 145 receiving yards 9 TDs
In 2018, the Eagles rushed for 98.1 yards per game. That’s trash. Trading for Jordan Howard will instantly improve their running game overnight. Also, and this might be the most important factor in Howard’s success but, my man is in a contract year. 2,000 yards rushing is on the table.
15. David Johnson
2018 stats: 940 rushing yards 446 receiving yards 10 TDs
After missing the 2017 season with a wrist injury, David Johnson returned last season andddd took a massive step back falling from 2,118 yards from scrimmage in 2016 to only 1,386 yards from scrimmage in 2018. But Steve Wilks, Josh Rosen and that whole awful system are long gone. Kyler Murray and DJ are going to wreck shit. Maybe.
14. Dalvin Cook
2018 stats: 615 rushing yards 305 receiving yards 4 TDs
Cook has yet to play a full NFL season but he’s shown flashes of how great he could be if he stays on the field. Cook might be too low on this list knowing that Gary Kubiak is the new offensive coordinator in Minnesota. Kubiak has spent his entire career turning nobodies into 1,000 yard rushers. Shout out Ron Dayne.
13. Leonard Fournette
2018 stats: 439 rushing yards 185 receiving yards 10 TDs
Leonard Fournette was garbage last season and if you ask Jacksonville Jaguars VP of Football Ops, Tom Coughlin, he will wax poetic on how much he hates Fournette. Nick Foles will bring stability to this Jags offense and Fournette will bounce back.
12. Tevin Coleman
2018 stats: 800 rushing yards 276 receiving yards 9 TDs
Tevin Coleman and Kyle Shanahan know each other quite well from their time in Atlanta together. Shanahan turned Nick Mullens into a potential Pro Bowl quarterback. He is an offensive mastermind and Coleman is about to go off.
11. Joe Mixon
2018 stats: 1168 rushing yards 296 receiving yards 9 TDs
10. Derrick Henry
2018 stats: 1,059 rushing yards 99 receiving yards 12 TDs
Derrick Henry is a fucking animal. You will never see a more vicious stiff arm. He throws defenders to the ground as if he’s the one that’s trying to tackle them. It’s genuinely shocking that the NFL allows Henry to throw cornerbacks around like that. In front of their families and everything.
9. Phillip Lindsay
2018 stats: 1,037 rushing yards 241 receiving yards 10 TDs
Phillip Lindsay rushing for 1,000+ yards after going undrafted reallyyyy makes New York Giants GM, Dave Gettleman look like an idiot every single time it’s mentioned. Lindsay is about to steal Royce Freeman’s job and again, no draft picks wasted for a running back. Team Building 101,
8. Nick Chubb
2018 stats: 996 rushing yards 149 receiving yards 10 TDs
There’s a lot of talk about Kareem Hunt being the feature back in Cleveland but everyone should be prepared for the very real possibility that when he returns from his 8-game suspension, he won’t have a single game with more than 10 carries. Odell Beckham is about to open the backfield for Chubb while Kareem Hunt kicks more women in the head for no reason at all.
7. Melvin Gordon
2018 stats: 885 rushing yards 490 receiving yards 14 TDs
Melvin Gordon scored 14 touchdowns in 12 games last season. Now, there is nothing in his history to make you believe that he can stay healthy all year long but assuuuuming he does, I’m told that the team who scores more touchdowns wins the game so having a running back that lives in the the endzone is *checks notes* good.
6. Todd Gurley
2018 stats: 1,251 rushing yards 580 receiving yards 21 TDs
Uh, Todd Gurley has arthritis in his knees and watched the Super Bowl form the sidelines. No. 6 might be way too high.
5. Christian McCaffrey
2018 stats: 1,098 rushing yards 867 receiving yards 13 TDs
There’s a white running back in the Top 5. Thanks, TRUMP. Every time Christian McCaffrey breaks a tackle, a coach’s son gets another carry over a running back that is far more talented and darker skinned. Every time he scores a touchdown, a Barstool Sports employee calls a woman a slut and gets a raise for it.
4. Ezekiel Elliot
2018 stats: 1,434 rushing yards 567 receiving yards 9 TDs
As much as I would love to see the tires fall off of a Dallas Cowboys running back, especially a guy like Elliot who seems to punch people in the face anytime he gets a sip of alcohol in his system, Zeke still cannot be tackled and this is the reality we must live in. Shit sucks,
3. Alvin Kamara
2018 stats: 883 rushing yards 709 receiving yards 9 TDs
Mark Ingram now plays in Baltimore which means we are about to get full uncut raw Alvin Kamara straight to the dome. This is like at the end of Matrix Reloaded when Neo unlocks his full power and uses his powers in the real world to stop the sentinels. Matrix Reloaded was better than you guys thought. Seriously, go back and re-watch it.
2. Le’Veon Bell
2018 stats: Sat out.
Le’Veon Bell was the best running back in football. For whatever reason, people think that somehow by sitting out for a season he’s worse. These are the same people that acknowledge how detrimental a full season of wear and tear can have on a running back’s career. There’s a solid chance he comes back better than ever. Or not. He’s sporting a Jets jersey after all.
1. Saquon Barkley
2018 stats: 1,307 rushing yards 721 receiving yards 15 TDs
SAQUON BARKLEY, BABYYYYY THE GOAT. NEW YORK GIANTS GOING 16-0 AND NO ONE CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE.