Fantasy Football

2019 Fantasy Football Devy Running Back Rankings


Welcome to the inaugural Devy rankings for the 2019 season. This edition will key present to you the 2019 Fantasy Football Devy Running Back Rankings that best translate to the pros.

For those not familiar with Devy leagues, take a look back at the QB Devy Rankings for a bit of an explanation to the leagues.

As for the running backs, below I will analyze the top 20 running backs who are one or two years away from being draft eligible, broken down into tiers. The top 3 probably are not much of a surprise.

After that I go a bit deeper and mention the top freshman entering the 2019 College Football season.

Rankings can change drastically based on your league scoring system, so these ranking will be based on a typical PPR scoring (non-superflex) system. With all that said, let us dive into the rankings.

2019 Fantasy Football Devy Running Back Rankings

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Tier 1

This tier features three backs that could very well hear they named called early on draft day. These three are pretty interchangeable, as all three have a legit case to be the top back in college football this season.

1: Travis Etienne, Clemson (Junior, 2020 Draft Eligible)

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Etienne’s speed is what sets him a part in this tier. He can flat out fly, have had 23 runs last season of 20+ yards. A matter of fact, 59.4% of his rushing yards came from runs of 15 or mare yards.  That is impressive. He totaled 26 TDs last season while rushing for 1,658 yards.

Entrenched in a high powered offense, defenses cannot stack the box and key in on Etienne, leaving him primed for another fantastic statistical season, making him the top devy back of 2019.

2: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (Junior, 2020)

A true workhorse back, Taylor led the nation in rushing yards last season with 2,194 yards and tied for 8th with 16 TDs. He is not much of a receiver out of the backfield with only having eight receptions in 2018, a part of his game NFL scouts want to see him work on.

 3: D’Andre Swift, Georgia (Junior, 2020)

Despite sharing the backfield last season, Swift managed to run for 1,049 yards and 10 TDs.

With Elijah Holyfield no longer at Georgia, Swift will finally get the chance to shine as the full time back.

A three down, all purpose runner with speed & elite pass catching abilities, Swift can vault himself atop the RB draft board with a solid season for the Bulldogs. The offense should run through him in 2019.

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Tier 2

This tier is a bit more tricky. You can make a case for these five to be ranked in any order. Each brings a certain skill set to the table that could translate to the NFL.

4: Eno Benjamin, Arizona State (Junior 2020)

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Benjamin had 1,905 total yards from scrimmage in 2018 with 18 touchdowns for the Sun Devils. A former four-star recruit, Benjamin has big-play ability with great instincts. His size is not ideal at 5’10” but he does have a bulky frame (205 lbs), so he can sustain a hit, breaking 49 tackles and totaling over 1,000 after contact last season.

5: J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (Junior, 2020)

Dobbins saw his numbers drop in his sophomore campaign (350 fewer yards & 3 fewer TDs), but a lot of that can be tied to the fact that he shared the backfield in 2018.

Presumably, with the backfield all to himself, Dobbins has the opportunity to shine in 2019.

Dobbins is one of the more versatile backs in the draft-eligible class, as Ohio State has lined him up in the backfield as well as split him out wide in some wide receiver sets. It would not surprise me one bit to see Dobbins atop this list after the 2019 season.

6: Najee Harris, Alabama (Junior, 2020)

Harris was tough to rank for me. He has had to wait his turn behind Damien Harris & Joshua Jacobs, but based on pure talent and size (6’2″ 227), Harris could have arguably been ranked in tier 1. A five-star recruit out of high school, Harris has the size, power, speed and hands to be a nightmare for opponents.

7: Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State (Sophomore, 2021)

Jefferson took the Beavers by storm his freshman season, finishing 8th in the nation with 1,380 rushing yards and 12 TDs earning him Freshman All-American Honors. Despite not having much else on offense at Oregon State, all eyes will be on Jefferson as continues to prove to the world that he is one of the overall best playmakers in the FBS.

8: Cam Akerss, Florida St. (Junior, 2020)

Akers saw his draft stock plummet as he struggled his sophomore year at FSU, only gaining 706 rushing yards with six TDs. Akers is a physical back with great vision and an explosive first step.  He should fit perfectly in OC Kendal Briles new scheme, making him a prime bounce-back candidate.

Tier 3

Tier 3 rounds out the top 10 Devy running backs with two RBs who could easily see themselves finishing the year in the top 5 of this list.

9: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt (Senior, 2020)

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Despite a very productive Sophomore year (1,244 yds & 12 TDs), Vaughn decided to return for his junior year to hone in on his skill set. Many scouts thought he had a legitimate shot to be the first back off the board had he declared. Vaughn has a knack for making defenders miss, as he forced 40 missed tackles last season and scampered for 32 runs of ten or more yards.

10: Kylin Hill, Mississippi State (Junior, 2020)

Hill has all the tool to be an all-purpose, three-down back at the next level. He has the ideal blend of power and quickness that scouts love.  With a stellar junior year as the lead back for the Bulldogs, Hill could be one of the first RB off the board in the draft.

Best of the rest

11: AJ Dillon, Boston College  (Junior, 2020)

Dillon backed up a monster freshman season by averaging 110 yards and a TD per game his sophomore year. He leaves some things to be desired in the passing game, but at worst, Dillon projects to be an early down or goal line back at the next level.

12: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State (Junior, 2020)

While backing up Justice Hill, he managed to gain 969 all-purpose yards and nine total touchdowns.  With Justice now in the NFL, the backfield is Hubbards to own.  All signs point to a massive season. Oh, and he has one of the best names in all of FBS to boot!

13: Keaontay Ingram, Texas (Sophomore, 2021)

A three down back & an excellent pass catcher, Ingram spent the offseason bulking up (added 10 to 12 lbs) in preparation for a bell cow roll with Texas for arguably the next two seasons.

14: Zamir White, Georgia (Sophomore, 2021)

Yes, White will have to share the backfield with fellow Georgia and Tier 1 back Swift, but it will be worth the wait to hold on to him.

A five-star recruit, and the No. 1 overall back in the 2018 class, there is not much that White cannot due. He has excellent vision and can either run over defenders with his strength or blow right by him with his explosive first step speed.

Come next year, with Swift gone, White may very well be No. 1 on this list.  He is that good.

15: Anthony McFarland, Maryland (Junior, 2020)

A major big-play threat, McFarland had a 63% breakaway percentage on gains of at least 15 yards in 2018. A smaller back (5’8″ 193 pounds), he needs to fine-tune his receiving skills to make it at the next level, but with how explosive he is, most teams will find a way to use him.

16: Trey Sermon, Oklahoma (Junior, 2020)

Sermon was tricky to rate, as he will have to share the backfield with Kennedy Brooks (who led the team in rushing), but I like Sermon as the better NFL prospect, that is why he is above Brooks on this list. Sermon brings more of an all-around game to the table with a great frame suited for the pros.

17: Zack Moss, Utah (Senior, 2020)

One of only two seniors on this list, Moss has started the past two season for Utah, totaling 2,269 yards with 21 TDs. His athleticism does not jump off the paper, but he does enough things right to be considered at worst a two-down back in the NFL.

18: Stephen Carr, USC (Junior, 2020)

Carr was hampered the past two season with ankle and knee issues.  An all world talent, Carr will be one of the focal points of a potent USC attack this season.  If he stays healthy, Carr will get a chance to showcase what made him a five-star recruit.

19: JaTarvious Whitlow, Auburn (Junior, 2020)

Whitlow also struggled with injuries last season, and he faces a stacked backfield in Auburn.  However, with that said Whitlow is to good of a back not to be on the field.  He has a legit chance to rush for 1,000 and open some eyes along the way.

20: Ricky Slade, Penn State (Sophmore, 2021)

Slade is a bit of a wild card.  He is the most talented back on the Penn State roster, and he should get the most carries for the Lions this season.  However, there are some rumbling that the Nittany Lions may use a committee approach, so Slade may not fully break out this season.

Bonus Tier: The Young Bucks

This tier highlights four top recruits from the 2019 recruiting class, the first three all being five-star recruits. All four of these guys are true freshman and are 2021 draft eligible.

John Emery Jr, LSU

My personal favorite among the freshman, Emery is the total package. Uber-athletic, speed of a track star with a powerful frame.  His pass catching abilities have some room to grow, but he will be a force for LSU for at least the next two seasons.

Trey Sanders, Alabama

Could honestly be 1A among these freshmen, Sanders already has a pro type body.  He may not be effective this season with Harris still in Alabama, but with how talented Sanders is, I am sure Nick Saban will find ways to use him.

Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss

A great pass catcher with track like speed.  Needs to add some size while at Ole Miss to bolster his draft prospects.

Zach Charbonnet, Michigan

Charbonnet is more of a power, one cut back than finesse back, coming in 215 pounds.  Still, his upside is outrageous, and he should make an immediate impact for the Wolverines.

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Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2019 season.

About Jon Witt

Buffalo Boy born and raised. He loves his Buffalo sports unconditionally, despite them driving him nuts more often than not. Bleeds Dodgers Blue during the summer and wishes he had an NBA team. Plays all sorts of fantasy sports, has been for a very long time. Hit him up @JPW2542 with any comments or questions.

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