Welcome to my Dynasty Football RB Tiered Rankings.
When it comes down to building a successful dynasty team, I’ve found it a lot easier to use a tier-based approach to player values. When you are sticking to a straight rankings list a five-or-six spot difference can seem like a lot, but if the players produce at a similar level and the only difference is the other guy is a little older or has had one or two injuries you can use this to upgrade your roster in other areas.
I don't know if the running back position has ever been this deep in the 10 or so years I've been playing dynasty football. There are a lot of opportunities to trade down a tier or two to bring back some depth and draft picks at the RB position. The fact that you can find guys like Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones outside of the top-10 RBs in a lot of dynasty ranks highlights my point.
Tiers also help me break ties in startup drafts. When you’re on the clock in round six and you know you won't be up again for 10+ picks it can be easy to default back to taking whoever is the highest-rated guy in your website's draft room. This can leave your team with positional weaknesses you’ll have to trade out of later. Looking at it from a tiers-based approach, if there are five RBs left in the top tier available but only two WRs, your team may be better served by grabbing one of those WRs with a lower ADP first, and taking whoever is left of those five RBs on your next pick.
Contending vs Rebuilding
Football changes fast, much faster than any other sport. For this reason, I don’t tend to look as far down the road as I would in a dynasty baseball or basketball league. I like to keep it very simple. If I’m a contending team I’m trying to build the best possible team in years one and two. If I'm rebuilding a team I’m building the best team for years two and three. Due to this, my ranks don’t change a ton between contending and rebuilding teams. There may be a few guys that would move up or down one tier, but it’s mostly the same.
If you make smart trades and hit on a few draft picks there is no reason for a rebuild to take more than three seasons. With how quickly injuries change things and GMs and coaches having a shorter leash than ever, I think it’s foolish to try to project out further down the road than that anyways.
Let’s go back four years to 2019 and look at dynasty startup ADP. You’ll see names like Ezekiel Elliott, Odell Beckham, Michael Thomas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, David Johnson, and Melvin Gordon in the first round. At that time you probably felt like you had your RB1 or WR1 locked down for the future. Fast forward to now and most of these guys can be had for a second-round rookie pick or less.
Football changes fast!
Dynasty Football RB Tiered Rankings
Make sure you also check out our other Award-Winning Rankings here at F6P. We have Draft Rankings, John LaPresto's Dynasty Rankings, and Jon Witt's Rookie Rankings.
*There is a table view below the blurbs and the rookies are below the table - keep scrolling!
Tiers 1-3 The Elite and Early-Round RBs
Tier 1 - This is the elite group of young star RBs for dynasty owners. I really can’t fault anyone that would put these three in a different order at the top, each guy has a legitimate case to be number one, and Jonathan Taylor and Breece Hall will likely both get a nice QB upgrade this offseason.
Tier 2 - This tier of RBs is a little bit older, but every bit as productive as the three RBs in tier one. Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey reminded everyone what they are capable of when they are healthy and in a good offense, and I don’t know if any RBs game is built to age better than Austin Ekeler.
Tier 3 - Travis Etienne Jr and Josh Jacobs are the last guys I want to grab as my RB1 if I’m a competing team. Both of them took their game to another level last season and there is no reason they should receive similar workloads next season.
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Check out Jordan's QB Tiers and TE Tiered Rankings