<
>
Get ESPN+

Tiered running back rankings for fantasy football

Christian McCaffrey can go the distance any time he touches the ball as a runner or pass-catcher. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Editor's note: These tiers have been adjusted to account for the season-ending injury to Jerick McKinnon of the 49ers.

While participating in a recent 10-team, PPR draft on ESPN, I looked at the available players, in order of their ESPN ranking, and noticed something interesting, at least to me. There was what appeared to be a rogue running back on the screen and then a whole assemblage of wide receivers, a few tight ends and the top quarterbacks, and that was it.

The running back was Tennessee Titans acquisition Dion Lewis, and the mention of his name sparks conversation. Perhaps he will be more valuable than teammate Derrick Henry, perhaps not so much, but the timing and circumstances some 20 minutes into this particular draft intrigued me.

What had happened was I and the other fantasy managers had scarfed up the top 25 or so running backs in eager fashion -- great minds think alike -- and left myriad wide receivers on the board, so in order for me to find a comparable running back to Lewis, it took some scrolling. I had already secured two running backs and three wide receivers to that point, not necessarily presumed starters on this team, but a good base. As I have often stated, I ignore quarterbacks and tight ends in the first 10 rounds, in general, and aim to build a strong, deep base of running backs and wide receivers for the inevitable injuries and performance-related mess to come.