Underdog Best Ball Running Back Rankings: RB Position Battles, Injury News & More

With NFL OTAs rolling along, a lot is coming to light at the running back position. Injury news, position battles and general depth chart maintenance are leading to shifts in Best Ball rankings that you need to constantly monitor in order to get your drafts on the right page. Good news for you: Stokastic’s FREE Best Ball Rankings are LIVE, and we update them regularly to ensure your Underdog Best Ball running back rankings are adjusting to the trends. Here we will examine four running back situations like Ezekiel Elliott vs. Rico Dowdle, Kyren Williams’ injury and more, and see how they affect our Underdog Best Ball RB rankings.

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Underdog Best Ball Running Back Rankings: Position Battles

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Broncos Best Ball Rankings: Javonte Williams vs. Audric Estime

Javonte Williams: ADP: 105.6; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 27

Audric Estime: ADP: 209; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 69

“Where are Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin,” you may ask. Well, according to Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright, the Broncos backfield projects to be Williams and Estime (a rookie fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame) splitting the snaps 45% and 40%, respectively, with McLaughlin getting the remaining 15%. That means Perine looks likely to get cut.

The Broncos depth chart has not caught up to that projection yet: The order there is Williams, Perine, McLaughlin, Estime. As such, for now Estime has the lowest projection of the four in our Underdog Best Ball rankings and the gap between him and Williams is quite large. However, as camp moves along and Allbright’s report starts to take shape, Estime could look like a steal at an ADP of 209. Stay on top of our rankings to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date data.

Cowboys Best Ball Rankings: Ezekiel Elliott vs. Rico Dowdle

Ezekiel Elliott: ADP: 128.7; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 32

Rico Dowdle: ADP: 141.3; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 35

Elliott and Dowdle are quite close both in terms of ADP and our projections for them. Elliott is helped out by his long time spent in the Dallas system as well as his red zone ability, and the touchdowns are likely the biggest driver of his Best Ball value on Underdog this year. Dowdle is the more explosive back at this point, and reports are that he and Elliott are splitting first-team reps during OTAs.

Elliott appears to be 1A, however, and right now our Underdog Best Ball rankings project him for about 5 more total fantasy points this season. That said, his ADP, while close to Dowdle’s, is far enough of his backfield mate to consider the two to have comparable Best Ball draft value. Both of them also are outpacing their ADP in our rankings by over 15 spots.

Rams Best Ball Rankings: Kyren Williams vs. Blake Corum

Kyren Williams: ADP: 24.6; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 9

Blake Corum: ADP: 124.6; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 42

Don’t worry — the news here is not enough to demote Williams from the top tiers of the running back board.

Williams is going to sit out the rest of OTAs with a foot issue, but Sean McVay said this was merely precautionary and Williams would be ready for training camp. Williams was phenomenal last year, rushing for over 1,100 yards in just 12 games, but the “just 12 games” part is big, especially considering he is going around pick No. 25 in Underdog drafts AND he has dealt with a broken foot in the past.

Right now Williams is our No. 9 running back in Underdog Best Ball rankings and our No. 35 player overall. Assuming he is healthy in training camp, we will continue to hover around that spot — but also keep an eye on Corum’s projections. We currently have him as the No. 42 running back, and Williams sitting out will get him some first-team reps for the Rams.

Corum was the third running back taken in this year’s NFL Draft as well, so he is going to get touches. The Rams have used running backs in rotation quite a bit under McVay as well and Corum is going 100 spots after Williams on Underdog. Plus, our rankings put Williams over 10 spots lower than his ADP, so this injury may lead to him being overdrafted.

Texans Best Ball Rankings: Joe Mixon vs. Dameon Pierce

Joe Mixon: ADP: 59.2; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 15

Dameon Pierce: ADP: 191.5; Stokastic Overall RB Rank: 57

Pierce had a massively down year when he was sharing the backfield with Devin Singletary; now that he is the clear backup to Mixon, who signed a $25.5 million contract this offseason, Pierce’s Best Ball value has plummeted. We are projecting him lower than even McLaughlin, who again is getting around 15% of snaps for the Broncos behind a fifth-round rookie.

With Mixon projecting for almost 140 more fantasy points this year, the Texans are looking like a one-back team in terms of viable Best Ball options on a season-long basis. Pierce’s best chance at mattering in any individual week is going to be injury to Mixon.

That said, DeMeco Ryans called them a “one-two punch.” Whether that involves any high-leverage touches for Pierce, meanwhile, is TBD. Mixon’s projections place him roughly nine spots higher than his ADP, making him still a good value in the pick 50 range, while Pierce’s ADP is eight spots lower than our rankings have him.

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Sam Smith is a writer and editor with Stokastic and OddsShopper. He has been immersed in the world of professional sports data since 2015, while also writing extensively on the NFL for a multitude of blogs and websites. With Stokastic, Sam looks to blend his sports and editorial expertise with Stokastic's data to bring you the best fantasy information possible.

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