Pat Mayo, Garion Thorne & Tim Anderson debate the Top 3 Running Backs for the 2017 Season.
In case you weren’t aware, the 1st overall pick in a fantasy draft is pretty important. Whoever you take here is the most critical player on your team, as they could make or break your fantasy season. Looking ahead to 2017, who is worthy of a first overall pick? I’ve seen many names floating around, including David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott. In my opinion, however, Ezekiel Elliott should not be taken 1st overall. So, who should you take, DJ or Bell? Let’s take a look.
The first option is David Johnson. Since taking over the reigns as starter for Arizona in late 2015, Johnson has averaged almost 20 fantasy points per game. He’s one of the few running backs in the league with no sign of a backup RB stealing touches from him. While he did suffer a leg injury that looked awful at first sight, but reports have said that he’s 100% ready to go. Recently, Johnson has said he wants to gain 1,000 rushing yards AND 1,000 receiving yards in 2017. This is an extremely difficult feat to accomplish, but according to Bruce Arians, 30 touches isn’t too much for David Johnson, because they’ll “take care of him.”
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) July 16, 2017
This is an extremely good sign for Johnson, because volume is one of the most important things a first round pick can have is volume. Johnson is a dual threat, as he received more targets and caught more balls than any running back in the league last year. He racked up the 2nd most rushing touchdowns in the league last year, and was tied for the second most receiving touchdowns out of all RB’s last year. Unfortunately, the Arizona Cardinal offensive line grades out as the 17th best in the league, per Pro Football Focus.
Johnson had a historically good season last year, and some people worry that he will not be able to repeat. He scored over 35 more fantasy points than any running back last year, so slight regression will not make him far too fall down the ranks. Johnson’s ceiling is not as high as Le’Veon Bell’s, but he certainly has a higher floor.
The riskier pick is Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell. Bell is a generational halfback, and the most talented back in the league. If Bell is healthy, we’ve seen what he can do. He could’ve had the most points out of all RB’s in the league, but he sat out four games last year. A big knock on Bell is how injury prone he is, but I’m not worrying about injuries as they are essentially impossible to predict. In addition, Pittsburgh is arguably the best offensive powerhouse in the league, with their line ranking 3rd in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Johnson, however, is by far the best player in a weak Arizona Cardinals offense. Bell is a workhorse. Last year, he had the highest bell cow average of any back, per Scott Barrett of PFF.
Last season’s RB Leaders in “Bell Cow Average” pic.twitter.com/42nenwBueF
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) June 23, 2017
Bell also ranked 3rd in the league in YPC last year. As I stated earlier, Bell has the highest ceiling of any player in the league, and that’s hard to deny while looking ahead into 2017.
All things considered, both Johnson and Bell are enticing fantasy options, but in the words of Matthew Berry, you can’t win your fantasy league in the first few rounds, but you can lose it. THAT is why I’m taking David Johnson with the first overall pick in my fantasy drafts this year.
Source: NFL News