Dynasty Fantasy Football: 2023 NFL Running Back Tier Rankings

If you imagine building your dynasty squad like making a cake, running backs are the final icing. Why is that? Since running back is the least stable position on a year-to-year basis, you don’t want to build your cake with a foundation that might not hold the other layers and toppings. 

Running backs are essential for winning fantasy championships, but if you aren’t investing in the right guys once that foundation is set, you are setting yourself up for disaster. 

Age is crucial when it comes to running backs. Age adds stability for a position with such a low age production apex. As we get deeper into rankings, age is thrown out the window, and the need for 2023 production is more prevalent. 

Let these rankings help you find the best mixture of stability and high-end production to win championships for years to come.  

Other Rankings: WR | QB

RB Tier Rankings

Tier 1

Value Estimation: 3 First-Round Picks 

21.3 Years Old  Bijan Robinson  Atlanta Falcons 

Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

He’s in a prospect bucket that includes Adrian Peterson, Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. Plus, he’s the fourth youngest running back in the entire league. He is easily the Dynasty RB1. 

All those previously mentioned names have multiple 18+ PPG seasons, and it shouldn’t take Bijan Robinson long to get there. 

Tier 2

Value Estimation: 2+ First-Round Picks 

22.0 Years Old  Breece Hall  New York Jets 
21.2 Years Old  Jahmyr Gibbs  Detroit Lions 
27.0 Years Old  Christian McCaffrey  San Francisco 49ers 
24.3 Years Old  Jonathan Taylor  Indianapolis Colts 

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

Before the 2023 NFL Draft, there were only three running backs selected in the top 20 to put up multiple seasons with more than a 10 percent receiving yard shares in Reggie Bush, McCaffrey and Barkley. 

All of them put up more than 20 percent target shares as rookies. That is precisely where Jahmyr Gibbs is headed. His youth, mixed with a high-end receiving profile, gives him a high floor and a tantalizing ceiling. 

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey may be the oldest running back in these top two tiers, but he’s never had a season below 20 PPG since his rookie season. He’s never had a target share below 20 percent. 

His age isn’t ideal, but the production that comes with him in a Kyle Shanahan offense is impossible to overlook. 

Tier 3

Value Estimation: 2 First-Round Picks 

26.3 Years Old  Saquon Barkley  New York Giants 
28.0 Years Old  Austin Ekeler  Los Angeles Chargers 

 Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler‘s 17.9 percent target share was the second-highest in the league last season and only trailed McCaffrey. His ability to earn targets comes in an offense with one of the highest passing volumes in the league led by Justin Herbert

Even without talking about how it was his second straight season going above a 50 percent carry percentage, the production that comes with that speaks for itself. 

Tier 4

Value Estimation: Premium First-Round Pick 

25.3 Years Old  Josh Jacobs  Las Vegas Raiders 
24.3 Years Old  Travis Etienne  Jacksonville Jaguars 
10  25.2 Years Old  Rhamondre Stevenson  New England Patriots 

 Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars

Only Jamaal Charles had put up more than 2.50 rushing yards per team attempt with less than a 50 percent carry percentage in his second season until Travis Etienne did it in 2022. 

Etienne’s rushing efficiency is fantastic, but if we’re going to get a massive production outcome for Etienne, his receiving usage needs to increase. 

Tier 5

Value Estimation: First-Round Pick 

11  27.4 Years Old  Nick Chubb  Cleveland Browns 
12  26.1 Years Old  Tony Pollard  Dallas Cowboys 
13  22.6 Years Old  Kenneth Walker III  Seattle Seahawks 
14  25.2 Years Old  Najee Harris  Pittsburgh Steelers 

 Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

We’ve never seen more than a 40 percent carry percentage from Tony Pollard, but with the Dallas Cowboys‘ backfield relatively empty, it doesn’t take much projecting to get there. 

When we add that he’s earned more than 10 percent of his team’s targets in a non-full-time role, there is legitimate upside in 2022 for Pollard. The profile doesn’t come without flaws, but the upcoming production on a good offense is quite intriguing.  

  Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks

After being the 14th running back drafted in the first two rounds to eclipse a more than 60 percent carry percentage last season, we thought the Seattle Seahawks were excited to deploy Kenneth Walker fully — even if the receiving profile had its downsides. 

But with Seattle taking another running back in the second round (Zach Charbonnet), the high-end production gets even harder to see. 

  Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Going from 17.7 PPG as a rookie to 13.0 PPG in his second season was startling beyond just the fantasy points. Najee Harris‘ carry percentage dropped from 74.6 percent to 54.4 percent, and his target share fell from 14.1 percent to 9.3 percent. 

His efficiency was also not ideal. Harris’ situation could lead to a better season this year, but the talent profile shows risk.  

Tier 6

Value Estimation: Late First-Round Pick 

15  23.1 Years Old  Javonte Williams  Denver Broncos 
16  27.8 Years Old  Alvin Kamara  New Orleans Saints 
17  26.8 Years Old  Joe Mixon  Cincinnati Bengals 

 Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

There might be a suspension looming, but it’s unclear when and how many games it will be. We do know that Alvin Kamara was one of just six running backs to put up a more than 15 percent target share last season. His carry percentage only trailed Barkley amongst the group. 

The ability to earn a lot of targets and have adequate rushing game numbers leads to high-end production. Remember, the latter half of the season is much more important than the first half.

Tier 7

Value Estimation: Early Second-Round Pick 

18  29.4 Years Old  Derrick Henry  Tennessee Titans 
19  24.4 Years Old  D’Andre Swift  Philadelphia Eagles 
20  28.5 Years Old  Aaron Jones  Green Bay Packers 
21  24.4 Years Old  JK Dobbins  Baltimore Ravens 
22  23.3 Years Old  Dameon Pierce  Houston Texans 
23  21.6 Years Old  Devon Achane  Miami Dolphins 
24  22.4 Years Old  Zach Charbonnet  Seattle Seahawks 

 D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles 

Running backs that end up on a second team before their rookie contract is finished typically have a poor hit rate. 

While that’s still true with D’Andre Swift, he’s shown he can earn valuable targets at a higher rate. In the past two seasons, he’s never had less than a 14 percent target share. Since he’s entering a better-rushing offense with the Philadelphia Eagles this season, there’s upside to be had.  

Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans 

One of the main concerns with Dameon Pierce’s profile was if he would survive the draft under a new coaching regime. Thankfully he did, as the Houston Texans never selected a running back. 

Coming off a year where he was just the 10th rookie to post a more than 70 percent carry percentage, the heavy workload is his to lose. He’s also the only one of those 10 without an RB1 season. That could change as soon as next season. 

Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins

While it may seem unlikely for a 188-pound back to hold a high workload, we saw Devon Achane go for more than a 60 percent carry percentage in his junior and final season at Texas A&M.

Tier 8

Value Estimation – Second Round Pick 

25 28.0 Years Old James Conner Arizona Cardinals
26 27.8 Years Old Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings
27 26.1 Years Old Miles Sanders Carolina Panthers
28 24.2 Years Old Isiah Pacheco Kansas City Chiefs
29 26.0 Years Old David Montgomery Detroit Lions
30 24.4 Years Old Rachaad White Tampa Bay Buccaneers
31 23.9 Years Old Cam Akers Los Angeles Rams
32 21.7 Years Old Tank Bigsby Jacksonville Jaguars
33 24.2 Years Old Brian Robinson Washington Commanders
34 25.1 Years Old Elijah Mitchell San Francisco 49ers
35 24.9 Years Old Antonio Gibson Washington Commanders
36 25.1 Years Old AJ Dillon Green Bay Packers
37 20.9 Years Old Kendre Miller New Orleans Saints
38 26.3 Years Old Damien Harris Buffalo Bills
39 21.9 Years Old Tyjae Spears Tennessee Titans

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

When you go for over 40 percent of the team’s carries and put up 1.99 yards per team rush attempts on the league’s best offense, there is always going to be something to like. When Isiah Pacheco didn’t end up getting any competition added via the NFL Draft, we had even more reason to believe the backfield could run through him. Running backs in one of the league’s top offenses are always going to have their rightful intrigue.  

David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

David Montgomery had never put up less than a 60 percent-plus of his teams carries until his fourth season with the Chicago Bears where he put up a 38.3 percent carry percentage. He joins an up-and-coming offense on a three-year deal without anyone who clearly dominates the carries in front of him. There is plenty to like with Montgomery’s profile at his current price tag.  

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers 

After a fantastic and surprising rookie season, Elijah Mitchell’s efficiency on the ground only improved, putting up a 90.1 PFF Rushing Grade in 2022. He also proved that he could still be a factor even despite injuries and McCaffrey being added to the offense. When a running back show us they can continue to be good in a strong rushing offense, we should be paying attention.  

Damien Harris, Buffalo Bills

It may seem slightly shocking to have Damien Harris above James Cook, who was drafted in the second-round last year. But Harris’ lowest carry percentage of his career is still nearly double what Cook’s was as a rookie. Which even if we project ahead for Cook, it’s still hard to see him surpassing what we’ve seen Harris do each of the last three seasons. It’s also not like James Cook’s 5.6 percent rookie target share makes him some massive receiving weapon. Give me the guy with more projected usage in a strong Bills offense. 

Tier 9

Value Estimation – Third Round Pick 

40 25.1 Years Old Khalil Herbert Chicago Bears
41 24.9 Years Old Alexander Mattison Minnesota Vikings
42 23.1 Years Old Tyler Allgeier Atlanta Falcons
43 23.7 Years Old James Cook Buffalo Bills
44 20.6 Years Old Israel Abanikanda Pittsburgh Steelers
45 22.3 Years Old Roschon Johnson Chicago Bears
46 22.1 Years Old Zach Evans Los Angeles Rams
47 27.3 Years Old Rashaad Penny Philadelphia Eagles
48 27.7 Years Old Samaje Perine Denver Broncos
49 28.1 Years Old Jamaal Williams New Orleans Saints
50 24.5 Years Old Jaylen Warren Pittsburgh Steelers
51 25.7 Years Old Devin Singletary Houston Texans
52 27.1 Years Old D’Onta Foreman Chicago Bears

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

Typically, players that don’t show they can handle workloads in the NFL, don’t. So even if Dalvin Cook isn’t the starting running back for the Minnesota Vikings in 2023, it’s hard to say Alexander Mattison has some high ceiling. There’s been 29 running backs to have less than a 40 percent-plus carry percentage in each of their first four seasons, while only two of them eclipsed a 40 percent-plus in any season after that: Austin Ekeler and Jamaal Williams. We would need an unlikely leap from the Mattison profile. 

Jamaal Williams, New Orleans Saints

Having the lowest target share of your career in Year 6 typically doesn’t lead to the most productive season of your career. But thanks to a career high and whopping 6.1 percent TD Rate, we got 13.1 PPG out of Williams in his final season in Detroit. Unfortunately, as a running back, the ability to earn targets has a lot higher stability than simply scoring touchdowns.  

Tier 10

Value Estimation – Fourth Round Pick 

53 31.1 Years Old Jerick McKinnon Kansas City Chiefs
54 24.0 Years Old Michael Carter New York Jets
55 23.7 Years Old Jerome Ford Cleveland Browns
56 24.2 Years Old Kenneth Gainwell Philadelphia Eagles
57 24.1 Years Old Clyde Edwards-Helaire Kansas City Chiefs
58 22.6 Years Old Evan Hull Indianapolis Colts
59 27.5 Years Old Jeff Wilson Jr Miami Dolphins
60 23.6 Years Old Eric Gray New York Giants
61 22.5 Years Old Chase Brown Cincinnati Bengals
62 31.1 Years Old Raheem Mostert Miami Dolphins
63 21.8 Years Old Isaiah Spiller Los Angeles Chargers
64 23.9 Years Old Chuba Hubbard Carolina Panthers
65 21.6 Years Old Deuce Vaughn Dallas Cowboys
66 23.7 Years Old Zamir White Las Vegas Raiders
67 28.1 Years Old Gus Edwards Baltimore Ravens
68 27.8 Years Old Kareem Hunt Free Agent
69 21.9 Years Old DeWayne McBride Minnesota Vikings
70 27.8 Years Old Ezekiel Elliot Dallas Cowboys

Michael Carter, New York Jets

The New York Jets passing offense takes a massive leap going from Zach Wilson to Aaron Rodgers next season. Michael Carter may never put up the 40 percent-plus carry percentage he did as a rookie now that Breece Hall is there, but someone who earns targets at an adequate rate in a productive passing offense is always going to have their intrigue.  

Chase Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

The prospect bucket for Chase Brown has an abysmal hit rate, but being a running back in one of the league’s best offenses gives us intrigue. Especially one where the running back in front of him on the depth chart is facing some legal issues. There is a clear path to gained value for Brown and it’s not like he even needs to do anything for that to happen. 

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