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Ezekiel Elliott signing raises questions in our standard running back rankings for Week 1

Running back is a critical position, and a huge name returns in time for Week 1. We break down the top 50 running backs heading into Week 1 standard leagues.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott runs a drill during practice at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s update: In the minutes since this published, Elliott has signed a six-year, $90 million contract extension. It remains to be seen what his workload will be like in Week 1 considering he has not practice since minicamp. If word gets out that he will play the majority of snaps, he is a top five play. We’ll update as we hear more.

The 2019 NFL season is upon us, and that means it’s time to set your fantasy football lineups! The NFL is turning into more and more of a passing league, but running backs remain arguably the most important position in fantasy football. We’ve got a full rundown of the running backs to consider for Week 1, and a few that you might want to hold off on for the time being.

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Ezekiel Elliott really complicates things here. If he were in camp all along, he’d be my top play on the Week 1 slate. If he’s completely ruled out of Week 1, I think we need to upgrade Tony Pollard to a top-15 play, at home against the Giants. The other outcome here is that Zeke does play in some capacity, but splits time with Pollard, which makes both just middle of the pack plays. Obviously, we’ll all be monitoring closely.

I think there’s an elite top tier of three RBs that we do know will play — Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffery and Alvin Kamara. I ranked them in that order, but if you have them on your season-long team, you’re obviously starting them. I think I prefer taking the discount on CMC from a DraftKings DFS perspective.

Once we get past that first tier, things get really interesting. Chris Carson is set up to potentially have a monster game, with everything working in his favor. Dalvin Cook isn’t far behind him. Nick Chubb is also in a great spot to get off to a strong start, especially while he has the backfield all to himself.

Week 1 RB Rankings (Standard)

Rk Player Team Opp
Rk Player Team Opp
1 Saquon Barkley NYG @Dallas
2 Christian McCaffrey CAR Los Angeles Rams
3 Alvin Kamara NO Houston
4 Chris Carson SEA Cincinnati
5 Dalvin Cook MIN Atlanta
6 Nick Chubb CLE Tennessee
7 David Johnson ARI Detroit
8 Sony Michel NE Pittsburgh
9 Leonard Fournette JAX Kansas City
10 James Conner PIT @New England
11 Le'Veon Bell NYJ Buffalo
12 Kerryon Johnson DET @Arizona
13 Todd Gurley LAR @Carolina
14 Derrick Henry TEN @Cleveland
15 Mark Ingram BAL @Miami
16 David Montgomery CHI Green Bay
17 Aaron Jones GB @Chicago
18 Damien Williams KC @Jacksonville
19 Duke Johnson HOU @New Orleans
20 Joe Mixon CIN @Seattle
21 Devonta Freeman ATL @Minnesota
22 Tony Pollard DAL New York Giants
23 Marlon Mack IND @Los Angeles Chargers
24 Austin Ekeler LAC Indianapolis
25 Justin Jackson LAC Indianapolis
26 Tevin Coleman SF @Tampa Bay
27 James White NE Pittsburgh
28 Matt Breida SF @Tampa Bay
29 Josh Jacobs OAK Denver
30 Miles Sanders PHI Washington
31 Phillip Lindsay DEN @Oakland
32 Devin Singletary BUF @New York Jets
33 Kenyan Drake MIA Baltimore
34 Jordan Howard PHI Washington
35 Royce Freeman DEN @Oakland
36 Rashaad Penny SEA Cincinnati
37 Tarik Cohen CHI Green Bay
38 LeSean McCoy KC @Jacksonville
39 Peyton Barber TB San Francisco
40 Derrius Guice WAS @Philadelphia
41 Latavius Murray NO Houston
42 Jaylen Samuels PIT @New England
43 Justice Hill BAL @Miami
44 Dion Lewis TEN @Cleveland
45 Kalen Ballage MIA Baltimore
46 Adrian Peterson WAS @Philadelphia
47 Ty Montgomery NYJ Buffalo
48 Nyheim Hines IND @Los Angeles Chargers
49 Darrell Henderson LAR @Carolina
50 Frank Gore BUF @New York Jets