1.  
RB  NYG
Rush Att
283
Rush Yds
1377
Rush TD
12
Rush Avg
4.9
Rec
81
Rec Yds
677
Rec TD
4
Rec Avg
8.4
While the debate still rages over whether it's ever worth taking a running back with a top-five draft pick in the modern NFL, Barkley could hardly have done more to make the case for his position. The second overall pick in 2018 became just the third rookie to eclipse 2,000 scrimmage yards (joining Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James) while breaking Reggie Bush's rookie record for receptions by a running back. In fact, Barkley's 91 catches tied Odell Beckham Jr.'s franchise record by a rookie, to say nothing of all the other Giants' records he set. His unreal blend of power, elusiveness and wheels - at 21.91 mph Barkley recorded the third-fastest speed of any 2018 rushing TD - makes him the top big-play threat in the league - his seven runs of 40-plus yards are the most since Adrian Peterson had eight in 2012, and he and Randy Moss are the only players in NFL history to score five TDs of 50-plus yards in their debut campaigns. Barkley could see more stacked fronts this season with the team's quarterback play potentially hitting rock bottom (he faced eight-man fronts 23 percent of the time last season, 24th), but an improved offensive line should help mitigate the impact, and the Giants still have a decent receiving corps even without Beckham. The bottom line is simple: in terms of his production floor and ceiling, Barkley can't be touched.
2.  
RB  DAL
Rush Att
291
Rush Yds
1366
Rush TD
12
Rush Avg
4.7
Rec
68
Rec Yds
522
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
7.7
Elliott emerged as a truly complete back in 2018. In addition to earning his second rushing crown in three seasons and improving his YPC from 4.1 in 2017 to 4.7, Elliott exploded as a receiver with more receptions than the previous two years combined. His 2,001 scrimmage yards ranked second only to Saquon Barkley. Despite all that production, he fell short in the touchdown department - thanks to a career-low six rushing TDs, he needed three receiving scores to match in 15 games what he totaled for touchdowns in 10 games in 2017. The difference was at the goal line where he converted just two of 11 attempts inside the 5-yard line (18.2 percent after 33.3 and 50 percent the previous two years). The loss of effectiveness was at least partially a product of the Cowboys' offensive line playing without All-Pro center Travis Frederick all season, but Elliott also ranked 31st in the NFL with a 6.0 broken-tackle rate. Still, Elliott displayed elite vision and patience, and once he found space he remained extremely dangerous, leading the NFL in runs of 10-plus (25) and 15-plus yards (41). That skill also allows him to avoid some of the bigger hits one might expect from a high-volume running back, though his workload could be a long-term concern - his 381 touches paced the league by nearly 30 over Barkley. Tight end Jason Witten returns this year and could take a few of Elliott's targets, but with Frederick potentially back as well, the running game will remain front and center, and Elliott the engine of the team's offense.
3.  
RB  NO
Rush Att
213
Rush Yds
1000
Rush TD
11
Rush Avg
4.7
Rec
77
Rec Yds
711
Rec TD
3
Rec Avg
9.2
Great as Kamara has been through his first two NFL seasons, it's possible he's only scratching the surface of his potential. His carries jumped by more than 60 percent last year without taking anything away from his role in the passing game, resulting in 18 total TDs. The Saints weren't afraid to use him in short-yardage situations - his 16 carries inside the 5 tied for fifth in the league - and the decision to let Mark Ingram walk this offseason and replace him with Latavius Murray suggests Kamara's role on the ground will expand further in 2019. The extra volume did result in lower efficiency, but the third-year back possesses top-shelf elusiveness and speed in the open field and runs with toughness. Drew Brees' knack for finding Kamara in space doesn't hurt, either. Some time soon, New Orleans might have to reckon with a decline from its legendary QB, but Kamara seems ready to help cushion that blow when it eventually falls. If he joins the 300-touch club in 2019, he could take a run at 2,000 scrimmage yards.
4.  
RB  LAC
Rush Att
269
Rush Yds
1180
Rush TD
12
Rush Avg
4.4
Rec
55
Rec Yds
501
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
9.1
Gordon's brief dalliance with being an iron man ended quickly. After playing 16 games the year before, he suited up for a career-low 12 in 2018, with multiple lower-body injuries plaguing him throughout the campaign, including a three-game absence due to a knee injury Weeks 13-15. Despite the bumps and bruises, he surprisingly enjoyed his most efficient season to date, producing 5.1 YPC and 14 total TDs, both career highs. Gordon still has great speed when he's healthy and can be hard to bring down - his 42 broken tackles on the ground ranked sixth in the league - but he's never shown plus vision and relies heavily on his offensive line to pave the way, something the Chargers' rebuilt unit did more consistently in 2018 than in seasons past. He's useful in the passing game but not a true difference-maker; his contributions fall shy of the Kamara-Barkley-McCaffrey level. The team also was reluctant to use him at the goal line, where his five carries inside the five actually tied his scatback understudy Austin Ekeler. In terms of pure talent, Gordon's at the top of the second tier for his position rather than in the top tier. This is where we draw the line between elite and very good.
5.  
RB  ARI
Rush Att
260
Rush Yds
1133
Rush TD
9
Rush Avg
4.4
Rec
68
Rec Yds
567
Rec TD
3
Rec Avg
8.3
Johnson was healthy in 2018, but the same can't be said for the offense around him. Josh Rosen's introduction to the NFL was brutal, and the offensive line was made up of five revolving doors - 11 lineman saw significant snaps. Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald were the only players defenses had to worry about for much of the year, so it's no surprise the running back's production suffered in that environment, with his 3.6 YPC a career low. Even with the train wreck around him, Johnson compiled 1,386 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs while his 45 broken tackles ranked 13th. DJ still showed top-shelf speed and elusiveness, and new coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense should spread out the field for both Johnson and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. While the offensive line still looks subpar, Murray's speed can help keep defenses honest if Kingsbury installs read-option runs and rollouts. There's also hope the offense can establish a vertical presence to shift attention from Johnson, as Christian Kirk showed promise before his season-ending foot injury and is now joined by rookie wideouts Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. The setup for Johnson might not be ideal, but it's at least a step forward from last year, and his backup (Chase Edmonds) doesn't present much of a threat to the workload.
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