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Fantasy Football: League-winning running backs for 2023

  • Bijan Robinson landed in the perfect situation: Robinson is the best running back prospect in recent memory after landing on a run-first team with an excellent offensive line.
  • Tony Pollard earns his opportunity: Pollard is finally the Dallas Cowboys‘ lead back, so his opportunity can finally be as big as his talent.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson is the New England Patriots lead back: The Patriots have typically used a committee at running back, but Stevenson proved last season he’s capable of an every-down role.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

These league winners are players who have an ADP in the first four rounds on ESPN and who I have ranked notably higher than their ADP. For help with sleepers, draft strategy, rankings or for more details about the players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For better filtering of the rankings along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

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Last updated: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 26

Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 10.0, From ESPN)

Landing in Atlanta was the best-case scenario for the top running back prospect in years.

  • Robinson is the first running back selected in the top 10 since Saquon Barkley in 2018. Barkley finished as the overall RB1 as a rookie.
  • The four other running backs picked in the top 10 in the NFL draft also finished as top-10 fantasy running backs as rookies.
  • The Falcons were the only team to run the ball on more than half of their offensive plays last season, which included maintaining the run even when playing from behind.
  • They ran 48.8% of the time while losing, which was five percentage points more than any other team.
  • Those rates remained similar when Desmond Ridder took over as the team’s starting quarterback.
  • The Falcons' depth was a talented Tyler Allgeier and 32-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson. Allgeier can give Robinson a rest at times, but that shouldn’t stop Robinson from seeing 20 touches per game.
  • He will be running behind some of the best interior linemen in the league. Chris Lindstrom and Matt Hennessy are two of the five interior linemen to earn a 90.0-plus PFF run-blocking grade over the past two seasons.
  • Falcons running backs have a 21.0% targets per route run over the last two seasons, which ranks eighth among teams.
  • Robinson is a well-rounded player who the Falcons will design more passes for than past running backs on the roster.
  • The Falcons have the eighth-best schedule for running backs in terms of the strength of their opponent over their first 16 games.
  • They also have the easiest schedule according to our power rankings, which should keep them in games and keep them getting the ball to Robinson.
  • This all adds up to what could be the first of many RB1 seasons.

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