The 2018 Fantasy Football season has drawn to a close. Let’s take a look at this season’s fantasy running back awards.
MVP: Todd Gurley
Anytime a non-quarterback is in the conversation for NFL MVP, he is a fantasy superstar. Todd Gurley leads the NFL in touchdowns with 21 and is fourth in total yards with 1,831. Gurley was the focal point of one of the best offenses in the NFL. Every single week, he was counted upon to put the Rams, and fantasy teams, on his back. The Los Angeles Rams running back was far and away the best player in fantasy football all season long.
In most leagues, Gurley was the highest scoring player, and that includes quarterbacks. In some standard leagues, only Patrick Mahomes scored more points on a weekly basis than Gurley. There is no doubt that Gurley is the most valuable fantasy running back.
Honorable Mention: Saquon Barkley
Barkley exploded onto the scene as one of the best fantasy players in the league in his rookie season. The future is bright for him in New York. He is currently third in rushing with 1,198 yards.
Bust: LeSean McCoy
First and foremost, injuries will be accounted for in this section. A player who missed significant time due to injury will not be considered a bust as they were not in control of their success.
LeSean McCoy has hit the brick wall for running backs. The once-promising back is now 30 years old and on the back nine of his career. McCoy was considered to be a top-15 running back in fantasy football heading into 2018, but that has been far from the case. He finished the season outside of the top 40 in PPR and standard formats after a very underwhelming showing. In 12 starts, McCoy rushed for just 488 yards and two touchdowns. He failed to score on a reception, and only tallied an extra 220 yards receiving. He only averaged 6.4 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. No matter how you cut it, that’s a horrendous output for an early draft pick.
The Buffalo Bills found some success with other running backs, and McCoy missed time due to injury. While injuries and missed time typically preserve players from a “bust” label, Shady is a different case. Although he missed a lot of time, he started 12 of 13 games that he played. He left several games early and left owners helpless upon kickoff. To say the least, 2018 was not kind to McCoy or his fantasy owners.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Howard
Howard had high expectations after his first two NFL seasons. However, he wasn’t even the best running back on his team. Tarik Cohen took over as their best playmaker on offense.
Surprise: Phillip Lindsay
Phillip Lindsay busted onto the scene during the 2018 preseason and hasn’t looked back. He finished the season in the top 10 for fantasy running backs despite going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. Lindsay also finished the season with over 1,000 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. He added 241 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. The Denver Broncos drafted Royce Freeman early in the draft, yet their UDFA was the best back on the team.
With minimal expectations heading into 2018, Phillip Lindsay managed to make quite the name for himself. 2019 will be much different for the elusive running back. It is clear that Lindsay was easily the biggest surprise of the 2018 fantasy football season.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Peterson
Peterson heard enough about the young talent in the league and decided to stick up for the older vets. The 33-year-old back finished near the top 15 in among fantasy running backs.
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