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Fantasy football: Most reliable, unreliable top-20 RBs so far this season

Some running backs have yet to disappoint through seven weeks; others have been boom or bust in 2018.

Todd Gurley has scored an average of two

Todd Gurley has scored an average of two touchdowns per game this season for the Rams. Photo Credit: Getty Images North America/Thearon W. Henderson

Perhaps the most powerful weapon in fantasy football is a top-flight running back who always delivers. The piece of mind such a player brings cannot be overstated.

On the flip side, running backs who have put up big numbers but only do so sporadically are the type who can make fantasy managers question why they play this silly little game.

Through seven weeks of the season, a few players have managed not to post a single stinker in PPR formats. They'll slip up eventually, but they've made owners happy thus far. 

Here's a look at the most reliable RBs among the top 20 in PPR leagues, plus some of the most volatile in that group.

Like clockwork

Todd Gurley (Rams): The reigning king of fantasy football picked up right where he left off in 2017. Thanks to an average of two touchdowns per week, Gurley has yet to score fewer than 23.7 points and topped 30 in four of seven games. He's a monster.

Saquon Barkley (Giants): Shine up the Offensive Rookie of the Year for him now. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft hasn't scored fewer than 20 points as a pro, topping out at 37.9 in Week 6. The Giants may be terrible, but he's far from it.

James White (Patriots): Unlike his peers in this category, White wasn't high on many preseason rankings. Although he works out of a time share, the Pats for years have relied heavily on pass-caching backs. He's been good for at least 14 or 15  weekly but has had some huge games, too.

Christian McCaffrey (Panthers): McCaffrey, like White, does his best work as a receiver. However, Week 3's 184-yard day on the ground is proof positive of what else he can do. All his totals in six games have been either about 14 points or over 20.

Major gambles

Tarik Cohen (Bears): Is Cohen the dynamic threat in the passing game who's averaging more than 25 points in his last three games? Is he the non-factor who couldn't top 10 and bottomed out at 3.5 over the first three games? Only more time will tell.

Isaiah Crowell (Jets): A pair of multi-touchdown games, as well as an explosive 219-yard rushing day, are reasons to hope Gang Green's primary ball carrier can shine each week. But, in his other four games, he's scored anywhere from 7.2 to an ugly 1.3. Brutal.

Kenyan Drake (Dolphins): Perhaps he's rounding into form, as scores of 24.5 and 18.7 in Weeks 5 and 7 might indicate. His owners won't forget the preceding two weeks in which he rushed for three yards each, tallying a meager 3 and 2.6 PPR points.

Adrian Peterson (Redskins): The all-time great remains fantasy relevant at 33, no small feat for a running back. He topped 90 yards rushing four times and topped 20 points twice. However, he missed double digits in three of six games. Expect more inconsistency.


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