2016 CFB Running Backs: Part II

By John Laub
John Laub




     2016 College Fantasy Football RBs: Part II 

            Rankings, Profiles and Projections





9. Elijah McGuire, UL-Lafayette

For the hardcore CFB diehards, the Sun Belt Conference provides some of the most spectacular offensive units and exciting fantasy performers in the nation. In 2014, Elijah McGuire was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year after totaling 1,732 yards from scrimmage and scoring 16 times. Regrettably, the Ragin Cajuns runner could not repeat his productivity because key teammates moved on—QB Terrance Broadway and RB Alonzo Harris—poor offensive line play and numerous irksome injuries. McGuire’s yards per carry dropped considerably as did his receptions last year. At 5’11” and 208 pounds, he is a versatile competitor (pass catcher and special teamer) who can be a feature back after earning 209 carries last year. During his time on campus, McGuire has accumulated 100 catches for 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns, running a variety of routes not just dump offs and screens. McGuire is one of only two active players in the nation with over 3,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards. He takes pride in the extra practice necessary to excel in all aspects of the game. One of the most electric performers in college ranks among the elite in CFB this season.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,300 and 12

Receiving Yards and TDs: 350 and 4

Total Fantasy Points: 261


Wayne Gallman, Clemson


10. Wayne Gallman, Clemson

Without question, coach Dabo Swinney employs the best QB-RB tandem in the nation. While the entire country knows Heisman-favorite quarterback Deshaun Watson, many diehards overlook the spectacular season Watson’s backfield mate Wayne Gallman manufactured. He carried the pigskin 282 times for a team-record 1,514 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. A three-down back, Gallman improved as a pass catcher and blocker last season. In two seasons, the junior has recorded 46 receptions for 334 yards and reached the end zone two times. In high school, the rising star failed to garner the attention of coaching staffs and landed at Clemson without much fanfare. Gallman plays with a chip on his shoulder, and combines power with finesse to demolish opponents. At 5’11” and 215 pounds, he is physical on inside runs and can get to the edge of the defense. Setting high goals, Gallman wants to conclude his Clemson career atop the rushing leaders and needs 1,671 yards to eclipse the mark established by Raymond Priester in the mid-90s. Astute CFB owners will wager that Gallman establishes a new bar in 2016.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,600 and 12

Receiving Yards and TDs: 250 and 1

Total Fantasy Points: 263


Cum Laude


11. Brian Hill, Wyoming

After two impressive seasons, Brian Hill remains under-the-radar among the national media, but not CFB owners. The junior led the Mountain West Conference in rushing yards (1,631) and rushing per game (135.9) last year. Despite the lofty numbers, Hill did not garner First Team Conference honors and thirsts to earn the respect of the league’s coaches and media in 2016. Over the winter, Hill gained 10 pounds and emerged in top physical form during spring drills. At 6’1” and 219 pounds, the chiseled and explosive runner punishes tacklers and is clearly the alpha dog in Wyoming. As a freshman, the Belleville, Illinois native set a school-record with 281 yards rushing against Fresno State in the first start of his career, and for the season, he galloped for 746 yards rushing and scored seven times. After two seasons, Hill is fifth on the Pokes career-rushing list (2,427) and needs only 536 more to become the pacesetter at the school. Don’t make the same mistakes as the majority of the nation and draft the spectacular Cowboy this summer.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,700 and 13

Receiving Yards and TDs: 150 and 0

Total Fantasy Points: 263


Myles Gaskin, Washington


12. Myles Gaskin, Washington

During the last three games of the 2015 season, the Washington offense exploded for 141 points against Oregon State, Washington State and Southern Mississippi. The Huskies were led by freshmen at three key positions: QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin and LT Trey Adams. Gaskin became the first true freshman in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards and finished the crusade with 1,302 and a school-record 14 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 5.7 yards ypc and eclipsed the 100-yard barrier eight times. Surprisingly, Gaskin only played 44.9% of the Huskies snaps last season according to ProFootballFocus.com. At 5’10” and 193 pounds, Gaskin is short, but robust, and great in short-yardage situations. The stout ball carrier has tremendous feet and makes tacklers miss with short-area quickness. With an expected up tick in snaps and touches, Gaskin projects as one of the top twelve runners in college football.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,500 and 16

Receiving Yards and TDs: 50 and 0

Total Fantasy Points: 251


13. Elijah Hood, North Carolina

How sensational would Elijah Hood look in the Gold and Blue of Notre Dame? Would he be one of the Heisman favorites? At one point during the recruiting expedition, the North Carolina native committed to play for the Fighting Irish. Nevertheless, he decided that staying close to family mattered foremost and signed with the Tar Heels. In 2015, North Carolina led the FBS is yards per play and averaged over 40 points per game, and despite limited opportunities, Hood ignited the attack. He finished the campaign with 1,463 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on only 231 touches. The junior ball carrier posted eight 100-yard games and earned Academic All-ACC for his scholarship. The 6’0” and 220-pound punisher hammers opponents with a bruising style of grittiness and aggressiveness. Hood owns a combination of size, strength and athleticism that NFL scouts seek, plowing through defenders by lowering pads with stiff arms and strong legs. A violent competitor, Hood will likely see a big increase in usage behind four returning lettermen on the offensive line and the Tar Heel runner can anchor any CFB club this season.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,550 and 19

Receiving Yards and TDs: 50 and 0

Total Fantasy Points: 274



Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi


14. Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi

Last season, Ito Smith shared backfield duties with Jalen Richard, who is currently auditioning to make the Raiders roster in the fall. Smith is one of the top all-purpose backs in the nation. In 2015, the Golden Eagle rushed for 1,128 yards on only 171 carries and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. He also hauled in 49 passes for 515 yards and three touchdowns. At 5’9” and 195 pounds, the elusive runner is one of the better pass catchers in the nation and will remain an integral component of the aerial attack. Southern Mississippi employs a veteran interior offensive line that should be able to blast open holes for Smith. Despite a change at head coach, the Golden Eagles offense will soar again, and the stellar ball carrier should easily exceed the 1,000-yard barrier.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,270 and 10

Receiving Yards and TDs: 600 and 4

Total Fantasy Points: 271

15. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee

Tennessee won nine games for the first time in eight seasons, and analysis of the roster foretells continued success behind an offense led by QB Joshua Dobbs and RB Jalen Hurd. When the college football media published its preseason projections, the junior runner was named on several all-star lists: Athlon Sports First Team All-SEC and Sporting News All-SEC. Last year, Hurd became the first sophomore in Volunteer history to exceed 1,000 yards rushing and finished fourth in the Conference with 1,285. He also snatched 22 passes and scored 14 times. To conclude the campaign, Hurd earned MVP honors in the Outback Bowl after gaining 130 yards on the ground and scoring once. A huge tailback at 6’4” and 240 pounds, the Volunteer is a marvelous athlete with power and speed and runs through defenders. Hurd is joined with fellow junior Alvin Kamara in the backfield, which limits the carries and touches of both. The Tennessee battering ram is an excellent second ball carrier on any CFB club.

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,400 and 12

Receiving Yards and TDs: 200 and 1

Total Fantasy Points: 238

16. Nick Chubb, Georgia

Georgia is sometimes referred to as Running Back University. In Athens, GA, Nick Chubb was next in line for prominence before suffering a season-ending torn PCL injury against the Volunteers last year. Beforehand the extraordinary sophomore rumbled for 747 yards on 92 carries with seven touchdowns. In 2014, Chubb earned SEC Freshman of the Year and First Team All-SEC honors after rushing for 1,571 yards, averaging an astonishing 7.1 yards per carry and scoring 16 touchdowns A compact athlete at 5’10” and 220 pounds, the junior tailback has a non-stop motor and is hard to tackle with raw power and remarkable vision. Utilizing quick moves and owning breakaway speed, he can elude defenders with good balance and great lateral cuts. Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that Chubb is not going to suit up for the 2016 kickoff. There is no urgency immediately to get the playmaker back on the field with Sony Michel, who scampered for 1,161 yards last year, able to tote the mail.  

2016 Projections

Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,190 and 10

Receiving Yards and TDs: 70 and 0

Total Fantasy Points: 186



Rushing & Receiving Yards = 1 point for every 10 yards

Touchdowns = 6 points


Projections are based on the assumption that the prospect stays healthy all season