2018 CFF Running Back Profiles

By John Laub
John Laub



     CFF Running Back Rankings 2018     


                   College Fantasy Football



Summa Cum Laude

1. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
When I finished my projections for CFF last year, I ranked Devin Singletary seventh among all running back prospects and received a few shocked responses from readers. Regrettably, my forecast was incorrect: The FAU game breaker finished first among all ball carriers. He led the FBS in rushing touchdowns with 32 and points scored with 198. Only Barry Sanders (37) and Montee Ball (33) scored more touchdowns in a season. Singletary earned the C-USA MVP, selected to the First Team All-Conference and became the first player in school history to be named to the Associated Press All-America honors third team. The junior has produced back-to-back 1,000-yard crusades on campus, totaled 2,941 rushing yards, scored 44 times and averaged 6.5 ypc. At 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, “Motor” runs with purpose and a low-pad level. In space, he is extremely elusive and employs excellent jump cuts and lateral agility to elude tacklers. First-year Coach Lane Kiffin immediately turned the Owls into winners, posting an 11-3 record and earning a bowl berth. Charlie Weis, Jr., who is only 24-years old, takes over the play calling after the departure of Kendal Briles. Without question, Kiffin and Weis will rely on their Dark Horse Heisman Candidate to propel the Owls to another post-season invitation. 

2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,770 and 24
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 18 for 205 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 365 (30.4 ppg.)

2. Bryce Love, Stanford
Stanford is one of the ground games that astute CFF managers invest in annually: The Cardinals are well coached by David Shaw, and the offensive line consistently blasts open holes for the running backs. Last year, Bryce Love replaced Christian McCaffrey and exceeded all reasonable expectations with 2,188 rushing yards, which was second best in Pac-12 history and fifteenth all-time in college football. A big-play back, he produced 12 100-yard games, established an FBS record with 13 runs over 50 yards and averaged 8.05 yards per carry. Against Arizona State, he rushed for a school-record 301 yards on 25 carries and scored three touchdowns. For his labors, Love was unanimous All-America, PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award winner. At 5-foot-10 and 196 pounds, the senior is a classic home run hitter, averaging 7.8 ypc in three seasons on campus. A smooth runner, Love has outstanding speed, burst and rapidity. He is underrated in traffic with patience, wiggle and vision and employs a nasty jump cut to exploit a crease in the hole. The Heisman Candidate is also a good pass catcher and immediately accelerates up the field. Alternative-reality zealots are ecstatic that Love returned for his final season in a Cardinal uniform and can look forward to another tremendous crusade.
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,800 and 17
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 7 for 65 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 320 (26.6 ppg.)

3. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Another running game that earns annual dividends for CFF owners is Wisconsin. Ron Dayne, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon are just a few of the Summa Cum Laude graduates, who have worn a Badgers’ uniform. A two-time state champion in the 100-meter dash in high school, Jonathan Taylor established a New Jersey single-season record with 2,815 rushing yards as a senior and was dubbed a four-star recruit by Rivals. As a first-year collegiate last year, he broke Adrian Peterson’s freshman season record for rushing yards with 1,977 and scored 13 touchdowns. He also exceeded 200 yards in three contests and 100 yards in 10 games. When the season ended, Taylor received a plethorea of awards: Second team All-America, All-Big Ten First Team and Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year. At 5-foot-10 and 214 pounds, he is a compact runner who explodes into the open field. Taylor makes sharp cuts in the hole and blasts through the creases. A strong runner, he runs with patience and power and is difficult to bring down one-on-one. Coming off the board within the top five of early drafts, Taylor is the perfect anchor on any CFF roster in 2018.
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,930 and 18
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 10 for 100 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 327 (27.3 ppg.)

4. Miles Gaskin, Washington
Last year, I acquired Miles Gaskin cheaply in nearly every draft, and he propelled two of my teams to championships. Unfortunately, he is much more expensive in 2018. The senior opens training camp as the active FBS rushing leader with 4,055 yards. His resume includes a litany of accomplishments and accolades: three consecutive 1,300-yard campaigns, 2015 Freshman All-America (FWAA), 2016 All-Pac-12 First Team and 2017 All-Pac-12 Second Team. He is only 51 rushing yards shy of breaking Napoleon Kaufman’s school record for career yards. In January, Gaskin tweeted “I’m comin back” and CFF owners rejoiced. At 5-foot-9 and 192 pounds, the Washington playmaker makes defenders whiff with ankle-breaking cuts and inordinate balance. A savvy and patient runner, he navigates through traffic and erupts into daylight using remarkable vision and quick feet. He also absorbs hits and remains on his feet. Gaskin rocks at pass protection: He meets blitzers in the hole with a solid base and strong hands, delivering a punch at the point of attack. Coach Chris Peterson will rely on Gaskin, senior QB Jake Browning and an offensive line anchored by terrific tackles Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary to ignite the offense. Gaskin comes off the board within the first 16 selections in CFF drafts this summer.
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,400 and 17
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 17 for 200 and 2
Total Fantasy Points: 303 (25.3 ppg.)


5. David Montgomery, Iowa State
In the mid-nineties, Troy Davis produced back-to-back 2,000-yard crusades for the Cyclones—2,010 in 1995 and 2,185 in 1996—and finished as the all-time leading rusher in school history. David Montgomery is not likely to replicate the career of Davis, but he is the top CFF runner in two decades at Iowa State. Last year, the junior rushed for 1,146 yards, scored 11 touchdowns and corralled 36 passes for 296 yards. He rushed for a season-high 164 yards versus Texas Tech and fumbled only once in 294 touches. According to PFF, he led the nation in missed tackles with 109 and earned First-Team All-American by the web site despite running behind a below average offensive line. At 5-foot-11 and 219 pounds, Montgomery has prototypical size and toughness. He is a shifty and powerful runner who is difficult to bring down. A dual-threat quarterback in high school, Montgomery is an athletic competitor with incredible escapability. He has the size to pound between the tackles and great vision and agility to bounce it outside. With tremendous patience and instincts, he finds space and makes excellent secondary cuts. Coach Matt Campbell kicks off his third crusade on campus after leading the Cyclones to their first eight-win season since 2000 and will ride Montgomery to another bowl invitation. When researching my Devy league rankings in May, the Iowa State star ranked atop the running backs and nothing has changed since. For now, Montgomery is a stud in college fantasy football. 
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,450 and 14
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 40 for 350 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 310 (25.8 ppg.)

6. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
Rodney Anderson’s first two years on campus did not foreshadow future prominence on the gridiron. In 2015, his season ended in the second game against Tennessee when he suffered a leg injury and before the following campaign even opened, Anderson suffered a neck injury in August, missing the entire crusade. On June 7, 2017, Coach Lincoln Riley took over the team after Bob Stoops resigned. The Sooners rotated three backs until October 21 when Anderson finally strutted his running prowess. Against Kansas State, he rambled for 147 rushing yards and scored the game-winning touchdown. Thereafter, Anderson became one of the preeminent ball carriers in the nation. Remarkably, he scored four touchdowns in a half twice against TCU and West Virginia. Anderson played in every game but started only seven for the Sooners. In the CFP Semifinal (Rose Bowl) against Georgia, he shined brightest with 201 rushing yards and scored two times. When the curtain closed, he was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team with 1,161 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. The redshirt junior also snatched 17 passes for 281 yard and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. At 6-foot-1 and 219 pounds, Anderson bounces off tacklers and quickly changes direction. A powerful runner, he is also deadly in the passing game with good hands and easily transitions into a runner after securing the ball. Any CFF manager would be jubilant to acquire the Oklahoma star this season.
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,270 and 15
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 19 for 230 and 3
Total Fantasy Points: 277 (23.0 ppg.)

Magna Cum Laude

7. Juwan Washington, San Diego State
Can the Aztecs produce another 2,000-yard runner? During the past two seasons, both Donnel Pumphrey (2,133) and Rashaad Penny (2,248) eclipsed the magic barrier, as San Diego State became the first team in FBS history to accomplish the stupendous feat with two different ball carriers. Coach Rocky Long loves the power-run game to complement his stellar defense, and the Aztecs return all five offensive linemen including LT Tyler Roemer and RG Keith Ismael, who were both named Second-Team All-Conference honors last year. Juwan Washington, a speedster, steps into one of the preeminent positions in college football. At 5-foot-7 and 190 pounds, Washington was not heavily recruited and chose San Diego State after watching Pumphrey produce prodigious numbers. In high school, the redshirt junior rushed for 5,139 yards, scored 75 touchdowns and averaged 9.5 ypc. He also eclipsed the 300-yard barrier in five games. In 2016, Washington earned the SDSU Co-Outstanding Freshman Award, and last year, totaled 759 rushing yards and scored seven touchdowns. A humble young man, the game breaker has an infectious personality and is a hard worker. CFF diehards are expecting another prolific ground game by the Aztecs, and Washington becomes a nation-wide star in 2018.
2018 Projections
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,770 and 17
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 10 for 90 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 304 (25.0 ppg.)