Let’s start by looking at some of the best running backs in the NFL. We’ll cover Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Jonathan Taylor, and Emmitt Smith. But which one of these players should be crowned the best? Let’s look at each runner’s stats and how their ability to gain yards and score touchdowns affects their performance.
While Kamara is a rookie, he has already established himself as one of the league’s best rushers. He has three seasons of at least 80 receptions and has a burst score of 132.7. Kamara has been ranked in the top five among all pass-catchers during much of his career. He has also been the only player in the NFL history to reach 500 yards in both categories in his first four seasons.
Alvin Kamara’s 2017 season was nothing short of remarkable. While he was limited to only one game this season, the running back has already become a star in his own right. His stats are impressive: he’s the best player on the Saints offense, with 530 rushing yards and 840 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns in eight games. His three-year career-high scoring outputs have also been matched by none other than Aaron Rodgers. In this game, he’ll be rewarded with plenty of carries, despite a run defense struggling all season. He is also tied with Ernie Nevers for the most touchdowns in a game.
The 2018 NFL Draft saw a surprising talent in the running game. Fournette, the 4th overall pick, starred in his rookie season, gaining over a thousand rushing yards and nine touchdowns. As a result, he quickly rose to the top of the running back ranks. His outstanding season continued in 2018, with the Buccaneers reaching the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1999. In addition to being one of the best NFL football running backs of all time, Fournette has the juice to become the bell cow of the NFL, with the ability to contribute to both the running and passing game.
Although his numbers may be modest, he has already blown the mind of NFL coaches. Fournette has averaged 4.5 yards per carrying this season, which is the highest mark of his career. His runs have a positive effective percentage (EPA) of 47.4 percent, well above the league average. Additionally, he has gained at least five yards on 26.3 percent of his carries, converting third and fourth-and-1 opportunities.
It’s a hard question to answer, but one could make the case that Jonathan Taylor is the best NFL football running back this season. His stellar rookie season didn’t start well. He shared carries with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines but managed to rack up 1,169 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His play has improved remarkably in his second year, and he is currently the league’s leading rusher through 11 weeks. He also logged 32 receptions for 322 yards and scored twice in his season.
After winning the NFL rushing title in 2018, Jonathan Taylor is already one of the best running backs in the league. Last season, he was rated as the top RB on Pro Football Focus. He eclipsed the 1,800-yard mark and almost carried the Colts to the playoffs. Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb, two of the top running backs in PFF history, were also among the best.
There are several reasons to say that Emmitt Smith is the best NFL football player. He set the league record for rushing yards, but he was also the most productive running back of all time. Smith has more than one thousand career rushing yards, and his 164 rushing touchdowns rank second all-time behind Emmitt Brown, who scored 167 in 93 games. In addition to his career stats, Smith also has three of the five highest rushing touchdown totals against one opponent.
Smith was regarded as a too-small, slow and unreliable running back when he entered the NFL, but he was a stalwart, becoming one of the most durable players in the league. He still holds numerous records, including rushing for more yards than any other back and touchdowns and yards. LaDainian Tomlinson now holds his one-season touchdown record of 25. Although Emmitt Smith did not play for the entire 1993 season due to a contract dispute, he was able to come back and win the league MVP award.
The Atlanta Falcons recently signed running back Mike Davis, who had a solid season with the Panthers in 2020. The team had decided not to bring back Todd Gurley, but Davis’ production was solid enough to earn Atlanta a spot in their offseason plans. Last year, Davis had 642 yards rushing and 373 receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns. While the Falcons haven’t used him much in the preseason, Arthur Smith discussed the potential of Davis in Atlanta.
Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Davis has been hit behind the line of scrimmage multiple times. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has never hesitated to target running backs in the passing game. The Falcons’ offensive line is seriously a weak point, and Davis will likely be targeted heavily. As a result, Mike Davis has a great shot at a high-level production, even if he doesn’t score 40 fantasy points.
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