Fantasy football has slowly moved away from prioritizing the RB position at the top of drafts due to the emergence of incredibly reliable WRs in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that we need to completely forget about them!
Who are some of the top RBs to draft in fantasy football this season? In this article, we’re going to look at seven players all throughout ADP that I believe you have to draft.
2023 Top RBs To Draft in Fantasy Football
It would be very easy to compile a list of must-have RBs that were the top options in ADP. Anyone can create a list that has Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler on it, but that’s not very helpful, is it?
With that in mind, the following players are ones that you can find through essentially every round of your upcoming fantasy football draft. We do the research at Pro Football Network to make sure that you’re prepared to dominate your league, so kick back, relax, and let’s find some fantastic RBs to draft.
Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders
There’s a strong possibility that Josh Jacobs returns to Raiders training camp here soon, and White’s no longer a player that I’ll be circling going into my fantasy football drafts. However, at the time of writing, the two sides in that ongoing argument do not appear to be anywhere close to a reunion.
White was a highly anticipated prospect coming into the NFL Draft last year. Despite not being much of a pass catcher, he’s an absolute freight train in the open field, and he has the potential to shoulder a massive workload for an offense with his size.
As a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, White figured to be the eventual replacement for Jacobs in this offense as he had seemingly fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. We all know how that went last season, with Jacobs emerging from the shadows to put up a monstrous season.
With the ongoing contract disagreements — and the current holdout from Jacobs — we could see White receive a large opportunity this season.
If anything, Las Vegas may be willing to put White on the field even more if/when Jacobs does return to see what they have and whether or not they can comfortably let the veteran RB walk in free agency next season.
With White’s current ADP, scoop him up in the final round of your draft right now and see how the situation plays out.
Jerome Ford, Cleveland Browns
It’s shocking that the clear RB2 in Cleveland is going off the board as the RB52 in Underdog Fantasy ADP. It makes me want to enter a Best Ball draft right now to take advantage of this shockingly low price tag!
Ford has the talent to be a factor for fantasy football in 2023. Coming out of the University of Cincinnati, he flashed big-time playmaking ability while also being a smooth and solid receiver out of the backfield.
— CFB Country (@_CFBCountry) October 31, 2020
Now, Kareem Hunt is gone from Cleveland, and there is a massive opportunity for someone to step in alongside Nick Chubb. As much as Chubb would probably be able to handle 100% of the touches in this backfield, I doubt that’s what Kevin Stefanksi wants.
The third-down role in this offense is still up for grabs, and Ford seems to have the inside track for it. Fantasy managers are not realizing the potential that he has as a full-PPR option but also as a high-level insurance RB if something were to happen to Chubb this season.
All the low ADP allows us to do is swoop in and pick him up now before his draft cost rises when more and more people become aware of his role.
Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers
There was a brief period last season where it looked like a reality that Warren — a UDFA in 2022 — was going to usurp Najee Harris and steal the RB1 role in Pittsburgh. He was easily the more explosive back on film, and he was proving to be an incredibly reliable option that could help move the chains for this offense.
While Harris did work his way back toward the end of the season to solidify himself as the main option in this backfield, Warren proved that he should be given an opportunity to produce in 2023.
It’s unclear as of right now exactly how much work Warren is going to see in this offense week in and week out, but there’s certainly the possibility that it’s enough to put him into the Flex conversation. On top of that, Warren’s upside — if something were to happen to Harris this year — makes him an incredibly intriguing target in the later rounds.
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
When Matt LaFleur was in Tennessee as the offensive coordinator in 2018, we saw a massive commitment to the run game and controlling the clock with an offense that was toward the bottom of the league in terms of pace of play.
Over the last several years as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, LaFleur has had to adapt his offensive philosophy to accommodate Aaron Rodgers’ preferences. That’s no longer the case, as Jordan Love is now set to assume the QB1 role in Green Bay this season, which means we could see a return back to the old style that LaFleur prefers.
Dillon was drafted highly by the Packers to be a workhorse option. At his size, he can easily handle 20+ touches per game, just like Derrick Henry did for LaFleur in Tennessee. If this prediction is correct for how this offense will look in 2023, Dillon is being severely underrated.
We could see a sizable workload week in and week out for the RB going into his fourth NFL season, and that has tremendous value as an RB2 in your lineup. The best part is that you don’t even have to draft him to be that, as he’s going off the board as the RB33 in Underdog drafts.
David Montgomery, Detroit Lions
Montgomery signed with Detroit early on in free agency this offseason, and it seemed like his fantasy stock took a nosedive. With D’Andre Swift already in town, plus then the addition of Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, it seemed like the former Chicago Bear was barely going to see the field.
Yet, shortly after the selection of Gibbs, Swift was shipped off to Philadelphia, and the expectations for Gibbs’ role became a bit more clear. All signs point to Gibbs being a receiving weapon — or satellite back — that moves consistently all over the formation in this offense.
This means that there’s an opportunity for another RB to step right in and assume all of Jamaal Williams’ vacated 262 rush attempts from 2022. In an offense that was incredibly powerful last season, running behind a terrific offensive line, Montgomery could possibly be in line for one of the best years of his young NFL career.
Right now, fantasy managers are all wrapped up in the excitement of the brand-new thing with Gibbs. And he should be a very solid fantasy asset, too, in 2023. However, we shouldn’t forget about Montgomery and how productive he can be when he’s in the right scheme for his skill set. At his ADP right now, he’s a tremendous value.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
For years, fantasy managers have made it a priority to draft Mattison in the middle rounds to ensure that they have a top-tier RB if Dalvin Cook were to miss time with an injury. And when he’s seen the field as the primary RB, Mattison has absolutely delivered.
Now, Mattison has this backfield completely to himself, and fantasy managers seemingly want nothing to do with him. Minnesota’s offense figures to be on the field a lot in 2023 with the state of their defense, which means more and more opportunities for Mattison as the lead option.
While Ty Chandler may come in and steal some work away from him here or there, Mattison’s going to see a significant opportunity this season, and a top-10 finish is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Yes, Ford was included in this list above, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also be excited about drafting his teammate in fantasy leagues too.
Chubb has proven to be one of the most consistent RBs out there over the past several seasons, and it’s seemingly taken for granted each and every year by fantasy managers.
However, he could truly explode and be a league-winner this year if this offense can take a big step forward.
As a big-play threat — as evidenced by his 13 rushes of 20+ yards or more last season — Chubb offers unbelievable upside to go along with his solid floor. At his current ADP, fantasy managers can secure one of the top-tier WRs and come back around in the second round to add Chubb and lock down the top of their roster.