Not that long ago, running backs were all the craze when it came to a fantasy football draft. Now, with the emergence of Point per Reception (PPR), the field seems to be pretty even on whether selecting between a wide receiver or running back with your first round pick. There were 22 different RB’s that combined for over 1,000 total yards in the 2016 season. For comparison, there were 23 different WR’s, and 2 TE’s that had over 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
In 2016, the leading WR was T.Y. Hilton with 1,448 receiving yards. Compared to the running backs listed in the chart above, Hilton would be placed as the 8th overall ranked player, right below RB (Devonta Freeman) with total yards. That means Johnson, Elliott, Bell, Murray, McCoy, Howard and Freeman are all more valuable than the number one WR in the game.
There are a handful of WR’s that gain rushing yards in a season such as Antonio Brown and Brandin Cooks to name a few. However, the majority of WR’s do not get many (if any) rushing attempts in a season. Running backs should always be more valuable than wide receivers for the simple reason that RB’s get way more opportunities to touch the ball than a WR’s. Think about it, if a WR has 6-8 receptions in a game, that is a good day. Your RB should have at least 2-3x more opportunities to touch the ball in any single game over a WR. Especially if you get one or two of the multi-threat running backs from the chart listed, that can both run and catch the ball out of the backfield.