It’s officially the best time of the year, as NFL Best Ball is back on DraftKings.
This format gives players a chance to draft a fantasy football team for a season-long competition that requires no active in-season management, but still provides a full season of drama and competition.
You can find all the details, scoring and rules for the format in this overview post along with links to the rest of our season preview content.
Below I have ranked my top-20 running backs for the 2023 DraftKings NFL Best Ball season.
Check back throughout draft season for more content to help get you ready for all your Best Ball contests.
4. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
It appears our long suffering nightmare is over. Ezekiel Elliot was released by the Cowboys earlier this offseason, leaving Pollard as the undisputed RB1 for this Dallas offense. There are still rumors that Dallas could resign Elliot, but even if he does come back, this is now Pollard’s backfield.
I am going to be well above market on Pollard this season, as he’s in one of the best situations you can find for a running back. Last season, despite splitting carries, Pollard ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards after contact per rush and sixth in yards per reception. Pollard was also the RB8 on the season despite receiving the 23rd most carries. His efficiency is off the charts and he has overall RB1 upside if he stays healthy.
He did break his ankle in the divisional round of the playoffs against the 49ers, but reports are that he should be all systems go by training camp. Dallas drafted undersized RB Deuce Vaughn in the sixth round of this year’s draft, which is Pollard’s only competition as of now heading into the Summer.
8. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
Stevenson is another running back whose stock rose considerably this offseason. The Patriots let Damien Harris walk in free-agency and brought in only James Robinson, who’s all but finished after a 2021 Achilles tear. Stevenson will be the clear bell-cow for Bill Belichick.
Stevenson finished as the RB9 last season, thanks in large part to his work in the passing game, where he hauled in 69 receptions (fourth most among RB’s) for 421 yards (seventh most among RB’s). Stevenson was also electric as a runner, posting 1,040 yards and ranking third in the league in yards after contact per rush, behind only Tony Pollard and Nick Chubb. The man is a beast and will be quite busy for a New England offense that lacks much quality in its receiving corps.
You likely do not need to draft Stevenson as the RB8, but I have him ranked there to ensure he’s on as many of my rosters as possible this draft season.
13. Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
After letting Jamaal Williams bolt in free-agency and shipping off D’Andre Swift to the Eagles, the Lions will have a brand new backfield in 2023. They signed David Montgomery to be their early-down runner, but then took Gibbs 12th overall in this year’s draft to replace Swift. Gibbs ran a 4.36 forty yard dash at the combine and posted 1,370 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in his senior season at Alabama.
Detroit did not invest that type of draft capital to watch Gibbs stand on the sideline. He will be involved plenty this season, especially in the passing game. Swift saw 70 targets in 14 games last season despite playing with an injury tag almost every week. There’s a real path for 100+ targets for Gibbs in his rookie year, especially once you factor in that Jameson Williams will be suspended for the team’s first six games.
I am extremely bullish on this Lions’ offense in general and love taking Gibbs as my RB1 on zero-RB builds in the fourth round where available.
18. Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks
I will likely not have a ton of Walker this season, as the signals the Seahawks have sent this offseason do not inspire much confidence that they’re in love with the Michigan State product. Seattle took WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba 20th overall in the first round in this year’s draft, before then selecting RB Zach Charbonnet 52nd overall in the second round. All of this points to them being a pass heavy team once again in 2023, after ranking eighth in the NFL in pass rate over expectation last year.
Walker is predominately a two-down runner with very limited passing game chops, whereas Charbonnet caught 61 passes over his final two seasons at UCLA. If Walker isn’t breaking off big runs, he’s largely overrated in fantasy, and especially on DraftKings where receptions are everything. I really think Pete Carroll turns this backfield into a full blown committee by mid-season, which would hinder Walker’s upside significantly.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Lan1228) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.