1.  
RB  PIT
Rush Att
277
Rush Yds
1188
Rush TD
9
Rush Avg
4.3
Rec
76
Rec Yds
611
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
8.0
A contract dispute caused Bell to sit out the entire preseason last year, and the missed reps seemed to have an impact on his performance. He collected 100 scrimmage yards only once in his first five games, and while the year-end totals were up to his usual standards, the efficiency (4.0 YPC) wasn't. The Steelers rode him as hard as they could for 16 weeks, and the 26-year-old ended up leading the league with 406 touches, posting career highs in both catches and carries. The history of backs who get that kind of workload isn't encouraging - the last running back to top 400 touches was DeMarco Murray in 2014, and while there were extenuating circumstances, his follow-up campaign was brutal. Bell has made a habit of defying the odds, though, and his unique skill set - highlighted by preternatural vision, patience and anticipation when it comes to finding holes - allows him to avoid the punishment that would typically accompany a 400-touch campaign. Another huge workload seems inevitable in what could be his final season in Pittsburgh, and if Bell can avoid breaking down under the strain, he should once again be among the most productive backs in the league. He'll play under the franchise tag for a second straight year, likely reporting to the Steelers at the end of the preseason, just as he did in 2017.
2.  
RB  LAR
Rush Att
267
Rush Yds
1233
Rush TD
11
Rush Avg
4.6
Rec
54
Rec Yds
533
Rec TD
3
Rec Avg
9.9
Along with the rest of the Rams offense, Gurley thrived under new coach Sean McVay in 2017, leading the NFL in scrimmage yards (2,093) and touchdowns (19), scoring five more TDs than second-place Alvin Kamara despite sitting out a meaningless Week 17. In fact, Gurley's name was all over the leaderboards for running backs - first in goal-line carries, second in red-zone touches, fifth in runs of 15 yards or more and fifth in receptions, just to name a few categories. A physical specimen at 6-1, 227, he dominated defenders all over the field, as his sluggish form from the season before was replaced with the speed, explosiveness and elusiveness that were the hallmarks of his college days before he tore his ACL in November 2014. The Rams didn't rest on their laurels in the offseason, either. The team's offense could be even more dangerous after replacing Sammy Watkins with Brandin Cooks, and the Rams improved their depth along the offensive line in the draft. Defenses forced to choose between letting Jared Goff or Gurley beat them are likely to find there are no right answers, and there doesn't seem to be much that can slow Gurley down heading into 2018.
3.  
RB  ARI
Rush Att
255
Rush Yds
1176
Rush TD
9
Rush Avg
4.6
Rec
67
Rec Yds
633
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
9.4
Coming off his breakout 2016, expectations were sky high for Johnson last year, which made it all the more devastating when his campaign lasted all of 11 carries before a dislocated left wrist landed him on injured reserve. Healthy once again, the 26-year-old will be the focal point of the Arizona offense regardless of whether Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen is under center. Johnson's speed and elusiveness are both elite, and he also has the size and explosiveness to blow through arm tackles and gain yards after contact, along with outstanding receiving skills that make him a genuine three-down threat. New coach Steve Wilks is more defensive-minded than Bruce Arians, but with former Chargers boss Mike McCoy coming in as offensive coordinator, the Cardinals should still be in good hands. McCoy maximized the talents of another prolific pass-catching back, Danny Woodhead, during his time in San Diego. While it will be tough to repeat the 20 touchdowns Johnson scored in 2016 - he needed 58 red-zone carries and 14 red-zone targets to get there - another season with more than 2,000 scrimmage yards is possible given his likely workload. The biggest question for Johnson in 2018 will be health-related - not just for him, but for a veteran Cardinals offensive line that lost both its starters on the left side to injury last year and remade its right side in free agency this offseason. Johnson is entering a contract season and skipped mandatory minicamp while angling for an extension, but he ultimately decided to show up for the start of training camp in late July.
4.  
RB  NYG
Rush Att
269
Rush Yds
1211
Rush TD
8
Rush Avg
4.5
Rec
62
Rec Yds
578
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
9.3
The second overall pick in the 2018 draft, Barkley follows in the footsteps of Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette as running backs deemed worthy of top-five selections in recent years. Barkley has the skills to live up to that billing, as his standout career at Penn State was punctuated by frequent highlight-reel performances. Barkley's speed - a 4.4 40 at the combine - and top-shelf elusiveness and agility make it extremely difficult for defenders once he finds open real estate. At 6-0, 233, Barkley is a load to bring down, and his strong lower body allows him to pick up plenty of yards after contact, though he struggled at times running between the tackles. He also worked hard to turn himself into a three-down back who can help as a receiver and a pass protector, something the Giants needed to prioritize given their aging quarterback and shaky offensive line. The team did remake its line in the offseason, signing Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh as free agents and using a second-round pick on guard Will Hernandez, so Barkley should be able to use his moves to avoid hits two yards past the line of scrimmage instead of two yards behind it. Expect him to see a big workload as the new centerpiece of the Giants offense.
5.  
RB  NO
Rush Att
200
Rush Yds
922
Rush TD
7
Rush Avg
4.6
Rec
77
Rec Yds
699
Rec TD
3
Rec Avg
9.1
A third-round pick out of Tennessee last year, Kamara joined the Saints with some uncertainty as to his eventual role. Unable to earn a full workload in college despite flashes of brilliance, he seemed stuck behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on the depth chart, and there were concerns that the rookie wouldn't be able to stand up to an NFL pounding. One year later, those concerns have all been washed away in the flood of highlight-reel plays Kamara produced. He led running backs in receiving yards and also led the league in percentage of carries that went for at least 15 yards, with 11 such runs on 120 totes (9.2 percent). His presence prevented defenses from keying on Ingram, and the duo became the first RB teammates in history to both top 1,500 scrimmage yards in a season. Kamara displays excellent speed and elusiveness, but it's his change-of-direction skills and world-class acceleration that really set him apart. He can explode into and through even the smallest hole before it closes, and his ability to shift gears, change direction and rev back up in the open field routinely makes defenders look foolish. Ingram is suspended the first four games of the season, and while the Saints say they don't want to increase Kamara's workload too much, it's hard not to get excited for the possibility of what he could do with an additional 5-8 touches per game.
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