Over the last few years, there’s been talk of running backs wanting to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a season. It’s been a goal of David Johnson’s for a couple of years now, and Todd Gurley even said he wants to hit 1,500 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. Only Roger Craig (1985) and Marshall Faulk (1999) have ever accomplished 1,000 and 1,000, but some of today’s star running backs might have a chance.
Any player that hits the mark would be fantasy gold, as 2,000 total yards would be and instant 12.5 fantasy points per week in just yardage (standard scoring). So which running backs have the best shot to get 1,000 and 1,000 in 2018?
David Johnson (50% chance)
Because he basically missed the entire 2017 season and head coach Bruce Arians is now gone, David Johnson is under-the-radar a bit. However, DJ still has a head coach that wants to feed him the rock, and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is one of the best in the NFL. A couple of seasons ago, Johnson was just 121 yards away from hitting the milestone, and he seems to be the most intent of these guys to hit the individual goal. The star running back is simply a beast, and he has a legitimately good chance to become the third player in NFL history to go for 1,000 and 1,000.
Alvin Kamara (35% chance)
Alvin Kamara is an interesting case, as he was closer to 1,000 yards receiving (826 yards) than he was 1,000 yards rushing (728 yards) as a rookie last season. If Kamara gets closer to the 100-reception mark, which is a very real possibility, he’d be a good bet for 1,000 receiving yards (Kamara had 81 receptions in 2017). However, the Saints apparently don’t plan to increase Kamara’s rushing workload much this season, even with Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games of the season. That could easily change when September rolls around, though. Sean Payton has compared Kamara to Marshall Faulk, so it would not be very surprising if the young back became the first player since Faulk to hit 1,000 and 1,000.
Todd Gurley (20% chance)
Gurley has the lofty goal of 1,500 and 1,000, which he’s certainly talented enough to accomplish. But the Rams have a lot of mouths to feed on offense, and defenses might be more focused on stopping Gurley as a receiver in 2018 after he torched teams last season. Still, it isn’t like Gurley just caught everyone by surprise in 2017—he’s always been an underrated receiver and is not someone defenders want to see in the open field. The uber-athletic Gurley might be the best bet of all to hit the mark if he’s even more involved through the air this year than he was last year.
Le’Veon Bell (15% chance)
In 2014, Le’Veon Bell had 854 receiving yards on 83 receptions, so many thought he might become the next running back to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Unfortunately, Bell suffered a serious knee injury in 2015 and then was suspended three games for the start of 2016, but he’s remained a big part of the Steelers’ passing attack when he’s been on the field. However, Bell’s average yards per reception was 10.3 in 2014 compared to just 7.7 last season—the All-Pro needs more big plays to get closer to 1,000 yards receiving again. Though Bell is arguably the best receiver of all the running backs in the NFL, so he has that going for him.
Saquon Barkley (5% chance)
With Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram all in the mix, there are a lot of weapons in the Giants’ offense, so Barkley might not get enough opportunities to get close to 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie. But the team drafted the explosive running back second overall with big plans in mind, and it would not be surprising if they put a heavy emphasis on getting him the ball in space. Pat Shurmur knows how to create big plays for his running backs in the passing game, and his offense in Cleveland got then-rookie Trent Richardson 51 receptions back in 2011.
Ezekiel Elliott (5% chance)
Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t put up big overall receiving numbers through his first two NFL seasons, but he’s made the most out of his opportunities in the passing game. As a rookie, Elliott averaged 11.3 yards per reception before averaging 10.3 yards per reception in ten games last season—but he has only 632 total receiving yards in his career so far. It isn’t like Zeke doesn’t have the ability to catch more passes, so he could have a similar surge to Todd Gurley’s last season. Also, with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone, the Cowboys might be forced to get their best player more involved as a receiver.