Last season, Todd Gurley, the work horse running back for the Los Angeles Rams, finished with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns, making him fantasy football’s top scorer during the 2017 NFL season. Gurley was a mid-second-round draft choice in last season's fantasy drafts, and vaulted the Rams to a surprising 11-5 record, and is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts heading into the 2018 NFL season.

Who is poised to finish as a Top 25 running back in 2018? What can we expect this season from rookie running backs like Saquon Barkley? In 2017, four rookie running backs finished among the top 10 scorers in fantasy leagues, including Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt and Christian McCaffrey.

This year's group of running backs offer high risk, high reward potential, and here are a few to help you win your fantasy league in 2018.

The return of the stud running back

Nine of the first 12 fantasy football draft picks and 14 of the first 20 choices are running backs. The position is so scarce, 2018 sees a return to selecting running backs with your first two draft picks, even in PPR-scoring leagues. In 2018, five running backs that are viewed as elite (Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Alvin Kamara) will all be gone by the time pick number seven happens in the first round of your fantasy draft. Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, and Melvin Gordon are all projected to be first round fantasy choices, and with LeSean McCoy, Christian McCaffey, Devonta Freeman, and Jerick McKinnon all being taken in the second round, fantasy owners are left with scarcity at running back when it comes to proven track record.

Joe Mixon set for heavy work load

The second-year running back for Cincinnati is set to see an increase in touches due to the departure of Jeremy Hill. Giovanni Bernard will be in the mix for touches yet 2018 offers Mixon the chance to showcase his talent that made him possibly the most talented running back selected in the 2017 draft. Last season, Mixon touched the ball 208 times for 913 yards and four touchdowns. The departure of Hill opens the way for Mixon to approach 300 touches, 1,200 combined yards, and double-digit touchdowns. Mixon has stayed out of trouble to this point with his draft stock plummeting in 2017 after an incident where the Oklahoma running back punched a woman in a bar.

Saquon Barkley could be a stud

Selected second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and called the most talented prospect at running back in years, the Penn State product has a chance to take over a New York Giants backfield that’s struggled in recent years to find consistency. Barkley has the skills to play every down, and, despite running behind a suspect offensive line, has the best chance to finish in the top 10 in scoring at running back among rookies.

1,200 combined yards and double-digit touchdowns are almost a given based on Barkley’s hype and such a performance will have the Giants returning to playoff contention during the 2018 NFL season.

Dalvin Cook returning from injury

The second-year back from Florida State was electric in four games last season before tearing his ACL, averaging 111 yards from scrimmage, and scoring two touchdowns. Returning from injury, the expectations for Cook are sky high as he sits with an average draft position of 2.01. The expectations in Minnesota are just as high, especially with the signing of Kirk Cousins to a 100 percent guaranteed $84M contract. Cook will be the X-factor for Minnesota all season long as it remains to be seen whether or not he can perform at the same high level as he demonstrated in four games last season. He’ll be running behind a suspect offensive line and Latavius Murray remains in the mix for touches, making Cook a suspect choice over proven running backs like Christian McCaffrey, Devonta Freeman, LeSean McCoy, and new 49er running back Jerick McKinnon [VIDEO].

Isaiah Crowell could lead the Jets in touches

Exorcised from the disaster in Cleveland, where head coach Hue Jackson completely misused the fifth-year running back, Crowell has gone on to say he had no clue about his role for the Browns over the past two seasons. Crowell gets a fresh start for the Jets where Matt Forte is retired, and with only unproven Elijah McGuire behind him on the depth chart, Crowell is set for his first 300 touch season. The 225-pound running back is still just 25 years old, and can be expected to take the pressure off rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, and he also has a top 15 fantasy scoring season ahead of him. Currently sitting with an ADP in the eighth round, Crowell can be counted on to produce at a scarce position, while targeting him later in the draft allows one to concentrate on other wide receivers [VIDEO] early.

Rex Burkhead the back to own in New England

New England signed Jeremy Hill, drafted Georgia running back Sony Michel in the first round, and James White will remain a factor in the passing game, yet Rex Burkhead may be the running back to own in the New England offense during the 2018 NFL season. Burkhead was limited last season due to injury, producing 518 yards on 95 touches with eight touchdowns. He was utilized as the goal line back when healthy and proved money in the bank when running routes from either the back field or the slot position. It’s tough to count on a running back playing roughly 33 percent of the snaps but with an ADP in the 12th round, Burkhead’s production could make him a solid flex play week in and week out. Although, I like Sony Michel to be 2018’s version of Alvin Kamara and Michel is going in the 15th round of mock drafts.