Who is the No. 5 running back? I saw some of the Experts Poll stuff go by yesterday, and it seems like pretty much everyone agrees on the top four.

In the Experts Poll, we ask 20 different analysts to identify their top 20 at each position – 18 industry writers, and two qualifiers from the Fantasy Index Open.

On 18 of those lists, the experts named the same four running backs at the top of their lists – Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. I am in agreement with those guys; I think they should be the first four picks of a draft.

Two experts left one of those backs out and instead put somebody else in the top 20. Jody Smith of Fantasy Pros, and Bryan Teegardin of Rochester (one of the Fantasy Index Open qualifiers).

So who, I wonder, makes the most sense to be the 5th running back selected. There’s Todd Gurley, but with him, you have to take on the increased risk of him wearing down or wearing out. There are a couple of third-year backs – Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook. LeVeon Bell, perhaps.

Three other contenders, I think, and they’re all in good situations. Melvin Gordon, James Conner and Damien Williams.

Gordon is the most proven of the bunch. He’s already shown he can be a top-5 back.

With Conner and Williams, you’re getting less-proven guys, but players who are also starting in offenses that work. With all three of these offenses, they’re supported by quarterbacks who know what they’re doing, keeping defenses on their heels. The offensive lines for Pittsburgh and Kansas City are outstanding (and the Chargers might be above-average in that regard).

With Pittsburgh, it’s had a top-10 running back six years in a row. (That’s PPR scoring and using per-game stats – for guys who started at least half the year).

2013LeVeon Bell133.5316697.6216.89
2014LeVeon Bell165.25385138.6923.21
2015DeAngelo Williams103.532801121.1021.32
2016LeVeon Bell126.351106157.7526.51
2017LeVeon Bell155.74486130.7323.02
2018James Conner134.238751131.0021.57

For Kansas City, it’s had a top-8 back in four of the last six years.

2013Jamaal Charles154.746861321.2725.51
2014Jamaal Charles152.7196988.9317.17
2015Charcandrick West101.8205979.5012.716
2016Spencer Ware142.4326698.3614.315
2017Kareem Hunt153.53086116.6719.25
2018Kareem Hunt112.434751091.2720.98

And with the Chargers, Gordon has finished 5th or 6th in per-game scoring three years in a row.

2015Danny Woodhead (3rd)165.0472168.5615.27
2015Melvin Gordon132.5154762.008.739
2016Melvin Gordon133.23277109.9219.65
2017Melvin Gordon163.6306999.7518.06
2018Melvin Gordon124.241741151.1722.65

—Ian Allan