- Christian McCaffrey (Panthers) – CMC is the safe bet at #1 ADP to give you ROI. I do not think new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady offer the 100 reception, 1000 rushing yards upside that CMC had during the Ron Rivera regime. McCaffrey finished 1st, 2nd and 10th the last three seasons. Fantasy Football is in good shape with running backs in 2020. They continue to fly off the board in drafts and we have safe options in my opinion. Draft from the dominant Top 20 Fantasy Football Running Backs in 2020 or the viable Zero RB draft strategy! Covid19 factor means roster multiple starting options and coach efficiently each week.
- Saquon Barkley (Giants) – Saquon finished 10th amongst running backs in 2019. This was with injuries and only playing in 13 games. He was the number 1 overall running back in 2018 and offers the same upside in 2020. Saquon crushing it under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is expected.
- Derrick Henry (Titans) – Underrated because people in the fantasy community knock his lack of receiving usage. While a target is better than a carry. Every now and then we get a running back that is a beast. An Adrian Peterson who produces regardless of receiving usage and also delivers a safe floor. I am willing to draft Henry as the 3rd best running because I value his yardage and touchdown upside. Gamescripts can play a factor in the Titans rushing, however I’ll take that risk and ride out the season with a second half monster.
- Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) – Finished 3rd, 5th, 12(10 games) and 2nd in fantasy points amongst running back the last four years. Dallas retains offensive coordinator Kellen Moore which is good news for early season points amidst the covid pandemic. The Cowboy’s skill position players have upside in 2020 as I expect this offense to put up 30 plus points weekly.
- Alvin Kamara (Saints) – Finished 9th, 4th and 3rd amongst running backs the last three seasons. This is with less usage than the top 4 ranked running backs. Kamara is efficient with his touches and in a potent offense. He is a safe pick that has us wanting more usage. His receiving floor is elite and if he pops off for a 16 touchdown season. He may sneak into the top spot come year’s end.
- Dalvin Cook (Vikings) – An injury history concerns me more so than a hold out. His offensive situation is mouthwatering as a fantasy owner but I am prudent with my top draft picks. Dalvin was a poor fade last season. However come fantasy playoffs it did not hurt my success. Another year Dalvin Cook will not be on my season long rosters.
- Miles Sanders (Eagles) – Maybe Doug Peterson will use Sanders like Andy Reid uses running backs. He finally gave Sanders RB 1 usage after injuries devastated the Bird’s roster in 2019. Boston Scott and Corey Clement will be used as change of pace backs. Say they bring in Devonta Freeman or Lamar Miller off the street. This would concern me more than the current situation. Still Sanders is an RB1 on the verge of producing for those that draft him. Peterson will utilize him as the centerpiece of the offense in 2020!
- Joe Mixon (Bengals) – Finished 13th, 10th and 34th since the last three seasons. He passes the eye test and offers RB1 usage. Its not a question of talent, rather his situation with a booty team in the Bengals. They could surprise some people if Joe Burrow comes out slinging and performs well under pressure. Head Coach Sean Taylor in year two is promising and so are the skill players on Cincy. The positives outweigh the negatives in year 4 four Mixon.
- Austin Ekeler (Chargers) – After finishing 4th amongst running backs in 2019. Austin Ekeler proved his fantasy worth and alleviated concerns in regards to his durability. I do not expect Ekeler to be a poor man’s CMC in 2020 because Phillip Rivers is in Indianapolis. Still like Tyrod to take the check down, run the screen game, use RPO and Ekeler to be a focul point of this Chrager’s offense.
- Nick Chubb (Browns) – The Browns have improved their offensive line and Chubb already proved he is an elite running back in real life football. The Browns have a potent running back duo with Kareem Hunt and a new offensive system underway in 2020. Talent is not in question with Chubb. His lack of receiving usage is a concern and Kareem Hunt getting 8-15 targets/touches per game limits his ceiling. In order to beat his finish of 8th in 2019 amongst running backs. Chubb is going to have to break a lot of 80+ yard runs and/or reach the endzone more in 2020.
- Joshua Jacobs (Raiders) – The Raiders draft of multiple players who are versatile must be paid attention to. Jacobs is a 1st round pick in a lead back situation. On an offense that boast a nasty offensive line and a head coach who wants to utilize tight ends in support of a workhorse back. Jacobs situation is similar to Derrick Henry’s. One can either lets their lack of receiving work diminish their upside or understand the workhorse mentality of their head coach. This mentality allows the risk to be worth drafting one dimensional running backs. Coach speak has Jacobs getting more receiving work in 2020. The drafting of Lynn Bowden, signings of Jalen Richard and Devontae Booker won’t eat into an RB1 workload. But they make this coach speak less believable which limits Jacobs upside as a top tier running back in 2020.
- Kenyan Drake (Cardinals) – Its an offensive party in Arizona or at least that what fantasy friends want to believe. Will year 2 of Kliff Kingsbury be better? It should with Kyler Murray evolving and DeAndre Hopkins onboard. The offensive line is still in question for me and I do not see a workhorse running back in Drake. His playmaking ability, receiving chops and place atop the depth chart have him as a safe draft pick in this ranking range. Be prepared for inconsistent weekly performances but come season’s end, Drake will have potentially accumulated enough big games to make drafting him worth it.
- Todd Gurley (Falcons) – Another fade in 2019 for myself that didn’t hurt my success. I was pleasantly surprised that Todd finished 14th amongst running backs in 2019. Also surprised Darrell Henderson busted epically! When the only question is a player’s health. Then one must draw a line in the sand and choose a side. This year I am on Gurley’s side once again. He is walking into a role as a potential workhorse back, will see targets and is on a 1 year prove it deal. Not to mention the explosive and improved offense he is in. I am willing to take the risk with Gurley and draft him in rounds 3 and 4.
- Aaron Jones (Packers) – Huge breakout season for Jones in 2019 and his team doesn’t change his contract. They instead draft AJ Dillon to join the committee. Jones is still the RB1 in Green Bay and he comes with the same injury risk as last year. Jamaal Williams was seeing the field and getting work in the receiving game before getting injured in 2019. I’m staying away from Jones in rounds 1 and 2. Based on my team, Round 3 is where I’m comfortable drafting him. Jones showed he can produce monster game in a committee role and he has also showed he can carry the load for stretches. This shifty back is forever going to come with risk as fantasy owners beg for NFL coaches to stop their shenanigans with his offensive role.
- Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) – Here is a lead running back with immense talent on a team that I do not believe in. He couldn’t find the endzone in 2019 while garbage time receptions salvaged his season. With new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in town. Fournette should produce higher ceiling games in 2020. Although I expect his usage to dip slightly due to negative gamescripts. The Jaguars will be trailing a lot in 2020 and hurry up, pass oriented offense is does not favor fournette being on the field under Jay Gruden.
- David Johnson (Texans) – Carlos Hyde rushing for 1,000 in 2019 is an encouraging sign for David Johnson doing the same in 2020. The Texans are a Deshaun Watson based team with an improving offensive line. David and Duke Johnson will make a formidable duo in Texas. DJ is out to prove the doubters wrong while proving to himself he is a top flight running back. The unquestioned RB1 in Houston still has upside in this range with minimal risk.
- Jonathan Taylor (Colts) – A real life mutant enters the league on a team that said they want to run the ball. If the Colts are to be successful in 2020? Taylor will see a RB1 workload and push for the rushing title in his rookie season. An aging Phillip Rivers, every offensive weapon to suit his needs and an above average coaching staff. I believe they will utilize their offensive line, stay dedicated to the run, control the game clock and it will benefit Taylor.
- James Conner (Steelers) – The lead running back behind a top offensive line and in a potent offense led by an gaining Big Ben. Conner is one of a handful of backs that have top 10 upside. His only concern is health. It is a big concern for myself with him but I think this year the Steelers will utilize load management with Conner. That gives fantasy owners Conner for an entire season? In round 5 its a no brainer draft pick and round 4 I’m seriously considering it based on my first three picks.. The Steelers have a good running back room with Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels and rookie Anthony McFarland. There will be games in which Conner produces multiple touchdowns and he possesses the ability to produce on 15-20 touches/targets in a games. Conner is the clear lead back for myself and everyone else will rotate eating small snap percentages per week.
- David Montgomery (Bears) – This guy reminds me of Melvin Gordon before Ekeler showed out in 2019. He was in a lead back situation, a beast in regards to breaking tackles and being a physical runner. He is on a team where he will get fed the rock and his opportunity outweighs his inefficiencies in fantasy. If he finds the endzone? Then this second year running back will be a league winner. OR he finishes as he did last year and we apply the same logic in 2021 when he falls even further in drafts. 300+ touches, the goal line running back and year 2 upside growth is too much to pass on in round 5. Round 4 is the highest I’d take him at the moment.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs) – Kareem Hunt and Brian Westbrook reincarnated is exciting under Andy Reid. Helaire offers immediate impact in fantasy. I like him as a flex option versus where he is being drafted. Damien Williams is still in Kansas City and Helaire is a rookie in a covid19 pandemic year. Even if Helaire was to take over the starting job by mid season. He would need to be highly productive to justify his ADP.
May the Fantasy Force Be With You.
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