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Christian McCaffrey's historic fantasy football season will be difficult to top in 2020. CMC had a combined 2,392 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Not only was he the only running back in the league to have over 100 receptions, 116 to be exact, but he outscored Aaron Jones, the RB2 for the season by more than 150 fantasy points in PPR scoring. McCaffrey saw 21% of the Carolina Panthers' targets and scored 51% of the team's touchdowns. He was simply a machine.
While you may see some regression in 2020, the dip will not affect his overall production. CMC could have sat out the last two games of the 2019 season and still remained the clear cut RB1 for the year with 416 PPR points. There are not too many things in fantasy football that are for sure, but having Christian McCaffrey first overall in our fantasy football rankings is as easy as it gets.
It's hard to believe that Elliott is entering his fifth NFL season yet is still just 25-years-old with his prime years still ahead. Elliott is an old-school, three-down workhorse able to make an impact as both a runner, receiver and as a plus pass-blocker. In addition to his elite physical skill set and production, Elliott offers durability, which can't be overlooked at a position with little depth and major injury concerns.
Last year, Elliott's numbers lagged a bit but he still finished fourth in the NFL with 1,357 rushing yards. A bigger concern might be the decline from 95 targets in 2018 to 71 last season of the NFL's top offense. The addition of first-round wideout CeeDee Lamb could take even more targets from Elliot but he should still be a candidate to receive 350 touches and double-digit touchdowns in the Cowboys' prolific offense.
Still young, healthy, and consistently productive, Elliott offers top-5 weekly upside with an extremely high floor. He's about as safe as a pick as any asset can be in fantasy football.
Barkley was active in 13 games last season. He missed three games due to a high ankle sprain and averaged 22.3 opportunities, 111 total yards per game, and 16 PPR fantasy points per game. Barkley was very effective last season. He averaged 0.84 fantasy points per opportunity and the only other running back who averaged more Yards Created per game than Barkley (38.5) was Derrick Henry (38.6). He’s finished as an RB2 or better in 83% of his career games which provides a very high floor.
The Giants offense is well-positioned to improve on its 21.2 points per game last season. The team’s offense will continue to run through Saquon Barkley in new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s offense. General Manager Dave Gettleman acquired tackle Cam Fleming, drafted Georgia All-American tackle Andrew Thomas, UConn tackle Matt Peart, and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux. These additions improve the Giants offensive line and also provide quarterback Daniel Jones with additional protection. Barkley can be viewed as an RB1 and is in a strong position to finish within the top-five at his position. He is a lock to be a top 3 running back in just about any fantasy football rankings board you find this summer.
Kamara was active in 14 games last season. He suffered ankle and knee injuries and missed Week 7 and Week 8 because of them. Kamara averaged 19.1 opportunities, 95 total yards, and 17.8 PPR fantasy points per game. He only scored two total touchdowns in his first 12 games. Kamara averaged 0.93 fantasy points per opportunity and finished the season ranked 7th in Juke Rate. This advanced metric isolates a running back’s on-field elusiveness and tackle-breaking power. Kamara’s 2019 numbers weren’t incredible, but he’s finished as an RB2 or better in 77% of his games over the last two seasons.
You should expect Kamara to return to his superstar form in 2020. The Saints offensive line finished first in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric. The team has ranked in the top three of this metric since 2016. The Saints have prioritized their offensive line in recent years which have resulted in a run-heavy philosophy. New Orleans has finished as a top-four scoring offense in four consecutive seasons. Drew Brees has finished as the fantasy QB7 in points per game in consecutive seasons. The Saints offense also prioritizes the use of its running backs as receivers out of the backfield. Kamara ranks No. 11 among the NFL’s top-15 players in catch rate since 2017 among players with at least 100 targets. He is a candidate to finish within the top four at his position in most formats.
We finally saw what Dalvin Cook could do with a featured role and he more than lived up to the hype. In his third season, Cook touched the ball 303 times and racked up 1,654 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, Cook is an intriguing pick to finish the 2020 season as the overall No. 1 running back.
But it's been health, not production that has always been the primary concern for Cook. He's only played in 29 of a possible 48 games in three seasons. While Cook was durable at Florida State, since entering the pros he tore his left ACL in 2017 and missed five games due to a hamstring ailment in 2018. Even during last year's breakout, Cook was "rested" during the crucial fantasy playoffs with a shoulder injury.
When healthy, Cook has been nothing short of a top-tier RB1 more than worthy of a top-5 pick in fantasy leagues. Despite only having 250 carries in 2019, Cook finished third among all running backs with 37.1 yards created per league and scored 13-plus fantasy points in all but one game. That kind of production and upside certainly warrants early first-round considerations but a late-round investment in Alexander Mattison as a hand-cuff would be advised.
Henry finished as the RB5 in PPR formats. The only other running backs with a higher opportunity share than Henry’s 81.4% were Saquon Barkley (88.7%), Leonard Fournette (90.1%), and Christian McCaffrey (91.5%). There is still an opportunity for him to be used more as a receiver out of the backfield. Henry finished the season with only 25 targets. He led all running backs in Yards Created and ranked second in breakaway runs. Henry finished as an RB2 or better in 80% of his games last season in PPR formats.
Henry will continue to have a very high floor and an even higher ceiling this season. He signed his $10.2 million franchise tender and is locked in as the Titans bell cow in 2020. The departure of Dion Lewis will provide Henry with more targets. The Titans offensive line ranked fourth in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards and should continue to impose their will on defensive lines this season. When you pair all of these factors along with the Titans’ very favorable running back schedule Henry is well-positioned to finish 2020 as an RB1.
Recency bias usually creates a false narrative for an NFL player. A running back with a hot fantasy playoff run that helped an owner win a championship is burned into their memory as having a great season, when in fact that RB could have just had a great month. The 2019 Joe Mixon story is similar, except the first half of the season was so bad, most owners don't have anything positive to say about the fourth-year player.
If you split Joe Mixon's 2019 season into two halves, you get two completely different players. In the first eight games of last season, Mixon ran for 320 yards and averaged 2.6 YPC. Mixon didn't have a single 100-yard rushing game, nor did he have a rushing touchdown. In the second half of the season, Mixon had 817 yards and averaged 4.5 YPC. He scored five rushing TD's and was very much fantasy relevant. Granted, Mixon's biggest game of the year was week 17 when most fantasy leagues had finished, however, he did end the season strong, and fantasy owners need to shake the memory of his terrible season start. With Joe Burrow now at the helm, the team is getting a complete makeover. Veteran AJ Green is back, and the Bengals added rookie Tee Higgins to help boost the offense. Mixon should have more breathing room and see a potential boost in targets in the passing game. Despite the Bengals dreadful 2-14 season last year, Joe Mixon still managed to end the season as RB11 in standard scoring and RB13 in PPR.
He won't be lauded as highly as other top-10 running backs, but Nick Chubb might just be one of the best values of the early rounds of fantasy drafts. Not only did he finish second in the league with 1,494 rushing yards, but Chubb charted highly on many of Fantasy Data's advanced metrics.
Only Joe Mixon (103) evaded more tackles than Chubb (96), who also finished second in yards created (579) and led the NFL with 17 breakaway runs. In short, Chubb made a ton of big plays when given the chance and posted some impressive fantasy stats despite splitting the workload with Kareem Hunt for half the season and running behind an inferior Cleveland offensive line.
A lot went south for the Browns last season, but Chubb was a bright spot. It's hard to envision Cleveland making as bad as an offensive showing as they did in 2019, especially with the league's fourth-easiest schedule on the horizon. Nick Chubb should be viewed as a potential top-5 fantasy RB in 2020 and is easily acquired in the second round of most drafts, making him an excellent value pick with a superb ceiling.
Finally given an opportunity to showcase what he could do with an extended workload (62.6% snap share), Jones busted out with 1,558 scrimmage yards and an NFL-high 19 total scores. Jones was particularly effective in the red zone, where he led the league with 14 touchdowns on 33 attempts.
But as any experienced fantasy football player can tell you, red zone prowess can be quite volatile from year-to-year. Jones was incredibly efficient in that area last season and there is almost assuredly going to be some touchdown regression. Also, the addition of mammoth second-round running back A.J. Dillon as a potential short-yardage beast further complicates the chances that Jones can replicate last year's lofty stats.
Fortunately, Matt LaFleur has already stated that the Packers will likely place even more emphasis on the running game in 2020, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Green Bay to still effectively utilize multiple backs on a game-to-game basis. Jones showed too much in both short-yardage and as a breakaway threat last season to not warrant the lion's share of carries once again in 2020 and he'll be plenty motivated to break the bank as he enters the final year of his rookie deal. He might not approach 20 touchdowns again but Jones remains a locked-in RB1.
Davante Adam’s 2019 campaign was derailed due to injury after Week 4, in which he posted 10 receptions for 180 yards. Once Adams returned from injury, from Week 9-16, he posted 127.6 fantasy points, which ranked 6th among WRs in PPR scoring. Despite missing 4 games, among WRs, Adams finished tied-12th in receptions (83), tied-2nd in Red Zone Targets (23), and 3rd in total Target Share with a 30.3% Target Share. Even in a season haunted by a turf toe injury, Adams maintained his elite-level of play and is primed for a massive rebound season in 2020.
Green Bay elected not to draft a complimentary WR in the 2020 NFL Draft, leaving Adams as Aaron Rodgers’ number 1 weapon. Adams thrives when handling the bulk of the workload in the passing game. The addition of free-agent WR Devin Funchess does not impact Adam’s fantasy production; having another suitable WR on the outside should allow Adams to dominate various areas of the field. Adam’s touchdown numbers dropped in 2019, after finishing with double-digit touchdowns from 2016-18, so getting into the end zone more in 2020 should be high on his priorities. Adams is one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the league, hauling in over 70 receptions in 4-straight seasons. I expect Adam’s to return to his 2018 form (WR2 in PPR), continuing to command a massive target share for the Packers, with a serious chance of finishing 2020 as a top-2 fantasy WR. Michael Thomas is the only wide receiver I would consider drafting before Adams in fantasy this season.
The following is FantasyData's fantasy football rankings for 2020. This page allows you to sort by any position or fantasy scoring format and can even allow you to research historical fantasy football rankings.
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