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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.
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.
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.
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.
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