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Howdy LAFB Network Fam! Football is right around the corner and boy does it feel good to have some kind of normalcy back into our lives.

With the 2020 season quickly approaching it only seems fit to give the people what they want; Running Back Projections! This article is going to cover the Top 40 prospects in the upcoming season so grab some soda/beer/whiskey and popcorn and get ready for the show.

2020 Fantasy Football Projections: Top 40 Running Backs

RBs 1-10 Review

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott

Alright, so it is easy to say that CMC, Barkley, and Zeke are fairly cemented into the top tiers of fantasy football. McCaffrey would be the tier 1 while Zeke and Barkley stand in tier 2

  1. Dalvin Cook
  2. Alvin Kamara

I feel confident that Cook and Kamara could switch spots by the end of the year but either RB would be a luscious first-round pick.

Once we pass the first five spots is where some questions may arise.

  1. Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry is a clear force to be reckoned with in the rushing game but his absence in the passing game is very curious. He hasn’t really been the 3rd down back in Tennessee and fantasy football coaches feel the backlash of it.

If in a PPR or half-point PPR league, you may want to secure some passes with another RB around his rank but in a standard league Henry is a safe pick.

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire has the top spot on the Kansas City Chiefs because of Damian Williams opting out. He’s a rookie RB coming into a Super Bowl caliber offense which means he will be dripping in points.

  1. Miles Sanders
  2. Kenyan Drake

Miles Sanders and Kenyan Drake sit in very similar positions in my book because they both have some proving to do after last year’s conclusion. They ended the year as both of their team’s top RBs and both players are on teams that use their RBs a ton.

Doug Pederson utilizes his backfield and so does Kliff Kingsbury. When David Johnson was down and out, it was the “next man up” philosophy in Arizona. Chase Edmonds had his few weeks and after they traded for Drake, Drake held the backfield.

  1. Aaron Jones

And now we are left with Mr. Aaron Jones. Jones finished last year as the number two RB behind Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey and five other RBs finished with more rushing yards but Jones had the advantage of 16 TDs.

Only Derrick Henry had as many rushing scores but because of his involvement in the passing game, or lack thereof, Jones finished with more production. With his many scores, regression is going to be a dirty pill to swallow. He’s going to be heavily involved in the Green Bay offense but expect fewer TDs.

RBs 11-20 Review

  1. Austin Ekeler

Ekeler joins us with a semi shredded backfield. Philip Rivers is no longer the QB in Los Angeles. Not to mention there’s no more Melvin Gordon to steal the limelight. It is now Austin Ekeler’s backfield with Tyrod Taylor as his composer.

  1. Joe Mixon

Mixon has a similar backfield to Ekeler. New booty Joe Burrow is going to be manning the team which means he may need to lean on Mixon for some support.

  1. Nick Chubb
  2. Leonard Fournette**

Chubb and Fournette are players that need to keep their good streaks from last year alive. Chubb murdered it in the rushing game last year but came up short with the scores. While Fournette began to mesh with the offense in the passing game. Both players have some high upside this year as long as they remain healthy.

*Edit – At the time of writing, Fournette was still employed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has since been released and has not found a new home. His ranking will vary greatly depending on where he ends up.

  1. Todd Gurley II

The new Atlanta Falcon, Todd Gurley, has something to prove to us fantasy goers this year. He went from one high-velocity passing team to another. The only difference would be their actual usage from their RBs.

Devonta Freeman had just 656 rushing yards and two rushing scores last season, while Gurley had 857 and 12. Will this translate? I don’t know but I would have an asterisk next to Gurley’s name for my fantasy draft to remind me not to draft him.

  1. Le’Veon Bell

Bell enters the season as the main man for Sam Darnold and that should give us a lot of hope for the Jets RB. He didn’t quite turn out as we wanted last season but with the abandonment of Robby Anderson, there are going to be a lot of targets that Bell should acquire. Reports of his little usage in Training Camp are a bit concerning, but once the season starts, I would expect him to be a staple in the offense.

  1. Chris Carson

There is no doubt the Seattle Seahawks enjoy running the ball. With that comes the high usage of their RBs and Carson was a victim to that last season. This season they, and we, hope things are different for the soaring hawk.

  1. Josh Jacobs

Like Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs can’t seem to get the rock in his hands on third down. Jacobs is the supreme RB on first and second down but for some reason, Jon Gruden doesn’t want to toss the ball Jacobs’ way. Because of that Jacobs sits a little lower on the list than I’d wish but if he gets more involved in the passing game, Jacobs can be a top 10 RB easy.

  1. David Johnson
  2. Melvin Gordon

I want to say Johnson and Gordon are in the same boat this season. Both landed on new teams and both can be star players in the backfield.

It just so happens that in Arizona, Chase Edmunds and Kenyan Drake ended up producing enough for the Cardinals to look elsewhere for talent.

In Los Angeles, Austin Ekeler proved he was capable of handling three-down work, and as we know now, Gordon is elsewhere.

So we’re in a little bit of a mess when looking at this pair of RBs, the big question is would you gamble your fantasy teams on them?

RBs 21-30 Review

  1. James Conner

If Conner can stay healthy I honestly think he can finish better than the 21st RB. He’s top 10 material easily but is constantly injured. If he can play at least 14 games this season James Conner will be a tremendous value in your draft.

  1. Ronald Jones II
  2. Devin Singletary

Both Jones and Singletary are young RBs with a lot on their shoulders. Jones has the opportunity to solidify his spot as the number one RB for Tampa, and with the addition of Tom Brady, the sky is the limit for the Bucs.

Singletary, on the other hand, was just bestowed as the starting back for the Bills. With no more Frank Gore, Buffalo puts their trust into Devin Singletary to take their team to the next level. However, third-round draft pick, Zach Moss, is lurking in the shadows.

  1. David Montgomery

Now in his sophomore year of the NFL, David Montgomery has a lot to show the Chicago Bears and us fantasy coaches. He played all 16 games last year and tallied more than 240 rushing attempts but amounted to only 889 rushing yards with six TDs.

Not that great of an outcome especially in PPR formats where his absence in the passing game is a true burn to your team. He has the opportunity to slip to the mid-rounds of your draft so keep an eye out if you need a bye week reliever or potential FLEX.

  1. Kareem Hunt

Hunt is one of the more successful support men the NFL has to offer. With Nick Chubb the clear first and second-down back, Hunt finds his way in there to stay relevant. Last season he only played eight games but was still playable in PPR formats when on the field. Let’s hope this season he plays the whole 16 games.

  1. Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor is expected to take over the starting spot for the Indianapolis Colts this season. I am sure current starter Marlon Mack will have something to say about that but even so, Taylor could have massive value later in your draft.

  1. Mark Ingram II

Speaking of later round value. Mark Ingram for some reason has been slipping down the drafts as if he was going to retire after the season’s finale. He’s been going in rounds six and seven but has the ability to finish way higher than that. Feel good about picking up Ingram for cheap.

  1. D’Andre Swift

Swift is in a similar situation as Jonathan Taylor. He is expected to overrun Kerryon Johnson this season but the Lions say otherwise.

  1. Tarik Cohen

Another very successful backup man for a team, Tarik Cohen, has a bunch of fantasy potential this season. Montgomery had struggled last season so the Bears had to rely on Cohen, and boy did he produce. Cohen concluded the season as a better receiver than RB, finishing 3rd in RB receiving targets.

  1. Raheem Mostert

How is it that an RB on a Super Bowl contending team is so low on my projections? Well, Frisco is no stranger to riding the hot hand and Mostert definitely had the hot hand by the conclusion of last season.

Tevin Coleman and Matt Brieda had shares of the ball but they weren’t as much of an exclamation. Each 49er RB last season finished with at least 500 rushing yards. Overall, Frisco had 1,939 between the three backs.

RBs 31-40 Review

  1. Cam Akers

With the starting spot prime for the pickings, Cam Akers may be the only rookie, besides Clyde Edwards-Helaire, to start all 16 games for their team. Akers does have some competition with Darrell Henderson having a year of the Rams backfield experience under his belt. Even so, Akers is going late enough in drafts to where the value is larger than a bust.

  1. James White

With veteran QB Cam Newton now leading the Patriot offense, James White might have some big production in his future. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead seem to be fighting over who gets the start as the lead rusher but White has the handle on all the third-down work.

  1. Phillip Lindsay
  2. Kerryon Johnson

With Melvin Gordon as the new booty on the team, Phillip Lindsay is going to have to work even harder to stay on the field for the Broncos.

Same with Kerryon Johnson. D’Andre Swift is on his way to take the spot from Johnson but both backs are going to have to respond in a big way to stay relevant.

  1. Matt Breida

Speaking of new booty, Matt Brieda is one of the new backs going into the Miami backfield. He and Jordan Howard will be battling on who will be the starter. Whoever it might be, you may want to stay away.

  1. Marlon Mack

See Phillip Lindsay and Kerryon Johnson.

  1. Jordan Howard

See Matt Brieda.

  1. Latavius Murray

Murray is a very quiet back up to Alvin Kamara. He gets what he gets and can do some great things with them. Ultimately his value depends on Kamara’s health (and now contract). He may be a player to target later in the draft just in case anything were to happen.

  1. Tevin Coleman

Coleman is slowly slipping in drafts this season due to Mostert’s large success. Well that and Frisco signing Mostert to a bigger contract. Coleman may be one of the RBs for the waiver wire.

  1. J.K. Dobbins

Mr. Irrelevant, J.K. Dobbins finds his way on this list because of the success before him. Ingram is the main man but the Ravens used Gus Edwards quite a few times last season. I expect the same on their grooming of Dobbins.

Green Bay Packers Running Back Aaron Jones. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License

Green Bay Packers Running Back Aaron Jones. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos | Under Creative Commons License

Thaddeus Kline

Author Thaddeus Kline

SoCal student with degrees in Creative Writing and Literature, hoping to one day make a little dent in history my own way.

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