We’ve recently been featuring the star QBs,
RBs, and WRs
most likely to fall from the Top 10 ranks this coming season. Now
we turn our attention to those who seem best equipped to replace
them. Historically, I’ve included a mix of both obvious and
not-so-obvious names and, as you’re about to see, 2020 is
A quick reminder of the Top 10 fantasy RBs from last season…
Note: All rankings are based on FFToday’s
Non-PPR league scoring.
Fournette, JAX: If I told you Fournette
was targeted only eight fewer times last year than the Chargersí
dual-threat dynamo, Austin
Ekeler, would you believe me? Itís a true story, friends, and
that means the Jagsí meal ticket jumped from being the 48th most
targeted RB in 2018 (26) to the fourth most in 2019 (100). Thatís
a phenomenal 400% increase in passing game usage, which probably
explains why the former LSU stud trailed only Christian
McCaffrey, everybodyís favorite fantasy RB, in aggregate carries
plus targets. So why was he RB13 instead of RB2 right behind CMC?
The answer is very simple: Jacksonville stunk. OK, not totally but
they stunk enough, especially on offense, to prevent Fournette from
scoring a reasonable number of six-pointers. The Jags managed only
18.8 pts/game last year, or 0.3 fewer than the hapless Dolphins.
Nobody felt this more acutely than Fournette and the fantasy GMs
who employed him. The big guy scored exactly three touchdowns on
341 total touches, a hardly registrable 0.87 TD percentage. By comparison,
McCaffrey scored 4.7% of the time, even despite accumulating way
more touches than any other player in the league.
If it sounds like Iím basing this whole recommendation on regression
toward the mean, I pretty much am. I believe Fournette, even if
he were to receive 50-75 fewer looks this coming season (which isnít
very likely, I might add) would still be a good bet to double his
TD production. If he does, and doesnít experience a concurrent dropoff
in yardage and efficiency (he averaged a career best 4.3 YPC last
season), heís almost a sure thing to crack the Top 10. His ADP is
currently 3.07 (RB18) in standard 12-team leagues, way too low.
Get yourself some value, folks!
LV: I was too late to the Josh Jacobs party in 2019, stupidly
believing a part-time back playing behind an NFL-caliber line in
college might struggle in his first year against professional defenders,
especially playing for the rebuilding Raiders. Turns out only that
ďrebuilding RaidersĒ part was true and still is as the team begins
playing in their shiny new desert home, Allegiant Stadium. Things
are looking up for Raider Nation, however, and Jacobs is a huge
part of their Vegas future.
The rookie scored 23.3 points in his MNF debut against the Broncos
and never really slowed down from there until he fractured his shoulder
late in the year. There were some duds along the way, as could be
expected, but Jacobs scored double-digit fantasy points nine times
and ended up the year with a solid 13.4 FPts/G. Had he played all
16 games at that rate, we wouldnít be wasting these words
If the former Bama back has any opportunities for development, itís
clearly as a receiver. Though he looks the part of a dual-threat
dynamo (is that a thing?), the compact Jacobs didnít produce
like one, grabbing only 20 receptions (No.48 at the position) on
27 targets (No.47) in 2019.
Moreover, the Raiders went out and grabbed Lynn Bowden Jr. in the
draft, possibly indicating they donít see their meal ticket
as a true passing down option. Though Bowden Jr. is more a position-less
threatóhe was labeled a running back for NFL Draft purposes,
but didnít really play the position at Kentucky (WR and QB
a la former Wildcat, Randall Cobb)óheís more likely
to eat into Jacobsí production than anyone. That is, unless
the super soph can make Aaron Jones-like improvements as a receiver.
I wouldnít bet against him.
LAR: I promised not-so-obvious names, so...how Ďbout this
one? Akers was selected by LA in April to, presumably, replace Todd
Gurley, who was unceremoniously released about a month prior
to the draft. All the rook will be asked to do is fill Gurleyís
enormous shoes (back-to-back overall RB1 in 2017 and 2018). Good
luck, kid! To be clear, I donít actually think Akers will duplicate
that aforementioned feat, but I do think he has a puncherís chance
to sneak into the Top 10 RB club his first year as a pro.
The first reason I think this isnít very charitable: Akersí
college coach was awful. It should have been obvious to FSU fans
early on, as it was to us Duck fans, that Willie Taggart is a horrid
Xs & Os coach. Itís no wonder only Charlie Weis, in college
FB history, has been paid more to get scarce. The second reason
I think the rook can surprise also isnít very charitable:
His offensive line down in Tallahassee absolutely reeked. Akers
forced the fourth most missed tackles in the country last season,
mostly because he had to. Itís a miracle, running behind that
line, he was able to average 5.0 YPC. Did I mention heís also
a very capable receiver (30 receptions, 225 yds, and four TDs in
There will be competition from Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown
and Sean McVay has recently uttered ďhot handĒ when
talking about his RB sitch. Thatís coach-speak for ďitíll
be a committee until Iíve decided on a go-to guy.Ē My
belief is Akers will be that guy, if not immediately then soon enough.
If heís no better than RB35 at yearís end (his current
ADP in 12-team standard leagues), Iíll take back most of what
I said about his college coach.