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Regular Season, Updated: 9/7/2020

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FF Today Standard Scoring: Review Scoring
 Christian McCaffrey, CAR (Bye: 13)
1
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 202   DOB: 1996-06-07   Age: 24
College: Stanford   Draft: 2017 Round 1 (8) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017CAR16117 435 2 80 651 5 150.6 9.4
2018CAR16219 1,098 7 107 867 6 274.5 17.2
2019CAR16287 1,387 15 116 1,005 4 353.2 22.1
2020 (Projected)CAR 242 1,161 10 107 884 4 288.5  

Outlook: McCaffrey had one of the greatest seasons ever at the running back position in 2019, rushing for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, and adding 1,005 yards receiving on 116 receptions with another 4 touchdowns through the air. It was one of the highest-scoring seasons ever for a running back, as he scored 469 PPR points. The only running back to ever score more in a season was LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored 472 PPR points back in 2006.

Despite the amazing season, it is important to realize that McCaffrey basically did what he has been doing his whole career. It does not look like his 2019 was much of an outlier when you look carefully at the stats. Perhaps he scored touchdowns at a higher rate than normal on the ground, and that certainly may regress to the mean a bit. But he finished with 4.8 yards per carry; in 2018 he finished with 5 yards per carry. He simply got more carries in 2019. In 2018 he had 107 receptions with an 86% catch rate; in 2019 he had 116 receptions with an 81% catch rate. He simply had more targets in 2019.

So the main question to consider with McCaffrey is whether his workload will continue to be so robust. He finished 2019 with 403 total touches, and the next highest running back (Ezekiel Elliott) finished with 355 touches. There were seven other backs besides Elliott and McCaffrey who finished above 300. McCaffrey is an otherworldly talent, but his huge touch total certainly contributed to his remarkable fantasy season.

He was also on the field for over 93% of the Panthers' offensive snaps, and Elliott was again second with 83%. That equates to an extra 102 snaps for McCaffrey compared to Elliott. And all of that opportunity led to a bunch of extra touches and production. So will Rhule and Brady keep McCaffrey on the field at this rate, or will they try to keep him fresh and rotate him off more often? That is a question we cannot know the answer to, but the truth is that McCaffrey has been historically excellent whenever he's been on the field. So he will likely be worth the first overall pick in fantasy drafts, even if his snap share plummets to around 75%.


 Saquon Barkley, NYG (Bye: 11)
2
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 233   DOB: 1997-02-07   Age: 23
College: Penn State   Draft: 2018 Round 1 (2) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2018NYG16261 1,307 11 91 721 4 292.8 18.3
2019NYG13217 1,003 6 52 438 2 192.1 14.8
2020 (Projected)NYG 268 1,260 10 64 517 2 249.7  

Outlook: Injuries limited Barkley to just 13 games in 2019, including games in which Barkley played but was not entirely healthy. Despite this fact, the former first-round pick from Penn State posted nearly 1500 total yards and eight total touchdowns. His 14.8 fantasy points per game placed him just outside the top five at the position.

Like Christian McCaffrey, the thing that separates Barkley from other top running backs and the reason why he should be considered a top-3 pick is his volume in the passing game. Barkley was on pace for 90 targets after posting a ridiculous 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns on 121 targets as a rookie. Owning a back like Barkley is, in essence, like owning two players in one, especially in leagues that provide points per receptions.

According to FootballOutsiders.com, the Giants were plagued by subpar offensive line play, especially in the run-blocking department (ranked 25th out of 32 teams). The front office addressed this issue with the selection of tackle Andrew Thomas in the first round and tackle Matt Peart in the third.

When healthy, Barkley is one of the most physically talented backs in the league and has the ability to provide massive value on the ground and in the passing game. You could make the argument that he could be the No.1 overall player in drafts this summer, especially if Jones and the rest of the offense build on what they did last year.


 Dalvin Cook, MIN (Bye: 7)
3
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 210   DOB: 1995-08-10   Age: 25
College: Florida State   Draft: 2017 Round 2 (9) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017MIN474 354 2 11 90 0 56.4 14.1
2018MIN11133 615 2 40 305 2 116.0 10.5
2019MIN14250 1,135 13 53 519 0 243.4 17.4
2020 (Projected)MIN 246 1,180 11 63 551 2 251.1  

Outlook: Seeing Cook's breakout 2019 coming was truly one of the easiest fantasy calls in a long time. With the holy fantasy trinity of elite talent, workhorse role, and relative health, Cooks dazzled for much of the season, finishing in the top-10 in every relevant statistical category for running backs. He and Christian McCaffery were the only backs in the NFL to tally 1,100+ yards rushing, 500+ yards receiving and score double digit touchdowns. Incredibly consistent, Cook tallied all of his stats without ever having a 30-point standard league game!

Sure the season ending loss to the 49ers was an unmitigated disaster (26 total yards on 17 touches) and he still has to work with a below average line, but Cook is easily in the top-5 conversation again this year. I can't play what-if games with his contract, so let's assume that works itself out. Kubiak has stated this week that he isn't concerned with any time Cook might miss because he knows the system so well. With the offense breaking in a rookie receiver, there is room for those 303 touches from last season to rise. As one of the very few three-down workhorse backs in the NFL whose talent justifies it, there aren't many fantasy picks better at the position.


 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (Bye: 10)
4
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 225   DOB: 1995-07-22   Age: 25
College: Ohio State   Draft: 2016 Round 1 (4) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017DAL10242 983 7 26 269 2 179.2 17.9
2018DAL15304 1,434 6 77 567 3 254.1 16.9
2019DAL16301 1,357 12 54 420 2 261.7 16.4
2020 (Projected)DAL 292 1,316 10 59 446 2 248.2  

Outlook: 2019 was a catch-22 season for Elliott. As expected, he bounced back from a disappointing six rushing touchdown season in 2018 to finish with a more respectable 12 last year, while adding 1357 rushing yards on the ground. Yet he caught 33 fewer passes for 147 fewer receiving yards, despite playing in one extra game. When the final whistle blew on another disappointing year for the Cowboys, Zeke posted 261.7 total fantasy points to finish as a top-5 running back despite averaging the fewest fantasy points of his career.

With the addition of first round pick CeeDee Lamb to an already crowded wide receiving corps, it is difficult to see how Zeke will get back up to his career-high 77 receptions that he posted in 2018.

The lack of passing volume compared to other top running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley will make it difficult for Elliott to finish the season as the No.1 overall running back. Despite this fact, he is a workhorse back on one of the best offenses in the league, making him worthy of a top-5 pick in drafts this summer.

Fantasy owners should continue to monitor the health of Zeke as we get closer to draft day. Zeke is one of a few Cowboys who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in early June. Zeke was asymptomatic and claims to be fine, but the long-term effects of the virus are not 100% clear.


 Derrick Henry, TEN (Bye: 7)
5
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 247   DOB: 1994-07-17   Age: 26
College: Alabama   Draft: 2016 Round 2 (14) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017TEN16176 744 5 11 136 1 124.0 7.8
2018TEN16215 1,059 12 15 99 0 187.8 11.7
2019TEN15303 1,540 16 18 206 2 282.6 18.8
2020 (Projected)TEN 288 1,440 13 23 195 1 247.5  

Outlook: For some reason it took the Titans coaching staff a few years to figure out how to use Derrick Henry properly. In case you missed it, the proper way to use him is to give him a ton of carries straight into the teeth of the defense, and watch him wear them down.

During his first and second seasons, Henry ran the ball only 110 and 176 times. In Week 13 of the 2018, Henry ran for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns on only 17 carries, and that seemed to snap Vrabel and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith out of it. They stopped giving around half the snaps to Dion Lewis and instead began letting Henry shine, and they have been rewarded.

In 2019 Henry ran the ball over 20 times on seven different occasions, something he had only done three times in his entire career before last season. He had 15 or more carries in every game but one. Henry ran for 5.1 yards per carry, for a remarkable 1540 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also added in 18 receptions and 2 more touchdowns through the air.

Behind an excellent offensive line (ranked 4th per footballoutsiders.com), Henry often built up a head of steam before the line of scrimmage, and it is very difficult to stop a fast 247-pound running back in full gallop. Although he does not get much work in the passing game, the Titans did design a few screens for him to keep the defense guessing, with quite a bit of success. That will never be a prime part of his game, but he should continue adding a bit of value in the passing game.

The bottom line: As long as Henry retains his power and speed and continues to get adequate work, he will produce nicely. He is a worthwhile first-round fantasy choice, even in a time when running backs who are not extremely active in the passing game have been devalued.


 Alvin Kamara, NO (Bye: 6)
6
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 214   DOB: 1995-07-25   Age: 25
College: Tennessee   Draft: 2017 Round 3 (3) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017NO16120 728 8 82 826 5 233.4 14.6
2018NO15194 883 14 81 709 4 267.2 17.8
2019NO14171 797 5 81 533 1 169.0 12.1
2020 (Projected)NO 178 856 8 82 629 3 214.5  

Outlook: The potential improvement along the interior of the offensive line would benefit the running game more than anything else. Kamara could use a few more wide-open holes so he could bust some longer runs. During his rookie season, Kamara averaged 6.1 yards per carry, but in the past two seasons that has fallen to 4.6 and 4.7, respectively. The main difference seems to be tied to his inability to break off long runs, which ties back to his number of opportunities to get into wide open space.

The improvement in the passing game that could come with Emmanuel Sanders in town could also help to provide Kamara with some extra room to work. Despite the decrease in his efficiency, Kamara has still been quite effective, finishing with 1,592 and 1,330 total yards from scrimmage the past two seasons. But along with his decrease in rushing efficiency, he has also seen his receiving efficiency fall. His yards per reception has gone from 10.2 to 8.8 to 6.6 over the past three seasons. Since it does not look like he has lost explosiveness, it is up to the Saints' coaching staff to find ways to get him in the open field so he can produce big chunk plays more often.

Because he has regular involvement in the passing game (he has posted exactly 81 receptions in every season of his career), his floor is very high and he is a very safe pick, as long as he can stay healthy. He is going in the middle of the first round of fantasy drafts right now, so drafters agree that he is very safe and also has huge upside. I am also comfortable taking him there, and believe he will see some positive regression in 2020, leading to both more efficiency and to more trips to the end zone.


 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (Bye: 10)
7
Height: 5’7”   Weight: 207   DOB: 1999-04-11   Age: 21
College: Louisiana State   Draft: 2020 Round 1 (32) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2020 (Projected)KC 212 955 8 57 475 3 209.0  

Outlook: The only first-round running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the starting running back alongside Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow in 2019. Edwards-Helaire rushed for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns, but perhaps more importantly caught a whopping 55 passes for 453 yards and a touchdown, making him widely regarded as the best pass-catching back in the draft class. 55 receptions in an NFL season sounds like a solid number, but at the collegiate level it's almost unheard of from a running back.

We saw huge production from Damien Williams when he was given the opportunity to start in Kansas City, especially in the passing game, and Edwards-Helaire is probably an even better pass catching weapon than Williams. If he can even get a similar workload, Edwards-Helaire could finish as a mid-to-low-level RB1 this season, along with being perhaps the best rookie RB for dynasty purposes.

Not everything is perfect for Edwards-Helaire, however, as critics will argue that his talent might not be as unquestionable as a first round draft pick might indicate. Edwards-Helaire wasn't able to earn a starting role at LSU until his final (junior) season. He was the primary backup behind Nick Brossette, who wasn't even a starter on his XFL team. Edwards-Helaire is also not a great athlete, as he ran just a 4.6 second forty yard dash at under 210 lbs.

Nevertheless, CEH steps into perhaps the best possible situation in the entire league - at least in the long-term - in the league's most explosive offense. Damien Williams was never much of a producer at the NFL level prior to landing in Kansas City, but even he delivered some serious fantasy numbers when he was actually healthy in 2019.

Williams deciding to opt out of the 2020 NFL season has cleared the way for Edwards-Helaire to be the perceived starter right out of the gate. Andy Reid has given plenty of praise for Edwards-Helaire so we have to believe that he's going to be given every opportunity to succeed, especially now that there isn't another proven back on the roster.

Edwards-Helaire is a high-upside selection who really doesn't have a bad floor either given his contributions in the passing game. Add in his touchdown upside in this powerful Kansas City offense and you have a true potential league-winning back. Not everyone is a believer in Edwards-Helaire from a talent standpoint, but running back fantasy scoring - more than any position - is dictated primarily by usage and situation, and Edwards-Helaire is looking great in both of those very important categories.


 Joe Mixon, CIN (Bye: 9)
8
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 226   DOB: 1996-07-24   Age: 24
College: Oklahoma   Draft: 2017 Round 2 (16) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017CIN14178 626 4 30 287 0 115.3 8.2
2018CIN14237 1,168 8 43 296 1 200.4 14.3
2019CIN16278 1,137 5 35 287 3 190.4 11.9
2020 (Projected)CIN 267 1,176 7 45 335 2 205.1  

Outlook: It was a tale of two halves for Mixon in 2019. In Weeks 1-8, he limped to a 101-320-0 rushing line on a team that was 0-8 and going nowhere fast. The line was horrendous, and with teammates dropping like flies, Mixon quickly became the main threat on offense. This all makes his Weeks 10-17 that much more impressive. Coming out of the team's Week 9 bye, the Bengals gave Mixon a season high 32 touches, nearly doubling any single game total from earlier in the year. He would go on to rack up a 177-817-5 line during those final 8 games, finishing as one of the hottest fantasy players in the league.

As he enters his 4th year in the NFL, we know what Mixon brings to the table. He's the rare three-down workhorse back that is powerful, quick, and elusive. The offense around him is in line for a massive upgrade, as 2019 1st round tackle Jonah Williams, and veteran A.J. Green return healthy. With an improved offensive line and a more threatening passing game, Mixon should have much more space to operate. If this offense can gel, Mixon has a shot to repeat his efficiency numbers of 2018 when he rushed for nearly 5 yards-per-carry and caught 43 passes. He finished as a top-10 fantasy running back in that season, and should be poised to do it again.


 Aaron Jones, GB (Bye: 5)
9
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 208   DOB: 1994-12-02   Age: 25
College: Texas-El Paso   Draft: 2017 Round 5 (39) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017GB1081 448 4 9 22 0 71.0 7.1
2018GB12133 728 8 26 206 1 147.4 12.3
2019GB16236 1,084 16 49 474 3 269.8 16.9
2020 (Projected)GB 208 979 9 51 385 2 202.4  

Outlook: I'm going to bet that Jones won a bunch of fantasy championships last year, as 1,500 total yards, 19 touchdown seasons will have a tendency to do that. Held back by health and opportunity his first two years in the league, Jones exploded last year, becoming the centerpiece of a 13-3 playoff team. His 16 rushing touchdowns doubled 2018's total, and tied Derrick Henry for the NFL lead. His monster Weeks 5, 8, and 10 likely put fantasy owners in the win column, but were balanced out by his mega duds in Weeks 6, 12, and 13.

So while 2019 was a revelation for the former 5th round pick, what does 2020 bring? Oddly, some question marks. Of all the backs who finished in the top-5 in standard scoring last season, his 285 total touches were by far the fewest, which means he was incredibly efficient and touchdown dependent, which are two areas that are exceedingly difficult to duplicate. So if the efficiency numbers are a good bet to regress, that means in order for Jones to repeat his top-3 finish, he's going to need more touches. Well bad news, the Packers used a 2nd round pick on running back AJ Dillion, and while not suited for a three-down role, is sure to eat into the rushing total pie. With last-year's back-up Jamaal Williams still around, Jones's understudies could be looking at nearly 200 carries between them, and with the Pack's improved passing game, I just don't see a way that Jones tops the 236 carries from last season.

So listen, I'm more than happy to have Jones anchor my running backs as an RB1, but a finish in the 8-12 ranking seems much more realistic.


 Kenyan Drake, ARI (Bye: 8)
10
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 210   DOB: 1994-01-26   Age: 26
College: Alabama   Draft: 2016 Round 3 (10) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2017MIA14133 644 3 32 239 1 112.3 8.0
2018MIA16120 535 4 53 477 5 155.2 9.7
2019ARI14170 817 8 50 345 0 164.2 11.7
2020 (Projected)ARI 216 1,013 7 55 416 2 196.9  

Outlook: After multiple seasons stuck in committee backfields in Miami, Kenyan Drake finally got an opportunity to show that he can produce as a bell cow running back when he was traded to Arizona mid-way through the 2019 season.

Drake made his debut for the Cardinals in Week 9, against a very stout San Francisco defense. He carried the ball 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, while adding an additional 52 yards receiving. With Chase Edmonds out due to an injury, Drake proceeded to take over the backfield down the stretch, becoming a league-winning fantasy back as he produced monster games in the championship weeks.

While most would assume that Drake has run away with this backfield, there is a chance that this backfield remains somewhat of a committee here in 2020. Yes, we know that Drake was the best fantasy producer in the Cardinals backfield in 2019, but one of the most under-reported realities of the 2019 season is that David Johnson was a fantasy RB1 for the first six weeks of the season before he got hurt. He did it without going over 100 rushing yards in a single game, but he - like Drake - was a serious threat in the passing game and he scored five touchdowns in those six games. The Cardinals were quietly one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in football in 2019, which helped backup Chase Edmonds produce a 126-yard performance on 27 carries in his only full game as the Cardinals' starter before he too, got injured.

It wasn't until both Johnson and Edmonds were out that the Cardinals finally made the move to acquire Drake and while it paid off for Drake, Edmonds also never looked fully healthy when he came back and there's no guarantee that the coaching staff is suddenly going to completely hand over the backfield to Drake this season. We do expect that Drake will lead the backfield but don't be surprised if he's not a complete workhorse. Prior to 2019, Drake had never touched the ball more than 200 times in a season going back all the way to his four years in college at Alabama. He showed that he's capable of shouldering a full workload for at least some of the season, but Edmonds may be more involved than some people want to admit.

The memory of Drake dominating and being a real reason why some people walked away with their fantasy football championships has been ingrained in our minds all offseason and it's led to Drake shooting up draft boards to the point that he's now being selected as high as the late-first round in some leagues. Fortunately, Drake is a quality contributor in the passing game and 50 receptions would seem to be close to his floor if he stays healthy. He could be a league winner again this season if he does remain the team's bell cow back, so he's probably worth taking a shot on if he does fall to the mid-second round in PPR drafts.


 Josh Jacobs, LV (Bye: 6)
11
Height: 5’10”   Weight: 220   DOB: 1998-02-11   Age: 22
College: Alabama   Draft: 2019 Round 1 (24) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2019LV13242 1,150 7 20 166 0 173.6 13.4
2020 (Projected)LV 257 1,208 8 27 201 1 194.9  

Outlook: One of the league's most elusive backs in his rookie season, Josh Jacobs answered pretty much every question that draft scouts and fantasy owners had about him. Many believed that he lacked the ability to sustain a full workload because he split touches at Alabama, but Jacobs stepped right in to a massive, 242-carry as a rookie in just 13 games. He did miss three games due to a shoulder fracture, but the fact that he only missed three games with that type of injury is a testament to not only his mental fortitude, but his physical toughness to continue to perform at a high level even in the face of a debilitating injury. That should give fantasy owners some real confidence heading into his second season.

The Raiders did get rid of veteran backup DeAndre Washington this offseason but passing game specialist Jalen Richard remains on the roster and they also added the position-fluid weapon Lynn Bowden Jr. It's rarely good for a player when his team invests a top three round pick at a similar position, but Bowden and Richard are both passing game weapons who are not built to take a heavy workload, so Jacobs is firmly in the driver's seat to lead this backfield in touches by a wide margin. In fact, he's a real contender to lead all NFL running backs in carries this season. The selection of Bowden does seem to indicate that the Raiders' coaching staff doesn't view Jacobs as an excellent passing game weapon, however, so that does cap his upside a bit, especially in PPR formats.

Nevertheless, Jacobs is firmly entrenched as the Raiders' top back and he'll be running behind one of the best run blocking units in the league. That gives him a tremendous floor as he'll likely see a 280-plus-carry season if he remains healthy. The Raiders offense should also be more explosive this season given the additions they've made so there's reason to believe that Jacobs has top five fantasy running back upside.


 Miles Sanders, PHI (Bye: 9)
12
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 211   DOB: 1997-05-01   Age: 23
College: Penn State   Draft: 2019 Round 2 (21) 
SeasonTeamGameAtt Yard TDRec Yard TDFPtsFPts/G
2019PHI16179 818 3 50 509 3 168.7 10.5
2020 (Projected)PHI 237 1,067 5 56 474 2 196.1  

Outlook: Sanders' rookie season started off slowly, with just over six combined fantasy points against the Redskins and Falcons as head coach Doug Pederson continued to use a bevy of running backs, including veteran Jordan Howard.

Injuries to Howard and impressive bursts of production from Sanders earned the former Penn State star more and more touches as the season progressed, including four games of at least 19 touches between Weeks 13 and 16.

Although the team continues to be rumored to add another veteran like Devonta Freeman to take over the role vacated by Howard, there is little doubt that Sanders will be the most heavily used running back in a stable that includes Boston Scott.

The question is just how many touches Pederson will give Sanders, as he is notorious for using multiple backs and going with the "hot hand." One thing that is appealing about Sanders is his usage in the passing game. As a rookie, Sanders averaged just over four receptions per game, giving him a 16-game pace of 64. His work in the passing game could overcome any lack of consistency in carries on the ground.

Owners should not expect Sanders to be a workhorse back in the same light as higher-ranked players like CMC, Ezekiel Elliott, or Saquon Barkley. But that does not mean he is not a solid RB 2 with the ability to provide RB1 numbers from time to time depending on the matchup.