Well it’s almost that time again guys. Will we have football this year? Who the hell knows? I am going to live in denial of the strong possibility that we won’t because I just refuse to accept that it might not happen. I need it. You need it. America needs it. As a country, we can always fight about a pandemic being real or fake. We can always fight about racial injustice. We can always fight about whether that bitch Carole Baskin killed her husband or not. But one thing we can always agree on is that there is no mini vacation like cancelling your plans every Sunday to sit on your couch, drink a six pack of craft beer (because we aren’t Coors peasants), and cheer on our fantasy teams for the sake of degrading our fellow a-hole friends on how we are better than them- because fantasy football applies to every day life right?! Nonetheless, here is to hoping and here is a list of my top 10 RBs for 2020.
- Christian McCaffrey
I could write an entire article about this kid alone, but instead of throwing out dominant statistic after dominant statistic, I will shorten to one number: 850.7. That is how many PPR fantasy points C-Mac has over the last two seasons. For reference, the next 3 highest over that span are Zeke with 640.9, Saquon with 629.9, and Alvin Kamara with 602.7. Yes, C-Mac has 210 more fantasy points than the next man up over the last 2 years. That is a bonus 105 per season if you have the chance to draft him. Will he be facing regression? Probably, but who cares. The Panthers additions of Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Brady will calculate some bait usage to start with but an equal heavy workload as the season rolls on. In short, Bridgewater loves protecting the football in the short field and Brady loves getting his RBs open with green in front of them (see Clyde Edwards-Elhaire, LSU, 2019). I don’t understand how you still couldn’t be convinced; but if you have the #1 pick and don’t use it on McCaffrey, then you are an idiot and deserve to lose. Also, go seppuku yourself.
- Saquon Barkley
The next few could very well be interchangeable, but I am going to give the number 2 slot to Saquon based on the fact that 2019 kept him in a box. He exploded as a rookie with 2000 total yards and 15 touchdowns. He definitely regressed last year but a lot of things came into play. He battled an ankle injury from which he only actually missed 3 games but didn’t really look like himself for over half of the season. The offense was also in transition from finally moving on from Eli to Daniel Jones who needed time to acclimate. The edge I am giving him is that the Giants seemed to pull it together for the last few weeks and his legs finally looked fresh. He boomed for 550 yards and 5 touchdowns over the last 3 weeks of the season. Plus, adding Jason Garrett as a play caller means that if his ankle holds up, he will only be seeing more touches.
- Ezekiel Elliot
Dak Prescott is a franchise quarterback with a good brain and a better arm. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb will make up the best trips and bunches sets in the NFL. Zeke is a monster to begin with. The O-line isn’t what it was 3 years ago but it’s still top 8. Kellen Moore is a mastermind in moving the football down the field. Collectively, this means that this team is going to put up numbers and Zeke is going to be at the front of that charge. Since entering the league 4 years ago, he has only had 1 season with less than 1,750 total yards. The year was 2017; he only played in 10 games and still topped 1,200. He is coming off of a 14 touchdown season. Lastly, with Garrett out of the way, Moore will have an even bigger opportunity to run up the score against shite defenses like Washington and the NY Giants.
- Alvin Kamara
Aside from Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara is arguably THE most versatile running back in the NFL. He is one of the only RBs in the league whose value as a pass catcher rivals his cut speed and downhill ability when healthy. His 2019 season speaks otherwise as it mirrored Saquon with a lingering injury that he played through for the most part but was definitely slowed down by. Just to reference 2018 at full speed, AK-41 eclipsed 1,600 total yards with 18 touchdowns on 275 collective touches. In short, his playmaking ability sold offensive guru Sean Payton on the idea of shipping then-franchise RB Mark Ingram out of town to promote Kamara to a 3 down role. While last season’s numbers might slide him down to 7th or 8th overall, I believe it just means that someone with a late pick can even manage a steal in the 1st round of the draft.
- Derrick Henry
Part of me feels like I slighted King Henry by making him number 5. Let me be clear about something, though. If I didn’t rank players in reference to PPR stats, Henry would abso-freaking-lutely be my number 1 pick overall. He is a 240 pound wrecking ball and a nightmare for even defensive ends to bring down 1-on-1. I can honestly say that in my time I can’t remember many players that share his combination of raw running power and open field speed: young Adrian Peterson and LaDainian Tomlinson are about it. He is not about finesse, screen passes, or swing passes (which is why he dropped to number 5 on my PPR list). He takes the ball from behind a show-your-hand blocking formation, runs through the middle, makes the first guy miss, then steam rolls the next 2. In short, 1,540 yards on the ground alone last season and 16 rushing touchdowns.
- Dalvin Cook
Assuming he plays, Cook has a RB dream empire built around him this season. He is in line to repeat a 300 touch season as the only offensive shift will be replacing some of the short yardage work Cousins found in Stefon Diggs with some field extension in rookie Justin Jefferson (Geaux Tigers!) If anything, this spreads the box out some and actually puts him in a position to catch the ball in open field more often. He is lightning fast with Kamara level cut-speed. My only opposition is his knack for injuries but I am fully confident taking him late in the first round as long as he is coupled with his backup Alexander Mattison late in the draft.
You will want to argue with me from here on out but these are just my opinions/predictions. Do not hate me for them!
- Josh Jacobs
I was the first person to laugh whole-heartedly at the Raiders for giving Jon Gruden $100 million a few years ago. To be clear, I don’t see them heading to a super bowl this year, but he has made some moves to turn the program around long term. The best of which, in my opinion, was drafting Josh Jacobs. As a rookie, Jacobs wasn’t even utilized the way he should have been. In 13 games, Jacobs racked up 1,150 yards on the ground and another 166 in the air last year. His touchdown count was only 7; but as I said, he wasn’t utilized to all his strengths. I am fully confident that will change this year. Gruden has stated that he was trying to protect him as a rookie to help him mentally adapt to the environment and the wacky playbook. I think he will catch plenty more passes this season as he looked natural doing it when given the few chances he received in 2019.
- Austin Ekeler
I know. I know. Ekeler is small and the Chargers are trash. So what? That doesn’t negatively affect fantasy value. In comparisons of run style, size, and pass catching ability, Ekeler is the closest thing to Christian McCaffrey you can get if you don’t get to pick first. Even against his “starter” Melvin Gordon over the last 3 seasons, Ekeler has looked faster and averaged more yards per carry and yards per catch. Now he has the backfield all to himself. Furthermore, his QB option will be a toss-up between Tyrod Taylor (the safest QB in NFL history in terms of waiting for a play to never develop and dumping off to his outlet) and Oregon rookie Justin Herbert (key word- Oregon) who spent his entire college career looking for quick looks over slants and halfback swings. Yeah. Give me all of that.
- Joe Mixon
At face value, this looks like a dart throw. I honestly believe that it isn’t, though. In 2019, Mixon had the most disappointing first half of the season for highly valued RBs in quite some time. He then turned around and marched out 817 rushing yards over the last 8 games. The Bengals were a disaster to begin with and I think it messed with his head. Bringing in Joe Burrow (Geaux Tigers!) will obviously help point them in the right direction. Assuming AJ Green is healthy and Tyler Boyd can revert back to a WR2 to pick up downfield 1-on-1s, this offense could quietly be a factor for fantasy value. Even given the slim chance to bounce back, I have enough faith in Joe Mixon’s talent to put him in my top 10 working with the pieces he will be working with this season.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Geaux Tigers!)
When the Chiefs rolled around to their 1st pick in last year’s draft, Andy Reid actually called Pat Mahomes and let him choose between the top 3 backs on the board. Supposedly, Mahomes made absolutely no hesitation in proclaiming jubilantly, “Get me Clyde!” If you watched a single LSU game last year, you understand why. CEH is an absolute freak in every aspect of what you want in a rounded out RB. Last year during LSU’s historic run, he amassed 1,850 total yards with 18 touchdowns. Now he plays for Andy Reid’s Chiefs. Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Damien Williams, Kareem Hunt- These are 5 RBs that have played for the Chiefs over the last 6 years that have had multiple 30 point fantasy games. I know for a fact CEH will be better than 4 of them, but I honestly believe he has the potential to surpass what we know about Jamaal Charles even. Also, did I mention it’s the Chiefs? Yeah, they score like 100 points every week.
Right or wrong, there you have it guys. I really missed doing this so I will probably be back soon with some Wide Receiver stuff. Thanks for reading.