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2020 Fantasy Football Pick One: Austin Ekeler, James Conner or Kerryon Johnson

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Which player would you draft from these triplets at similar ADP?

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Fantasy football drafts are all about maximizing value at each spot, whether that means reaching for your guy or picking that stud who looks to be falling for no obvious reason. In this new series, I’ve taken a look at groups of 3 players with similar current ADPs and have selected the one I’d be picking if it was me on the clock.

Which running back would you take in the late third/early fourth round: Austin Ekeler (3.12), James Conner (4.01) or Kerryon Johnson (4.03)?

I’m drafting: James Conner

This may be a surprising choice given how strong a year Austin Ekeler had in 2019, finishing as the RB4 with 19.5 points per game, AND now has little competition in the Chargers’ backfield with Melvin Gordon moving onto Denver. Simply put, Ekeler has to see some regression this year and not repeat the heights of last season where he had 92 catches and nearly 1000 receiving yards, plus 557 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns. He still has the potential to be good, but just not as good.

Onto Conner and it was a mixed bag in 2019 as he was churning out top 10 production through the first half of the season, averaging 17.5 points per game before shoulder and quad injuries hampered him the rest of the way. A healthy Conner assumes the RB1 status in Pittsburgh and with one of the best offensive lines in front of him and his quarterback returning to health as well, we should see a return to the James Conner of 2018 who finished as the RB7 with 20.9 points per game. He’s also in a contract year so will need no extra motivation to lay down some good tape ahead of potential free agency in 2021.

Finishing with Kerryon Johnson, he may have been my pick of the three had the Lions not gone and used an early second round pick on Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. This dampens my enthusiasm for Johnson as a potential RB1 as Swift is an intriguing prospect and though not a prolific pass-catcher in college (73 career catches), he is likely to lock in that role and could usurp Johnson as the lead back in his rookie year. Buyer beware on Kerryon Johnson at the start of the 4th round.

Poll

Which running back would you draft?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Austin Ekeler
    (63 votes)
  • 20%
    James Conner
    (17 votes)
  • 5%
    Kerryon Johnson
    (5 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now