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Early 2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running backs

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An early look at the running back position for 2020.

Philadelphia Eages v New York Giants Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

As what we assume will be the NFL season draws ever nearer, so too does the start of fantasy football. With that, I’m continuing to drop my early rankings for each position this week. I started with the quarterbacks back on Monday and now tackling the running backs.

Let me tell you, running backs ain’t easy. Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott are your clear top three, but after that I feel like it’s personal preference and every back has a chance at being a top 10 guy. Nick Chubb was the hardest to find a landing spot for because he’s either going to be the Nick Chubb we know and love, or the addition of Kareem Hunt for a full season is going to sink him.

I’m going to be real happy to snag one of Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley or David Johnson as my RB2 as those guys I think all have serious upside and a fairly high floor. David Johnson especially is a guy I just can’t give up on, and now neither can Bill O’Brien so I’m feeling good about his fantasy chances.

The Colts backfield terrifies me heading into 2020 with Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor expected for serious roles. I know Taylor is the new sexy toy that everyone can’t say no to, but let’s not overlook Mack and how good he’s been when on the field. Health is a concern for him but right now at this moment, I’d take Mack over Taylor. I know I ranked Taylor over Mack but that’s because I do ultimately expect Taylor to end up with the lion’s share of work, it’s just when does that happen.

If you’re looking for a sleeper, look no further than Matt Breida. If he can stay healthy, he has a real shot at taking over the Dolphins backfield and could be a starting running back going late in your drafts.

Who am I too high on? Who am I too low on? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

(Note these are PPR rankings)

2020 RB rankings

Rank Running Backs Team Notes
Rank Running Backs Team Notes
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR There shouldn't be any arguements here.
2 Saquon Barkley NYG I fully expect Barkley to be the focal point of the Giants offense this year.
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL The Cowboys are loaded on offense but this team is still built around what Zeke can do on the ground.
4 Dalvin Cook MIN The holdout threat is worrisome, but there's a ton of time between now and when the season starts.
5 Joe Mixon CIN I've already purchased my ticket onto the Bengals hypetrain and I'm ready for Mixon to thrive in an offense that's explosive.
6 Derrick Henry TEN We know what Derrick Henry can do.
7 Alvin Kamara NO I don't like that Kamara saw the fewest red zone touches in his career last year, a year in which he was suppose to be top dog.
8 Nick Chubb CLE Kareem Hunt scares me but it's hard to put Chubb much lower.
9 Leonard Fournette JAC Fournette was RB7 last year and only scored three touchdowns. Possitve regression is coming.
10 Miles Sanders PHI The Eagles haven't signed another running back yet which means it's all Miles Sanders this season.
11 Austin Ekeler LAC We saw what Ekeler can do when the backfield is entirely his but he'll be dealing with worse QB play.
12 Josh Jacobs LV I hope Jacobs gets work in the passing game this year, but his rushing ability is plenty to lock him in the top 12.
13 James Conner PIT A fully healthy James Conner this year is a top 8 back. The question is only if he can stay healthy.
14 Aaron Jones GB Jones isn't going to score 19 total touchdowns this year and the Packers have so many running backs it's hard to think he's going to get a huge workload.
15 Kenyan Drake ARI Here's to hoping Drake can build upon what we saw last year.
16 Le'Veon Bell NYJ I hate Adam Gase, but Bell might be a sleeper this year a full year removed from sitting out.
17 Todd Gurley ATL Please let Todd Gurley's knee be ok.
18 David Johnson HOU I will be hyping up David Johnson until my dying days. Besides, Bill O'Brien has to prove he knew what he was doing.
19 Chris Carson SEA Pete Carroll is going to run the ball into the ground which gives Carson a high floor.
20 Kareem Hunt CLE Hunt was RB17 last year from Week 10 onward. He has a clear role in Cleveland.
21 Devin Singletary BUF I loved what I saw out of Singletary his rookie year and I think he builds upon that in 2020.
22 Melvin Gordon DEN Melvin Gordon is a top 10 back when healthy.
23 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC This ranking could ultimately look silly but I'm still not 100% sold the backfield is going to be all CEH's.
24 Mark Ingram II BAL Never doubt Mark Ingram.
25 Raheem Mostert SF Mostert is the clear lead back in an offense that runs the ball like no one else. Sign me up.
26 David Montgomery CHI I'm hoping the Bears rely a little more on Montgomery this year after a solid rookie campaign.
27 D'Andre Swift DET The Lions drafted Swift for a reason and I think it's only a matter of time before Detroit's backfield is his.
28 Jonathan Taylor IND The new toy is always the most exciting but I have a feeling this Colts backfield is going to make fantasy owners rip their hair out.
29 Tarik Cohen CHI Cohen was basically a WR last year for the Bears and I expect him to have a similar role this year.
30 James White NE Who knows what the Patriots offense will look like without Tom Brady, but I expect White to still be an important factor in the pass game.
31 Marlon Mack IND Over a thousand yards and 8 touchdowns last year. I don't think Mack's going away anytime soon.
32 Jordan Howard MIA Jordan Howard has produced wherever he's gone since entering the league, averaging 7.5 TDs per season.
33 Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB I'm likely too excited about Vaughn in TB but that backfield is wide open and if he wins the job, there's plenty of scoring to be had.
34 Sony Michel NE I could see the Patriots emphasizing their ground game with Jarrett Stidham under center this year.
35 Derrius Guice WAS Just stay healthy. Please.
36 Phillip Lindsay DEN Maybe a little high but Lindsay's produced since entering the league and he won't completely disappear from the Broncos offense.
37 Matt Breida MIA Just stay healthy. Please. Pt II
38 Damien Williams KC Was down on him last year, I'm pro him this year given his value. Could still be the starting back on the best offense in football.
39 Cam Akers LAR The Rams backfield is open for the rookie to claim.
40 Alexander Mattison MIN Mattison was solid his rookie year in a limited role and he could see a much larger role to start the year if Cook misses any time.
41 Latavius Murray NO Murray was solid for the Saints in his limited role and he's a good handcuff in case Kamara deals with injuries again.
42 Tevin Coleman SF The 49ers love to run the ball and without Matt Breida, Coleman could be in for more work.
43 Kerryon Johnson DET Despite Kerryon My Wayward Son being an amazing team name, Johnson has been a mild bust since entering the league.
44 J.K. Dobbins BAL There's a lot of competition in Baltimore's backfield so I don't know how much we can expect from Dobbins his rookie year.
45 Ronald Jones II TB I have very little faith in Jones doing much of anything this year but he is the incumbent starter in Tampa.
46 Darrell Henderson LAR Henderson will be in a battle with Akers for starting snaps.
47 Zack Moss BUF Moss could see work along the goalline for the Bills.
48 Duke Johnson HOU Remind me why Bill O'Brien traded a 3rd for Duke Johnson?
49 Jamaal Williams GB Williams had a defined role in Green Bay last year and that'll likely stay the same (maybe a little smaller).
50 Adrian Peterson WAS Never doubt Adrian Peterson.