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2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running backs for Week 1

Tiered running back rankings for Week 1.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Here are my Week 1 tiered running back rankings! Miles Sanders and James Conner will make drafters who passed on them pay. Sell high on Josh Jacobs and David Johnson after their thunderous Week 1 performances. Clyde Edwards-Helaire will waste no time making his presence felt. Start both Colts backs. Antonio Gibson is already flex-worthy. Jump ship on Le’Veon Bell as soon as possible.

Week 1 Tiered Running Back Rankings

Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s Team Opponent Breakdown
Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s Team Opponent Breakdown
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR LV CMC should have no issue working over the Raiders' front-seven.
2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL at LAR Scheming Elliott away from Aaron Donald is all that's needed for a bountiful day.
3 Derrick Henry TEN at DEN Both Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are unlikely to play in Week 1.
4 Dalvin Cook MIN at GB A fully healthy Cook should see 25 or more touches.
5 Saquon Barkley NYG PIT Squaring off against Pittsburgh drops Barkley to RB6.
6 Josh Jacobs LV at CAR Carolina may have the worst defense in the league. Sell high after Jacobs pulverizes them with his rush-only workload.
7 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC HOU TNF will be a high-scoring affair.
8 James Conner PIT at NYG The Terminator will erase the lowly Giants D.
9 Alvin Kamara NO TB The two showdowns against TB's ferocious front will be Kamara's toughest all year.
10 Aaron Jones GB MIN Battle of the Backs in Green Bay. Jones should have his way with the lacking Vikings' front.
11 Joe Mixon CIN LAC 20+ touches agains the run-friendly Chargers.
12 Austin Ekeler LAC at CIN 20+ touches against a generous Cincy front.
Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB2s Team Opponent Breakdown
13 Kenyan Drake ATI at SF The tough matchup pushes Drake to the RB2 ranks but the high-scoring likelihood of the divisional showdown gives him a stellar ceiling.
14 Nick Chubb CLE at BAL BAL's stout front-seven and powerhouse offense causes concern of Chubb being game scripted out, in favor of Kareem Hunt. He's a lock for a high-volume of touches in the 1st half though -- no fewer than 15-18. Stefanski's system is a plus.
15 Mark Ingram BAL CLE Cleveland's LBs will be overworked and Ingram should see 20 or more clock-killing touches.
16 Todd Gurley ATL SEA Facing Seattle's dreadful D-Line, the healthiest he'll be all year.
17 David Johnson HOU at KC Sneaky shot at multiple touchdowns in a surefire shootout against KC's leaky run defense.
18 Chris Carson SEA at ATL Carson should make short work of ATL's weak front-seven.
19 Raheem Mostert SF ARI The presumed SF starter will feast on Arizona's weak defense.
20 Jonathan Taylor IND at JAC Taylor should come close to splitting backfield work evenly with starter Marlon Mack. Given the Junior Varsity nature of the Jags' D, we should expect Taylor to make a strong case to be Indy's starter right out of the gates.
21 Marlon Mack IND at JAC There should be little difference in workload between the two. Mack is the safer option as he is currently the starter.
Rank High Floor/Capped Ceiling RB2s Team Opponent Breakdown
22 Boston Scott PHI at WAS Scott produced for the last 4 games last year after carving out a passing game role. His receiving ability will be frequently called upon to circumvent Washington's ferocious front-seven. Corey Clement will still work though.
23 Melvin Gordon DEN TEN Gordon is reportedly "struggling"* to adjust to the altitude in Denver and thus has been given just the 1A* role to Phillip Lindsay's 1B. TEN's front-seven was dominant before they added Jadeveon Clowney on Sunday.
24 Kareem Hunt CLE at BAL Hunt will be called upon for pass catching as the Browns try to keep pace with the Ravens.
Rank High Floor/Capped Ceiling RB3s Team Opponent Breakdown
25 Cam Akers LAR DAL Akers' athletecism and pass catching ability likely gives him the lead in backfield touches over Malcolm Brown. Darrell Henderson has a bad hammy and is unlikely to play.
26 James White NE MIA White has a serious chance to operate as a lesser CMC for Cam in 2020. Facing Miami's weak D is a great place to do so.
27 Antonio Gibson WAS PHI Carolina's former offensive coach, Scott Turner, finds himself as Gibson's OC. As a former WR* with excellent athletecism* and a big body, Gibson has a shot to be used in similar ways to CMC early in his career.
28 Darrel Williams KC HOU Will see a healthy dose of snaps in an All Hands On Deck shootout.
29 Tevin Coleman SF ARI A matchup against Arizona should be fruitful enough for the "No. 2" back to get his share of work as well.
30 Zack Moss BUF NYJ Training camp ended with Moss gunning for the starting job. Against a weak Jets defense, Moss is a daring bet to muscle his way past the diminutive Devin Singletary.
31 Tarik Cohen CHI at DET With David Montgomery likely Out (groin), Cohen has a shot at 15 touches.
32 Phillip Lindsay DEN TEN Lindsay should see 12 touches and could see 18 if Gordon's cardio is truly a problem.
Rank Shaky Floor/Capped Ceiling RB3s Team Opponent Breakdown
33 J.K. Dobbins BAL CLE Dobbins should see 1-+ touches.
34 Devin Singletary BUF NYJ Although Moss is likely to outproduce Singletary, Singletary will have see a solid chunk of touches in Week 1.
34 Leonard Fournette TB at NO Not a great matchup after seeing little practice time with his new team, Bruce Arians is clearly not content with Ronald Jones though.
35 Ronald Jones TB at NO Jones should remain a rotational grinder in the Bucs' high-scoring offense.
36 Le'Veon Bell NYJ at BUF Loathed by Adam Gase, facing a brutal defensive front. Trade Bell the moment he has a good game.
Rank Shaky Floor/Capped Ceiling RB4s Team Opponent Breakdown
37 Corey Clement PHI at WAS On the August 20th episode of Inside the Birds, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher indicated that Clement would step into the workhorse, primary ballcarrier role, if Miles Sanders were to miss time, as he's significantly larger that Boston Scott. 12-15 carries against WAS might not yield more than a moderate flex output though and Scott owns rights to pass catching duties.
38 Frank Gore NYJ at BUF HC Adam Gase's favorite player, facing said player's old team.
39 Duke Johnson Jr. HOU at KC High-scoring affair in which everyone will be involved.
40 James Robinson JAX IND With Devine Ozigbo not practicing (hamstring) Robinson may be walking into 18+ touches this weekend.
41 Kerryon Johnson DET CHI Detroit will deploy all 3 backs this week, nuking everyone's value. Kerryon, he veteran with team experience, is the best bet to produce but it's far from certain. If you own a Lions' back and they have a boom week, sell high ASAP.
42 Jordan Howard MIA at NE Lead back in a tough matchup.
43 Chase Edmonds ARI at SF Word on the street is that Edmonds is no longer a pure backup. Possible 8-10 touches.
44 Malcolm Brown LAR DAL Brown shouldn't see fewer than 10 touches.
45 Chris Thompson JAX IND Thompson has a shot at 10-12 touches this week and should retain full rights to the backfield passing game work.
46 Rex Burkhead NE MIA With Damien Harris on IR and Sony Michel's health severly in question, the Sexy One will ride again.
47 Jalen Richard OAK at CAR Oakland's premier pass catching back.
48 Jerick McKinnon SF ARI Good enough matchup where all 3 backs are in play.

Source links: Melvin Gordon and Denver’s altitude, Jadeveon Clowney signs with the Tennessee Titans, Antonio Gibson’s college wide receiver production, Antonio Gibson’s Combine numbers, Boston Scott’s production in Weeks 14-17 of 2019, and Corey Clement as the possible lead ball carrier were Miles Sanders to miss time.