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Top Running Backs for 2020 Fantasy Football Drafts

| June 25, 2020 4:40 am PDT
Top Running Backs for 2020 Fantasy Football Drafts

The 2020 NFL season is upon us, which means it’s high time to dive into your research for your fantasy football draft.

Part of the process is figuring out the top players to draft in the early rounds. Given that the quarterback is somewhat devalued and everyone waits to draft a kicker and defense, it’s pretty important to get the best fantasy football running backs you can.

Too many seasons have been wasted by overdrafting or going all-in on a running back that simply fails to live up to lofty expectations.

If you’re looking for the best fantasy football running backs for the 2020 NFL season that won’t disappoint, though, these four guys are as can’t-miss as it gets.

Christian McCaffrey – Panthers

C-Mac was a total monster last year, as he basically was Carolina’s offense. The guy is a receptions fiend, so in PPR formats, he may be the far and away #1 pick of fantays RBs for 2020.

Everyone clamors over Lamar Jackson’s amazing season (and it was sheer brilliance), but C-Mac still finished 60 fantasy points ahead of him. The next-closest running back was 160 fantasy points away, and Aaron Jones needed 19 touchdowns to even get that close.

Not too many backs can put up 1,000+ yards rushing and 1,000+ yards receiving. Like, literally two now, actually. McCaffrey was able to do this despite defenses knowing — for the better part of the last two years — that he was all the Panthers had.

With Teddy Bridgewater on hand to hopefully keep defenses a bit more honest, arguments that Christian McCaffrey could win the 2020 NFL MVP aren’t so wild.

Saquon Barkley – Giants

While I’m all-in on McCaffrey as my first running back and #1 overall pick in fantasy drafts this year, I do see an argument for why you shouldn’t draft him.

One of the chief selling points is the existence of Saquon Barkley, who was the 10th-best fantasy running back despite being banged up and missing three games in 2019.

A better idea of what his crazy role and insane athleticism can do is seen in 2018, when he was fantasy football’s best running back (edging out C-Mac by .30 points). This was as a rookie and with the corpse of Eli Manning restricting his access to true god status.

McCaffrey is the top pick, but anyone picking second in drafts should feel pretty good.

Ezekiel Elliott – Cowboys

Elliott did not originally make the cut when I looked at the best running backs in the NFL in 2020, mostly because his explosiveness wasn’t there last year.

I also was speaking more about the top running backs in general at the time, and not necessarily for fantasy.

For fantasy purposes, there’s no getting around how good Zeke is and can be. It’s true that the arrival of Mike McCarthy and his pass-happy ways could curb his upside a bit, but McCarthy also has never had anyone as good as Ezekiel Elliott.

Even so, Eddie Lacy still ranked 6th and 6th in his first two seasons under McCarthy. Had weight issues and injuries not slowed him down, it’s possible he could have kept it going.

The point? McCarthy ultimately used his best weapon (Aaron Rodgers) while in Green Bay, so it stands to reason that Elliott will still be utilized quite a bit.

Considering the guy has finished 4th, 5th, 9th, and 2nd among fantasy RBs, it’s easy to see he’s worth investing in.

Alvin Kamara – Saints

One other great option among the top fantasy running backs is Kamara. He’s never been handed a true featured role as a runner and shares the backfield in New Orleans with Latavius Murray, but his overall workload is still fantastic.

Kamara is still utilized quite a bit as a runner (171+ carries in each of his last two seasons), but his overall role of 200+ touches every year is where he offers value. He loses luster outside of PPR formats, admittedly, but considering he’s caught exactly 81 passes every season he’s been in the NFL, you know what you’re getting.

As a whole, Kamara touches the ball quite a bit and is used all over the field. He didn’t tap into his obvious upside as fantasy’s 16th-best running back in 2019, but we know what he’s capable of.

Kamara ranked 4th in 2018 and 4th as a rookie in 2017. He is a top-5 fantasy back if he can stay healthy and find a way to score more than he did in 2019. Still, when six total touchdowns is your floor, you have some safety built into your price tag.

More Fantasy RBs to Consider

  • Derrick Henry – Titans
  • Dalvin Cook – Vikings
  • Nick Chubb – Browns
  • Aaron Jones – Packers
  • Kenyan Drake – Cardinals
  • Joe Mixon – Bengals

You can freely chase any of these other guys above, too. The problem is they all have more question marks, as opposed to the top fantasy football running backs that I’ve detailed in this post.

Derrick Henry is coming off a monster year, but his workload is a bit concerning, and he isn’t fully utilized in the passing game. Dalvin Cook is currently holding out, Nick Chubb shares the Cleveland backfield with Kareem Hunt, and Aaron Jones may be extremely touchdown-dependent going forward.

Kenyan Drake has never really had a full-time role and may be overvalued due to one amazing game that was responsible for 50% of his touchdowns in 2019, while Joe Mixon is another holdout candidate.

There are so many running backs to like in 2020, but if you’re picking one early, you want to get the best options available.

Got fantasy covered? Consider the jump to sports betting. Just make sure you use the top sports betting websites you’ll find online.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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