The zero RB truth-ing will never stop. But maybe, just maybe, the 2019 season results will put a halt to the growth of it’s following. When looking at the top 12 finishes for 2019 in PPR leagues: 5 of the players were running backs, 6 were quarterbacks (obviously), and there was only one wide receiver. Of the 5 running backs that finished in the top 12, 3 of them had 2019 ADPs in the top 15. Those players were Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and somehow Ezekiel Elliott.
I’m sort of trolling with that first paragraph, zero RB is by no means a bad strategy. An easy counter argument is to point out how well Austin Ekeler, Mark Ingram, and Chris Carson finished. Austin Ekeler was a popular zero RB target and we’ll get to him a little later.
Christian McCaffrey’s season could take up an entire 2,000 word article by itself. But you, as a fantasy consumer, probably won’t find that necessary. Also I don’t think I’ve had the attention span to get to 2,000 words in any post. Damn millennials! Anyways, McCaffrey’s 2,392 all-purpose yards clearly separated him from the rest of the flock. Especially in PPR leagues with his 116 receptions. McCaffrey was 1 of just 5 players in 2019 to get to 100 receptions and was 2nd behind only Michael Thomas. Another thing that makes McCaffrey’s last two years so special is that he is only 23 years old right now. I understand that longevity with the running back position is an issue, but the ways that McCaffrey takes care of his body and prepares it in the offseason makes him feel different from the rest. McCaffrey will be the 1.01 in 2020 draft season and if we’re lucky enough, it could happen for years to come.
How dare we fantasy football tastemakers disrespect Derrick Henry after his 2018 fantasy football playoff run. According to FantasyPros 2019 ADP (PPR), Derrick Henry was the 20th running back off of the board and the 36th off of the board. And I’m sure a lot of owners got a nice discount on that price as well. Henry rewarded his faithful following with another 2nd half for the ages but had 86 yards and no touchdowns in week 15 and an inactive in week 16. But before the semi-finalS and finals no-shows, Henry banged out four straight 100 yard performances with 7 touchdowns in that stretch. In total, Henry ran for over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns in the regular season. That isn’t even counting his monster playoff performances. Derrick Henry won’t make it out of the first round in 2020 drafts, and by my math, he deserves it.
Aaron Jones was a spectacular value, especially for a player taken in the middle of the 3rd round in PPR leagues. Jones finished as the RB2 in PPR leagues thanks in part to some decent production in the passing game. The passing game was just a chunk of Jones’ production. Jones was super efficient in the red zone and it led to 16 rushing touchdowns on the ground to go along with his three in the passing game.
Dalvin Cook came in 6 points behind Aaron Jones for 3rd in PPR scoring for RBs. It should be noted that Dalvin played one less game in the fantasy season due to being banged up towards the end of the season. Still, 14 games is quite a feat for our pal Dalvin. Cook was off to a blazing start but did not have a 100-yard game on the ground after week 7. That’s not to say he didn’t have any productive games after week 7, because he certainly did. But there was a noticeable downturn.
Austin Ekeler got off to a blazing start before Melvin Gordon came back, but even when Melvin Gordon returned, Ekeler was a very productive fantasy asset. Ekeler caught 92 balls and fell just 7 yards short of 1,000 yards, but he also added over 500 yards on the ground. And on top of covering all of that ground, Ekeler added 11 total touchdowns. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Ekeler is going at the end of the 5th round in non-PPR leagues. Ekeler could be in line for even more touches in 2020 whether or not Gordon returns to the Chargers.
Chris Carson’s consistency led to him finishing as a top 10 PPR back this season. That’s pretty good value for the 17th running back off of the board. We were all over him as a value pick at Razzball and he lived up to the billing.
Miles Sanders had a hell of a second half of the season thanks to some weird inactive games from Jordan Howard. I’m not sure if Howard was actually trying to overcome an injury that he never could or if the Eagles wanted to see what they had in Sanders as a lead back. Sanders was especially big in the fantasy football playoffs scoring touchdowns in each of weeks 15 and 16 and combining for 11 receptions with a nice addition of rushing yards to boot. In week 14 on Monday night, it looked like Boston Scott was going to cut into Sanders’ productivity but Sanders came out with a vengeance in week 15 for those who kept the faith.
Saquon Barkley was a victim of a high ankle sprain that took him out for nearly a month. Saquon was also able to close out the season with a bang. But when you look at his games played as a whole, Barkley wasn’t the same player that he was in 2018. We can probably assume that he never totally healed up until week 15 or 16, but Barkley still finished as RB5 in points per game and that is not what you paid for.
Alvin Kamara was a victim of the same injury circumstance as Barkley. Alvin Kamara ended up with 4 more fantasy points than Barkley, but he also was active for one more game. Kamara failed to execute in the red zone in the same fashion as he did in 2018 and he never had one of his outlier explosive games that we’ve become accustomed to.
Le’Veon Bell got the bag in the offseason, but he wasn’t able to repeat any of his Pittsburgh years. We can probably place a lot of blame on Adam Gase and the Jet’s offensive line. He looked like the Bell of old at times, but it was only in short spurts. Le’Veon was an easy draft season fade and I hope that you listened to us.
David Montgomery might be fine in the long term, but his rookie season wasn’t the start that dynasty or redraft owners were looking for. Montgomery was sold to us as a duel threat running back but only caught 25 passes for 185 yards. Outside of a 55-yard run against the Chargers, the explosive plays were lacking. Montgomery’s finish as RB24 didn’t live up to the billing, but if the Bears can show improvement on the offensive line, not all hope is lost.