Remember way back in February, back before I’d even started on my 2020 fantasy football rankings, when you went from store to store buying up all the toilet paper you could find and then sold it all on eBay in March for $20 per roll yielding a 1,000% profit? First off, not cool. Second off, think of these backs outside of the top 20 running backs as rolls of toilet paper. There’s a good chance you’ll use these TP backs at some point, even if their utility is limited to just one chili filled Sunday in September. But if things go right—or really wrong—these running backs, who you thought you’d be wiping with, might just bring you returns beyond you wildest dreams. Alright, so maybe not that wild, there’s no large sausages or broomsticks in this dream—hey, I’m not judging your fantasies! But last year guys like Austin Ekeler and Mark Ingram (#4 & #11 RBs in PPR scoring) and the year before James Conner, James White and Tarik Cohen (#6, #7 & #11 RBs in PPR scoring) were all found on the shelves of these aisles. Chances are there’s at least one or two RB1s lurking in this group if you’re a thrifty enough shopper. Anyway, it’s not quite as exciting as my top 10 running backs, but here’s my top 40 running backs for 2020 PPR fantasy football:
21. James Conner – The Boof is all about Jimmy C this year. He’s Boof’s Charmin triple-ply if you will. I don’t question Conner’s talent, but the durability has to make you wonder at this point. He’s missed 9 games over the past two seasons with ankle, shoulder and quad injuries. Plus the Steelers have a slew of other young competition waiting in the wings; I especially like what I saw from Benny Snell last year, but the possibility of Jaylen Samuels and newbie Anthony McFarland Jr. stealing carries shouldn’t be overlooked either.
2020 Projection: 770 rushing yards, 40 receptions, 300 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 189 / 14.5 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 169 / 13 ppg | Standard Pts: 149 / 11.5 ppg
22. Chris Carson – Alright, I’ll share you the TP reference in every single player blurb, maybe just every other blurb. I’m projecting Carson for 13 games, but I’m hesitant to pay the early 4th round draft price and anxious to see him in action after his season ending hip injury last year. If he looks sharp in the preseason, then I’ll bump him up a bit and take the gamble, but until then the cost benefit just isn’t in my appetite.
2020 Projection: 1,030 rushing yards, 25 receptions, 180 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 182 / 14 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 169.5 / 13 ppg | Standard Pts: 157 / 12.1 ppg
23. Kerryon Johnson – If the rest of these guys are toilet paper then Kerryon is baby wipes. If you haven’t experienced the soothing freshness of a baby wipe on your portal, then you aren’t living. Some people gave up on baby wipes after their early years. Most people have given up on Kerryon after two injury riddled seasons to start his career. And it’s hard to blame them since the Lions have now brought in another stud, D’Andre Swift, to share carries too. But I don’t see Swift jumping into a bellcow role from the get go, especially if Johnson can finally stay healthy—he’s due! In my projections below I’ve given Kerryon 180 carries in 13 games vs. Swift’s 150 carries in 14 games. If either back goes down for an extended period, the other will have RB1 upside. That is until Matt Patricia channels his mentor Bill Belichick and gives Bo Scarbough all the goal line work.
2020 Projection: 720 rushing yards, 35 receptions, 280 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 177 / 13.6 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 159.5 / 12.3 ppg | Standard Pts: 142 / 10.9 ppg
24. J.K. Dobbins – In Baltimore Mark Ingram was like a bidet last season; soothing, even arousing at times. I don’t expect Ingram to just vanish like the April 2020 bidet supply, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dobbins take on the Kamara-type role along side Ingram by midseason. The kid out of OSU has league winning upside if Ingram were to go down, swing for the fences.
2020 Projection: 670 rushing yards, 40 receptions, 380 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 181 / 12.9 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 161 / 11.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 141 / ppg 10.1
25. David Montgomery – Rudy Gamble’s 2020 Fantasy Football Projections love the Full Monty, giving him nearly 1,400 total yards and 9 touchdowns which slots him in at RB11. As a Bears fan, I’m hesitant to believe; we aren’t allowed to have nice things. But the truth is, my projections aren’t that far from Rudy’s, and if I squint hard I can see the RB1 upside.
2020 Projection: 950 rushing yards, 25 receptions, 190 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 181 / 12.9 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 168.5 / 12 ppg | Standard Pts: 156 / ppg 11.1
26. Kareem Hunt – In my top 40 dynasty running back rankings here’s what I said about Hunt, “You can’t deny Hunt’s talent, but he sure seems like a ticking time bomb. I’m tempted to drop him down even further after watching the video of his traffic stop in January where the officer found weed and an open container of vodka in his car, and Hunt admits he’d fail a drug test if he was tested that day. Maybe next time he won’t be pulled over by a Browns fan.” I wrote that in February and I can’t help but wonder how the troubled youngster has been spending his quarantine days. But if he’s able to stay out of trouble, there’s solid PPR potential here.
2020 Projection: 460 rushing yards, 60 receptions, 480 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 178 / 12.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 148 / 10.6 ppg | Standard Pts: 118 / 8.4 ppg
27. Derrius Guice – I would love to see a fully healthy Guice for 16 games in 2020, almost as much as I’d love to see the same from Kerryon Johnson. And the two former SEC studs from the same draft class aren’t all that different. Extreme talents, bad situations, mediocre offensive lines and abysmal records of health in their first two NFL seasons. As the 34th RB off the board in the last month at The NFFC, I see myself owning the Guice Maker on several teams.
2020 Projection: 790 rushing yards, 25 receptions, 250 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 171 / 13.2 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 158.5 / 12.2 ppg | Standard Pts: 146 / 11.2 ppg
28. D’Andre Swift – I already went over some of my thoughts on Swift and the Lions offense in my ode to Kerryon Johnson above. Swift was arguably the most talented all-around back in this year’s draft class, so you can only dock him so much for the terrible landing spot. I won’t be targeting the kid in standard leagues, but the PPR production should be there in year one.
2020 Projection: 600 rushing yards, 45 receptions, 400 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 175 / 12.5 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 152.5 / 10.9 ppg | Standard Pts: 130 / 9.3 ppg
29. Cam Akers – Last year I whiffed on Darrell Henderson like Jose Canseco trying to catch a fly ball on the warning track. But I haven’t fully given up on the versatile second year man out of Memphis who the Rams traded up to take in last year’s draft. Still, the selection of Akers in the second round this year doesn’t exactly scream confidence in Henderson. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this backfield. I believe Akers has huge upside, but I’m also hesitant to fall back into the Rams’ rookie running back trap for a second straight season. Malcolm Brown in the late rounds might end up being a decent lotto ticket.
2020 Projection: 700 rushing yards, 30 receptions, 200 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 162 / 11.6 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 147 / 10.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 132 / 9.4 ppg
30. Tarik Cohen – In our group chat The Boof said, “I hate Cohen types.” To which Rudy responded, “Anti-semite!” To think, in this day and age! I’m now looking for a new more progressive cohost for our wildly popular YouTube show, Fantasy Football Malpractice:
As for Cohen, he’s unsexy—for fantasy, he’s very sexy in real world sexiness terms—but the PPR production floor is stable since he has some of the best hands among all RBs. And he’s explosive, anytime he touches the ball there’s potential for pay dirt. When you’re drafting the Kerryon’s and Guice’s, a floor pick or two wouldn’t hurt.
2020 Projection: 350 rushing yards, 75 receptions, 550 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 16 games
PPR Pts: 189 / 11.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 151.5 / 9.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 114 / 7.1 ppg
31. Devin Singletary – Why do I hate Devin Singletary? My pyschiatrist (Rudy Gamble) says it’s because I had a bad experience dating a girl named Devin back in high school. I mean, I thought she was a girl! As far as Singletary goes, I was saying all winter that he’s over rated and not a feature back. Folks were drafting him in the late second/early third up until the NFL Draft when the Bills confirmed my suspicions by taking the bruiser back Zack Moss in the third round. Don’t get me wrong, Singletary is better than that crumpled up newspaper you were using to wipe in April, but goal line carries are going to be tough to come by with Josh Allen and Moss on the scavenge.
2020 Projection: 890 rushing yards, 30 receptions, 190 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 168 / 12 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 153 / 10.9 ppg | Standard Pts: 138 / 9.9 ppg
32. Raheem Mostert – Razzball’s MB has a love affair going with Mostert. On the flip side, I went over why I’m out on Mostert back in February. Cliff notes, he’s a guy who broke out at age 28 in a crowded backfield with a coach known for spreading the carries around. I think he can lead the backfield and put up solid numbers (see below), but the 4th round price tag is too rich for me.
2020 Projection: 800 rushing yards, 15 receptions, 180 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 161 / 11.5 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 153.5 / 11 ppg | Standard Pts: 146 / 10.4 ppg
33. Mark Ingram – I touched on Ingram in the Dobbins blurb above. He’ll be 31 this year and now has over 1,500 career carries under his belt. Not saying he’s going to fall off a cliff, but wouldn’t be surprised if Dobbins makes him look like a dinosaur. One of those slow dinosaurs who isn’t at all scary. Like Dino from the Flintstones.
2020 Projection: 770 rushing yards, 20 receptions, 160 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 155 / 11.1 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 145 / 10.4 ppg | Standard Pts: 135 / 9.6 ppg
34. Phillip Lindsay – I’ve found myself drafting Lindsay often in best ball leagues since the Melvin Gordon signing. The undrafted Broncos fan favorite has rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons. Yes, they just paid Melvin and he’s still very good, but don’t expect Lindsay to be forgotten. People might be surprised by how close the carry split is this season; I currently have Lindsay projected for 44% of the carries vs. 56% for Gordon.
2020 Projection: 800 rushing yards, 30 receptions, 190 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 165 / 11 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 150 / 10 ppg | Standard Pts: 135 / 9 ppg
35. James White – The big question is how will Brady’s departure affect White’s volume in the pass game; he’s seen 218 targets over the past two seasons. On one hand, the post-Brady offense is somewhat of a mystery. On another hand, Cam Newton is no stranger to targeting running backs heavily (see: McCaffrey, Christian). On a third hand, which is actually toilet paper rolls glued to a frisbee, White hasn’t exactly been a consistent option from week to week even in full PPR leagues. He’s an avoid for me outside of best ball formats.
2020 Projection: 240 rushing yards, 60 receptions, 540 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 168 / 11.2 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 138 / 9.2 ppg | Standard Pts: 108 / 7.2 ppg
36. Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Here’s what I said about Vaughn in my top 10 rookies for dynasty leagues, “Bruce Arians isn’t afraid to use a bellcow and has no allegiance to Ronald Jones, who was drafted by the previous regime. I’m expecting Vaughn to take the pirate by the balls at some point in 2020. Anyone claiming Brady didn’t have a say in this year’s draft picks seems naive. The Bucs are going to score a lot of points too, I’ll be targeting Vaughn even in redraft leagues.” I have the youngster from Vandy ranked right around ADP, he’s more of standard league target than PPR play for me but if he falls a little then I see value in any format.
2020 Projection: 760 rushing yards, 20 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 142 / 10.1 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 132 / 9.4 ppg | Standard Pts: 122 / 8.7 ppg
37. Sony Michel – Similar questions raised in the James White blurb should be asked in regards to Sony Michel. Will the new Patriot offense lean a little more on the best pure runner in their backfield during this post-Brady era? I doubt Belichick will drastically change his ways. And if Cam Newton is actually back to full health, goal line rushes could be tough to come by for Sony in 2020.
2020 Projection: 820 rushing yards, 10 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 137 / 9.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 132 / 9.4 ppg | Standard Pts: 127 / 9.1 ppg
38. Alexander Mattison – The last two seasons we struck gold with hold out beneficiaries, James Conner and Austin Ekeler. My guess is Dalvin doesn’t miss games this season, but it’s just a guess. In Mattison’s case I was interested in the second year man even before all this hold out talk. With Cook’s injuries down the stretch in 2019, isn’t there a natural incentive for the Vikings to lean a little more on Mattison during the regular season? I’m thinking so, which means there’s some degree of fantasy value regardless of the hold out.
2020 Projection: 740 rushing yards, 15 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 129 / 9.2 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 121.5 / 8.7 ppg | Standard Pts: 114 / 8.1 ppg
39. Duke Johnson – I discovered this week that Duke Johnson’s real name is Randy Johnson. Remember when Randy Johnson obliterated that bird with a fastball? Ohhh the good ole days when sports existed and humans could go out to dinner. Anyway, the other D.J. in Houston hasn’t exactly been a picture of health over the past couple seasons in Arizona, which may provide a window of real value for Randy-Duke at some point in 2020. Worse case scenario, he should still be a decent flex option in PPR leagues with his volume in the pass game.
2020 Projection: 410 rushing yards, 45 receptions, 400 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 16 games
PPR Pts: 156 / 9.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 133.5 / 8.3 ppg | Standard Pts: 111 / 6.9 ppg
40. Damien Williams – A lot of analysts seem to expect Clyde Edwards-Helaire to swoop in and take ALL the carries in K.C. I don’t see that happening. When Kareem Hunt took the Chiefs bellcow role in his rookie year, it was due to a late preseason knee injury to Spencer Ware. Andy Reid has shown he trusts Williams in the big moments, as he took 46 carries and 10 receptions in 3 playoff games this past winter for 6 touchdowns. Williams will still be in the mix on one of the top offenses in the league.
2020 Projection: 540 rushing yards, 25 receptions, 170 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 132 / 9.4 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 119.5 / 8.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 107 / 7.6 ppg