The 2020 NFL Draft Combine has come and gone. Here’s what we learned: Henry Ruggs isn’t slow, two large trees were killed in the making of A.J. Dillon’s legs, Jonathan Taylor is THE MAN, and eight large deep dish pizzas (Pequods-only) in three days is too much for any one donkey. So now what? First, I’ll probably need to go to the gym to work off these 30 extra combine-pizza-pounds. But you’re here for fantasy football discussion, not updates on Donkey’s rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health. Well, our 2020 Dynasty and Rookie Rankings are now being populated and updated frequently, and B_Don is plowing thru the film on his 2020 NFL Draft Previews. I went over my top 20 and top 40 dynasty running backs last week and made a couple minor post-combine tweaks once the dust settled (insert Jonathan Taylor eggplant emoji). Anyway, here’s my top 60 running backs for 2020 PPR dynasty football:
Tier 9 (cont’d)
41. Raheem Mostert – I gave you my Raheem Mostert Dynasty Outlook a couple weeks back, I wrote it will imagining I was massaging Kerryon Johnson’s feet and other body parts. Think I’ll be steering clear of the 49ers backfield this season. UPDATE 4/25/20: Matt Breida has been traded away to Miami so that’s one less mouth to feed, but Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson all still remain in the mix. I’m still avoiding this backfield and would try to sell Mostert high wherever possible.
42. Tarik Cohen – Currently just a PPR specialist behind David Montgomery, I think Cohen could be more in the right system. He’s an athletic freak who I’ve always thought is underutilized. 2021 free-agency could be just what the doctor ordered.
43. Rashaad Penny – Penny is coming off ACL surgery and behind Chris Carson on the depth chart. So maybe #41 seems a little high? Some readers weren’t thrilled with my ranking of Carson at #26 last week, but I’m not convinced the hip issue isn’t going to be an, uh, issue. Carson also had some very real fumbling whoas and Penny was starting to take a larger share of the touches when he went down with the ACL. I’d try to buy the 24 year old right now. There’s a chance it’s the Penny show in Seattle come 2021.
44. Darrynton Evans – UPDATE 4/25/20: Evans has been selected by the Titans with a 3rd round draft pick. Here’s what I said about Evans in my top 20 rookies for 2020 dynasty leagues, “Odds seem to be in favor of Derrick Henry signing a long-term extension with the Titans at some point. If he doesn’t, there’s a chance for Evans to take the job if he shows well in 2020, but he’ll never be a workhorse. More likely he’s looked at as a complementary back in Tennessee. Dion Lewis is finally gone, opening up work for the youngster right off the bat. His game complements Henry well as a potential passing down specialist with a chance for much more if the Predator goes down—remember Henry is coming off an enormous 2019 workload. Grab Evans in deep PPR leagues.”
45. Matt Breida – Alright, so I’m not fully out on 49ers running backs. Breida is pretty much free in early redraft best balls (187 ADP vs. Mostert’s 55 ADP). You could do worse on the end of your bench in dynasty leagues, plus he’s only 25 this year. UPDATE 4/25/20: Coming SoonBreida has been traded to the Dolphins where there’s much less competition for touched. He’ll share the backfield with Jordan Howard. I’m back in.
46. Joshua Kelly – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Chargers have spent a 4th round pick on Kelley. Good chance he beats out Justin Jackson in the quest to spell Ekeler. Does have a similar still set to Ekeler, but not sure that’s a negative. If Ekeler gets banged up then Kelley could beast.
47. Antonio Gibson – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Redskins have spent a 3rd round pick on Gibson. One of the most versatile players in the draft class as a running back, receiver and return specialist, plus he’s lightning fast with a 4.31-forty. Will be interesting to see how the Redskins choose to deploy him on offense.
48. Ronald Jones – I was anti-RoJo when he came into the league due to his weak hands and poor blocking, but he looked much improved in 2019. Unfortunately he only topped 12 carries once in the final eight weeks, which gives me the feeling Tampa will recruit backfield help in 2020. UPDATE 4/25/20: You don’t have to be a donkey to see the selection of Ke’Shawn Vaughn by the Bucs is bad for Jones. It could’ve been worse had they selected one of the more elite options, but I think Tom Brady had picked Vaughn for his ability to pass protect. I’d sell Jones for whatever you can get at this point.
49. Damien Williams – This is a new tier. It goes from here into the top 60 dynasty running backs. I call this tier, “More Questions, Less Answers.” 111 carries and 30 receptions in 11 games with 7 touchdowns was Williams regular season. 46 carries and 10 receptions in 3 games with 6 touchdowns was Williams playoffs. Soooooo who’s ready to spend an early round draft pick on him in 2020? Not Donkey. UPDATE 4/25/20: A lot of analysts expect Edwards-Helaire to swoop in and take ALL the carries in K.C. I don’t see that happening, but this obviously isn’t a positive for Williams’ dynasty stock.
50. James White – This is a new tier. It goes from here until Johnson. I call this tier, “Throw Me The Rock!” Over the past two seasons White has averaged 79.5 receptions, 698 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns. Not bad for a wide receiver!
51. Tevin Coleman – So Coleman might not be looking for work, but if I was his dynasty owner I’d be hoping he’s looking for work soon. The 49ers have an opt out clause in his contract this offseason which would save them $3,500,000. The Shanahan offense has “fantasy backfield headache” written all over it, like it passed out early at a party.
52. Devonta Freeman – All signs point to the Falcons cutting Freeman due to cap issues. Which team wants to take a shot on declining back with a history of concussions? Seems like his days as a lead back might be numbered. UPDATE 3/20/20: The Falcons have cut ties with Freeman. I’m not sure whether or not there’s anything left in the tank but let’s stay tuned for his landing spot before fully writing him off. Note: there aren’t many great landing spots out there.
53. Duke Johnson – Last year was supposed to be the Duke Johnson coming out party, but then Carlos Hyde showed up drunk and threw up all over the appetizer table. Hyde’s now a free agent but the Texan’s will almost certainly draft a back, and maybe one of the top three. UPDATE 3/20/20: David Johnson is coming to town after the blockbuster trade that sends Hopkins out of Houston. Based on the price, there must be a heavy workload in store for the new Johnson. But the old Johnson should still have a role in the passing game.
54. Royce Freeman – Still only just heading into his 24 year old season, Freeman shouldn’t be written off yet by any means. Look for his role to continue to expand in 2020 and if Lindsay gets banged up, be ready for a breakout. UPDATE 3/20/20: Freeman will likely be the odd man out in Denver with Gordon and Lindsay forming a two horse committee.
55. Benny Snell – Call me crazy but I think Benny the Jet just might be better than James Conner. And that’s more about how impressed I was with Snell’s 2019 showing than a knock on Conner. There might be some deep league value here even without a Conner injury.UPDATE 4/25/20: The Steelers just spent a 4th rounder on Anthony McFarland, another running back. This backfield is packed full of youngster but I still like Snell behind Conner.
56. Chase Edmonds – There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Cardinals backfield with the Drake and DJ question marks but the 24 year old Edmonds flashed against the Giants for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns before getting hurt. It was a weak defense but I still believe the flash was mostly real. Might be worth sniffing around the buy low window while it appears he’s destined to be buried on the depth chart. Things change quickly in RB-land.
57. Tony Pollard – I was a bit surprised Pollard wasn’t utilized more last year to take the load off the billion dollar star back down in Dallas. He’s still a must-own handcuff for Zeke owners and one of those guys with fill-in RB1 upside if Elliott ever goes down.
58. Anthony McFarland – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Steelers have spent a 4th round pick on McFarland. Another draft, another Steelers running back. It’s a crowded backfield with James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels all lingering. But McFarland excels in the open field with elite speed and acceleration which could earn him an early role. Or he may just be a return specialist for now.
59. Lynn Bowden Jr. – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Raiders spent a 3rd round draft pick on Bowden. I moved Bowden around quite a bit in these rankings. On one hand the Raiders have Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard in the backfield. On the other hand, Bowden is versatile and can be used as a receiver and as a gadget player. On a third hand which is a donkey hoof, he might just be a return specialist. Regardless, there’s upside and upside is the name of the game at this stage.
60. Chris Thompson – UPDATE 5/9/20: Thompson has officially signed with the Jaguars who have officially declined Leonard Fournette’s 5th year option and unofficially are trying to trade Leo. Thompson will never be a featured back but should still be a viable flex option in PPR leagues.
63. Darwin Thompson – The only RB who caught more late season hype than Hill was Darwin (my bad again!). I thought he was the natural selection in the K.C. backfield but Andy Reid had other plans. While he still has plenty of upside, there’s speculation the Chiefs might grab a top back in this year’s draft which wouldn’t be great for Darwin’s fantasy evolution. UPDATE 4/25/20: Coming Soon
64. Justice Hill – Hill was hyped during the 2019 preseason (my bad!), but never got much of an opportunity behind Ingram and Gus the Bus. I’d expect an increased role in 2020, but beginning to think his upside isn’t much more than PPR specialist. UPDATE 4/25/20: Coming Soon
65. Eno Benjamin – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Cardinals have spent a 7th round pick on Benjamin. I know the 7th round isn’t great, but just look at how many undrafted free agent RBs have become more than relevant the past couple seasons: Austin Ekeler, Phillip Lindsay, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida to name a few. Hard to love the landing spot with Kenyan Drake and maybe Chase Edmonds ahead of him in Arizona, but we all know the attrition of the position.
66. La’Mical Perine – UPDATE 4/25/20: The Jets have spent a 4th round pick on Perine. To be honest, I’m not at all excited about Samaje’s cousin. But maybe the Jets think Perine’s more than I do. Seems like he’s just a mediocre passing down specialist to me.
67. Brian Hill – Gurley is coming to Atlanta. It’s TBD how heavy of a workload the Falcons will hand him but the knee issues are well documented. Hill is likely second in line if and when the Toddfather goes down. Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison are still linger in Atlanta too.
68. Jamaal Williams – Not sure what it’s like by you, but a lot of counties in the Chicago-area allow gaming in bars now. These modern slot machines are so confusing. There’s way too much going on. Whatever happened to putting a quarter in and pulling the lever? I don’t really have a strong opinion on Williams, but who knows, just like with these slots, you could get lucky and hit it big without having any clue what you’re doing. Williams seems far behind Aaron Jones at this point, but I mentioned in my Jones blurb that I don’t fully trust LaFleur and the Packers. Williams has good hands and can get the job done if Jones goes down. UPDATE 4/25/20: The Packers have spent a 2nd round pick on A.J. Dillon. I love Dillon and this is very bad news for those dreaming on Willliams’ role expanding in Green Bay.
69. Justin Jackson – My read on the San Angeles backfield is that Ekeler will return and Gordon will depart. If they don’t bring anyone else in (coin flip?) then Jackson stands to spell Ekeler, and while I think Dirty Eck can handle a full workload, I doubt the Charger go full bellcow. UPDATE 4/25/20: The Chargers have spent a 4th rounder on running back Joshua Kelley. I think he’ll win the change of pace job, leaving Jackson as a third stringer.
70. Jaylen Samuels – My belief in Benny Snell behind James Conner is documented above, but I think Samuels is more than capable as well. UPDATE 4/25/20: As mentioned above, Anthony McFarland is heading to Pittsburgh after the Steelers spent a 4th round on him. This is a crowded backfield that I’m not super excited to invest in.
71. Carlos Hyde – Do I trust Hyde? Not at all. But I didn’t trust him last year and he posted respectable RB2 numbers most of the season in Houston. I don’t expect him to land in a great spot for fantasy purposes, but at this point he’s over in the penny slots corner. Maybe he’s worth a pull? Blech.
72. Lamar Miller – Miller is ‘only’ 29 years old, but he’s been around the block. He came into the league at age 21 and has piled 1,354 carries in eight seasons. He’s now coming off a torn ACL and MCL. Which NFL team will take the gamble?
73. Adrian Peterson – The Redskins picked up A.D.’s 2020 option a couple weeks back so the freak will give it one more go at age 35. You’ll never be excited to start him, but there could be some bye week fill in value with the old man.
75. Bryce Love – Don’t forget about Love in Washington. The Redskins spent a 4th rounder on him last season and he spent the year rehabbing from an ACL injury sustained in his final game at Stanford. Another knee injury to Guice (or Adrian Peterson) could give Love the opportunity he’s been waiting for. UPDATE 4/25/20: The Redskins have spent a 3rd round pick on versatile running back, Antonio Gibson, mentioned above. Not exactly a vote of confidence in Love.