Two days, football fans! Two days! That means the 2020 NFL Season will be upon us in a smaller span of time than your average game of cricket. Quicker than your seven round NFL Draft. And much faster than it takes Kirk Cousins to get rid of the ball on a typical pass play. Just two days and we’ll have NFL football. Two days until you get to turn months of research and late-night draft parties into something that actually matters as all the projection slowly turns into production. Today, we’ll begin with the former as I reveal my top 60 running backs heading into week one of the 2020 season. As a general baseline, I’ll be using half-PPR scoring for these rankings. Moving forward, I will continuously update these 60 backs on a weekly basis to provide an up-to-date snapshot at the top options at the position moving forward. Before we get into the actual rankings, here are some highlights from the opening list.
Alvin Kamara — Some ‘perts’ have bumped Kamara down a couple of spots due to his supposed contract dispute coupled with reports he recently received a shot in his back for SI joint inflammation. Sounds like something we could all use after six straight months of working on the couch. On most days, I can be mistaken from afar for Quasimodo. The same does not go for Kamara and he’s still the clear-cut No. 4 fantasy option in half-PPR formats.
Kenyan Drake — ECR has Drake at No. 12 and Rudy’s projections have him as the No. 15 back in half-PPR. Thankfully there’s good ole’ Donkey Teeth who has Drake pinned at No. 7, much closer to the No. 6 ranking I have him at to start the year. Donkey saving me from my doom reminds me of that time Donkey saved Shrek by falling in love with a dragon. Normal stuff and not at all weird. Anyway, the upside tied to the tempo of Arizona offense mixed with Drake’s post-trade performance as a Cardinal in 2019 is incredibly enticing and I’m all in.
Todd Gurley — Seemingly everyone is afraid of Gurley’s past ankle and knee injuries that appeared to slow down his ability as a rusher over the past two seasons. Drafting Gurley supposedly came with legitimate injury risk especially when considering the large workload he’s expected to carry in Atlanta. But fancy this: Gurley has played in at least 13 games in all five of his NFL seasons and has averaged 15 starts over the previous four seasons. All things considered, he’s been far more durable than most realize and even closed out 2019 with 98 touches over the final five weeks of the season. There’s still RB1 potential in Gurley, but luckily, he doesn’t even need to return that to be a bargain at his ADP of RB15.
Jonathan Taylor — I drafted Taylor as my RB2 in one league and although I’d prefer him as an RB3 or Flex option, I’m okay with it. Although I’m not quite as high as Donkey Teeth is, I agree there’s some sweet, sexy upside here. However, his recent issues with dropped passes in training camp is worth monitoring. No matter what, I expect Nyheim Hines to remain involved in the passing game to some degree.
David Montgomery — The Bears didn’t make a push for Leonard Fournette and also waived undrafted rooking running back Artavis Pierce, leading me to believe they expect Montgomery to miss minimal time. Maybe even none at all? I’m ranking him at No. 22 heading into the season assuming he plays week one. That might be a long shot, but it’s still more likely than Donkey Teeth’s game with the ladies improving anytime soon.
J.K. Dobbins — I have an unhealthy amount of Dobbins shares for the Ohio State product’s rookie campaign and he’s ranked at No. 24 heading into week one. Sure, it remains to be seen just how involved he will be while playing second fiddle to Mark Ingram, but Dobbins is a potential league winner this season as long as you got relatively fair draft day value. Sometimes, I fall asleep at night thinking about what Lamar Jackson and Dobbins could do together if unleashed in this offense. On those nights, I dream that I’ve tricked John Harbaugh into gifting Dobbins a sock so that he can run free in this offense.
Sony Michel — With Damien Harris out at least three weeks, Michel is penciled in as the lead back for week one. Harris’ absence should provide Michel a little more leeway to take hold of this backfield, assuming he can stay on the field without breaking. Then again, there’s a better chance my 1998 Sony Walkman can stay underwater for three weeks without breaking. Still, the increased opportunity is why I have Michel up at No. 32 to start the year.
Antonio Gibson — Adrian Peterson is gone, but it’s hard to say exactly what that means for Gibson. He’ll see added work, but his unique skill set could mean he still functions as a gadget asset on a substantial percentage of snaps. He’s at No. 35 until we see exactly how this shakes out.
Ryquell Armstead — Right when it looked like a fifth round pick out of Temple was going to get the reins to an NFL backfield, Armstead was placed on the Jaguars reserve/COVID-19 list. According to head coach and critically acclaimed loser, Doug Marrone, Armstead will be out “for a while.” Well, you know what, Doug? Ownership called and you’re only going to have a job “for a while.” See how you like it. As for Armstead, he could still lead this backfield for 13+ weeks, so he’s at No. 46. With all the uncertainty here, that could be too high or far too low, but I don’t think undrafted free agents Devine Ozigbo or James Robinson will do enough to make a future Armstead return irrelevant.
Jerick McKinnon — Kind of a wild card this year although his upside is capped by the presence of Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. Even so, he should have a role in the passing work, which is why he’s surprisingly high on my list at No. 49.
Adrian Peterson — AP joins D’Andre Swift (No. 37) and Kerryon Johnson (No. 40) in a crowded Lions backfield. I don’t know entirely what to make of it yet, especially since Matt Patricia hasn’t even revealed if Peterson will be used in week one. Regardless, I could see AP being potentially unusable for fantasy if Kerryon stays healthy. For Donkey Teeth’s sake, I hope that’s the situation that plays out.
We’ll stop there with all the talk for this week. Below are the complete top 60 running back rankings heading into week one of the 2020 NFL Season.
Projected Rank and Projected Points are based on Rudy Gamble’s 2020 Rest-0f-Season Projections for half-PPR formats.
|Rank||Name||Projected Rank||Projected Points||BYE|
There you have it: the first weekly installment of the top 60 running backs for half-PPR. As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.