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 GibsonAdrian 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
1 Christian McCaffrey 1 329.1 13
2 Saquon Barkley 2 269.7 11
3 Ezekiel Elliott 4 253.7 10
4 Alvin Kamara 5 247 6
5 Dalvin Cook 6 233.1 7
6 Kenyan Drake 15 209.8 8
7 Derrick Henry 3 253.8 7
8 Josh Jacobs 12 216.8 6
9 Miles Sanders 13 214 9
10 Nick Chubb 11 220.1 9
11 Clyde Edwards-Helaire 9 222.3 10
12 Austin Ekeler 14 212.2 10
13 Todd Gurley 18 178.6 10
14 Aaron Jones 10 221.8 5
15 Joe Mixon 7 229.8 9
16 James Conner 8 226.6 8
17 Le’Veon Bell 21 174.3 11
18 Chris Carson 16 206.9 6
19 Melvin Gordon 19 178.5 8
20 Jonathan Taylor 17 191.2 7
21 David Johnson 20 178.4 8
22 David Montgomery 25 154.4 11
23 Raheem Mostert 27 148.7 11
24 J.K. Dobbins 31 140.3 8
25 Leonard Fournette 30 142.2 13
26 Cam Akers 23 161.4 9
27 Devin Singletary 24 160.4 11
28 James White 29 145.5 6
29 Mark Ingram 22 171.2 8
30 Kareem Hunt 26 151.5 9
31 Tarik Cohen 40 110.5 11
32 Sony Michel 46 93.5 6
33 Phillip Lindsay 34 130.6 8
34 Jordan Howard 32 138.9 11
35 Antonio Gibson 33 132.2 8
36 Marlon Mack 44 94.9 7
37 D’Andre Swift 28 145.4 5
38 Zack Moss 37 117.5 11
39 Ronald Jones 39 112.9 13
40 Kerryon Johnson 51 78.5 5
41 Matt Breida 41 101.8 11
42 Duke Johnson 35 125.7 8
43 Chris Thompson 47 91.2 7
44 Latavius Murray 36 123.9 6
45 Tevin Coleman 38 117 11
46 Ryquell Armstead 85 38 7
47 Alexander Mattison 43 97.4 7
48 Tony Pollard 55 74.3 10
49 Jerick McKinnon 64 64.6 11
50 Boston Scott 42 98 9
51 Darrell Henderson 71 57.1 9
52 Nyheim Hines 57 73.9 7
53 Damien Harris 61 68.7 6
54 Adrian Peterson 53 76.1 5
55 Chase Edmonds 48 86.7 8
56 A.J. Dillon 67 62.8 5
57 Benny Snell 74 47.7 8
58 Joshua Kelley 52 78.4 10
59 Darrynton Evans 62 67.4 7
60 Frank Gore 45 93.8 11

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.

  1. Shopgurrrl says:
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    Just landed the number 5 pick in my snake draft tonight (0.5 PPR). Normally, I’d be thrilled, because I Iove me all of the consensus top 5 backs… however, someone in the league has Kamara as a keeper later in the draft. Assuming those backs come off the board in order, it’s looking like I’ll be staring down the Derrick Henry and CEH tier of top backs (not really that excited about either of them in round one) or a top receiver (would prefer to wait on receivers and draft a back in R1). I’ve got Chubb as a later round keeper, but I like to stack RBs in the first few rounds since the position thins out considerably after that.

    Do I suck it up and just take Michael Thomas? Reach up for a Miles Sanders or Josh Jacobs? Who would you be targeting at pick five if you were in my shoes?

    • Hobbs

      Hobbs says:
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      I have no problem with taking Thomas at the No. 5 spot — something I did myself on two occasions this past draft season (both full-PPR). It may be an unpopular take, but after the big four backs (McCaffrey, Barkley, Elliott, Kamara) I’d rather spend a first rounder on Thomas. No way am I taking CEH/Sanders/Jacobs at the five spot — Henry is the only one you should probably consider, but as you can see, I’m not as high as many other experts are, as I have Drake ahead of him.

      Since you already have Chubb, I think you can pass on the RB here. I understand wanting to stockpile early, but if you grab another RB or two after drafting Thomas, you can still end up with an incredibly balanced (and talented) RB-WR mix. The WR pool in rounds 5-7 this year is as deep as ever.

  2. Btdrnks says:
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    This is possibly the best run down of backs I’ve seen this year! Razzball never fails. Quick keeper question. 12 team non PPR, where I can keep 3 where I give up my first three picks if I keep all three. Do I keep some combination of Chubb, Connors , Lamar Jackson, DJ Moore or JuJu? Do I start over with the hopes of landing Clyde Edwards Helaire and snagging back one of Chubb or Connors with my second rounder?

    • Hobbs

      Hobbs says:
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      Appreciate that!

      Honestly it depends just how certain you are you can grab a top tier guy without keeping anyone. But since this is non-PPR, Chubb is a pretty nice starting point, quite truthfully. And although I actually like Conner a lot this year, he’s more of a fourth round target for me.

      I would keep Chubb Moore and Lamar and then potentially snag the top RB available in the fourth.

  3. waffles says:
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    hello hobbs

    who would you drop to make room for my week 1 kicker? .5ppr 12 team
    Chris Thompson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, Alexander Mattison

    thanks!

    • Hobbs

      Hobbs says:
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      Hey waffles!

      Lazard or Mattison – drop whichever position you’re deeper at. If it’s a wash, I’d say Lazard.

      • waffles says:
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        which position do you think i’m deeper at lol

        RB: Barkley, David Montgomery, Latavius Murray, Antonio Gibson, Chris Thompson, Mattison,
        WR: Julio Jones, DK Metcalf, Tyler Boyd, Preston Williams, Hardman, Lazard

        thx

        • Hobbs

          Hobbs says:
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          I’d drop Lazard.

          Lazard has more Week 1 value but Mattison remains a potential league winner in the event of a Cook injury.

  4. Justin Ralph says:
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    Your ads are blocking the articles and can’t be closed out.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      The tech crew is on it. Thanks for the heads up.

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