Operating again remains to be crucial place in fantasy soccer. Do not let anybody inform you in any other case. There are so few high-quality, workhorse operating backs that in case you do not land no less than one or two of the top-20 gamers on the place, you find yourself behind the Eight-ball early within the season. That is why it is vital to have a draft technique that emphasizes taking operating backs early and sometimes. And it is also why breaking operating backs into tiers in your cheat sheet will be useful.
We have all been at some extent in fantasy soccer drafts the place we’re deciding between two gamers — one which’s rated larger and one which’s decrease however we could like extra. How do you make the choice about which one to take? Tiers are a great way to assist out with that, because it lets you see precisely how huge the distinction could also be between two gamers and whether or not you possibly can wait one other spherical or two to take them.
In some circumstances, the distinction between the 15th-best participant and the 16th-best participant at a place might not be huge. Different occasions, it could be enormous. Tiers assist kind by way of the questions on evaluating gamers and set up a couple of key teams of operating backs to focus on.
Our RB tiers this yr are damaged up into seven tiers. Some tiers embrace sleepers and handcuffs; others are principally studs. This could assist separate the RB1s from the perimeter RB1s, the RB2s from the FLEX performs, and the perimeter draftable gamers from the undraftable gamers. With out additional ado, listed below are our RB tiers, beginning with the perfect of the perfect.
2020 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Operating again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | D/ST | Kicker | Superflex | High 200
2020 RB Rankings Tiers: Who’re the perfect fantasy operating backs?
1. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
2. Saquon Barkley, Giants
three. Derrick Henry, Titans
four. Dalvin Cook dinner, Vikings
5. Nick Chubb, Browns
6. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
7. Josh Jacobs, Raiders
Eight. Alvin Kamara, Saints
9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs
Our checklist of top-tier operating backs is fairly lengthy this yr. In fact, it is value noting that Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley very simply may’ve ended up in their very own tier, however we have been feeling beneficiant and determined to present extra backs the nod right here.
McCaffrey and Barkley are as near certain issues as operating backs get. Each produced regardless of enjoying on unhealthy groups final yr, and because the groups rebuild and the casts round them will get stronger, so ought to the performances of every again. They need to go back-to-back with the highest two picks in any non-Superflex league.
Past the highest two, many of the backs on this tier are dominant workhorses. Henry, Chubb, and Elliott all completed within the high 5 in touches final yr, and Cook dinner, who completed ninth, would’ve definitely joined them if he hadn’t missed two video games.
In PPR leagues, Kamara and Edwards-Helaire would transfer up the board (which is why we saved them in Tier 1 right here). Kamara was third within the NFL amongst operating backs with 81 catches final season. Remarkably, it was the third consecutive yr through which he caught precisely 81 passes. As for Edwards-Helaire, he’s a smaller, shifty again who caught 55 passes throughout his closing season at LSU. He ought to be the unquestioned lead again in Kansas Metropolis, so he’ll rack up a great quantity of touches.
You’ll be able to’t go unsuitable with any of those gamers as your RB1. For traditional leagues, you might want to do your greatest to land one in every of these guys within the first spherical or seize two second-tier guys in case you’re drafting later and all these gamers are off the board.
2020 PPR RANKINGS:
Operating again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | Superflex | High 200
Fantasy RB Tiers: Second-round RB targets
10. Aaron Jones, Packers
11. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars
12. Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
13. Joe Mixon, Bengals
14. Austin Ekeler, Chargers
15. Chris Carson, Seahawks
16. Devin Singletary, Payments
17. Miles Sanders, Eagles
This group has fairly a little bit of high-volume expertise, as nicely. The entire backs right here mission to be the unquestioned leaders of their backfield models, and a few may finally climb into the highest tier. Had the Packers not drafted A.J. Dillon, you could possibly’ve made the case for Aaron Jones being within the first tier. He led the league in whole touchdowns final yr with 19 and will proceed to see a variety of touches in Inexperienced Bay.
Some gamers on this tier could have irked house owners with their lack of consistency in 2019. Notably, Fournette, Mixon, and Drake all had their share of struggles enjoying for shedding groups. However late within the yr, Mixon and Drake have been in a position to construct some momentum heading into the ’20 season. Drake, particularly, was nice, logging 413 yards and 7 TDs in his closing three video games, so he nonetheless will be trusted as a possible RB1. If Gardner Minshew improves, Fournette ought to have extra scoring alternatives, however the presence of Chris Thompson would possibly knock down his shock PPR prowess.
In case you’re searching for a safer choose, Chris Carson stands out as a participant that shall be productive once more in Seattle. He has back-to-back seasons with no less than 247 carries, 1,151 dashing yards, and 7 touchdowns, and he performs for a ground-dominant staff. That is a recipe for achievement as a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2.
Elsewhere, you possibly can really feel assured trusting Ekeler and his 92 catches as a top-15 again in customary codecs. In PPR, he is arguably a top-tier again. Singletary and Sanders are each younger and unproven, however they’re additionally unquestioned starters within the backfields of potential playoff groups. Each ought to be poised for achievement, although Philadelphia typically rotates its backs extra liberally than fantasy house owners like.
These backs all shall be robust RB2s on the very least, and there is a good likelihood that a couple of of them change into RB1s. There is a good mixture of choices right here for the daring who need upside (Singletary or Sanders) or for those who need constant touches (Carson or Fournette). Grabbing one in every of these guys within the late-first/early-second spherical of fantasy drafts shall be nicely value it.
2020 FANTASY SLEEPERS:
6 QBs | 16 RBs | 14 WRs | 10 TEs | 5 D/STs | One from every staff
2020 Fantasy Rankings: Third-tier RBs
18. David Montgomery, Bears
19. Le’Veon Bell, Jets
20. Mark Ingram, Ravens
21. James Conner, Steelers
22. Todd Gurley, Falcons
23. David Johnson, Texans
24. Cam Akers, Rams
25. JK Dobbins, Ravens
26. Raheem Mostert, 49ers
27. Jonathan Taylor, Colts
28. Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
29. D’Andre Swift, Lions
This is the place issues begin to get a bit dicier for operating backs. Our third tier has some gamers who’re undeniably gifted or positioned to hold the load for his or her groups, however there are sufficient points with the gamers to make them riskier picks.
One outstanding problem: Accidents. Loads of the gamers right here have expertise however have not been in a position to keep wholesome in recent times. Circumstances in level: Todd Gurley and David Johnson. The duo have been as soon as sure-fire first-round picks and every has spent a season because the presumptive No. 1 general choose in fantasy codecs. However accidents have sapped them of a few of their athleticism and explosiveness, so whereas they’re anticipated to hold the masses for the Falcons and Texans, respectively, there isn’t any assure that they will be capable to.
One other downside is competitors. There are so much of potential committees this season, and it is laborious to know who would possibly lead a backfield. Proper now, veterans Mark Ingram and James Conner determine to high the depth charts of their respective groups, however how lengthy will that final? They each should stave off competitors from rookies, and in the event that they battle to begin the season, they might lose touches — and worth — quickly.
Talking of rookies, there are a lot on this tier. Akers, Dobbins, Taylor, and Swift all have been second-round draft picks, and all ought to have an opportunity to emerge as contributors. However to do this, they will should beat out veterans Malcolm Brown/Darrell Henderson, Ingram, Marlon Mack, and Kerryon Johnson in a shortened offseason to earn the beginning jobs. That definitely may occur, however it could take a bit longer for them to change into true workhorses, and that might restrict their general worth.
The one gamers with minimal competitors on this checklist are Montgomery and Bell. They high this tier due to their quantity, however they’ve low ceilings due to their lack of explosiveness. Montgomery averaged a dismal three.7 yards per carry final yr, whereas Bell’s mark of three.2 was even worse. Maybe they will enhance in that space with higher blocking. Bell has extra worth in PPR leagues, no less than.
Some gamers on this tier will undoubtedly pan out, however in comparison with their ADPs, these gamers are dangers. You will both have to decide on upside or quantity right here, and it is unclear which reply shall be proper. You actually do not need to draft your RB1 from this tier, but when you may get one as your RB2 or flex within the fifth or sixth spherical or later, there’s worth right here.
2020 Fantasy RB Tiers: Principally boring veterans
30. Marlon Mack, Colts
31. Tevin Coleman, 49ers
32. Ronald Jones II, Buccaneers
33. Kareem Hunt, Browns
34. Melvin Gordon, Broncos
35. Sony Michel, Patriots
36. Adrian Peterson, Washington
Our fourth tier represents a number of the high competitors to the backs which have a tenuous grip on their beginning jobs. Mack is the highest challenger for Taylor, and he may maintain off the rookie in competitors to begin the season; Coleman was everybody’s favourite 49ers operating again final yr earlier than the emergence of Mostert later within the season; Gordon was an enormous signing by Denver and will have each alternative to beat Lindsay for the beginning job. The checklist goes on.
The opposite key element of this group is lead operating backs for groups which might be more likely to function with a committee strategy. Jones is the highest Buccaneers choice, however he’ll have competitors all yr. Sony Michel shall be keeping off Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, James White, Lamar Miller, and a knee harm, so he could have bother sustaining the 35th spot throughout the preseason. And Peterson is the highest canine in Washington after the discharge of Derrius Guice, however a few youthful gamers could look to unseat the 35-year-old.
Hunt would not fairly fall into both of the buckets established right here as he is caught behind a workhorse in Nick Chubb. That mentioned, he is a terrific again in his personal proper and will work nicely as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He in all probability climbs up an entire tier in PPR codecs, so do not be afraid to tug the set off on him sooner than some would possibly. The identical will be mentioned about Gordon.
Both method, it is powerful to be enthusiastic about drafting any of those guys, so that you really would possibly be capable to get them at a worth within the center rounds … if you need them.
2020 Fantasy RB sleepers
37. Darwin Thompson, Chiefs
38. Kerryon Johnson, Lions
39. Jordan Howard, Dolphins
40. Matt Breida, Dolphins
41. Antonio Gibson, Washington
42. Latavius Murray, Saints
43. Darrell Henderson, Rams
44. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Buccaneers
45. Alexander Mattison, Vikings
46. James White, Patriots
47. Tarik Cohen, Bears
48. Duke Johnson, Texans
49. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
50. Zack Moss, Payments
51. Boston Scott, Eagles
52. Ito Smith, Falcons
In case you like sleepers, handcuffs, and rookies with unproven roles, you have come to the best place. Our fifth tier is chock stuffed with potential, however questions on how backfield rotations will shake out and how the rookies will look and not using a preseason could drive the worth of some down a bit.
Beginning with the rookies, Antonio Gibson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn have a variety of attraction. Gibson shall be working as the highest receiving again in a Scott Foster offense that has been a boon for pass-catching RBs. He will get an enormous refill in PPR however as a result of he is behind AP for the between-the-tackles work, his upside in customary is restricted. In the meantime, Vaughn may overtake Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay, but it surely’s anybody’s guess as as to if he’ll do this.
The sleepers on this tier are rock strong and nicely value taking within the center/late rounds of fantasy drafts. Loads of the “handcuffs” are enjoying behind injury-prone starters, so Alexander Mattison, James White (PPR), Duke Johnson, and Ito Smith may all find yourself being lead backs if Dalvin Cook dinner, Sony Michael, David Johnson, and Todd Gurley cannot keep wholesome.
The Dolphins backs listed right here, Breida and Howard, will bear watching, as nicely. At this level, it is unclear which one will emerge as a starter, however each have had some success up to now. They might find yourself being a strong committee with minimal fantasy worth however as mid-round choices, they every have upside.
Notable PPR-pluses on this tier embrace Gibson, White, Tarik Cohen, Johnson, and Boston Scott.
Fantasy RB Rankings Tiers: Late-round values
53. Justin Jackson, Chargers
54. Tony Pollard, Cowboys
55. Devontae Booker, Raiders
56. Malcolm Brown, Rams
57. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
58. Jamaal Williams, Packers
59. Giovani Bernard, Bengals
60. Nyheim Hines, Colts
61. La’Mical Perine, Jets
62. Damien Harris, Patriots
63. Ryquell Armstead, Jaguars
64. Joshua Kelley, Chargers
When you get to our sixth tier, many of the operating again expertise has dried up. however there are nonetheless some potential contributors that might make an influence in ’20.
Most upside, at this level, comes from first or second-year gamers. La’Mical Perine, Damien Harris, Ryquell Armstead, and Joshua Kelley all have obstacles stopping them from attending to the highest position, however they’re nice handcuffs that might emerge if given time on the sector.
Different good handcuffs embrace Justin Jackson, who will battle Kelley for the between-the-tackles position behind Austin Ekeler, and Rashaad Penny, an vital member of the Seahawks’ ground-dominant offense.
There’s an abundance of pass-catching backs on this tier as nicely. Jamaal Williams, Gio Bernard, and Nyheim Hines would all go larger in PPR codecs than in customary, however they do not carry the ball sufficient to make a big impact. Nonetheless, they’re value selecting up in as handcuffs with receiving worth.
A few of these gamers shall be drafted sooner than they need to be by paranoid house owners of their lead backs (e.g. Leonard Fournette or Joe Mixon house owners), however most ought to go within the late rounds, if in any respect.
Fantasy Soccer Tiers: Deep RB Sleepers
65. A.J. Dillon, Packers
66. Dare Ogunbowale, Buccaneers
67. Chris Thompson, Jaguars
68. Darrynton Evans, Titans
69. Bryce Love, Washington
70. Anthony McFarland Jr., Steelers
71. Elijah McGuire, Chiefs
72. Dion Lewis, Giants
73. Jerick McKinnon, 49ers
74. Justice Hill, Ravens
75. Lynn Bowden Jr., Raiders
76. Frank Gore, Jets
77. Royce Freeman, Broncos
78. Carlos Hyde, Seahawks
79. Jalen Richard, Raiders
80. DeAndre Washington, Chiefs
81. Gus Edwards, Ravens
82. Benny Snell Jr., Steelers
83. Reggie Bonnafon, Panthers
Final however not least — nicely, possibly least — we’ve got our seventh tier. These backs are sometimes buried on the bench and solely signify tremendous deep handcuff choices. Many of the gamers right here would want an harm to change into fantasy related, however not all.
A.J. Dillon was a second-round choose by the Packers; Bryce Love may make an influence in Washington; Jerick McKinnon signed an enormous take care of the 49ers however hasn’t been wholesome for a few years; Gus Edwards was third within the league at yards per carry with 5.three. They don’t seem to be horny picks they usually will not get constant touches, however odds are that no less than one or two of those guys will get scooped off the waiver wire midseason.
And in PPR leagues, the likes of Dare Ogunbowale, Chris Thompson, and Jalen Richard belong larger and might be late-round draft picks.