Christian McCaffrey vs. Saquon Barkley: Which top-tier RB ought to go No. 1 total in fantasy soccer?

The primary spherical of your fantasy soccer draft can be populated with operating backs. Homeowners do not need to danger lacking out on studs on the RB place as a result of the depth of the group is commonly lower than inspiring. Certain, some handcuffs and sleepers will emerge as high quality choices, however as a rule, the RBs on the prime of the rankings find yourself being what could make — and positively break — a group.

Whereas choosing a operating again early is commonplace (except you are a fan of the Zero-RB technique), choosing the right one can typically be tough. In current seasons, we have seen the likes of David Johnson and Todd Gurley go early, solely to disappoint their homeowners. Final yr, accidents left some disenchanted by the efficiency of Saquon Barkley, the No. 1 total choose in most leagues. That is what makes this yr’s alternative between Barkley and Christian McCaffrey for the No. 1 total spot so fascinating.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Final 2020 cheat sheet

With draft days quickly approaching, we’ll check out the arguments for taking McCaffrey vs. taking Barkley atop fantasy soccer drafts, and if it is value contemplating some other RBs with the highest total choice.

2020 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Working again | Extensive receiver | Tight finish | D/ST | Kicker | Superflex | High 200

Fantasy Soccer Draft Technique: Choosing Christian McCaffrey No. 1 total

Over the previous two seasons, McCaffrey has been the very best operating again in fantasy soccer, and there is little purpose to anticipate that to alter within the close to future.

In the course of the 2019 season, he was an absolute pressure for the homeowners that chosen him within the first spherical. He totaled 1,387 yards on the bottom, good for third within the NFL, and added 15 speeding TDs, additionally third within the league. That led to him being a monster in standard-scoring codecs with a whopping 355.2 fantasy factors. That was far and away essentially the most factors on the RB place. Derrick Henry completed second and was 76.eight factors behind McCaffrey.

On common, McCaffrey outscored all different operating backs by at the least three.eight factors per week in standard-scoring codecs. His dominance in PPR is even better, as he led all RBs in targets (142), receptions (116, second most within the NFL to solely Michael Thomas), and receiving yards (1,004). He was the lone participant to complete at the least 1,000 speeding yards and 1,000 receiving yards on the season, led the league with 403 touches, and tied for essentially the most TDs within the league with 19.

McCaffrey is a stat-stuffer, and his observe report of fine well being is notable, as nicely. He has by no means missed a sport throughout his three-year NFL profession. He ought to proceed to be a large a part of the Panthers’ offense and may have an opportunity to play over 90 p.c of the offense snaps once more as he did final yr.

There are some questions with the Panthers. They’re transitioning to a brand new teaching workers, misplaced a proficient blocker at proper guard, Trai Turner, within the commerce for Russell Okung, and they’re transitioning to a brand new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Nevertheless, on condition that McCaffrey was in a position to produce at such a excessive clip with an injured Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier at quarterback final yr, he ought to discover a approach to proceed to supply even with the modifications in Carolina.

In brief, McCaffrey is a stud. He has completed nothing to point that a drop-off might be coming any time quickly. Whereas he could not have the identical type of full and utter dominance he placed on show in ’19, he’s nonetheless a sure-fire top-two choose on this yr’s draft.

2020 PPR RANKINGS:
Working again | Extensive receiver | Tight finish | Superflex | High 200

Fantasy Soccer Draft Technique: Choosing Saquon Barkley No. 1 total

It feels a bit bizarre to categorise Barkley’s ’19 season as a disappointment, however that is precisely what it was for fantasy homeowners. Barkley was the No. 1 choose in lots of leagues, however he did not fairly produce like one. His total numbers — 1,441 scrimmage yards, eight complete TDs — weren’t unhealthy. He completed 10th amongst RBs in fantasy factors, racking up 192.1 on the season, and sixth in fantasy factors per sport (FPPG) with 14.eight.

However a deeper dive into the numbers exhibits why homeowners had been annoyed with Barkley. In Week three, he suffered a excessive ankle sprain towards the Buccaneers and was set to overlook time with the damage. Barkley truly returned far sooner than many anticipated, lacking simply three weeks whereas some thought he might be out for as many as eight, however his on-field efficiency simply wasn’t the identical whereas recovering from the issue.

In eight video games from Week three via Week 14, Barkley averaged simply 9.four FPPG. He struggled to maneuver the ball a lot on the bottom, averaging simply three.1 yards per carry and did not make sufficient explosive performs to again up his standing. Although he was enjoying via an damage that will’ve stored many others sidelined, some fantasy homeowners could have simply most well-liked to see Barkley keep on the sidelines till totally wholesome to keep away from dealing with a brutal begin ’em-sit ’em determination involving him.

In the course of the closing three weeks of the common season, Barkley began to point out indicators of being the Barkley of outdated. He averaged almost 28 FPPG whereas wanting wholesome and constructed some momentum heading into the ’20 marketing campaign. That was actually an encouraging signal for the Giants again, and it turns into much more inspiring when seeing that the Giants spent a few early draft picks on tackles to improve their offensive line.

Barkley is an efficient rival to McCaffrey for the highest spot in fantasy soccer drafts, however he’ll have to return to his rookie-year type to unseat the reigning champ. Even then, it could be exhausting for him to make up sufficient floor contemplating that McCaffrey outscored Barkley’s 2018 fantasy output by virtually 4 FPPG and final yr’s output by virtually 7.5 FPPG. 

FANTASY DRAFT STRATEGIES: 
Snake draft | Public sale | Finest ball | Dynasty | IDP

Are some other RBs worthy of the No. 1 total choose?

Any time you may have the highest choose, it is at the least value contemplating another choices you might goal. Some leagues do permit draft-day trades, so it is value evaluating choices in case a trade-down alternative emerges.

Of the remainder of the RBs, Derrick Henry comes out on prime. He was second in RB fantasy factors final yr with 276.6 and led the NFL in speeding makes an attempt (303), speeding yards (1,540), and speeding touchdowns (16). He is a dominant pressure on the bottom, however he does not do as a lot within the air as different lead backs. His 18 catches for 206 yards and two receiving TDs had been all career-highs. Henry’s quantity makes him intriguing as a possible No. 1 in customary codecs, however his lack of receiving means drops him in PPR.

One participant you possibly can by no means have this dialog with out together with is Ezekiel Elliott. Over his four-year profession, he has dealt with over 300 carries thrice and has at the least 354 touches in three seasons, as nicely. The one season he did not eclipse the 300-touch mark got here in ’17, when he served a six-game suspension and solely appeared in 10 contests. Elliott ought to proceed to be the focus of the Cowboys’ assault, however the group’s plethora of receiving weapons may take some TDs away from him.

Dalvin Prepare dinner may draw consideration, as nicely. The Vikings operating again is coming off a yr that noticed him log 1,654 scrimmage yards and 13 complete touchdowns whereas keying the Vikings to a playoff berth. He has by no means performed a full 16-game slate throughout his NFL profession, however he has elevated his variety of video games performed in every of his first three NFL seasons. Together with it, he is elevated his complete yardage and TDs. The damage dangers will scare many off, however there’s a world the place he stays wholesome and finishes the season because the No. 1 fantasy again. It simply will not be this one.

Lastly, Nick Chubb may find yourself making it to the highest spot. He completed second within the NFL with 1,498 speeding yards and eight touchdowns final yr in Cleveland. The Browns upgraded their offensive line and determine to be higher at blocking this yr, so Chubb may feasibly lead the league in speeding yards. Nevertheless, the presence of Kareem Hunt limits his upside as a receiver, and Hunt may additionally vulture some touchdowns from him.

There are actually quite a few Tier 1 RB choices that might pan out within the prime spot, however although these backs have expertise, McCaffrey and Barkley nonetheless are, and ought to be, ranked forward of them.

2020 FANTASY SLEEPERS:
6 QBs | 16 RBs | 14 WRs | 10 TEs | 5 D/STs | One from every group

The decision

There are many operating again choices atop the draft to think about, however McCaffrey and Barkley are clearly the highest two on the place. When evaluating these two, there’s a fairly clear-cut No. 1 alternative there, as nicely.

McCaffrey is a reduce above Barkley at this level. The 2 predominant causes for this are his workload benefit, and his streak of fine well being in comparison with that of Barkley. McCaffrey ought to be the No. 1 choose in each customary and PPR codecs, and it is extremely probably that he can be.

Now, if you happen to’re an enormous Barkley fan and need to guess on him with the No. 1 choose, no one’s going to fault you for that. Barkley may simply pan out and problem McCaffrey for the highest spot if all goes nicely for him. However as talked about earlier, even when Barkley is wholesome and has a fantastic yr, will probably be exhausting for him to bridge the massive level hole that existed between him and McCaffrey final yr.

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