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Running Back Roundup: Midseason Stats (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Oct 30, 2019

Dalvin Cook appears to be the fantasy MVP at this point in the season

It’s time once again for the Running Back Roundup. In this week’s installment, I’ll be taking a look at the midseason leaders in rushing, scrimmage yards, and PPR fantasy points while highlighting those backs who have been the biggest disappointments thus far. The midpoint of the season is a great time to reflect, collect our bearings, and look ahead to the back-half of the season — money time! Thanks for joining me again, as we take a deeper dive into fantasy’s favorite position: the running back. Let’s get to it!

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Rushing Leaders

1. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 823
2. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 791
3. Nick Chubb (CLE): 738
4. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 735
5. Chris Carson (SEA): 659
6. Josh Jacobs (OAK): 620
7. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): 602
8. Marlon Mack (IND): 590
9. Derrick Henry (TEN): 581
10. Carlos Hyde (HOU): 544

It’s a surprising midseason thought exercise to look at a list of top rushers in the NFL and see Zeke seventh, just behind rookie Josh Jacobs. Elliott is a force to be reckoned with, but this year is different, and he’s not on the same level as he’s been in years past. Dalvin Cook is without a doubt this year’s fantasy MVP at the halfway point because you could get him in the second and sometimes the third round of drafts. Leonard Fournette has had a monster first half of the season thanks to a huge workload. If he can stay healthy all year, he’ll shatter his previous highs in rushing yards (1,040) and scrimmage yards (1,342). The rookie Josh Jacobs cracks the list at No. 6 thanks to Oakland’s commitment to getting him the ball on a regular basis. His level of success can be sustained, as he is the focal point of this offense.

Scrimmage Yards Leaders

1. Dalvin Cook (MIN):  1,116 yards
2. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 1,078 yards
3. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 1,054 yards
4. Nick Chubb (CLE): 873 yards
5. Aaron Jones (GB): 821 yards
6. Chris Carson (SEA): 808 yards
7. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): 778 yards
8. Austin Ekeler (LAC): 758 yards
9. Josh Jacobs (OAK): 722 yards
10. Derrick Henry (TEN): 709 yards

C-Mac has seemed otherworldly this year, but the scrimmage yards leader Dalvin Cook, isn’t getting the love he deserves. He’s put Minnesota on his back with over 1,100 yards through eight games, and he and McCaffrey should both eclipse 2,000 total yards. In a two-man race to be fantasy’s No. 1 back, the edge goes to Cookie, who’s playing on a better and more stable team. Leonard Fournette’s surprisingly-healthy involvement in the receiving game has boosted his fantasy stock tremendously, and the third-year man sits just behind the aforementioned top two backs, and he’s not far off of the lead. Austin Ekeler makes the list here because of his huge work as a receiver out of the backfield. Though Melvin Gordon is back in the mix, Ekeler hasn’t relented and has maintained every-week flex consideration. Derrick Henry has silenced critics by going for over 700 yards at the halfway point, showing what he can do if he can be healthy for the whole season (if this pace continues).

Fantasy Leaders (PPR)

1. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 208.8 points
2. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 192.6 points
3. Aaron Jones (GB): 180.1 points 
4. Austin Ekeler (LAC): 170.8 points
5. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 144.4 points 
6. Nick Chubb (CLE): 138.3 points 
7. Ezekiel Elliot (DAL): 135.8 points 
8. Chris Carson (SEA): 127.0 points 
9. James Conner (PIT): 124.6 points 
10. David Johnson (ARI): 121.5 points 

The biggest surprise here is Aaron Jones. No question about it. The dude is balling in Green Bay and leads all running backs in total touchdowns (11). His breakout is far from over as the dynamic rusher has eclipsed 150 yards from scrimmage in a game three times this season, putting together multi-score efforts in three games. It’s very tough to see Zeke at No. 7 here after all the commotion he brought on himself in the offseason. Austin Ekeler’s ranking on this list will fall by season’s end, but it seems unlikely he’ll fall out of the top 10. Melvin Gordon will eat into his work, but Ekeler has looked like the better back when both are on the field together. Nick Chubb has looked incredible this year, given the state of his offensive line. Chris Carson and Mark Ingram are set up incredibly well to have continued success throughout the season because they play on teams that are committed to the run.

Biggest Busts

1. Damien Williams (KC): 54.5 points – RB42
2. Kerryon Johnson (DET): 68.4 points – RB34
3. Joe Mixon (CIN): 80.1 points – RB31
4. Sony Michel (NE): 91.7 points – RB24

5. Saquon Barkley (NYG): 93.4 points – RB22

Injuries have plagued this group, as all of Saquon Barkley, Damien Williams, and Kerryon Johnson have missed time this season for one injury or another. Barkley missed three games and is still an RB2 thanks to his dominant work. He’s sure to finish the season as an RB1 if he plays all of his remaining games. Damien Williams is mired in an Andy Reid timeshare with LeSean McCoy, and there doesn’t seem to be any way for him to escape it. Sony Michel has been highly inefficient, even given his voluminous share of the team’s carries. Kerryon Johnson was sent to the IR, and if we do see him again, it’s unlikely he makes more of an impact than he did when healthy. Mixon is playing on a horrible team with a makeshift offensive line and even his incredible athleticism isn’t enough to overcome his circumstances.

Now that we’ve touched on the biggest statistics, here are four more lists of statistical leaders at the halfway point of the NFL season. Thanks for reading, and as always, best of luck in your matchups!

Carries

1. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 163
2. Chris Carson (SEA): 159
3. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 156
4. Derrick Henry (TEN): 151
5. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 141

Total Touchdowns 

1. Aaron Jones (GB): 11
2. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 10
3. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 9
4. Austin Ekeler (LAC): 8
5. Todd Gurley (LAR)/Mark Ingram (BAL): 7

Yards Per Carry

1. Raheem Mostert (SF): 5.7
2. Nick Chubb (CLE): 5.5
3. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 5.3
4. Matt Breida (SF): 5.3 
5. Christian McCaffrey (CAR)/LeSean McCoy (KC): 5.2 

Carries Inside the Five-Yard Line

1. Sony Michel (NE): 11
2. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 10
3. Mark Ingram (BAL): 8
4. Jordan Howard (PHI): 8
5. David Montgomery (CHI): 8 

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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