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Dan Harris’s Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings (2020)

by Dan Harris | @danharris80 | Featured Writer
Aug 29, 2020

Raheem Mostert is one player Dan Harris favors more than consensus.

Fantasy teams that don’t focus on the running back position early give me anxiety.

That doesn’t make me unique as an analyst or a fantasy football player. The wide receiver position is as deep as ever for fantasy purposes, and each team in your league is likely often drafting only one quarterback and tight end in a single-quarterback league. So, of course, fantasy football managers want to shore up the running back position.

But still. Teams that don’t focus on the running back position early give me anxiety.

Occasionally, teams with a top-three pick will ease off the running back position for a few rounds, knowing they have one of the few truly elite fantasy backs in the game. They’ll beef up other parts of their roster, turning back to the running back position eventually and adding plenty of depth. The teams often look strong out of the draft.

But still. Teams that don’t focus on the running back position early give me anxiety.

In salary cap leagues, there are plenty of times where the cost of top-tier running backs is inflated. When that happens, if you exercise restraint, there are usually massive discounts at the other positions, and you can often build rosters that are stronger and deeper than you could ever hope to build in a draft.

But still. Teams that don’t focus on the running back position early give me anxiety.

13 of the top 14 players in my rankings are running backs. 18 of my top 24? Running backs.

I’m not breaking any news here when I say that running backs are the lifeblood of a fantasy team. The only question is which one you select when the time comes.

As you’ll see, my rankings vary fairly heavily at times from the expert consensus. I’ve backed off my David Johnson love just a tad from the offseason, but not too much. I understand the criticisms, but he’s walking into an excellent opportunity with Houston, given the capital given up to acquire him from Arizona, Carlos Hyde’s usage last season (64% of the running back touches despite joining Houston shortly before the season), and the fact that Johnson was a top-10 fantasy back before suffering his injury last season. There’s downside, but still not quite sure why our community isn’t higher on him.

Others I favor more than consensus include Raheem Mostert (of course there’s a chance he’s just in a full timeshare with Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, but given that the 49ers made him happy after his trade demands and how he finished the season, I’m betting he’ll get and succeed with the first opportunity to lead the way) and Latavius Murray (not a TON of standalone value but combined with his elite upside as Alvin Kamara’s handcuff, he’s worth reaching for a bit).

As for those I’m “avoiding” as compared to consensus, I’d like to know that Miles Sanders is healthy before I fully commit to drafting him as an RB1. Melvin Gordon may be walking into a committee with the underrated Phillip Lindsay and with a quarterback who targeted running backs far less than Philip Rivers ever did. And Devin Singletary has to compete with the excellent Zack Moss and is unlikely to see a boon in touchdowns.

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Dan Harris is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive or follow him on Twitter @danharris80.

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