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Must Draft Running Backs in 2020 Fantasy Football


It would be easy to tell you to draft guys like Christian McCaffery or Zeke Elliot. Those articles are a dime a dozen on the interwebs. Here we want to dive a little deeper and look for those running backs who are primed to get touches to put you in a position to succeed in your season long leagues. This in no way, shape, or form should dissuade you from grabbing one of those workhorse backs at the top of your draft. Here at Rise or Fall, @DFSnDonuts (Mitch) has put together some amazing season long analysis. Today we’re going to highlight some must draft running backs excluding those from the top tiers. Let’s go!

Joe Mixon

The stats on Mixon will tell you that he underwhelmed in one of the few featured back roles in the league. According to NFL NextGen stats Mixon faced 8-men boxes on less than 8% of his carries, third lowest in the NFL. His efficiency and yards per carry were pedestrian as well falling in line with league averages. I know what you’re thinking, then why are you so high on him?

Mixon is one of the few backs in the league that is not in a committee. He ranked 6th in the league with 277 carries. He caught 35 of 45 targets from a little under 300 yards and 3 TDs. I believe he will again eclipse that 300-touch mark that is coveted out of an RB1.

Mixon’s surrounding cast will be vastly different, namely, the Bengals new signal caller, Joe Burrow. Wide receivers AJ Green and John Ross are back to being healthy. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is from the Sean McVay coaching tree. I am confident with a healthy set of position players this team will be far more competitive than last year.

James Conner

We all remember Conner’s breakout 2018 campaign when Le’Veon Bell opted to holdout for a new contract. The numbers he put up were Bell-esque in the 12 games he started, 215/973/12 on the ground and 55/497/1 receiving. Le’Veon left the following offseason and Conner was crowned the feature back heading into 2020.

It all came crashing down Big Ben went down in week two. Mason Rudolph took over and offense looked abysmal. Conner dealt with his share of injuries last season which caused him to miss 6 games. I think it would be unfair to criticize Conner’s 2019 numbers due to all the injuries to the offensive side of the ball. If this offense can stay healthy, I see Conner playing a big role in its success.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Is he in a great position now that Damien Williams opted out? Yes! Should he be going over the big three (CMC, Zeke, Saquon)? Absolutely not! While the coach-speak coming from Andy Reid is exciting, he compared CHE to Brian Westbrook. This is obviously exciting knowing Reid’s offensive prowess and how he utilized Westbrook in their days with the Eagles.

It is extremely difficult to anticipate how CEH’s college stats will translate to the NFL, but we know he was the feature back at LSU during his junior year. In the high-powered Tiger’s offense, he went 215/1414/16 rushing and 55/453/1 through the air. I think that its safe to say considering the draft capital spent by the Chiefs, CEH should be in line for a featured role in Kansas City’s potent offense.

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