The running back position in fantasy football is usually top-heavy and lacks depth, so if you don’t lock down one of the elite players at this spot you may be out of luck if you intend on winning your league. Despite that fact, every year there are a few backs who are overlooked and end up being incredible values. Here are five running backs who could outperform their ADP during the 2020 season.
*All rankings and stats are based on ESPN PPR scoring.
5. Cam Akers
With Todd Gurley out of the picture, the Rams backfield is up for grabs and Cam Akers should be considered the favorite to land the starting role. The Florida State product totaled 1,369 yards and found the end zone 18 times during his junior season with the Seminoles. He even flashed some receiving upside, catching 30 passes which ranked 2nd among running backs in the ACC in 2019. This was all the Rams needed to select him with the 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft. The two backs who played behind Gurley last year (Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson) averaged just 3.8 and 3.7 YPC respectively, so it shouldn’t be hard for Akers to earn the starting role in Week 1. In Sean McVay’s three years as the head coach in Los Angeles, his offenses have ranked 1st, 2nd, and 11th in points scored. Thus, Akers is poised to excel in this high-flying system assuming he captures the starting role.
Current ESPN ranking: 29th
RBs I like him over: Kareem Hunt, David Montgomery, James White
4. Devin Singletary
Devin Singletary was quietly one of the most consistent fantasy contributors in the second half of the 2019 season. From Week 9 on, he totaled 603 rushing yards on 4.6 YPC, scoring 8 or more fantasy points in seven of those eight games. The only issue for Singletary was that he only found the end zone twice in that span. But that could change if the Bills trust him with more responsibility in his sophomore season. After all, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 9th most elusive running back in 2019. He’ll have to fend off third-round rookie Zack Moss, but if Singletary sustains his production from last season he could easily post top-20 numbers in an improved Buffalo offense.
Current ESPN ranking: 21st
RBs I like him over: Melvin Gordon, Mark Ingram, Jonathan Taylor
3. Leonard Fournette
After an incredibly inefficient 2018 campaign, Leonard Fournette bounced back in a big way with the best fantasy season of his career in 2019. The former LSU star finished 7th in fantasy points among running backs, in large part due to his 76 receptions which ranked 5th at the position and 1st among Jaguars pass-catchers (receivers included). Given his 6’0, 228 lb frame, it’s surprising that Fournette was one of just three running backs to finish in the top-40 in fantasy scoring last season with 3 total touchdowns or less (Tarik Cohen and DeAndre Washington were the others). Yep, you read that right. Fournette managed to carve out an RB1 campaign on an awful Jaguars team while only scoring three touchdowns. His touchdown numbers are surely expected to see positive regression to the mean, especially if he keeps up his production as a pass-catcher. Fournette’s only roadblock is staying healthy, which he did for the most part last season, playing in a career-high 15 games, with the only missed game coming in Week 17. Jacksonville declined his fifth-year option, so expect them to run Fournette into the ground in 2020, especially with potential one-hit-wonder Gardner Minshew under center. Fournette can easily repeat RB1 numbers this season, considering he did so against all odds last year.
Current ESPN ranking: 14th
RBs I like him over: Miles Sanders, Le’Veon Bell, Josh Jacobs
2. David Johnson
What a weird few years it’s been for David Johnson. After being the RB1 overall in fantasy football for the 2016 season, Johnson has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, which ultimately led the Cardinals to simply give up on him in the middle of last season. After breaking his wrist in Week 1 and missing the rest of the season in 2017, Johnson posted a top-10 fantasy campaign in 2018 and appeared to be well on his way to another one last season, averaging over 20 points-per-game through the first six games of the season. Johnson dealt with some nagging injuries that led to the Cardinals benching him in favor of midseason acquisition Kenyan Drake. While his days in Arizona came to an unceremonious end, there’s good reason to be optimistic about Johnson’s chances to return to form in 2020. With a fresh start in Houston, look for Johnson to rebound in a big way this year. Without DeAndre Hopkins, there should be more volume to go around in the Texans’ offense and the team’s backfield could be a direct beneficiary, especially considering Bill O’Brien needs to justify trading Hopkins for Johnson in the first place. 2016 feels like eons ago, but Johnson is still a talented player in a decent offensive system and it’s possible that many fantasy managers have forgotten about his talent.
Current ESPN ranking: 20th
RBs I like him over: James Conner, Melvin Gordon, Raheem Mostert
1. Todd Gurley
After being a top-3 fantasy back in 2017 and 2018, Todd Gurley regressed hard last season struggling with inefficiency and injuries. Gurley still managed to put up RB2 numbers, finishing as the 14th best running back thanks in large part to his 14 total touchdowns, but his production was a far cry from the two seasons prior. Now with a new team in the Atlanta Falcons with a lot to prove, expect Gurley to get back to his old self. Health will always be a concern, but he passed his physical so he’s as ready for the season as he can be. Dan Quinn also said the team plans to feature him in 2020 and not limit his touches, something that was a concern last year with Los Angeles. A healthy Todd Gurley is a top-10 running back, and it wasn’t too long ago when people were talking about Gurley as the best running back in football. He definitely comes with a great load of risk, but his upside is tremendous.
Current ESPN ranking: 17th
RBs I like him over: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chris Carson, Le’Veon Bell