As we approach our fantasy football drafts over the next two weeks leading up to the start of the season, ADP has finally begun to settle which gives us the best picture of where players are going. Every offseason we look back at the year prior and wonder how some running backs were being drafted so late, compared to the current year. Let’s take a look at some running backs who are being drafted lower than they should be heading into the 2020 season.
Nick Chubb (ADP: 2.05)
After an incredible season in which we saw Nick Chubb finish runner-up in the NFL rushing title, the Cleveland Browns added to its offensive line by signing Jack Conklin to ensure this would continue to be a strength moving into 2020 and beyond. As of writing this, Chubb is the 3rd-favorite after Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott to capture the rushing title this season. We know Kareem Hunt will take some touches away from him this season, especially on third down, but we can’t forget that Chubb wasn’t only mediocre once Hunt suited up for the Browns last season. After Hunt returned in Week 10, Chubb averaged 18 carries and a couple of targets through the air per game which bodes well for an offense looking to take the next step this season. Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski made Dalvin Cook into a fantasy star last season, and with an improved offensive line and more favorable game scripts coming Chubb’s way, he has a serious chance to finish as a top-5 running back this season.
James Conner (ADP: 2.11)
Recency bias can be a blinding curse in fantasy football and James Conner and his ADP are a perfect example of this. Conner is a year removed from being drafted as the RB5 in fantasy football and now his current ADP of 2.11 makes him the RB15 off the board. What’s changed? You could argue that his situation has actually gotten much better with Diontae Johnson having another year in the offense and the acquisitions of Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool taking even more pressure off the RB position. If Ben Roethlisberger remains healthy this season (and that could be a big if) there’s no reason that Conner cannot exceed his ADP and finish as a mid-to-low RB1.
Zach Moss (ADP: 8.02)
Zach Moss could be the running back the Buffalo Bills have been searching for, someone to handle all three downs and has the muscle to punch it in from the goal-line. Devin Singletary continues to fumble in practice, and at 5’ 7” and 203 pounds, he is a smaller back who is shifty. He’s more of the change-of-pace back you would want on your team, not the lead-role guy. Zach Moss has the skill set to take over as the RB1 on Buffalo and even before he takes over the job from Singletary, he provides stand-alone value since Buffalo is a run-first team. It’s been said Moss will take over the “Frank Gore role” from last season, which might surprise people with how much volume he was receiving - during the 15 games he played in 2019, Gore averaged 11 carries per game and scored 4 total touchdowns. That could probably be Moss’ floor at this point with upside for a lot more, especially in the touchdown department. If you take a modified-RB approach and are looking for later picks to stock up at RB, Moss should be a target worth considering.
Damien Harris (ADP: 9.06)
One of the biggest ADP movers over the past few weeks has been Patriots’ Damien Harris, who is now being selected in the middle of the 9th round in PPR drafts after Sony Michel is questionable to start in Week 1’s matchup against Miami. Harris, a second-year running back out of Alabama, didn’t see the field much at all last season, totaling only 4 carries in 2019, but has been impressive in camp so far, being touted as the “clear breakout star of camp and he is the number one running back by far.” In the Patriots’ offense, the running back whom Bill Belichick trusts, is valuable in fantasy football. Harris is still a value in drafts and his ADP is lower still since the Patriots have a lengthy list of running backs on its depth chart and their usage seems to be planned one game at a time. We know James White will be the go-to guy on third downs, but if Harris can be the lead back who can also catch passes out of the backfield from Newton, he could provide RB2 numbers this season.
Duke Johnson (ADP: 12.02)
Duke Johnson is someone that won’t necessarily win you a week with his normal, week-to-week production, but he provides a good flex replacement for a player that is on a bye week or has sustained an injury. Last season in PPR leagues Johnson finished as the RB29 and is the RB2 behind David Johnson in Houston. With DeAndre Hopkins out of the picture, that leaves Houston’s wide receiving core trio at Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills. If they have anything in common, it’s that they are all injury prone. It’s not out of the question that Duke could see more time as a receiver if an injury or two were to pop up throughout the season, and if David Johnson were to go down? Sure, you wouldn’t pencil him in as an RB1 like you would Alexander Mattison or Tony Pollard, but you would be confident starting him as your RB2 on your team. Even without the injury to David Johnson, Duke Johnson has stand-alone value and even more so in deeper leagues.
Darrel Williams (ADP: 14.02)
With DeAndre Washington not being able to take the field over the past week or so in Chiefs’ practices, Darrel Williams has all of a sudden popped up on the fantasy radar once again after taking snaps with the 1st team offense alongside Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Reports out of camp say he’s progressing nicely and the backup RB on one of the NFL’s highest-scoring offenses is a very valuable piece to hold in case of injury and opportunity in the passing game when CHE isn’t on the field. In the unlikely event that CHE’s snaps are limited due to any pass-blocking inefficiencies, Williams could see a huge boost in value and is worth a stash on your bench prior to Week 1.
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