By now, fantasy football draft prep should be starting up, so it’s time to dig deep and figure out who you should focus on at each position … and who you should avoid whether it’s based on average draft position or other reasons.
That’s what this series of posts is meant to be. We’re starting with running backs, the position that makes or breaks fantasy football seasons year after year. Even though it feels like one or two waiver-wire RBs end up winning it all for owners, you still have to focus on drafting some cornerstone running backs to have a chance.
Here’s how to approach the position at draft time, along with some sleepers and busts to remember:
Self sufficiency Strategy
If there was already a dearth of dependable three-down running backs last year, then it’s dried up even further in 2020.
You’ve got Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and then a tier below who have upside but question marks about their usage (yes, I’m throwing Derrick Henry into that group and you’ll see why in a minute).
So if you have a first-round pick, you should use it on a running back. Wide receiver is a much deeper position. Quarterback is even deeper. Don’t go for tight ends in the first.
After your first pick? If you went RB again in the second round, it’s not a bad idea. And after that, I tend to grab as many running backs as I can later in drafts to fill my Flex spot and my bench, given how injuries pile up at the position and change everything. You could also land on a running back later on who gets the majority of carries in a timeshare.
Get the idea? Make running back your priority. Every other position is secondary.
Self sufficiency Sleepers
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
He might be a second-round pick whose ceiling hits first-round status. This was encouraging to hear:
Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
Another one who could end up with RB1 numbers who’s drafted outside the top 10. The Cards’ offense should take a step forward in Kyler Murray’s second year under center, and that means Drake will too.
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Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
I’m worried about all rookies in 2020, but with running backs — particularly Taylor, the second-rounder out of Wisconsin — it may not matter. Everything we’re hearing out of Colts camp seems to point toward Taylor getting more of the carries than Marlon Mack. It’s worth seeing if that’s the case given his relatively low price.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
A post-rookie hype pick who was a disappointment last year. But if Nick Foles improves the offense, he’ll have more value.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
He’s slotted for Frank Gore’s old role behind Devin Singletary … but that might mean a larger role than you think for the rookie, and a HUGE role if Singletary is out for any reason.
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ running back situation is up in the air with Cam Akers getting drafted. So why not take a flier on the guy whose ADP will be lower?
Self sufficiency Busts
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
It’s possible he ends up with huge rushing numbers again. But I’m worried the touchdown totals and usage isn’t sustainable or repeatable, and at where he’s being drafted, it’s too risky.
Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
Don’t do it. There are better, more healthy RBs to take than the vet who has knee problems.
Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens
He won’t match his career-high 15 touchdowns, and I worry about his age, and the fact that the Ravens drafted JK Dobbins.
D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
Kerryon Johnson is still in Detroit, so I’m not so sure this is Swift’s job exclusively yet. Don’t overpay.
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