In the NFL, everyone knows that quarterback is the most vital positions to the success of their team. But in fantasy football, the most vital position is running back, with seven of our top nine ranked players at the position. That's especially true in standard scoring leagues.
It's such a relief to have one of the top guys, like Christian McCaffrey or Ezekiel Elliott, but not every team is lucky enough to have a set-and-forget RB1. If you aren't lucky enough to be dealt a top pick, you have to scout harder to find the next breakout RB to save your team. Luckily, some of our Rotoballer experts have come together to create some standard league rankings to make it easier for you to find that breakout RB.
Below are RotoBaller's consensus staff rankings for the 2020 fantasy football season. These rankings are compiled by Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Scott Engel, Dominick Petrillo, Brandon Murchison and Antonio Losada.Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!
2020 Standard RB Rankings
|Position Rank||Position Tier||Player Name||Overall Rank||Overall Tier|
|25||4||Mark Ingram II||59||5|
|38||5||Ronald Jones II||88||6|
|64||9||Anthony McFarland Jr.||197||12|
|67||9||Benny Snell Jr.||201||12|
|95||12||Lynn Bowden Jr.||319||16|
|120||13||Kerrith Whyte Jr.||388||18|
Christian McCaffrey is obvious the No. 1 player in our rankings after a season in which he had 1387 rushing yards and 1,005 receiving yards. Saquon Barkley isn't far behind after running for over 1,000 yards last season despite dealing with an ankle injury.
Ezekiel Elliott has been the most consistent running back on the field over the last four years, averaging nearly 100 rushing yards per game (96.5) in his career. Derrick Henry gets the biggest boost in standard leagues because while he's not a great pass-catcher, he's a freight-train runner as we saw in the playoffs where he led the Tennessee Titans to the AFC championship with 83 carries for 446 rushing yards.
Alvin Kamara was disappointing last year but remains one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league. Dalvin Cook is the most worrisome of these ranks this year as he has recently announced his intention to hold out until he receives a contract extension. And Joe Mixon rounds out tier one after his second straight 1100+ yard rushing season.
Nick Chubb leads off this tier. Talentwise, he belongs in tier one. However, Chubb will have to share some of his workload with Kareem Hunt which bumps him down to tier two. Josh Jacobs had a phenomenal rookie season and is probably the safest draft selection in this tier for standard play with little competition for touches and a full season of being a bell-cow under his belt. Kenyan Drake rounds out this tier. Drake is the riskiest player in this tier, but arguably has the most upside. Drake has never rushed for more than 850 rushing yards in his previous four seasons in the league, but he's the #1 running back in Kliff Kingsbury's offense and closed out 2019 very strong for the Cardinals: 123 carries, 643 rushing yards, 28 receptions, 171 receiving yards, eight touchdowns.
This is the tier where the draft really gets interesting for running backs in standard leagues as many of the players have massive upside, but some big question marks. Aaron Jones was one of the best backs in standard leagues last year running for over 1,000 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns, but he may be dealing with more competition with the Packers drafting A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
Leonard Fournette has been one of the few true workhorses in the NFL in recent years. Fournette is due for some positive regression for his touchdown total after scoring only three last year, but will likely see a dip in receiving production with the Jaguars adding Chris Thompson.
Austin Ekeler broke out last season and will no longer have to compete with Melvin Gordon, but he's never been given 135+ carries and may be more reliant on receiving production than the rest of his tier three counterparts. Miles Sanders really came on strong at the end of his rookie year and ended his campaign with 818 rushing yards and 509 receiving yards. With no Jordan Howard in the mix, he has an opportunity to get more carries than any back in Doug Pederson's tenure as the Eagles head coach.
Chris Carson is a player who gets a boost from the standard league format, but will have competition for reps with newly signed Carlos Hyde and with former 1st round pick Rashaad Penny when he returns from injury.
Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and Le'Veon Bell were some of the best fantasy running backs regardless of format not too long ago, but are on different teams now and all three were disappointing in 2019. Rookie Jonathan Taylor is unproven in the NFL, but was one of the best running backs in college football last season and will be running a very talented Indianapolis Colts offensive line.
If you're the type of fantasy player that guns for upside, Clyde Edwards-Helaire may have the highest upside of any rookie fantasy back as he joins a high-scoring Chiefs offense. If you're looking for the safest player to be an RB2 in this tier, Devin Singletary is your best bet as the Bills are a run-heavy team and he'll only have to share the load with Zack Moss.
D'Andre Swift has the talent, but the Lions don't run the ball very much and are likely to run a committee between Swift and Kerryon Johnson. James Conner was a huge draft bust last year but has an opportunity to bounce-back for a Pittsburgh Steelers offense that will see the return of Ben Roethlisberger.
David Johnson was one of the best backs in fantasy back in 2016 when he ran for 1239 yards, caught 80 passes for 879 receiving yards, and scored 20 touchdowns. But in the three seasons since then (30 games played), Johnson has only ran for 1308 yards, caught 92 passes for 883 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. Now traded to the Houston Texans where he'll be their primary back, Johnson will have to try and prove that he's still a talented back.
Mark Ingram has been one of the most consistent fantasy assets in recent years running for over 1000+ yards in three of the last four seasons. If he can hold off rookie J.K. Dobbins, he will be a great value for a talented Baltimore Ravens offense. David Montgomery gets a huge boost in value in standard play as he is locked in as the between-the-tackles back for the Chicago Bears and he doesn't catch a lot of passes due to the presence of Tarik Cohen.
Cam Akers has arguably the most upside in this tier as the likely starting back of the Los Angeles Rams offense who have scored 60 rushing touchdowns in the last 3 seasons. Raheem Mostert played extremely well for the San Francisco 49ers from week 12 on (9 games) taking 133 touches for 859 yards, and scoring 13 touchdowns. On the flip side, Kyle Shanahan has been known to use the hot-hand and Mostert has only gotten 20+ carries in one game of his entire career.
Kareem Hunt is the most talented player in this tier, but has to split reps with another extremely talented back in Nick Chubb. Jordan Howard is one of highest floor, lowest ceiling players in tier five for standard play as he will be the lead back for the Miami Dolphins.
This tier is primarily composed of talented backs in shared backfields and lead backs on teams that are projected to have poor rushing attacks. Sony Michel is a player who gets a major boost in standard play because his inability to catch the ball is not nearly as important as it would be in a PPR league. Derrius Guice is expected to lead the Washington Redskins backfield in a committee that also features Adrian Peterson and Bryce Love. Rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn and third-year player Ronald Jones are directly competing with each other for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead back role where the winner will provide strong value in standard play.
Marlon Mack, J.K. Dobbins, Kerryon Johnson, and Matt Breida are projected to be on the lesser end of their committees but have the talent to provide great fantasy returns in standard leagues. Mack went for over 1000 yards on the ground last year and he'd be a very high draft pick in standard play if the Colts didn't draft Jonathan Taylor 41st overall. Dobbins is the player with the most upside in this tier as the talented rookie running back joins a Baltimore Ravens team that had the most rushing attempts and rush yards last year. Kerryon Johnson has been a very efficient back for the Lions, but has been plagued with injuries in the past and will have to compete second-round draft pick D'Andre Swift. Matt Breida will be in a committee with Jordan Howard, and will be a solid FLEX play when he's healthy.
Damien Williams played extremely well in Super Bowl LVIII with over 100 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns but will have to compete with Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire for reps. Phillip Lindsay has been the best player in this tier for standard play the last two seasons with two consecutive seasons of over 1200 yards from scrimmage, but with the Denver Broncos signing Melvin Gordon his role for 2020 is a little less clear. As a pass-catching back, James White is a much better player in PPR rather than standard. Latavius Murray and Tevin Coleman are two of the best handcuffs in the league and can be good FLEX options/bye-week replacements this season.
While we don't have these players ranked as highly as some of the players listed above, there is quite a bit of value to be had in these later rounds. Alexander Mattison's fantasy value skyrockets if Dalvin Cook continues his holdout as the lead back in Gary Kubiak's scheme. There are quite a few rookie and sophomore running backs that could surprise and provide strong value in standard leagues like Zack Moss, A.J. Dillon, Darrell Henderson, Bryce Love, or Joshua Kelley. There are some veteran free agents like Devonta Freeman and Lamar Miller that will gain fantasy value if they sign with a team in need of a running back.
More Fantasy Football Analysis
Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.