It's Fantasy football running back preview, so let's dive into our Average Draft Position data at the position. There are definitely running backs who are shaping up as good values, as well as other players to avoid. But before we look at those options, let's examine two backfields recently in the news: Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Things are changing for the Chiefs and Buccaneers, and ADP will soon reflect that.
In Kansas City, Damien Williams opted out this season because of concerns related to COVID-19. That gives rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire a big opportunity to be the workhorse for the Chiefs, and his ADP is at 22.0 overall as the No. 13 running back off the board.
I expect that to change in a big way, and Edwards-Helaire is worth drafting in Round 1, as early as No. 6 overall. We'll see if that's where he ends up once more drafts start happening later this month.
As for the backups in Kansas City, only Darwin Thompson currently has an ADP at 184.1 overall as the No. 66 running back. DeAndre Washington doesn't have an ADP, but I would expect him to be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Edwards-Helaire. And Darrel Williams should also be in the mix, but he also doesn't have an ADP yet.
For Tampa Bay, the addition of LeSean McCoy slightly lowers the value for Ronald Jones, but it's terrible news for rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Currently, the ADP has Vaughn as the No. 32 running back off the board at 82.8 overall, with Jones right behind him at 85.0.
Vaughn was already being drafted too high, and he should plummet. I would only draft Vaughn with a late-round pick as a lottery ticket. McCoy is also just worth a late-round selection, after Vaughn, and he doesn't have an ADP yet on CBS.
As for Jones, he should see a rise in ADP, even with McCoy on the roster. Now, prior to the McCoy signing, I was drafting Jones as early as Round 5, but Round 6 is a good spot to target him, with his value better in non-PPR leagues.
Jones falls into the category of good value running backs, along with the following 10 guys:
- James Conner (RB23) - 47.2 overall
- Jonathan Taylor (RB25) - 52.8 overall
- David Montgomery (RB27) - 60.1 overall
- Marlon Mack (RB40) - 101.6 overall
- Zack Moss (RB41) - 104.5 overall
- Tevin Coleman (RB42) - 106.5 overall
- Kerryon Johnson (RB43) - 111.5 overall
- Darrell Henderson (RB49) - 134.5 overall
- Joshua Kelley (RB55) - 142.2 overall
- Damien Harris (RB78) - 210.1 overall
I highly doubt Conner stays at this ADP, and I would draft him as early as Round 3 as a top 15 running back in all formats. If he stays healthy he's a star.
I'll buy both Colts running backs at their prices, with Taylor in Round 5 and Mack in Round 9. Taylor has star potential, but Mack can still be a serviceable flex option early in the season until Taylor starts taking on more work.
Montgomery struggled as a rookie in 2019, but the Bears still gave him 242 carries and 267 total touches. He should see that kind of work again, and he has the chance to be a top-20 running back in all formats.
The two rookies listed here in Moss and Kelley should be significant contributors in their backfields. Moss should replace Frank Gore in Buffalo, and Gore led the Bills in carries last season with 166. While Devin Singletary should be drafted ahead of Moss, you should buy Moss at this ADP in all leagues.
The same goes for Kelley. I like Kelley better than Justin Jackson as the replacement option for Melvin Gordon, who had 204 total touches in 2019 for the Chargers. Kelley and Jackson will compete for the No. 2 role behind Austin Ekeler, and I expect Kelley to win that job.
Don't be surprised if Johnson and Henderson are the best running backs in their backfields. Johnson will face competition from D'Andre Swift, while Cam Akers will challenge Henderson. But if everyone stays healthy, the veterans might end up with more touches in 2020 -- and at better prices.
Raheem Mostert should be the top running back for the 49ers, but don't overlook Coleman. Remember, Coleman remained the starter last year even as Mostert continued to outplay him. It's not a bad idea to stash Coleman on your bench at this cost.
Harris is going to see his ADP skyrocket with the news of Sony Michel (foot) opening training camp on the PUP list. Should Michel remain on the PUP list, Harris could be the starter for the Patriots. He'll face competition from Rex Burkhead, who we'll address below, as well as James White playing on passing downs. But Harris is someone to target in all leagues.
Here are 10 running backs with potential bad value in ADP:
- Derrick Henry (RB6) - 8.9 overall
- Le'Veon Bell (RB15) - 32.2 overall
- Leonard Fournette (RB19) - 41.1 overall
- Devin Singletary (RB20) - 42.8
- D'Andre Swift (RB22) - 47.2 overall
- Cam Akers (RB26) - 53.8 overall
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn (RB32) - 82.8 overall
- Sony Michel (RB35) - 87.5 overall
- Rashaad Penny (RB54) - 141.0 overall
- Rex Burkhead (RB56) - 147.8 overall
In non-PPR leagues, Henry is fine as a Round 1 selection, but I'm only drafting him in Round 2 in PPR. He could have wear-and-tear concerns after more than 400 total touches last year, including the playoffs. Tennessee's offensive line is beat up with Jack Conklin gone. And Henry will likely remain limited in the passing game after just 18 catches last season, which were a career high.
Bell should not be drafted in Round 3. He's coming off a down season with the Jets in 2019, and the addition of Gore could be a problem with Adam Gase calling plays. Round 4 is the earliest you should draft Bell, including PPR.
If there's a heavy run on running backs in your league, you can talk me into Fournette in Round 4, but I'm concerned about his workload this year, especially in the passing game with the addition of Chris Thompson in Jacksonville. Ryquell Armstead being placed on the COVID-19/reserve list could help Fournette, but I expect him to regress from his receiving work last year (76 catches for 522 yards on 100 targets).
Singletary, Swift and Akers are being drafted too soon given the competition they should face this season. For Singletary, Moss could be a problem as stated above, and Swift and Akers might need an injury to have a big role, especially Swift. Akers also has to contend with Malcolm Brown, as well as Henderson.
Michel will see his ADP plummet now that he's on the PUP list, and I would take Harris over Burkhead given the upside if both are competing for the No. 2 role. Harris has more of a chance to be a lottery ticket than Burkhead at 30 years old.