Fantasy Football 2020 Rankings: Christian McCaffrey the unanimous top choice at running back

Now that the 2019 NFL season is over, we can start looking ahead. It's already time to turn the page and start planning for Draft Day in 2020.

We're going to spend the next several months working on plenty of things to preview next season, including rankings, mock drafts, sleepers, breakouts, busts and many other cool features. But this is the place to start.

This is our first run of the top-10 rankings in PPR at running back for the Fantasy Football Today crew: Dave Richard, Heath Cummings, Ben Gretch, Adam Aizer, and me. These rankings will change hundreds of times between now and August, but our job is to start planning now.

You can see our full rankings here, but this is a sneak peek at our top 10 running backs heading into 2020.

Jamey Eisenberg

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2. Saquon Barkley, NYG
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN
5. Alvin Kamara, NO
6. Nick Chubb, CLE
7. Aaron Jones, GB  
8. Joe Mixon, CIN  
9. Leonard Fournette, JAC  
10. Derrick Henry, TEN 

Dave Richard

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
3. Saquon Barkley, NYG
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN 
5. Alvin Kamara, NO
6. Aaron Jones, GB  
7. Derrick Henry, TEN  
8. Joe Mixon, CIN   
9. Leonard Fournette, JAC  
10. Nick Chubb, CLE 

Heath Cummings

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2. Saquon Barkley, NYG
3. Alvin Kamara, NO
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN 
5. Nick Chubb, CLE
6. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL 
7. Austin Ekeler, LAC 
8. Aaron Jones, GB 
9. Derrick Henry, TEN 
10. Leonard Fournette, JAC

Ben Gretch

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2. Saquon Barkley, NYG
3. Alvin Kamara, NO
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN
5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
6. Nick Chubb, CLE
7. Joe Mixon, CIN
8. Aaron Jones, GB
9. Miles Sanders, PHI
10. Derrick Henry, TEN

Adam Aizer

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
2. Saquon Barkley, NYG
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN
5. Nick Chubb, CLE
6. Alvin Kamara, NO
7. Miles Sanders, PHI
8. Josh Jacobs, OAK
9. Leonard Fournette, JAC
10. Derrick Henry, TEN

The only thing we all agree on here, which is easy, is that McCaffrey is the No. 1 running back -- and likely No. 1 overall pick in all leagues. He was simply amazing in 2019.

McCaffrey scored 456 PPR points this season, No. 2 behind only Lamar Jackson at any position. He became the third player in NFL history with 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards, joining Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk, and his 116 receptions were second in the NFL behind only Michael Thomas (149). He also tied Aaron Jones for the most touchdowns among non-quarterbacks with 19.

After McCaffrey, most of us are going with Barkley at No. 2, except for Dave. He likes Elliott, who had another standout season at 18.6 PPR points per game. I like him at No. 3, along with Adam, but Ben (No. 5) and Heath (No. 6) are slightly down on Elliott.

I'm excited for Barkley as the No. 2 running back. He had a down year in 2019 (17.9 PPR points per game) compared to his rookie campaign in 2018 (24.1 PPR points per game), but he should be closer to that guy than the one was saw this season, which also included three missed games with a high-ankle sprain.

Cook checks in at No. 4 for all of us, and he really just needs to stay healthy. He missed the final two games of the season with a shoulder injury and has yet to play 16 games in any of his three years in the NFL. Still, Cook is clearly a star, and he finished second in PPR points per game at 20.0, behind only McCaffrey.

Heath and Ben like Kamara as a top-three running back in 2020. He had what could be considered a down season since he averaged just 16.9 PPR points per game, but I'd be shocked if he scored only six touchdowns again like he did in 2019. Hopefully, Drew Brees is back again in 2020 to keep the Saints offense intact.

Chubb is another running back we're high on for 2020, except for Dave, who has him slightly lower at No. 10. Chubb finished the season averaging 15.1 PPR points per game, but he was averaging 18.0 PPR points per game in the first eight games of the season before Kareem Hunt was active due to his suspension. Hunt is a restricted free agent this offseason, and if he leaves Cleveland as expected then Chubb can be a star.

Dave is the highest on Henry coming into 2020, after he led the NFL in rushing at 1,540 yards. He averaged 18.7 PPR points per game, which was No. 4 among running backs, but he only caught 18 passes in 2019.

It's hard to overlook his workload with 303 carries, which led the NFL in only 15 games, and he added another 83 carries in the postseason. I'm concerned about Henry, who is also a free agent, and he's at No. 10 as of now.

For the most part, we all have the same group of running backs rounding out our top 10 with some combination of Jones, Mixon, Fournette, Sanders and Jacobs. Jones was the No. 3 running back in PPR points per game at 18.9, and Matt LaFleur did a great job of making Jones the focal point of the offense in 2019, which should continue.

Mixon got off to a slow start in 2019, and he averaged just 13.4 PPR points per game for the season. But if you look at his final eight games of the year he averaged 17.3 PPR points per game, and I expect the Bengals offense to improve in 2020 with likely Joe Burrow as the quarterback.

Fournette was the No. 9 running back at 16.5 PPR points per game, and he set a new career high with 76 catches. Hopefully, Fournette remains heavily involved in the passing game again in 2020 with Jay Gruden taking over for John DeFilippo as the offensive coordinator.

As for Sanders and Jacobs, hopefully they are successful sophomores in 2020. In the six games Sanders played without Jordan Howard (shoulder), he averaged 17.8 PPR points per game, and hopefully that's the upside we get next year.

Jacobs averaged 14.1 PPR points per game for the season, but he started dealing with a shoulder injury in Week 12, which cost him three games to close the year. But if you take the 10 games he played before he got banged up, he averaged 15.7 PPR points per game, and hopefully that's the floor -- with a higher ceiling -- in his sophomore campaign.

Heath also has one major difference with Ekeler in his top 10, and he could be special if Melvin Gordon leaves the Chargers as a free agent. With Gordon sharing the backfield in 2019, Ekeler was the No. 4 PPR running back, so there's a lot to like about his outlook in 2020 if Gordon is gone. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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