Fantasy Football Dynasty Running Back Tiers: Who joins Christian McCaffrey in top tier?
Heath Cummings settles on a top tier of six running backs, but says more are knocking on the door for 2020 and beyond.
It feels like we're about to experience the wildest offseason at the running back position in recent memory. Derrick Henry, Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt, Austin Ekeler and more are free agents. There are likely to be 10-plus rookies drafted that significantly impact Fantasy rankings. Rumors have Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson on the the trade block. In other words, if you hate these tiers, just wait a couple of months; they'll be unrecognizable.
All this change could include the top tier as well. I don't expect anyone will fall out of the top tier this offseason, but it's possible someone could join it. We'll get to the most likely candidates below — and check out myand Dynasty tiers here.
This tier looks like a sure thing, but we felt the same way about Gurley, Johnson and Bell just a couple of years ago. If I had to pick one back I could see falling out of this tier it would be Alvin Kamara. Kamara has never had the feature workload the rest of this tier has and in 2019 his touchdown rate fell off as well. He must be more efficient than other backs to be a top-five option, if he's not in 2020 his value could crater.
It is not hard to see how many of these backs could jump into the top tier. If Josh Jacobs, Aaron Jones, or Miles Sanders repeat 2019 over a 16-game season I'll have no choice but to move them up. Derrick Henry's age may keep him out of the top tier, but he'll get a slight bump if he signs a longterm deal with the Titans. They offer him a huge workload on a run-heavy offense behind a good offensive line. That combination will be very hard to find in free agency.
I'd imagine this group of running backs will make a lot of people angry for one reason or another. This is especially true for fans of Devin Singletary who see him behind David Montgomery. This is probably a good reminder that these are still my Dynasty rankings and I ranked Montgomery significantly higher than Devin Singletary coming into the year. That gap has shrunk to almost nothing, but 180 highly-efficient touches from Singletary wasn't quite enough to change my mind. I still believe Montgomery is better suited to be a workhorse back and still think he's more likely to earn 300 touches than Singletary. The Bills could certainly prove me wrong this season.
This is a big tier of running backs with very uncertain futures. I imagine a majority of these backs will find their way to a different part of the rankings in the coming months. Perhaps no one's future value appears as volatile as Hunt's. He's a 25-year-old running back with 3,400 total yards and 28 touchdowns in 35 career games. If not for his off-field problems he'd easily be a top-10 Dynasty back. This offseason will be huge for his future in the league.
It's amazing Johnson has fallen this far, this fast. It also feels like I might still have him ranked too high. Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake were much more efficient than Johnson on the ground and if it wasn't for the veteran's contract it's hard to imagine he'd still be with the Cardinals. He's still very good in the passing game, but a 28-year-old part-time back is not something to covet in Dynasty. There's still hope Johnson somehow finds his way to another feature role but it shouldn't be the expectation.
We have reason to believe that any of the backs in this tier could be starters with the right opportunity. They're also situated behind backs with at least some hint of an injury history. Darrell Henderson may be the most interesting with rumors of a possible Gurley trade. Henderson lost out to Malcolm Brown for most of 2019, but he should be able to move up the depth chart with a good offseason.
Remember what I said about 28-year-old part-time backs? White and Mostert were both better than Johnson inn 2019 but there's not really much hope either finds themselves in a feature role. With White, the reason is obvious, and the 49ers reminded us in the playoffs that Mostert is no sure thing either. In the Super Bowl he didn't even touch the ball until the second quarter. Tevin Coleman isn't going anywhere and Kyle Shanahan seems very likely continue using a committee approach.
Okay, let's be real. What in the world is Jordan Howard doing on this list? He's closer to a has-been than a could-be right? You'd think so based on his public perception but he's still just 25 years old. Howard was a top-20 running back each of the first three years of his career and he was the No. 20 back in PPR before he got hurt in 2019. Howard heads into 2020 as a free agent and probably won't land a feature role, but he'd be a must-start option if he did.
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