2020 Dynasty Rookie Running Backs – Top 16

What a blast that was!

The 2020 NFL draft has come and gone. The UK viewing times were not kind (back to back 05:30 am finishes is taking a while to recover from!) but we now know the running back landing spots and so it’s time for some speculation as to how these RB’s fit their new teams and, of course, what this means for dynasty.

So, without further ado. Here are my post draft RB PPR Dynasty rankings.

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  2. Jonathon Taylor
  3. JK Dobbins
  4. Ke’Shawn Vaughn
  5. D’Andre Swift
  6. Cam Akers
  7. Anthony McFarland
  8. Zach Moss
  9. Antonio Gibson
  10. AJ Dillon
  11. Lamical Perine
  12. Eno Benjamin
  13. Darrynton Evans
  14. Joshua Kelly
  15. James Robinson
  16. JaMycal Hasty

Better get to ‘splainin.

#1 Clyde Edwards-Helaire

My favourite RB pre-draft went to the Chiefs in the first round.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Damien Williams and I expected the Chiefs to draft a running back and that back to fight their way to RB1 during the season – well the first round draft capital has already won that fight.

This went for whoever the Chiefs drafted but the fact that the back taken was Edwards-Helaire makes this one of the juiciest RB/team pairings imaginable. Think Kareem Hunt with first round draft capital and no off-field issues. Locked. RB1.

UPDATE!

After sleeping on it I’ve moved JT up above Dobbins – still love Dobbins, just can’t get over my excitement for JT!

#3 JK Dobbins

I noted Dobbins as somewhere between McCaffrey and a heavier Austin Ekeler when watching his tape. He doesn’t have that same explosion as McCaffrey, his cuts are more ‘efficient’ than explosive, but he’s a good pass catcher and can find a hole. He also seems to ‘salmon’ in to the endzone on a bizarrely regular basis – picture a salmon jumping up stream and that’s Dobbins jumping over some poor safety or CB.

The landing spot is the kicker here. The Ravens are a ground game powerhouse and I can see Dobbins eventually replacing Ingram although this may be a committee for the 2020 season and part of the 2021 season if they keep Ingram. Lamar doesn’t target his running backs often but I can see Dobbins getting 3-4 targets a game which is lovely for PPR!

Don’t sleep on him.

#2 Jonathon Taylor

Tricky, tricky, tricky.

The consensus for Taylor is that there is no consensus. Some say he has too much tread on the tyres, some laud his durability. Some bemoan his lack of pass catching skills whilst others see what he does have as a bonus. The one area people agree on is Taylor is the best ‘classical’ RB in the class. And he’s gone to Indy – home of that O-line.

The draft capital states that Indy don’t see Mack as the long term solution but it was their 2nd 2nd round pick they used which suggests that they couldn’t pass him up again rather than going and getting him. Maybe the two will exist in a committee for a few weeks until Taylor prevails? The only things keeping him below Dobbins in this list is the efficiency of the offense, the extra floor from the passing work that Dobbins has and that Taylor was prone to a few fumbles which could severely hamper his battle with Mack for RB1. Love him as a prospect though, could be a long term fantasy stud.

#4 Ke’Shawn Vaughn

I don’t want Vaughn as my number 4 dynasty running back.

I’m not a fan of his running style, ability or ceiling. He doesn’t make people miss, he doesn’t break tackles and he doesn’t have break away speed.

But he’s 4th.

What he is is a bruising chain mover. I think.

It’s pretty hard to tell, Vanderbilt’s O-line created cavernous holes for him to charge straight through and the screen game often had Vaughn on his own in acres of space. He showed off good speed on these occasions but I don’t think he’ll be afforded this kind of room to get going in the NFL. He certainly didn’t flinch from contact and his runs often ended in a pile of bodies having set up a Rugby-esque maul.

The Buccs offense should be humming next year and Arians has voiced his displeasure at RoJo on a number of occasions due to his pass blocking and that’s one thing Vaughn is great at. I think this backfield is Vaughn’s to lose. At the end of the day, he’s a better Payton Barber and I expect him to be used as such – I’m expecting double digit touchdowns.

#5 D’Andre Swift

Why Lions, why?

I love Kerryon but his career so far in Detroit has been a disaster and now I’m worried Swift will suffer the same fate.

I really wanted Swift as my RB2 as I love his open field running – bodies flying everywhere as he drops that big stiff-leg cut on DB’s and leaves them for dead but landing in Detroit? Yeuch.

I don’t think he has the best vision and so was hoping he’d land behind a nice O-line to makes holes for him and allow Swift to do his thing – such a marriage could have produced Gurley-like numbers.

He’s almost just a stash a this point.

Is he going to beat out Kerryon for the backfield? Is he going to be able to produce if does?

I don’t know and I don’t like it.

#6 Cam Akers

Why Rams, why?

This has nothing to do with me owning Henderson… sort of.

Akers was my sleeper RB going in to the draft, if he landed in a good spot I was going to aggressively target him in the draft but that plan has been torpedoed.

Akers is one of those running backs you just want to watch play. He’s constantly trying to make something happen and has the ability to do so – which was lucky given the state of his O-line in college. This was the trump card going into the draft, his capped production due to his O-line, but now in the NFL he once again is going to have his production capped by his O-line! Dammit!

I think the advantage Akers has over Swift is that his running style better matches the Rams than Henderson and so he should win the battle for RB1. Henderson is upright and blazing fast, perfect for the 2018 Rams O-line, but the 2020 O-line is going to have to function differently – and functioning differently is something Akers excels at.

I’m tempted to move him up to #5 ahead of Swift.. I’ll let you decide.

#7 Anthony McFarland

This man runs like he’s being chased by the neighbourhood dog. Like he’s pinched his bigger brother’s chocolate and needs to get out of dodge.

I looked at pre-draft rankings and likely draft capital and told myself not to get too excited about McFarland. He’s just a jet sweep guy. A screen guy. He’s Nyheim Hines.

But he’s 208lb..

…I’m so excited about McFarland.

I’m drafting him and I don’t care what people think.

I happen to have, let’s say a couple of picks in our dynasty draft (which is happening 29/04 – it’s 28/04 writing this and I think I’ll publish it 30/04 so hopefully I’ll have drafted him. Please let him fall to me!!) and I want him in the second round. I don’t think he’ll go in the first so I’m praying he’s still there.

I know Connor is the RB1 for the Steelers but I can see them forming a committee this year with a real chance of taking the lead role. I’m a big fan of Connor but between his injury history and contract expiring in 2021 I can see the Steelers moving on from him and handing the reigns over to McFarland entirely for 2021.

I think he has Dalvin Cook like upside.

All aboard the hype train.

#8 Zach Moss

I think he’s a better Devin Singletary. Not by a lot. But better.

But his skill set is very similar which makes the landing spot all the more unusual – I was expecting a Frank Gore replacement to maintain that 1-2 punch for the Bills. Not more of the same.

I’m not sure how this backfield is going to work but I like the prospect – just wish he hadn’t gone to the Bills.

#9 Antonio Gibson

I didn’t know what to do with Gibson.

Another of my pre-draft favourites (yes ok I had a lot of them!), Gibson just looks like a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He’s one of these new hybrid WR/RB types that falls more in to the RB category (Shenault and Bowden being the other two from this draft class) which makes his landing spot a real heartbreaker.

Just how many RB’s do the Redskins need?

Guice, Peterson, Barber, Love, JD McKissic and now Gibson.

The Redskins have come out and said that they want to treat him more as a WR but he was clearly a better RB – I can only assume they want to use him as a YAC guy. Everyone wants a Deebo!

I believe in the talent though and so I’m more than happy to stash him away and see what happens.

#10 AJ Dillon

Speaking about seeing what happens.

Packers took someone who appears to be carved from the Fournette mould. A North/South smasher.

Now I was as surprised as everyone else when this happened – I had to check my notes to makes sure he was the same Dillon I remembered. Rather than get caught up in the ‘Packers don’t know what they’re doing’ let’s just assume they do and see if we can predict and therefore benefit from this.

The clue is the 3rd round draft pick.

Joshua Deguara is not a great tight end. He’s a great football player though and I saw a number of analysts say he’d make a great Juszczyk-like do-it-all fullback.

Well that’s interesting.

If the Packers borrow heavily from the 49ers blueprint and play some smash mouth football then suddenly Dillon makes more sense.

And becomes a whole lot more enticing.

He’s not replacing Aaron Jones any time soon (he could be in for a MONSTER season if this plays out) but he could certainly fair well in a rotation.

Again, worth a stash.

UPDATE!

After thinking about it I can’t have a 4th round pick ranked below a 7th rounder and so have swapped Benjamin and Perine around in my rankings!

#12 Eno Benjamin

Eno Benjamin runs like he’s Marshawn Lynch – he’s just 10 pounds lighter.

I do like Benjamin as a prospect and him landing with the Cards is interesting. He’ll make a great change of pace back to spell with Drake and will make an excellent 3rd down back as well.

The cap situation in Arizona looks fine but if the Cards like what they have in Benjamin I can see him replacing Drake for 2021 as he’s only on a transition tag.

#11 Lamical Perine

I might be too low on Perine – he has a whiff of David Johnson about him.

The Jets aren’t the best of landing spots but a 4th round pick is interesting and he should slide in right behind Lev Bell on the depth chart. I just don’t trust Adam Gase.

Look to pick him up in a later round and stash him away for the inevitable post-Gase bump in production. Could be a steal.

#13 Darrynton Evans

The Titans drafted Evans to be their Dion Lewis replacement and I think that’s exactly what he’s going to be fantasy wise. There were some big seasons from Lewis and if Evans can emulate that then he’s going to be an absolute steal in the later rounds. Not an exciting pick, but a Championship winning pick? Quite possibly.

#14 Joshua Kelly

Kelly is a great floor choice – he comes across as an all around good player and a leader.

He doesn’t appear to possess any attributes that make him jump off the screen but he does everything well and has fallen into an interesting situation in LA.

At the Chargers he’s going to form part of an excellent committee alongside Ekeler and should have some fantasy value – I don’t think he’ll ever become a true RB1 but he should always hold value as a dependable half of a committee giving him long term fantasy relevance.

#15 James Robinson

Robinson is an intriguing prospect.

He’s similar to Kelly in that he’s an all round prospect and will make an excellent back up to Fournette at the Jags to start the season despite being a UDFA. I could see him even becoming their RB1 come season end if Fournette falls out of favour again.

There’s a chance at an Austin Ekeler-like rise here. Grab him in the later rounds as a flyer.

#16 JaMycal Hasty

Last, but by absolutely no means least, JaMycal Hasty won the UDFA lottery when he was picked up by the 49ers.

He had a decent combine and could comp a little to Devonta Freeman but the ex-49er Matt Breida might be a better comp – maybe a cross between the two. I expect him to stick with the team and replace McKinnon when he moves on next year.

Certainly worth a late round flyer as well.

Conclusions

What a draft class!

Lots of exciting talent in this year’s draft class – I think we’ll see a changing of the guard in the NFL in the next season or two with the number of high profile QBs nearing retirement and the change to more pass happy offensive schemes. The workhorse running back might be a rarer commodity going forward so I’m going to try and target possible future workhorses aggressively in dynasty.

Let me know what you think, who are you targeting in your drafts?

King Thrym

Head Coach of the Jotunheim Giants

Twitter: @kingthrym

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