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If your draft board falls in a way that prevents you from landing elite running backs in the first few rounds, you must secure the best mid-round talent. Grabbing stud wideouts early on or stepping out for an elite quarterback like Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, will often dictate you need to secure versatile PPR running backs such as Chicago’s Tarik Cohen or New England’s James White.
If you focus on other positions, it’s imperative to build roster construction around mid-round running backs with pass-catching prowess and hit with players such as Austin Ekeler’s break-out 2019 output from a sixth-round investment. To achieve fantasy glory in PPR formats, it’s crucial that fantasy owners stock-pile mid-round running back talent, if your draft board does not enable you to tab elite bell-cow backs in the opening rounds.
As we all know, there is no way any fantasy football owner will see Ekeler fall beyond the top-15 players off the board in 2020. Also, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook will require first-round draft capital to secure their services this upcoming season.
The strategy should always be to let the board come to you and never “follow the run” come draft day. If you are unable to lock in two workhorse running backs early on, there is a plethora of mid-round PPR running back talent to target later in drafts in 2020.
Now we get to the fun part, just which mid-round running back talent offers the best value in 2020? My model has five players flying below the radar who fantasy owners should target this season. You may be surprised at who my projections are high on, but I can tell you that I am not high on either Todd Gurley or Le’Veon Bell in 2020.
Devin Singletary, Bills RB – ADP 56 (4.09)
Last year my projections were all over believing Singletary would be one of the best rookie backs in 2019.
The former FAU standout had a solid rookie campaign posting 961 total yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. Although many fantasy owners will shy away on draft day due to the presence of first-year deep sleeper Zack Moss combined with durability concerns, the more important item to note is that veteran Frank Gore is out of town.
The upside Singletary brings as a mid-to-late round investment with a potential 200-plus carries is immense. Playing in only 12 games last season, my model expects strong progression off his 29 receptions in the passing game playing behind one of the better offensive lines in the league.
With another year under his belt, expect Bills signal-caller Josh Allen to have the ability to exploit matchups in the flat thanks to Stefon Diggs and John Brown stretching opposing secondaries.
The sharps in Vegas believe Buffalo will wrestle away the AFC East crown from the Patriots, and it’s fair to conclude that it will be achieved via a strong running game and a solid defense.
Singletary is a great mid-round back primed to return superb rookie fantasy value in 2020.
Jonathan Taylor – Colts RB ADP 60 (5.01)
My projections have Taylor as “the” rookie running back to own in 2020.
In three seasons with the Colts, incumbent starter Marlon Mack has shown flashes. He is not a top back in PPR formats after posting a paltry 31 receptions for 185 yards combined over the previous two seasons. Mack has yet to play in more than 14 games in a season, and injuries have made the Colts question if he can be their franchise back.
Taylor, the two-time Doak Walker Award winner (2018 and 2019) should step right into a starting role behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
With Phillip Rivers now under center in Indianapolis, my model points to targeting arguably the more explosive back with superior hands, making Taylor an asset for all redraft and dynasty fantasy owners in 2020.
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