Fantasy Football Running Backs you must have for 2020, the very early list. The Counselor and the Bald Guy break it down for you. Make sure you target these guys in your fantasy football draft this year.
Joseph Robert: Welcome to the show Tim The Bald Guy, is on the line. What’s going on, Tim?
Tim: Not much. How’s it going, everybody?
Joseph Robert: Tim, I’m always excited as per usual, but today we’re talking about the running back must-haves. The early list, the very early list because it is what, March 23rd right now.
Tim: Yeah man, it’s way too early. We haven’t had the draft, we don’t know how things are going to play out. But we’ve seen some big changes in free agency and that, so it’s still a good time to do this.
Joseph Robert: It is a good time. So we’ve got free agency out of the way. So there is some moves that have happened that have significantly impacted particular teams, especially at the running back position worth mentioning. And you’re going to go through your list of some running backs you must have. And I’m going to go through a list of running backs I must have. Now, I’m going to disclaimer here. This possibly is going to change because rookies are going to come in, possibly buzzkill a couple of these running backs potentially. So there is a little bit of a question mark still. I feel more warm and fuzzy after the NFL draft. So we’re going to have to do this again in May, Tim.
Tim: Right. And the way that I did this really, I wouldn’t account for any rookies jumping in and changing my views right now anyways. Basically what I’m doing here is I’m giving you the top five guys I would go after in order. So I’m not picking any long shots. I’m not picking a Josh Jacobs, a guy who could crack up in there. I’m going for five solid guys that I think you got to have.
Joseph Robert: That sounds very consheepsus of you. I’m totally nonconsheepsus.
Tim: Oh, you’re going to love my list because it is baa.
Joseph Robert: I got to punch you in the face next time I see you by the sounds of it, so-
Tim: I don’t change it just for the sake of changing it. These are five guys that I truly believe in and I know you’re not going to like at least one or two of them.
Joseph Robert: Oh, I’m ready to rip into you. Before we do that though, before we rip into Tim, listen, make sure you guys head on over to thefantasyfootballcounselor.com. The first-ever video training, 16 round draft solution. There is a link here below as well. And I’m telling you, Tim, this is the future of fantasy football analysis. Our third year running, it was a big hit last year. You get all the optimal players to draft in each round. Tim, I’m excited about 16 rounds this year.
Tim: Absolutely man. It’s one of my favorite things for us to work on as well.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, so make sure you guys head on over to thefantasyfootballcounselor.com, go under programs, get 16 rounds, and of course, there is a link here below on YouTube. All right Tim. So I don’t really want to hear your list because it sounds like I think Dalvin Cook‘s going to be in there and if that’s the case, I’m going to kick you in the nuts.
Tim: Yeah. You can always talk to your hate, but when it comes to the end of the season, you got to eat your words when they’re there.
Joseph Robert: All right, so who do you got? Who’s your first running back must? You got own this guy, Tim. It’s a must-have. You got to have him. It’s like drinking water and eating, you got to have him. Who is it?
Tim: If I’ve got pick one in the draft, who am I taking? I am taking CMC.
Joseph Robert: All right. I can respect that. He’s almost bulletproof. But understand it’s going to be a different offense, right? Different quarterback now. It’s going to be totally different, man. I think they’re going to throw the ball more. I’m really interested to see if they do get a wide receiver that’s going to add some depth to their passing game because I just don’t see him getting a hundred plus receptions this season. But common sense here, I shouldn’t even ask you why CMC, but I’m going to ask. It’s a stupid question, but…
Tim: Okay. So last year, 471 points. Insane. I don’t even care if he loses 50 points. If he loses even close to a hundred points, he’s still in that top three to top five last year. So I don’t care. He’s a guy you have to own. In the last two years, he has been amazing and I don’t see any change to that. Like I say, even if he loses a few points, I don’t care. He is right there. He’s going to get it done. He gets it done in the rushing and the receiving. So no problem, CMC number one overall for sure.
Joseph Robert: Well, I can’t deny that, but the only objection I have here, Tim, with you is that typically it’s a very, very rare, other than like Priest Holmes back in 2003, where he had back to back seasons where he finished on top. So that tells me, if history serves me correct, that someone else could slide in and have a higher ceiling this year. And that goes to my running back must half. It’s got to be Saquon Barkley. I think Saquon’s got the upside and can surpass CMC this year. And that’s why I would take him first overall. Do you see that debate?
Tim: I don’t know. I kind of agree. Saquon is on my list, of course, but he’s not my number one. The offense, the team around him is just garbage. Carolina you can say, “Well CMC’s pretty much that team as well,” but they utilize him in a different way. They had a really good quarterback that worked with him. I know that’s changed this year, so there is going to be some question marks there. So back to Saquon, yeah, I mean he missed three games last year. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again because he is the offense and when he’s out there, he’s getting fed.
Joseph Robert: I mean he only played 13 games, a thousand yards, Tim. Over a thousand yards, only on 217 attempts. Still managed to get six touchdowns. Terrible line. We had a quarterback that just didn’t know the offense yet this year. Jones is going to come back a lot better, a little more integrated. They’re hopefully going to beef up that o-line, hopefully, get a receiver. Because they had no receivers, no o-line and yet he’s still running pretty well. So I think the ceiling is high for Saquon Barkley. He was upset with his performance. So I do love him going into 2020 fantasy football. He’s a must-have for me.
Tim: Yeah, not a problem. Yeah. Saquon is actually the third guy on my list. So I mean I’m still pretty high on him. If I’ve got pick three or whatever, if he’s there at my turn, he’s my scoop.
Joseph Robert: Okay. Who is your other? Give me another running back must-have.
Tim: Number two, which I don’t know how you’re to like this one either, but Ekeler.
Joseph Robert: Oh, I don’t like that at all. That’s ugly. I think-
Tim: Yeah, but I don’t care. I didn’t think you would, but…
Joseph Robert: I’m coming up with these things called fool’s gold picks. Like Damien Williams was fool’s gold. It was like everyone was like, “Yeah, Damien Williams. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I’m like, “You used to wow me. Now I wasn’t wowed.” Ekeler, yeah, he got paid. Yes, the team believes in him, the Chargers do. But at the end of the day, I really feel they’re going to draft another rookie. I think they’re going to get a rookie that’s going to come in there and potentially be a workhorse or acquire somebody. I don’t believe Ekeler on his own. He’s not going to be alone. I think they’re going to have someone else there with him, that’s going to dip into the volume. PPR, I think he’s going to be viable as an RB2 with some upside, but a lot of people are going to draft him thinking he’s an RB1 and they’re going to be mistaken. They’re going to be very mistaken.
Tim: No, I totally agree with you on the running back situation. They got to bring in someone that is more of a true runner, but I could see Ekeler becoming the next CMC. I mean he is heavily used in the passing game. He can get it done in the rushing game as well. His yards per carry were okay last year. He had a pretty good amount of attempts. Even when Gordon came back, I was still on the Ekeler train and it worked out pretty well. So I’m going with Ekeler at two. I’m hoping that he can increase what he does on the running game, needs a few more touchdowns, things like that, and he’s right there.
Joseph Robert: What I’m looking at, there’s 132 attempts, 557 yards on the ground rushing. So like we said, he’s not much of a pure rusher. Now, if they believe in him and they say, “Ekeler, we’re going to rush you. We’re going to get you guys rushing the ball a lot more. We’re going to get you going. We’ll get you integrated. We’re going to make you the guy.” If he is the guy, yes, top five potential, but I don’t believe he’s going to be the guy. Three rushing touchdowns last year. I don’t know. Maybe they were just feeling him out last year. Maybe they’re going to make him the workhorse guy. I still don’t believe he’s the workhorse guy. Not sold on him at all. Someone else is going to come in there.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. So the thing is, look at CMC and the way he broke in. So in his rookie year, he wasn’t used very much in the running game either, but he was used fairly well in the passing game. So they broke him in. Now I know Ekeler’s been around the same amount of time, roughly. I just don’t think he was getting the looks because he had someone so good in front of him. Now I think he is going to be the man. I still say they might bring in another running back that can really just pound the ball, but I still think Ekeler will be considered the man there and we’ll get the bulk of everything. God, I really don’t like the quarterback situation right now. I mean Tyrod Taylor, if that’s their starting quarterback, ugh.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. It’s a bit of a mess. I’m looking at it here now. Ekeler’s currently sitting. Where is he sitting? He’s 13th on the consheepsus right now. I’m not sold on him. I’m not sold, but it is what it is, Tim. You got your must-haves, but he’s not a guy that I must have this year, that’s for sure.
Tim: Well good. At least you can’t say I’m consheepsy with that one because they got him at 13 and I got him at my number two.
Joseph Robert: Wow. Yeah, so you’re reaching a little bit there, but understandably so. I see the upside.
Tim: I see the upside, yeah. Yeah.
Joseph Robert: All right. Who else do you got?
Tim: I’ve got Kamara as my number four because like we said, Saquon was my number three. So Kamara, you just can’t argue with him. He’s always there. He missed two games last year. He had low touchdowns in both receiving and rushing. I just think he needs that little bit more work. He needs to up those touchdown numbers and he’s right there.
Joseph Robert: Well he always finishes top 10. I see the upside this year again. I think he’s going to get some volume. 171 attempts on the ground. He’s always going to get the 80 receptions-ish. He’s always in and around that range. He’s a consistent RB1 low-end. Again, they got to give him more volume. He’s always complimented with somebody else. That’s the issue with Kamara. But again, safe and solid. I can’t argue that one. I like the upside.
Tim: Yeah. And that’s my reasoning there too. Just safe and solid. He’s going to get fed well. It doesn’t take much to get an increase in some of his numbers like the touchdowns. So that’s why I’m putting him so high.
Joseph Robert: Okay. Is that it?
Tim: Give us one of yours. What do you got?
Joseph Robert: I got to have Zeke Elliott. I mean top five, three out of four years, finished third last year. They’re going to commit a little bit more to the pass, which is going to open things up to Ezekiel Elliott to run more. I mean Ezekiel Elliott is just your safe, solid rock. Obviously hurts Saquon Barkley. He’s my running back must-have first of all, and then again, I’m going to Zeke Elliott. I just got to get him early, man. I feel safe for them early. Safe and solid. Can’t argue this.
Tim: You know what, I was honestly looking at him as well and my only concern was Pollard. Pollard was getting used a fair bit last year, man, and I don’t know, maybe he gets used a little more this year. So yeah, I mean he’s on my guys to watch list. He’s right there just outside my top five, but I am concerned.
Joseph Robert: I am concerned with the coaching change. Correct. That is a bit of a concern, McCarthy coming in. That could be an issue. They may want to go a little more of a committee. I mean, Garrett loved Zeke and that’s why he was so predominant. Yeah, that could be a concern. Good point. Another running back-
Joseph Robert: Go ahead.
Tim: No, no, go ahead. Give me another one.
Joseph Robert: Now, you may not agree with this. Where is he currently sitting on the consheepsus consensus ranking? He’s sitting at 11th and I love him this year. This isn’t like top five list, so don’t get me wrong. These are just running backs we must have, and it may mean that you may have them in the second or third round, right? But I got to try to get these guys for the best value. So I’m not saying I’m getting them first overall. That’s not what I’m saying. But I got to get Josh Jacobs. 242 attempts, over a thousand yards, 1,150 yards, 4.8 yards per carry, seven touchdowns. If they believe in him, which I think they do this year, and he’s worked in that office, he’s going to get more volume, more attempts, more everything. So I like him, man. There’s a ton of upside here for Josh Jacobs. I got to get him.
Tim: Absolutely. I totally agree with you. He didn’t make my five must-haves but he’s right there as well. I’m a big fan of his. I think there is definitely a lot of room for movement up. Like you say, the running numbers were great. A little more in the receiving and he’s definitely there, man. I got no problems with that. So let me give you my last guy, my fifth guy that I must have.
Joseph Robert: Who’s that?
Tim: And it’s Fournette.
Joseph Robert: Really?
Joseph Robert: I like it.
Tim: I mean look at what he did last year, man. He really changed up his game a lot. He got used a lot more in the receiving game. So to me, and you know we always talk PPR, so let’s stipulate that as usual guys, this is all PPR talk. So Fournette last year, 76 receptions for 522 yards.
Joseph Robert: That’s impressive.
Tim: So very low yards per reception but still getting those PPR points in the receptions, and zero touchdowns in the passing game, and only three in the rushing game. So I think we got a lot of room to come up. I think they’re still going to use him really well. He’s my number five. I got to have him.
Joseph Robert: I like him. Again going back because we’re like, the past hurts us. So he has shown those injuries in the past. If he stays healthy, he’s a top-five, top 10 running back. So again, going back on the history scares me a little bit. But again, what you said. The ceiling is exciting. I like him. I don’t know if I necessarily must have him but I definitely see the ceiling. And it could be a sneaky pick that it will probably sleep on… A lot of people will sleep on him, I think, in the earlier rounds. And I think as part of a three-headed monster he would be great to have, as long as he stays healthy.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. And like I say, this is definitely PPR. In standard, he would not make my top five.
Joseph Robert: All right, so I’m going to wrap this up with three more running backs that I must have. And again, a lot of people may shake their heads here but again, we’re going for a high ceiling. Actually two more. I have two more left because I went through Saquon, Zeke, and Jacobs. And this is going to change. I want to tell you that I will probably consider a rookie that I must have predicated on where they land. Where they land to me is going to make and break my decision on whether I want to draft them. But I must have, and you’re going to shake your head here, but David Johnson. I think his ceiling is high, currently sitting at… What’s that?
Tim: Nope. I’m not shaking my head at all man. Totally, totally agree. He should be the easy number one on his team.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. And he’s currently, believe it or, he’s got Duke Johnson to contend with. Carlos Hyde is now a free agent. Carlos Hyde had 245 attempts last year. David Johnson should have more than that. There’s a ton more upside there. But David Johnson as of right now, and again it’s March 23rd, after the trade, he’s already on the Texans, currently sitting 29th on the consheepsus rankings right now, which is insane. So they are literally copying and pasting, not even acknowledging as of this moment that David Johnson is going to be a workhorse running back at all potentially, and the ceiling is there. At 29th? Man, now what is that round value if you averaged out? 5th, 6th round value here? Are you kidding me? I’m all over that.
Tim: Yeah, that’s insane. Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree with you on David Johnson. I mean, he’s not in my top five but he got written down on my paper as yeah. He’s going to be the workhorse for the team, so you definitely got to give him a look.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, these are solid, proven workhorse in the past. I know David Johnson had some injuries. I get it. He’s just had an unlucky streak last year, a coaching decision to bench him, the year before I think it was. Wondering if he was a little banged up and he had that wrist thing a while back. So I understand he hasn’t had a good season for a while, but this is the year. The Texans obviously believe in him there. Hopefully, they get a good receiver there because I don’t believe in Cobb and that whole situation there. Fuller gets banged up. So I think he might face some stacked boxes, but David Johnson, I love him. He’s a must-have for me at the right value. If I can steal him in the third round, man, I’m all over that as part of a three-headed monster. I would love that. Zeke, Jacobs, and David Johnson, and then maybe get a couple of rookies later on, and you are loaded at running back this year, man.
Tim: Yeah I totally agree with you. If you can pick him up in the third, you’re getting a steal.
Joseph Robert: Okay. And then my last guy here. And again I’ve been reading a lot of beat reporters and a lot of people in the industry, not the fantasy industry, but the sports industry. And a lot of people projecting a bounce-back year, and I definitely see it here and I’ve got all the notes. Todd Gurley, Tim, with Atlanta. If they improve that o-line. Listen, he had 200… What’d he have 857 yards last year, 12 touchdowns. And Tim, this is very interesting. He only had two games during the regular season, week 11 and week 14, where he had 20 attempts or plus. Other than that he wasn’t even utilized.
Joseph Robert: He didn’t even see full capability and still had 12 rushing touchdowns and still had a decent fantasy year. So I can only… What, he finished 14th in PPR, Tim, and he wasn’t even utilized the entire season. Like I said, two games over 20 attempts. So the ceiling is high. I think Atlanta believes in him and the only one he’s competing with is Brian Hill, if he’s there. He only had 78 attempts last year, Brian Hill. Freeman with 184 attempts. If Gurley gets the volume, 250 plus attempts, this guy is a top-five, top 10 guy. What are your thoughts?
Tim: I kind of like it. I am concerned still about the health, the knees of course. But my other problem is there are mouths to feed on that team now. I mean you’ve got two great wide receivers. You just brought in a nice tight end. I see a lot of shares in the PPR game, man. So I don’t know, Gurley might be used to run the ball a lot and maybe not so much in the passing game, and that’s going to hurt his value. I like him, of course. He’s there. He’d be in my top 10 but he’s not a must-have for me. There are just too many question marks.
Joseph Robert: I think a lot of people will sleep on him. And again, a part of a three-headed monster early on. You got to look at the combination here. If I can get him in the second round, I’ve got myself a workhorse with some question marks, but again, a high ceiling. So I like him, man. I mean him and Fournette, it’s a coin flip. But I think Fournette if he stays durable, has a little more oomph behind him. I don’t even know what the word to say it is. I think he’s got a little more juice left in the tank because again, you’ve got that injury that’s concerning me with Todd Gurley. But I’m excited about Gurley this year. I think it’s a resurgence again. I think he’s going to come back and rise back again to the top. We’ll see.
Tim: Okay. So let’s head off all the guys that are going to piss and moan because Dalvin Cook didn’t make either of our five must-haves. Everybody knows he is great. I like Dalvin Cook. I’m not going to say I didn’t take him because I don’t want to be one of the sheep. He would be just outside my five as well. He’s not a must-have for me, but if I can get him at the right price, I would definitely scoop him up. And you’re going to say, “Yeah, but he’s injury-prone.” I’m going to say, “I don’t care.” Even with his missing a couple of games each season, it doesn’t matter. He finishes in the top five generally. I’m all for him. He’s just not a must-have for me.
Joseph Robert: I think he’s going to be fool’s gold for this year. I think he’s going to be one of those guys in the early rotation of your top five picks. It’s going to be like CMC, Saquon, Zeke, Cook. It’s just going to be like that. He’s going to work into that and he’s going to be the guy that’s going to fall off. Now, 250 attempts last season. I think there’s a scare at the end, again with that injury. I think it was a shoulder thing. They sidelined him near the end of the season. Missed a game before the playoffs I believe it was, which happens to be one of the fantasy weeks. I think he missed the last two weeks thereof the regular season.
So if I’m Minnesota right now and I really like Cook, first of all, they got to pay him. If they don’t pay him, he’s not playing if he doesn’t get what he wants. So there’s a potential holdout there. So that’s one big turnoff for me. Now if they pay him, there is going to be a little bit of preservation in my opinion. Madison had a hundred attempts. Madison, just as capable as Dalvin Cook, getting the work done. So if I’m Minnesota, I’m thinking a little bit more preservation. We’ve got Madison. Why run Dalvin Cook into the ground where we probably need him during playoff time? Does this make sense, Tim?
Tim: Oh absolutely. So I still see him getting all the red zone touches no matter where they are and what time of year it is. But yeah, Madison could dip in and, as you say, the holdout could be a real problem as well.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. So Dalvin Cook, I am a little bit cautious. I’m not touching him this year. Just running back… And then we’re going to do that. This is a whole other episode. We’re going to do running backs we must avoid. We’re diving in a little deep here, but again, we’re just trying to cover our asses. Because we know people are going to talk, “Where’s Dalvin cook? I must have him.” Well, he hasn’t finished a goddamn season for three damn years. So that’s all I got to say.
Tim: Yeah. We know there’s going to be other guys, people are going to say, “Where’s your Aaron Jones? Where’s James White, Mark Ingram? Let’s talk about all these guys.” Guys, right now, these are the five must-haves for each of us. I must have these guys and my guys are basically me taking five in order. So if I could get either of these guys in my first round in the order I put them, I would jump all over them. After that, it’s open market. I mean all of these guys have a place depending on where they go in the draft.
Joseph Robert: And again, we’re going to get the same debate here, “Joe, well what about Aaron Jones?” Okay. He was a top finisher, but I think they’re going to throw more this year. So we have reasons why. What about Nick Chubb? Well, Kareem Hunt is there, right? So we’re going to be talking about it, but these are guys I must have as of right now, March 23rd, 2020. So things are going to change, things are going to happen. Moving, shaking, baking, it’s going to be changing. And again, a lot of other guys could crack the top 10, make it higher, your must-haves later on. So again, this is based on value as well. So again, I’m not saying I’m taking David Montgomery first, or David Johnson first overall. I’m probably going to take him whenever I can get him the best bang for my buck. That’s it.
Tim: Yeah. Absolutely.
Joseph Robert: All right Tim. That’s it, man. Running back must-haves. Stay safe out there. Stay home. Stay protected during these hard times and hopefully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, Tim.
Tim: Yeah man. I mean, you know me, I’m not too worried about all this shit and I just… Let’s do what we got to do. Play it, safe kids. Follow the rules. Let’s get it past us so that we can move on and be ready to rock in time for football.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, we’re going to be ramping up to that draft. So again guys, the lowest possible price for 16 rounds right now. Head on over to thefantasyfootballcounselor.com, under programs, 16 rounds. And just Google it, 16 round draft. Search it, it comes up. And you can get the 16 round draft, which is for the lowest possible price. Tim, pricing is going up very soon. When should I raise the price? I don’t know.
Tim: You got to do it at least before the draft, no doubt.
Joseph Robert: I’m giving these away, Tim. So head on over to thefantasyfootballcounselor.com or a link here below. Thanks, Tim for being on and we’re going to be doing wide receiver must-have coming up this week as well. Stay tuned. Subscribe. Leave a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Who is your running back you must-have? We’ll see you guys in the next video.
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