Top 5 Rookies Running Backs for 2020 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano March 13, 2020

Top 5 Rookies Running Backs for 2020 Fantasy Football

So, last week, we posted our consensus (myself, Noah and Mike), our top 10 rookie rankings on Instagram.

 

fantasy football rookie rankings 

Today's video is going to be my personal top 5 rookie rankings, breaking down the big facts behind each one, but those are the consensus. I posted them, went along enjoying my day. Logged byke in a few hours later. A notification for 62 new hearts, 4 comments: In my head I'm like ooouuuuuu perfect, those 4 comments probably say something like: "wow so good, perfect, nothing wrong".

I've been in the fantasy football space for a while now. And no one has ever disagreed with anything I've said. Especially not you guys.

So, I go and check the comments. Cool, sure, yeah okay. And I come across this one from Italia63, my guy straight out of the pizzeria, been playing in pizza dough since he was 7 years old. While we were all in sandboxes, he played in dough boxes. We all got normal blankets to sleep with, my guy was wrapped in dough straight outta Naples.

Idk why I did that. I'm not shittin on my fellow Italians, I'm Italian too.

He say's fantasy rookies never produce consistently in their rookie year. 

top rookies for fantasy football

He makes a great point. No rookies produce like Christian McCaffrey. Probably because literally no one produces like Christian McCaffrey, rookie or veteran, my fellow pizone. "You might get RB3 production at best". I mean, obviously I won't stand for this. And I'm really annoying so I had to go byke and let the people know what's what: 

Just looking back over the last 5 seasons, there have been:

  • 10 RB1s Overall (9 on PPG basis)
  • 7 RB2s Overall (8 on PPG basis)
  • So that's on average 2 rookie RBs finishing as an RB1.
  • 4 rookies finishing inside the top 5 - almost 1/season

 

As you can see, rookie running bykes are very important for fantasy football, shall we begin? 

[INTRO] 

 

 

1. De'Andre Swift - University of Georgia

Swifty, shifty, nifty, gifted, and lifted.

d'andre swift 2020 fantasy football

Swift has everything you look for in an NFL running back, as do a lot of the top ranked guys coming in this year.

We'll start with all of the boxes I like to see checked, in general:

  • Size (212lbs + 87th% BMI)
    • some other RBs that weigh in that 212-215lb range or less that are pretty good at fantasy football: Cmac, Dalvin Cook, Kamara, Miles Sanders, Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt.
  • Speed (4.49)
  • WASS (80th %ile)
  • Production (1500+ YFS in a season - had 1434 in 2019 - would've crushed but injured shoulder in Week 12 and got a combined 13 carries over the final three games)
  • Efficiency on Runs = 6.6 career YPC vs. SEC defenses, yup
  • Elusiveness, Broken Tackle Efficiency
    • YAC/attempt = 3.7 (t-7th in the country among 121 qualified RBs)
    • Broken Tackle Rate = 23% (36th/121 - still 71%ile)
  • Receiving Game Production: That 32 catch season was enough, he follows it up with another 24 this year, that's all I really need to see tbh.

The dude's stanky leg would make Chris Brown jealous, the way he cuts on a dime at his size should be illegal, it's fatal tbh.

If this was Madden, his elusiveness, trucking, power, juke and spin move would cross the 90 threshold. Idk if any would get over 95 or like that elite 97, but it's all there.

He didn't do much his freshman year, because guess what, he was sharing a backfield with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The guy was taking pass-down work and carries away from two RBs that were top 35 picks, as a freshman.

Swift is my top ranked rookie running back as of March 11th, 2020.

 d'andre swift college stats

2. Jonathan Taylor - University of Wisconsin

Now Taylor is probably the most prolific/iconic running back of the group. He is the old school style of runner that people think about when you say workhorse running backs. He's built like a light-skinned Adrian Peterson, and was about as dominant on the football field during his collegiate career as AP was byke in his Oklahoma days.

Fun fact about Taylor, is that he actually initially committed to Rutgers, before de-committing and choosing Wisconsin, you hate to see it.

This guy was seeing getting more touches than a smoke at a packed club.

Three years at Wisco, Taylor handled 300+ touches (307, 315, 346) touches in each season. He went over 2000 YFS in all three seasons and averaged 18.3 touchdowns/season.

This shit led him to become the 3rd RB ever to repeat as the Doak Walker Award winner. Run DMC and Ricky Williams both did it.

jonathan taylor 2020 fantasy football

What Taylor did at the combine almost doesn't make sense mathematically. Weighing in at 226lbs, Taylor went out and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, 99th percentile for WASS.

 

In his three years at Wisco, Taylor has topped 150 YFS in 20 games, in 41 games (48%). He's gone over 200 YFS in 13 games (32%).

At this point the concerns with Taylor are straight knit-picking. I was worried about him catching passes, but he came out in 2019 and caught 26 balls, and he actually ranked 14th in the country in YPRR per PFF's draft guide which is fantastic, sp I'm good there. The workload is supposedly a concern - and I guess it's warranted given 968 college touches, but he didn't have any injury concerns. Had he kept breaking down towards the end of the year or something, I'd be concerned, but I'm good. I'd MUCH rather see a guy be able to handle the workload then not, so it's actually a positive for me, plus it's redraft, so that concern is much more geared towards dynasty. 

The other concern is fumbles. He does it alot. He's fumbled 18 times in 41 games - which is a fumble every 54 touches. It's not good, but listen fumbles only impact a fantasy player if the coach makes it a problem and the volume dips, that's it. But Taylor is very likely going to be the first RB off the board and a 1st round pick - a team drafting him will know about these concerns and I'm sure Taylor is not about to be a on a short leash.

Some people want to knitpick about him not being that elusive, but like grow the fuck up. Your opinion about not being elusive is not enough to drop him past RB2 and like who are you to say a guy is not elusive or shifty enough, when this mf shifted his way to 2000 yards three times.

When you have that kind of size and speed, you have the luxury of one-handed tackles being a juke move basically on your part because they're not bringing you down. His YAC/att (3.7) was tied for 7th in the country, his broken tackles, break away runs all this shit was basically top 3. Dude is a beast, and depending on where he gets draft too, there's a very good chance that he's going to be a first round pick in fantasy drafts in 2020.

 

jonathan taylor college stats 

3. Cam Akers - Florida State

Swifty, shifty, nifty, gifted, and lifted.

cam akers 2020 fantasy football

Akers looking like a damn snack with them feet!

cam akers college stats

4. J.K. Dobbins - Ohio State

Swifty, shifty, nifty, gifted, and lifted.

j.k. dobbins 2020 fantasy football

 Dobbins didn't do the combine!

j.k. dobbins college stats

5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - LSU

Swifty, shifty, nifty, gifted, and lifted.

clyde edwards-helaire 2020 fantasy football

 

The reception master:

clyde edwards-helaire college stats

 



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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