Everyone in Fantasy Football knows the importance of having a good, reliable RB and how key that is to the success of your team. Naturally because of this there is usually a run on RB's early in Fantasy Drafts as we try to land the guys that are the workhorses on their respective offenses. However, with the growing trend of RBBC (Running Back By Committee) in the NFL, more and more backfields turn into wastelands year after year. Today we will identify the Top 5 most crowded backfields in the NFL and how confident you should be drafting one of their RB's as far as Fantasy Football is concerned.
Most Crowded Backfields:
1.) Denver Broncos
2.) Baltimore Ravens
3.) San Francisco 49ers
4.) Indianapolis Colts
5.) LA Rams
Denver Broncos - RB's: Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, & Royce Freeman
Even before free agent addition Melvin Gordon, the Denver backfield was one to avoid as it was clear to see the Broncos refused to hand the starting role to Lindsay in 2019 and were committed to using a 2-back system. Well....apparently a 2-back system wasn't enough for Denver as they added the biggest FA RB in Gordon to the backfield. In truth, this one hurts because Gordon still has a lot of good years in him and is a good all-around RB, but he will find himself losing snaps to Lindsay/Freeman sooner or later. Sure, Gordon probably ends up with close to 1000 yards but it will be a long and grueling journey. We anticipate Gordon gets the majority of carries to start the season just because of the contract the Broncos gave him, but that will likely change as the season progresses. The tough part is even if there is an injury this backfield is so deep that carries will still be split. Value wise Lindsay might be the only RB to take a flier on if Gordon misses time.
Advice: Avoid altogether
Baltimore Ravens - RB's: Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, & Gus Edwards
The problem in Baltimore is that the best RB on the team is actually QB, Lamar Jackson. But to make matters even worse the Ravens drafted rookie J.K. Dobbins in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, who they will surely groom to be their primary RB, but that won't happen in one season. Ingram is still the starter, but everybody expects regression from him as a slide in TD's is expected and even last year he wasn't an every down back as Gus Edwards had some opportunities from time to time. We would stay away from the Baltimore RB's as again this backfield is too crowded and
the offense is headed by a run-first QB. If you expect Ingram to duplicate his performance from last year you are in for a disappointment and would still have to overpay as he is viewed as a high-end RB 2 by many.
Advice: Avoid altogether
SF 49ers - RB's: Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, & Jerick McKinnon
The 49ers are a run first team which helps a lot as does trading away Matt Breida. Unfortunately tough, even though Raheem Mostert impressed in the playoffs, SF still has two highly paid RB's behind him in Coleman and McKinnon. And as we saw last year even when every RB was healthy, SF would usually rotate all their options evenly into the offense based on game flow. The issue this creates is that whichever RB catches fire on a week to week basis could be different and you might have to rely on big play upside as the game progresses to get significant fantasy points. Mostert
is expected to have the edge over his fellow RB's, but we can't confidently say that this edge will last all season and that he will consistently get the most volume every single week. For that reason we would not draft Mostert as a Top 20 RB.
Advice: Avoid altogether
Indianapolis Colts - RB's: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, & Nyheim Hines
The sky was the limit for Mack in 2020, getting to play behind the Indianapolis offensive line and having Philip Rivers join the team was a match made in heaven. However, all of this changed when the Colts drafted Johnathan Taylor in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. In many ways Mack and Taylor are similar type of RB's and the Colts have already said they will form a 1-2 punch which might be great in theory, but in Fantasy Football is a disaster. Right now many people are drafting Taylor ahead of Mack which is crazy considering that as long as they both stay healthy
their stat lines could be identical and Mack even likely has a leg up as the proven veteran coming off a good year. The biggest question will be the health of Marlon Mack as he has been prone to getting injured and there is a real scenario that Taylor could earn more carries and become the preferred option if Mack misses time. However, since we can't predict injuries taking that risk right now is not suggested. The real X-factor for the Colts though could actually be Nyheim Hines, specifically in PPR formats, as a pass-catching RB option. Comparison
wise Rivers could see Hines as his version of Austin Ekeler and that is a good thing!
Advice: Target Hines in late rounds in PPR formats as a potential sleeper flex option
LA Rams - RB's: Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers, & Malcolm Brown
The release of Todd Gurley got a lot of people excited about Darrell Henderson for the 2nd straight year in a row, but the drafting of rookie Cam Akers by the Rams proved that maybe for the 2nd straight year in a row we were too quick to hype up Henderson. While it's true that Gurley's departure creates a huge hole at RB for the Rams there is currently no favorite in terms of clear cut replacement. In fact, the Rams have specifically said that they plan on using all 3 RB's in some type of combined way. On top of this, lets not forget that the Ram's offensive line
still has issues and was a big reason why the Rams and Gurley never fully got going in 2019. Our guess right now is that this is a two horse race between Henderson and Akers since they are the younger and higher upside options. Favorably, both can be had cheap so at least that's not a concern, but if neither emerges than this could be the worst backfield in all of Fantasy Football for 2020.
Advice: Monitor the situation and wait until preseason to see if there is a clear cut RB to emerge and if not just avoid altogether.
In conclusion, when it comes to crowded backfields like the ones listed above, our advice is to pump the brakes on these guys! Don't overdraft them just because you need a RB and recognize that the reality is you will probably, AT BEST, be getting inconsistent low-end RB 2 fantasy type production from them unless an unexpected injury happens, which is always one of the biggest crapshoots in the NFL and Fantasy Football.