With RB being the most important position in Fantasy Football we understandably get hyped up about the incoming class of Rookie RB's every year. BUT, we are here to tell you that specifically in 2020, you should PASS on pretty much EVERY rookie RB of note selected in the 2020 NFL Draft! Ultimately this comes down to two factors: price tag & veteran competition (a.k.a a crowded backfield or a RBBC situation, whatever you want to call it). Below are the currently most noteworthy rookie RB's along with who chose them and at what spot:
1.) Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Kansas City Chiefs - 1st Round: 32nd Pick
2.) D'Andre Swift: Detroit Lions - 2nd Round: 35th Pick
3.) Jonathan Taylor: Indianapolis Colts - 2nd Round: 41st Pick
4.) Cam Akers: LA Rams - 2nd Round: 52nd Pick
5.) J.K. Dobbins: Baltimore Ravens - 2nd Round: 55th Pick
6.) A.J. Dillon: Green Bay Packers - 2nd Round: 62nd Pick
7.) Ke'Shawn Vaughn: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3rd Round: 76th Pick
8.) Zack Moss: Buffalo Bills - 3rd Round: 86th Pick
Edwards-Helaire is by far the MOST hyped Rookie RB for the 2020 season, and we can admit it's with a good reason. After all he was the ONLY 1st round RB selected, but more importantly he wound up on the juggernaut KC offense alongside Patrick Mahomes. In addition, out of any other rookie RB, Edwards-Helaire probably has the easiest path to becoming the primary RB for the Chiefs as his main competition is Damien Williams. However, lets look at the biggest problem which is the fact that he is EXTREMELY overvalued and being drafted as high as an end of the 2nd Round pick. The problem with that is the fact that other ACTUAL workhorse, proven RB's like Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, and James Conner are also available at that point! But getting back to Helaire and KC even with Damien Williams maybe not being the stiffest competition lets not forget how successful he just was for the Chiefs in their playoff run and the fact that he also brings a lot of value as a pass catcher. And sure Williams struggled with injuries in 2019, but he did begin the year as the primary RB for KC. At the end of the day what we want to point out is simply that the volume
for Helaire might not be as high as people expect and that his current ADP is way too pricey.
Swift was touted by many as the best RB coming out of college in 2020 so the talent is obviously there. This selection by the Lions seems to indicate that the writing is on the walls for former fantasy breakout candidate Kerryon Johnson. And even though Johnson was the first RB to break the multi-year, 100 yard rushing drought for Detroit his health has proven to be a bigger issue. Nonetheless, Johnson is still young though and we expect the Lions to give him one last chance which means that the most likely scenario is that Swift and Johnson will form a 1-2 punch for Detroit. In fact, the only way Swift would justify his ADP as an expected RB 2 would be if Johnson gets hurt again as the volume won't be there otherwise. For that reason, we do not
advise drafting a player in Swift who will have incredible inconsistencies and weeks where he is outproduced by Kerryon, on a pass-first offense mind you, unless you can accurately predict another lengthy absence from Johnson.
In a situation very similar to that of Swift & Johnson, Taylor now finds himself in an even more crowded backfield, but for the Colts instead. The only marginally better aspect for Taylor is that the Colts have an elite offensive line and rely on the run, but with the addition of someone like Philip Rivers game script could possibly change a bit to include more passing. Otherwise this is the exact same scenario, the Colts have flat out said that they want to use Taylor and Marlon Mack, who is coming off a career year, as a 1-2 punch. What is absolutely mind boggling here though is the fact that ADP wise Taylor is being drafted SEVERAL rounds earlier than Mack when there is NO REASON for that! In fact, the most logical situation would be to have Taylor and Mack right alongside each other ranking wise, as they are both very similar type of RB's. And if you are relying on Taylor to separate himself with his receiving ability don't hold your breath as that role firmly belongs to Nyheim Hines, who might actually be the best value pick out of any Colt RB (specifically in PPR formats).
Akers is in a unique situation unlike his fellow RB's, as the only experienced and proven RB for the Rams in Todd Gurley was released. That now leaves the trio of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, and Akers. In reality, the competition will probably be primarily between Henderson and Akers, as they are the two most recent and early draft picks for the Rams. And considering that Henderson has mostly failed to impress so far, even though it's only been a year, Akers could very well emerge as the RB to own out of the bunch. The problem with all of this however is that
the Rams have already hinted at the high likelihood that they use a system of RB's and if Akers does emerge it will probably take several weeks, during which you will have to hold onto him on your bench. But the actual biggest issue here is that there are still MAJOR question marks surrounding the LA offensive line and the growth of Jared Goff. Those two reasons alone could be problematic enough that if even Todd Gurley was still with the Rams he would struggle, so imagine what that means for a young rookie like Akers.
Dobbins absolutely has a place in fantasy relevance, however it just isn't this year! It's clear that the Ravens want Dobbins to take over for Ingram as their main RB, but that won't come until next year or whenever the Ravens decide to release Ingram. And while Dobbins absolutely has the ability to produce a season like Ingram did in 2019, lets not forget that the best RB on the field for the Ravens at all times is actually Lamar Jackson, who limits every single RB's opportunities immensely! While an injury to Ingram could propel Dobbins into the starting role earlier than expected lets also not forget that a big reason why Ingram was so successful last year is his high TD total, which will be very hard to duplicate. Also don't be surprised if there is general offensive regression for the Ravens in terms of scoring efficiency in 2020 compared to 2019. The last factor in all of this is that there are still other capable RB's in
reserve for the Ravens like Gus Edwards and Justice Hill who all have executed when given a chance and could take away more volume than is expected from Dobbins.
Dillon more so than any RB on this list, is definitely not a fantasy relevant option for 2020. In order for that to happen, you would likely need to see Jamaal Williams released or a lengthy injury to Aaron Jones. And even if an injury does occur, we saw last year that as good as Jones was he still only got about 66% of the rushing opportunities for the GB backfield. With that being said, Dillon is more so a dynasty stash for 2021 or later depending on what happens with Aaron Jones and his next contract.
Vaughn is in a very intriguing situation on the suddenly ultra-potent TB offense, maybe somewhat similarly to Clyde Edwards-Helaire. However somewhat differently, Vaughn's status and value fully depend on what happens with Ronald Jones and his usage in 2020. If Bruce Arians decides to commit to one of these two RB's fully then you should expect their ADP to skyrocket as they are on what should
be a Top 5 offense in the NFL. The problem however, is that Arians is notorious for being a bit slower with his rookies so that could give Jones a leg up in the competition. In truth, no "expert" knows who the true feature RB for the Bucs will be and if they say they do it's simply a lie. What needs to happen, is that we need to see how things look in the preseason in terms of RB usage and only then can we decide if Vaughn will have any actual value in 2020 or if we will have to wait on his emergence as well.
The fact that Moss is being compared to someone like Derrick Henry is very exciting, however him winding up on the Bills somewhat limits that excitement. Now sure, the Bills are a rising team with a run-first mentality but the primary RB for the team, as we saw last year, is Devin Singletary. More than likely, Moss will assume a Frank Gore type role, with a little bit more action, but unless Singletary gets hurt we don't see Moss becoming the lead dog or a viable fantasy option. Think of it this way, Singletary is currently being drafted as a mid-level RB 2, so what would that make Moss? Additionally, the presence of Josh Allen at QB, who is another run-first QB, will take away opportunities from both Buffalo RB's.
Overall, the reality for EVERY Rookie RB during the 2020 Fantasy Football season is that they ALL face some type of Running Back By Committee situation. Unfortunately though, this is a trend that is growing and most NFL offenses are just not built to sustain two Top 15 or Top 20 Fantasy RB's at the same time. For that reason the best thing to do is hold off on these rookies until next year when they have potentially distanced themselves from the competition and at which point they can be relied upon.