Hindsight Rankings: Running Back

A look back at the actual value of fantasy running backs in 2019 with a recommendation for offseason dynasty moves and early outlook for 2020 drafts.

The regular season is over and, with it, the classic season-long fantasy football season. DFS and playoff contests are keeping the puzzle-solving fantasy mind stimulated, but this is also a good time to reflect and see what we learned, what made the crank on the fantasy wheel of fate turn in 2019. Hindsight rankings are a good exercise and some of the results might surprise us. Sorting out the overachievers, underachievers, and pushes as compared to ADP and looking for patterns can help us identify players and situations with the potential for explosive growth or catastrophic failure this year.

ELITE RB1

Christian McCaffrey, CAR (ADP: RB1)

1. The injury to Cam Newton actually made McCaffrey even more central to the offense and he rose to the occasion like no fantasy running back has in a long time. McCaffrey gave the biggest advantage over #2 at his position of any player this season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’s untouchable, don’t even ask.

2020 ADP Outlook: We might have a consensus #1 pick. The addition of LSU wunderkind Joe Brady as offensive coordinator only helps McCaffrey’s case to sustain his astronomical 2019 production.

STRONG RB1

2. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (ADP: RB4)

Elliott’s holdout worries dissipated as the season began, and he delivered a solid return on the top-five pick it took to land him. His passing game involvement was sporadic at times, but he was durable and rarely let us down.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Mike McCarthy has said he will let Kellen Moore call plays, so we shouldn’t fear his hiring when assessing Elliott’s value.

2020 ADP Outlook: Elliott’s will still require a top-five investment, and that’s fair because of his consistency and durability.

3. Aaron Jones, GB (ADP: RB16)

Jones had some usage-related bumps in the road, but his peaks were as good as any fantasy running back and he blossomed as a receiving back this year, especially when the Packers were shorthanded at wide receiver when Davante Adams was out.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’s unlikely to be moved unless you overpay for him.

2020 ADP Outlook: Jones will be available around the 1-2 turn, which seems like a slight value.

4. Austin Ekeler, LAC (ADP: RB29)

On the shortlist for the most valuable picks of the season, Ekeler was elite while Melvin Gordon III’s holdout extended into the season and he remained a low PPR RB1 with elite peaks once Gordon was back.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: It’s possible Ekeler is undervalued with Gordon almost surely gone this offseason, but anyone who had him for the 2019 campaign should reluctant to deal him.

2020 ADP Outlook: The fantasy consensus might not rank Ekeler as a top 15-20 overall option right now because of uncertainty about Gordon, but he should be there by the time fantasy draft season in full swing, and he’ll be a value even at that price.

5. Dalvin Cook, MIN (ADP: RB11)

Cook was a fantasy MVP through the first ten weeks, but he wore down with multiple shoulder injuries and was a Week 15 bust and Week 16 absentee.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: It’s possible 2019 is the peak of Cook’s fantasy value if his shoulder injuries continue to accumulate, but he was impressive in the wild card round and the Vikings showed no inclination to ease up on his workload. A lateral move to another top running back could still look wise soon.

2020 ADP Outlook: Cook will go in the first round and while he was more than worth that for most of the year, anyone who had him in 2019 might be willing to pass after smoke was coming out of his hood during the fantasy playoffs.

6. Derrick Henry, TEN (ADP: RB19)

It’s easy to forget that at the time the Titans made the switch to Ryan Tannehill, Henry was RB19 in PPR leagues, right at his ADP, and only a 75-yard screen pass touchdown in Week 1 made him notable to that point. Enter Tannehill, and Henry was RB2 in PPR leagues from Weeks 7-15 despite being minimally involved as a pass-catcher. He did miss Week 16 for rest because the game was inconsequential for the Titans playoff chances.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Free agency injects some uncertainty, but the Titans are likely to retain him and he should remain in a plum situation that makes him a strong hold coming off of a postseason that will stick in our minds for years if not decades.

2020 ADP Outlook: Henry should be a mid-first round pick and I won’t talk anyone out of using that pick on him as long as Tannehill is back.

STRONG RB1 WITH INJURY INTERRUPTION

7. Saquon Barkley, NYG (ADP: RB1)

Barkley wasn’t a complete bust because he helped teams that overcame his three missed games and Weeks 9-14 slump as he was still getting back to health win titles. He did have a dip in receiving production with a new quarterback

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If you covet Barkley, he may not be cheaper for another 3-5 years assuming he can avoid injuries as serious as his 2019 ankle sprain.

2020 ADP Outlook: Barkley is a good bet to be the #2 overall pick in most drafts

8. Alvin Kamara, NO (ADP: RB3)

Kamara underperformed slightly to begin the season, missed two games with an injury, but paid off in Week 16. He was buoyed by his passing game involvement while getting back to 100% and finished strong, with Latavius Murray being a smaller factor in the Saints offense than expected.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Kamara should get one more year with Drew Brees, but 2018 is looking more like the aberration than the norm for him. He could be worth selling if you can recoup top-five overall value.

2020 ADP Outlook: You’re going to need to spend a top-five pick to get Kamara in 2020 drafts.

STRONG RB2

9. Leonard Fournette, JAX (ADP: RB12)

Fournette lived up to offseason billing of an increased role in the passing game and a reinvented young man, but it didn’t result in as big of a fantasy spike as it could have because the Jaguars were mediocre to terrible for most of the year. He was still very consistent in PPR leagues but finished on a low note.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Fournette is somewhat pedestrian among the do-everything backs even though his durability and pass-catching ability were improved. Tom Coughlin was his biggest fan in the organization and he’s gone, so Fournette could be on his last go-round with the Jaguars, and who knows what kind of role the future will hold. He’s a strong sell this offseason, maybe a sell to the highest bidder regardless of price.

2020 ADP Outlook: Fournette will be a second-round pick even though he probably wasn’t worth that in 2019. Pass.

10. Nick Chubb, CLE (ADP: RB8)

Chubb was a revelation as a runner and flirted with an NFL rushing title despite playing for a losing team. Kareem Hunt’s return did cut into his receiving stats and the Browns struggles limited his touchdowns, but Chubb can’t really be thought of as an underachiever.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If the Browns can get their act together under Kevin Stefanski, Chubb might take a step forward from already high perch. He’s a hold/buy.

2020 ADP Outlook: Chubb is going to go in the second round, and maybe in the back half after the Browns offense failed to live up to expectations last year. He should be a target at that ADP.

11. Mark Ingram II, BAL (ADP: RB20)

Ingram was a strong success on the back of his continued vigor as a runner in an overachieving offense. While he was somewhat touchdown dependent because of low carry volume, adding five receiving scores in the second half of the season kept him in the strong RB2 ranks.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Ingram just turned 30 and he did get hurt at the end of the season. He might give way more to Gus Edwards and Justice Hill next year. He’s a hard sell.

2020 ADP Outlook: Even though Ingram’s dynasty arrow is pointing down, that will make him available for a big discount from 2019 production levels in 2020 drafts. If he can be had as an RB2/RB3 in the 5th round again, he’ll be worth a look.

12. Chris Carson, SEA (ADP: RB18)

Carson had steady volume and a high floor with ample passing game involvement and a commitment from the coaching staff through fumbling problems. His Week 16 was a disappointment, ending with a broken hip.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Carson has been an all-out effort runner and vastly outperformed draft capital, but he might have peaked. He’s a sell even though his hip injury didn’t require surgery, making him likely to be back on the field before Rashaad Penny.

2020 ADP Outlook: Carson was a smashing success but his injury will probably put him around the same 3rd-4th round range as his 2019 ADP. If he is back on the field for the open of training camp, that will be a solid proposition.

SOLID RB2

13. Todd Gurley, LAR (ADP: RB9)

Gurley’s 2019 will be remembered for odd workload management and worries about an arthritic knee. He missed a game and wasn’t a trustworthy starter in the middle third of the season and his receiving involvement dipped for some reason, but he finished strong and still collected 14 scores on the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Sean McVay fired the running back coach in an effort to boost the running game, so he appears to still be a Gurley believer. If the Gurley team is ready to sell for pennies on the dollar, that could be an acquisition that pays off.

2020 ADP Outlook: Gurley should be a round - or more - cheaper than last year, matching his 2019 production, which could be a floor this year, so he might be a 2020 draft target despite some long term uncertainty.

14. Melvin Gordon III, LAC (ADP: RB23)

Gordon’s holdout put a cramp in the lineups of fantasy teams that took him at ADP, but as the beginning of season got closer, he was often available in the fifth round or later, and that ended up being an excellent value pick. Gordon started slowly when he returned from his four-game holdout, but he remained a primary goal-line back and still very involved in the passing game as a strong RB2 with RB1 peaks in the second half of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Who knows where Gordon will play and how large his role will be? He’s probably a sell, although he could gain value if he lands in Miami or another spot where he’ll be an unquestioned feature back.

2020 ADP Outlook: Gordon won’t be ranked at the level of his 2019 production. Unless he lands in a terrible spot, he’ll be a value pick.

15. Josh Jacobs, OAK (ADP: RB17)

Anyone who watched Jacobs regularly this year will remember his season as a strong campaign, but sporadic touchdowns and minimal passing-game usage combined with durability problems at the end of the season kept him from truly taking off in fantasy scoring.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’ll be jealously guarded in trade talks and for good reason.

2020 ADP Outlook: Jacobs will go a round or so higher than his late 3rd/early 4th 2019 ADP, with a chance to outlook even that optimistic price inflation. He’ll be attractive if he falls to the third.

LOW CEILING RB2

16. Joe Mixon, CIN (ADP: RB10)

Mixon was a bust insomuch as the Bengals were a bust. He was still a clear feature back and was actually bordering on RB1 value in the second half of the season after being an unreliable start in the first half. He once again finished the season with his best football.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Anyone who has Mixon is going to rightfully value him as nearly untouchable now that the Bengals are getting Joe Burrow.

2020 ADP Outlook: Mixon may remain at a late 1st/early 2nd ADP despite vastly underperforming that last year and should probably be a pass.

17. Le'Veon Bell, NYJ (ADP: RB6)

Bell’s ability didn’t seem to be significantly eroded from the last time we saw him play, but his surroundings took a huge hit when he went from the Steelers to the Adam Gase Jets. Bell never got in a deep enough slump to pull out of fantasy lineups, but after a strong start, he was rarely a reason a fantasy team won and he missed a game during the fantasy playoffs.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Look out below! Bell’s contract will be a tough sell for a Jets looking to deal him, and he might end up back in this purgatory offense, but with company as the Jets look to the future in the backfield. He would be a sell if everyone wasn’t already thinking the same thing, so maybe he’ll be a buy from a fantasy team desperate to cash in while they can.

2020 ADP Outlook: Bell’s ADP will be volatile, but if he’s clearly the best back on his team, he’ll be worth looking at if he falls to the fourth or later.

RB2/FLEX GRAB BAG

18. Kenyan Drake, MIA/ARI (ADP: RB32)

Congrats if you held Drake through the Miami turmoil and trusted him in the fantasy playoffs. He was a replacement-level performer while in a Dolphins uniform, made a splash in his Cardinals debut only to return to Miami production levels before putting up uber-elite numbers in Weeks 15 and 16.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He could be in a committee somewhere, or the starter in Arizona. It’s a roll of the dice to buy or sell him right now, but betting on his talent and low mileage could be rewarded.

2020 ADP Outlook: Drake’s ADP will hover in the range it was before Kalen Ballage’s training camp emergence. Much like his dynasty stock, the question marks holding back Drake’s redraft ADP should attract risk-takers who like to bet on proven ability.

19. Miles Sanders, PHI (ADP: RB31)

Sanders started the season as a committee back and Jordan Howard outplaying expectations put his fantasy value in jeopardy. The Eagles started using Sanders more in the passing game as the season went on, and then a mysterious shoulder injury sidelined Howard, paving the way for Sanders to build momentum and put up strong RB1 numbers in the fantasy playoffs.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: He’s not getting moved unless someone grossly overpays for him, and that might still look like a value in hindsight.

2020 ADP Outlook: You might pull Sanders in the third round or a little later in early drafts, but expect him to be a second-rounder with a bullet by the time draft season is in full swing.

20. James White, NE (ADP: RB25)

The Patriots problems at wide receiver allowed White to be a consistent RB2 in PPR leagues, although he did miss a game early in the season, he followed his worst game of the year with his best to test fantasy players with itchy trigger fingers, and he was a dud in Week 16.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If Tom Brady stays, White will probably be a solid PPR commodity again, but if Brady goes elsewhere, all bets are off, so he might be a prudent sell.

2020 ADP Outlook: White will be drafted as a bench/flex option in the 7th-10th round range and probably won’t outperform that in any scenario. He’ll be less attractive than upside plays in the same area of drafts.

21. David Johnson, ARI (ADP: RB5)

Johnson was a strong RB1 in PPR leagues for a month and a half and then turned to dust before our eyes, even getting dropped (wisely) in some redraft leagues.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If he gets reunited with Bruce Arians in Tampa, there will be interest in him, but Johnson could also fade into nothingness. Buying him this offseason is not for the faint of heart but has a small chance to pay off bigly.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’ll be a what the heck second half of the draft pick regardless of his team unless he lands in a plum spot.

22. James Conner, PIT (ADP: RB7)

Conner was quiet, but not a bust for the first three weeks of the season, put up strong RB1 numbers for a month despite poor quarterback play, then got hurt and never got back on the field long enough to help fantasy teams in 2019.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Steelers aren’t likely to add competition for Conner, but they certainly won’t treat him as a clear lead back after his durability was very questionable in 2019. His name value has plummeted, but he could get a bounce despite lower volume if Ben Roethlisberger returns to form. He’s probably in that zone where his price hasn’t fallen enough to buy, but there won’t be a market to sell either.

2020 ADP Outlook: After carrying first-round value at times leading into drafts in 2019, look for Conner to fall to at least the fourth or fifth this year. He’ll be worth consideration as a bet on the Steelers offense at that price.

23. Raheem Mostert, SF (ADP: Undrafted)

Mostert looked as good as any 49ers in 2018 before breaking his forearm but didn’t get a chance to lead the backfield until Week 13 this season. He came through with solid RB2 to strong RB1 numbers during his starter stretch and was arguably the best waiver wire running back pickup of the season in a weak year for unlikely performers at the position.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Mostert's NFC Championship Game performance will likely make him too expensive to buy in dynasty leagues.

2020 ADP Outlook: Mostert is under contract cheap and in the prime of his career. His ADP is on the rise and might get too rich because Kyle Shanahan will employ a multi-back approach to some extent next season.

24. Kareem Hunt, CLE (ADP: RB45)

Hunt’s value came with the cost of clogging up a spot that could be used to add value from the waiver wire, but the waiver wire wasn’t a big addition to team value in the first half of the season, and Hunt was as consistent as James White in the second half of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The worst-case scenario is that the Browns don’t get a nibble when Hunt is available as a restricted free agent. He looked like Kansas City Hunt in 2019 and should only increase in value in dynasty leagues. Ask for a price check.

2020 ADP Outlook: Hunt should be available as a top bench pick in the 7th-10th round range and any time you can get a talent of his caliber there, you should.

25. Devonta Freeman, ATL (ADP: RB15)

Freeman was a consistent passing game performer, he only missed two games with a foot injury that seemed like it would rob him of more time in light of his injury history and he was the clear lead back for the Falcons, especially after Ito Smith went down, but he didn’t inspire enough confidence to be in Week 16 lineups for his best game of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Falcons have to be considered one of the most likely teams to draft and/or sign a new back, and Freeman could easily be a cap cut at a 6.5 million price tag. He would be a sell if anyone was willing to buy him.

2020 ADP Outlook: Freeman won’t be worth a pick in the top 10 rounds unless the Falcons bring him back and don’t add strong competition.

26. Marlon Mack, IND (ADP: RB22)

Mack had his best game of the season in Week 1 and was an up and down performer with modest peaks and a solid floor from there on out, with two missed games and a strong Week 16 after a bust of a Week 15 game.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Colts are probably content to allow Mack to lead the backfield again, although his lack of passing game involvement and uncertainty at quarterback cast a shadow on the potential payoff of acquiring him. He’s a better sell than buy even though his game took a big step forward at times in 2019.

2020 ADP Outlook: Mack will be cheaper in drafts than last year, but did he give us a reason to expect 2020 to be much different than 2019? Unless the Colts make a splash at quarterback, he will only be attractive to drafters who like to get volume at a discount.

27. Phillip Lindsay, DEN (ADP: RB26)

Royce Freeman looked like a threat to Lindsay’s volume through the preseason and that materialized in the first half of the season. Lindsay took over the backfield in the second half of the season, but it actually resulted in a lower ceiling and less consistency than the first-half performance as the Broncos went through changes at quarterback. He didn’t have the chunk plays that spiked his weekly value in 2019 and was a what-the-heck flex for most of the year.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Lindsay is situated well going into next season with an offseason that shouldn’t see much change to the running game despite the addition of Pat Shurmur at offensive coordinator. He’s a better buy than he was last offseason with Royce Freeman looking like a bust instead of an unknown commodity.

2020 ADP Outlook: Lindsay could build momentum with a good offseason and camp, but he’s likely to be even cheaper than he was last year and a decent bet to hit as a top bench/flex pick.

28. Devin Singletary, BUF (ADP: RB40)

Singletary got off to a hot start and then got hurt. After his return, he was an adequate RB2 with a few peaks, but Frank Gore and Josh Allen stole whatever goal line thunder there was for Singletary to harvest. He was the only rookie outside of Josh Jacobs to hit this year, but Singletary was more fantasy role player than core lineup contributor.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Singletary’s value will go up next year, the only question is how much. Frank Gore might not be brought back, but the team could add a much more effective back than Gore via the draft or free agency. Singletary is a hold with a wide range of offseason value movement.

2020 ADP Outlook: Optimism about Singletary’s future should push him into the fourth, if not third round. With more goal-line usage, he should deliver that value and be a worthy target at that price.

29. Carlos Hyde, HOU (ADP: RB56)

Hyde was traded for couch cushion change right before the season started, and the Texans invested a lot more in Duke Johnson Jr, but Hyde was the lead back and leveled off as a solid volume/matchup-based flex play.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’ll likely be signed as a high floor backup despite his solid production in 2019. Hyde’s pulse in fantasy leagues is getting fainter by the year.

ROLE PLAYERS/CONTRIBUTORS

30. Adrian Peterson, WAS (ADP: RB49)

The ageless one ran his heart out and put up consistent value when first when Chris Thompson went down and then the second time Derrius Guice went down, aided by a run-heavy approach installed when Bill Callahan took over as interim head coach.

2020 ADP Outlook: Peterson is a possible cap cut, but if he returns as the co-lead with Guice, he’ll be worth the waiver wire watch list designation.

31. Kerryon Johnson, DET (ADP: RB13)

Optimism about Johnson breaking out in year two as a lead back in a run-heavy offense delivered five weeks of low RB2 production before Johnson once again succumbed to an injury that cost him a big part of a season. He did return to the field for some meaningless December action.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Johnson has had the look of a future stud in his best moments, so if you wanted him as a cornerstone, now is the time to act. He’s a good buy-low turning 23 this summer.

2020 ADP Outlook: Johnson will only be a round or two cheaper than last year, but he has basically the same outlook. We should be a little wary of Bo Scarbrough cutting into his lead back role.

32. Damien Williams, KC (ADP: RB14)

Williams had a solid Week 1, immediately got banged, had a midseason resurgence, got hurt again, and returned for a solid Week 16 if anyone trusted him in his first week back. He gets added to the growing list of early-round picks on the back of projected volume with limited track records that bust. Hopefully, the LeSean McCoy signing got you off of him in late drafts.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Despite the up and down (mostly down) 2019, Williams is again putting up great fantasy numbers in the playoffs. If he’s available for pennies on the dollar, he could be a good one-year rental, but eventually, the bottom will drop out of his remaining value.

2020 ADP Outlook: Williams will be available in the 6th-7th or later, but there’s a lot of potential for additions to the backfield, or even Darwin Thompson emerging in the offseason. He’s a likely pass, but one with a shot to hit big at a depressed ADP.

33. Sony Michel, NE (ADP: RB21)

Michel’s offseason knee surgery got people off of him at ADP, saving them from a disappointing season. He didn’t have the burst and effectiveness of previous years, or the copious touchdown opportunities because of low wattage offense. Michel did come through in some first half of the season blowouts against very weak opponents and ran well at the end of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Michel’s arrow is pointing down and his value might have already peaked. He’s a falling knife sale with some possibility of a rebound if Tom Brady returns and the offense stabilizes, but 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris looms.

2020 ADP Outlook: Michel will go in the 7th-11th round range as an incumbent with goal-line duties, but the developments in the Patriots offense should bump that up or down as we get closer to the season.

34. Tevin Coleman, SF (ADP: RB27)

Coleman was a starter by default going into the season after Jerick McKinnon got hurt again, then Coleman promptly got hurt in Week 1. When he returned, he led the backfield in touches for three straight games, yielding low RB2 numbers, before exploding against the Packers for one of the best running back games of the season. He scratched out flex numbers for the next month as Raheem Mostert was emerging, and was a nonfactor in fantasy leagues for the last month of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Coleman’s star is falling and he appears to on the verge of ending up in the large pool of replacement level backs after a reunion with Kyle Shanahan did not spur him to new heights.

2020 ADP Outlook: Coleman will be a bench pick even though he wasn’t even worth rostering in December because of the quality of his running game and less than stellar durability record of his backfield mates.

35. Latavius Murray, NO (ADP: RB34)

Murray was actually a bust this year, not coming close to living up to the Mark Ingram II role hopes, but he did have two week-winning performances when Alvin Kamara was out, which is certainly worth something and on the whole maybe more than 16 weeks of possibly flex plays.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Murray’s contract almost assures he’ll be a Saint in 2020, but his value is more Kamara handcuff than standalone bench option.

2020 ADP Outlook: Murray should be available later than he was in 2019 drafts and he actually looked good despite disappointing fantasy numbers, so he’ll be a solid bench pick in leagues with thin waiver wires.

36. Chase Edmonds, ARI (ADP: RB64)

Edmonds had a couple of solid games before David Johnson turned into a dead man walking and ripped off three scores in the game that Johnson turned to dust only to pull a hamstring in the next game and be surpassed by Kenyan Drake before he could get back on the field.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Edmonds looked sharp as a runner and receiver before his injury, although if Drake is retained, Edmonds will be the second fiddle. There’s still some chance that he’s the best running back on the roster in 2020. He’s a buy.

2020 ADP Outlook: Edmonds will be a late-round target with his 2019 flash and the uncertainty around him as the only back on the roster that is sure to be back this year.

37. Matt Breida, SF (ADP: RB37)

Breida led the backfield in carries in two of the first three games and had a 121-yard outing in the blowout win over Cincinnati that saw Raheem Mostert get one more carry than Breida. Then Breida had a massive game in another blowout win over Cleveland. He started to fade into the background when Tevin Coleman returned and eventually the injury bug bit him again and he barely played over the last seven weeks.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Breida is still just as talented as when he was somewhat coveted coming into 2019, but Raheem Mostert has stolen his thunder. The (likely correct) perception that injuries will always keep him from generating too much momentum may make him a worthy target as a throw-in in a larger deal.

2020 ADP Outlook: Breida will go in the late rounds or go undrafted, but it won’t be a surprise if he’s a relevant player at some point in 2020 at the intersection of proven talent and a great running game.

38. Tarik Cohen, CHI (ADP: RB30)

Cohen was a mostly unpredictable, albeit semi-high floor flex play whose ceiling and floor were both lowered by the malaise of a Bears offense that couldn’t recapture its 2018 glory.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Bears seem devoted to rebuilding their running game, so unless the offense has a surprising overall bounceback, his prospects for 2020 growth are flat. He’s only turning 25, so this could be a good time to get him on the cheap and hope for a boost in offense and role on his second contract in 2021.

2020 ADP Outlook: Cohen won’t cost as much in 2020, but will he deliver more than emergency/injury/bye PPR value? Doubtful.

39. Duke Johnson Jr, HOU (ADP: RB28)

Johnson was similar to Cohen, a reasonable flex play in any given week based on outlook and role, but sometimes he would be a lineup liability, sometimes he would be an asset. This was very disappointing with Carlos Hyde meriting a much smaller investment from “GM” Bill O’Brien and in fantasy circles, an anticipated smaller role, but in the end, Johnson was playing in Hyde’s shadow yet again, and he never became a preferred target for Deshaun Watson.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: We won’t get fooled again.

2020 ADP Outlook: Johnson will be a solid best-ball pick as a bench asset in the 10th-12th round range, but frustrating enough in redraft to let someone else take on that headache.

40. Ronald Jones II, TB (ADP: RB51)

Jones actually took a step forward in 2019, especially as a receiver, but he rarely put two good weeks together, and his role in the offseason was too inconsistent to ever truly trust in lineups.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Jones is turning 23 during training camp and should be in for his largest role yet. He’s still in a buy-low window if you believe in him even though his overall value trend in 2019 was up.

2020 ADP Outlook: Jones should be a late-round pick again this year unless the Bucs don’t bring in any competition better than Peyton Barber, but investing the Bucs running game hasn’t been a recipe for fantasy success lately,

41. Jordan Howard, PHI (ADP: RB36)

Howard was quiet to the begin the season, dominated the Packers on a Monday night to create some desire to start him, during which he delivered a few RB2 weeks and a few bust weeks, and then a mysterious shoulder injury basically sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

2020 ADP Outlook: Howard is a useful NFL back, but his grind it out running ability isn’t very coveted in league circles. He might go undrafted if he doesn’t land in a favorable spot.

42. David Montgomery, CHI (ADP: RB24)

Montgomery got the hoped-for usage early in the season but only delivered baseline flex numbers. A brief midseason flash punctuated by back-to-back RB1 level games was Montgomery’s high point, but most of the time you were induced into starting him, you were disappointed.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: The Bears are going to recommit to the run so the runway will be there for Montgomery, but can he take off? We will look back at this offseason as the best buy-low window or last sell high window of his career.

2020 ADP Outlook: Montgomery will still be drafted with some optimism in the 7th-8th round area on average, but I didn’t see enough to merit a pick there even though it is a sizable discount for his 2019 ADP.

43. DeAndre Washington, OAK (ADP: Undrafted)

Washington was barely noticed in fantasy leagues until Josh Jacobs finally succumbed to his shoulder injury. He, and not Jalen Richard became the starter, and Washington ended up being a strong play in Weeks 14 and 16.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Washington lacks subtlety as a runner, but he’s a solid all-around back and could be signed as a backup in free agency. He could be a decent waiver wire add after we find out his destination.

44. LeSean McCoy, KC (ADP: RB38)

McCoy’s reunion with Andy Reid on the eve of the season was highly anticipated in fantasy circles. Two games into the season Damien Williams got banged up and McCoy scored three times in the two following games while Williams sat. He was quiet until Williams went down again. McCoy scored in two straight games after Williams' second injury and then became a nonfactor by the end of the season.

45. Jamaal Williams, GB (ADP: RB67)

Williams never bore fruit as the handcuff to Aaron Jones, but he did score as a receiver in four straight games, one of which was accompanied by a 100-yard rushing game and another accompanied by a rushing score. His role got smaller as the season went on, rendering him a mere handcuff again by the end of the season.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Williams is going into the last year of his rookie deal and he showed more in Matt LaFleur’s running game that he had in his first two years in the league. He could have a value jump in 2021.

2020 ADP Outlook: Despite more success than expected, Williams will be a late-round handcuff pick. Aaron Jones played 16 games for the first time in his career last year, so Williams could pay off in 2020.

46. Royce Freeman, DEN (ADP: RB39)

An offseason of buzz about Freeman pulling even with Phillip Lindsay created a first half of the season full of flex starts via increased involvement in the offense, especially the passing game, and some goal-line work. Halfway through the season, the Broncos coaches went back to Lindsay as a lead back and Freeman was a second-half bust save for a few random touchdowns.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Freeman is turning 24 in February, but it appears his breakout window has come and gone. He could be on the waiver wire by the end of the year.

2020 ADP Outlook: Freeman will get some attention in the second half of drafts as a Lindsay handcuff, but the staff was losing confidence in him and that could be a wasted pick.

47. Chris Thompson, WAS (ADP: RB55)

Thompson’s value peaked in recent years, but he was an afterthought in 2019 drafts, even though he was a source of cheap PPR points. He was actually a PPR low RB2 for the first month of the season before the inevitable injury and when he returned, he was in an offense under construction around a rookie quarterback. He’s a 29-year-old free agent who will have to fight for playing in 2020.

48. Rex Burkhead, NE (ADP: RB72)

Burkhead stuck with the Patriots for another year but wasn’t seen as a big part of the backfield going into the season. He ended up being as productive as any Patriots back in the first three games of the season before once again getting hurt. After getting healthy he worked his way back to a decent role, peaking in Week 16 as a what the heck flex. Burkhead turns 30 this year and will reprise his role with the Patriots at best, or have to earn a spot as a third or fourth running back on a new team at worst in 2020.

49. Darrel Williams, KC (ADP: Undrafted)

The other D. Williams on the Chiefs roster was a big contributor to Week 3 and 4 lineups after Damien Williams went down. He looked like a quality all-around back in a good offense, but when Damien was healthy enough to play again, Darrel faded into obscurity. When Damien got hurt again, Darrel scored but then left the game with an injury, not to be heard from again during the regular season. Wiliams is likely to enter 2020 in a similar injury handcuff role, with 2019 sixth-round pick Darwin Thompson possibly surpassing him.

50. Jaylen Samuels, PIT (ADP: RB48)

Samuels was seen as the preferred handcuff to James Conner after his late-season success in 2018, and he added a new feather to his cap as a strong wildcat quarterback to help jumpstart a Roethlisberger-less offense against the hapless Bengals. Eventually, Conner did get hurt, and Samuels had a very strong PPR game in his first start. He had one more relevant game after Conner returned from a shoulder injury only to leave the game again, and then the team seemed to prefer Benny Snell as the starter. Samuels flashed enough talent to be worth scavenging from the waiver wire, but he has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh.

51. Frank Gore, BUF (ADP: RB63)

Gore was another ageless wonder, at least for September, and he was a solid start for Weeks 2-4, including two games that Devin Singletary missed. He ran out of gas soon after and the Bills squandered numerous goal line carries in the effort to give Gore a chance to contribute. He might have one more year left in him, but Gore won’t add much to his 15,347 rushing yard total, good enough for third all-time (for now).

52. Boston Scott, PHI (ADP: Undrafted)

The Matt Waldman favorite was part of the Eagles practice squad all-stars that led them to the playoffs in December. He was a surprise Week 14 stud, solid Week 15 flex, Week 16 dud, and Week 17 hero. He should be retained as quality depth and a role player behind Miles Sanders and could be relevant in fantasy circles again.

53. Rashaad Penny, SEA (ADP: RB35)

Penny had a touchdown against the Steelers in Week 2, but never really threatened Chris Carson’s hold on the starter job in the first half of the season, missing time due to injuries and not making a dent in the box score. He came roaring out of the bye with a long touchdown run against the Eagles, and if he was trusted in Week 13 against the Vikings, he helped win weeks with a two-score, 107 total yard performance, only to go down with an ACL tear “plus” that might threaten his availability in 2020.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: If you believe in Penny and medical science’s ability to allow players to get back to 100% from severe knee injuries, he’s likely available for couch cushion change.

54. Jonathan Williams, IND (ADP: Undrafted)

For a moment, it looked like Williams could be one of the best waiver wire running backs of the season. He had over 100 yards in relief of an injured Marlon Mack and then dominated touches the following week while Mack sat to the tune of over 100 yards and a score. Jordan Wilkins surpassed him the next week, then Mack returned and Williams didn’t have a touch in the last four games of the season.

55. Peyton Barber, TB (ADP: RB43)

Barber was never truly surpassed by Ronald Jones II, but he never sustained value and his best games of the season always seemed to follow Jones’ best games in one of the most torturous backfields to follow in fantasy leagues in 2019.

56. Derrius Guice, WAS (ADP: RB33)

Guice got hurt in the first game of the season, but did return and looked like he was breaking out in Week 12, only to get hurt again the following week.

Offseason Dynasty Advice: Washington’s offense could finally settle down with Dwayne Haskins and Guice did flash the talent that made him so coveted two years ago. He’s an offseason buy low, although one more injury-riddled year could render him scrap metal in fantasy leagues.

2020 ADP Outlook: He’ll cost you a 5th-7th round pick, which prices in a lot of optimism about his ability to stay healthy.

WAIVER WIRE DUDS

57. Patrick Laird, MIA (ADP: Undrafted)

Laird was a fun story and he was flex-worthy in the first week after Kalen Ballage got hurt, but dragged down lineups after that.

58. Bo Scarbrough, DET (ADP: Undrafted)

Scarbrough got consistent volume for a month after the Lions realized Ty Johnson and JD McKissic weren’t going to cut it, but he didn’t move the needle in fantasy leagues.

59. Benny Snell, PIT (ADP: Undrafted)

Snell and his workmanlike game actually took over the backfield for three weeks once he was healthy after a midseason knee injury, but production went down each successive week and he was a nonfactor during the fantasy playoffs.

60. Brian Hill, ATL (ADP: Undrafted)

Hill looked great in relief of an injured Devonta Freeman and then looked like a running back who should have gotten cut in camp during his two starts, before being a garbage time star one more time after Freeman returned.

61. Ty Johnson, DET (ADP: Undrafted)

Johnson took over for an injured Kerryon Johnson in Week 8 but failed to get over 38 total yards until Week 17 after the starter returned to the lineup.

62. Mark Walton, MIA (ADP: Undrafted)

Walton became the starter after Kenyan Drake was traded, served his suspension for offseason transgressions, and then was released after running afoul of the law once again during the season.

63. Mike Boone, MIN (ADP: Undrafted)

Boone will be remembered for years as an ultimate Week 16 bust after scoring twice late in Week 15. He produced a huge game in Week 17 after the damage was done.

WASTED PICKS

64. Nyheim Hines, IND (ADP: RB52)

Even while their offense was struggling and their starting back was hurt, the Colts for some reason found little use for one of their most explosive players in 2019. He’s an offseason buy low.

65. Tony Pollard, DAL (ADP: RB41)

Pollard was great during garbage time here and there, but once Ezekiel Elliott signed a new deal, any predictable value evaporated. If you are patient, he’s an offseason buy low.

66. Ito Smith, ATL (ADP: RB58)

Smith couldn’t pull even with Devonta Freeman and then concussions ended his season prematurely.

67. Justice Hill, BAL (ADP: RB53)

Hill was stuck behind an improved Gus Edwards in the pecking order and Mark Ingram II didn’t get hurt until Week 16.

68. Damien Harris, NE (ADP: RB57)

Harris was a healthy scratch most weeks even while other Patriots backs were dinged. Brandon Bolden was playing ahead of him.

69. Justin Jackson, LAC (ADP: RB50)

Austin Ekeler left Jackson in his wake during Melvin Gordon III’s holdout, although Jackson should be the #2 back in 2020, making him an offseason buy low.

70. Giovani Bernard, CIN (ADP: RB60)

Joe Mixon didn’t miss time, rendering Bernard useless in 2019 fantasy leagues even though he got another inexplicable extension from the Bengals.

71. Dion Lewis, TEN (ADP: RB46)

Once Derrick Henry established himself, Lewis was irrelevant in fantasy leagues. He did get a Week 16 start but only posted modest production.

72. Dare Ogunbowale, TB (ADP: RB70)

Ogunbowale endeared himself to the Bucs staff in camp but never made a dent in fantasy circles while leading all Bucs backs in receptions.

73. Mike Davis, CHI/CAR (ADP: RB68)

Davis had six receptions in the season opener and seven touches for the rest of the season.

74. Ty Montgomery, NYJ (ADP: RB62)

Montgomery was the subject of some preseason positive buzz, but he was behind Bilal Powell when Le'Veon Bell missed a game.

75. Jalen Richard, OAK (ADP: RB59)

The king of cheap PPR points in 2018 had 0-2 receptions most of the time in 2019. He’ll be a free agent this year and could get used more on his next team.

76. Darwin Thompson, KC (ADP: RB42)

The Chiefs backfield did have some instability, but the team was clearly reluctant to give Thompson a larger role although he did finish the season ahead of LeSean McCoy. We haven’t heard the last of him in fantasy leagues.

77. Alexander Mattison, MIN (ADP: RB54)

The top handcuff to stash for much of the year had some garbage time flashes but wasn’t healthy when Dalvin Cook finally missed a game.

78. Malcolm Brown, LAR (ADP: RB66)

Worries about Todd Gurley’s knee seemed to manifest into fantasy value for Brown in Week 1 when he scored twice, but he wasn’t the dedicated goal-line back after that, and he was a dud during the one week Gurley missed.

79. Darrell Henderson, LAR (ADP: RB44)

Henderson got double-digit touches when Malcolm Brown missed a few games, but he was never slotted into the Chris Thompson role as anticipated and he looked nothing like a back a team would trade up in the third round for.

80. Kalen Ballage, MIA (ADP: RB47)

Ballage averaging 1.8 yards per carry wasn’t his greatest feat of the season. It was somehow still getting 74 carries while performing that poorly.