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One-Man Backfields to Chase in 2020

We're talking about fantasy football here, and in fantasy, volume is the key to rostering and fielding a winning team. While everything boils down to that concept, seeking volume calls for looking deeper than just the name and reputation of players. Put a great running back in an RBBC backfield and his volume--and thus his fantasy outcome--will drop without question. The touches and opportunities will go down and with them the chances at scoring fantasy points.

With that in mind, it makes sense to pursue backfields with clear and very well-defined roles. Even if the players in those backfields are not top-tier options they will get all of the opportunities they can handle, which will ultimately benefit them. Those players might not be that good, but they will compensate for it just on pure volume. And the exact opposite is also true: Great ballcarriers can rack up points even on low volume, separating themselves from the pack.

Today, I will explore some backfields that enter the 2020 season with a clear option as the No. 1 running back poised to rack up chances on both the rushing and receiving sides of the game. Let's get to it!

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

Fournette is one of the best running backs in the NFL right now, but he's still considered a level behind the very best players at the position. Just a quick look at his ADP (27) tells you that he's going off the board after the end of the second round. Other rushers such as Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, or Joe Mixon are all getting drafted inside the first round on average, let alone Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, or Saquon Barkley.

The greatest thing going Fournette's way, though, is the percentage of opportunities that he will see in Jacksonville next season. Per PFF projections, Fournette is one of only five RBs to project to get at least 35% of opportunities among his teammates (all positions considered; rushing attempts and receiving targets factored in). Among those players, his ADP of 27 is way below the others' ADP (average three).

Fournette projects to log 228 rushing attempts, 64 targets, and 239.5 PPR points over the year. Even when considering the Jaguars' wide receivers, Fournette would be third in the pecking order in terms of target share with 14.4% of all targets going his way, only behind D.J. Chark (22.3%) and Dede Westbrook (17.7%).


Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets

The Jets felt like they were lacking depth in their backfield and signed veteran Frank Gore to bulk it up a bit. While the image above doesn't include him, you can pretty much flip Dixon's and Perine's expected shares combined for those Gore should get backing up Bell, and you'll have the Jets' 2020 backfield image.

No matter his presence, Bell's dominance of the opportunities among his teammates looks very promising. PFF has Bell projected to reach 228 rushing attempts and 65 targets for a total of 226.5 PPR points in the season. Compared to the rest of the Jets players combined (assuming that is Gore's outcome), he would still beat them in all shares (percentage of rushing attempts, percentage of targets, and percentage of opportunities combined).

Bell currently has an ADP of just 33 (almost a third-rounder) and he's the cheapest RB to project to get at least 55% of his team's carries and at least 10% of his team's targets (all positions considered). All in all, Bell's 33.9% opportunities rank eighth in PFF's projections. He's also expected to finish 2020 third in targets (65) among his Jets teammates, only behind Jamison Crowder (94) and Breshad Perriman (82), and above TE Chris Herndon (59).


Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

The talk about Russell Wilson being underutilized by Seattle in favor of a run-heavy style seems to always be there. And it will stay alive and well entering 2020. That means that Seattle's backfield will make for an appealing one next season, and twice that if we consider the pieces that are part of it. Only two RBs project to reach 50 PPR points next season and Chris Carson doubles Rashaad Penny in projected targets and carries. Even the addition of Carlos Hyde shouldn't impact Carson's appeal, as the recently signed veteran should just be a threat to eat from Penny's opportunities while battling for that RB2 role.

While Carson is expected to reach 243 rushing attempts and log 38 targets, Penny falls way short of those numbers for just 117 carries and 20 targets. The most interesting thing of all, too, is how Carson also profiles as a great player among all of his skill-position teammates. PFF projects Carson to finish first in rushing attempts and fourth in targets only behind Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf (obviously) and also behind TE Greg Olsen (50 targets compared to Carson's 38).

It's not too crazy to think Carson could easily trump Olsen over the year, though. Even while being "only" the fourth-highest option in targets he still projects to finish as the third-best fantasy player in the team: Wilson and Lockett are the only ones above him, and Carson is only expected to get 4.6 fewer PPR points than the latter over the full season.


Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

If you don't consider Green Bay's backfield (or Aaron Jones for that matter) a "second-tier" backfield, I don't blame you. The truth is Jones is going off draft boards with an ADP of 18, which is a mid-second rounder, so I'm sure you'll see him getting drafting inside the first round often. Even with that, I had to include him here.

Green Bay's offense is basically going to relly on two men: WR Davante Adams and RB Aaron Jones. Only those two have projected opportunity shares over 16% with RB Jamaal Williams coming in third. That might scare you but fear not. Jones projects to log 184 rushing attempts compared to Williams' 100, and he also beats him in projected targets (59 to 42). Other than Adams, only Allen Lazard (a wide receiver, that is) is expected to get targeted more times than Jones (68 to 59).

While Jones' ADP is quite high, he's one of just six running backs expected to finish 2020 as the leading rusher and top-two or top-three most-targeted player among his teammates. His 27.6% opportunity share is the lowest of those in that group but compared to the first player on the next level (second-most in ruAtts and third-most in reTgt, Tarik Cohen) he's light years ahead of his competition (Cohen projects to get just 17.8% of all opportunities in Chicago).

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