Dynasty Debate – Who is the current RB1 in dynasty?
2020 has been a fascinating and unique year, that stands for fantasy football as well. We have seen a changing of the guard of sorts with the WRs. In a previous article I did a few weeks ago, that can be found here, I mentioned the likes of D.K. Metcalf, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Ceedee Lamb and A.J. Brown all have legitimate claims at being the WR1 in dynasty, there is no consensus.
What about the running back position?
The usual suspects are all one year older than this time last year. We all know RBs have a shorter shelf life and age matters for the position.
McCaffrey was at worst the consensus RB1 this off-season. Some voiced the claims of Saquon Barkley, stopping the man we know collectively as ‘CMC’ from being the ‘unanimous’ RB1. In 2020 however, is CMC still the consensus RB1?
Starting with the king, injury has perhaps led to some people moving CMC down from atop his throne. I believe this is a mistake. CMC is still my RB1 in dynasty although it has become more of a conversation than this time last year.
Last season CMC finished as the RB1 in standard scoring, half and full PPR leagues.
He recently signed a 4 year, $64 million-dollar contract (38 mil guaranteed) placing him as the highest paid RB in the league per year. This ties the 24-year-old to the Panthers organization till the end of the 2025 season.
With a new head coach and a new QB in 2020 there were some question marks surrounding how this would affect CMC’s usage. These question marks were quickly put to bed after his only two games this season. He totaled 41 rushes for 156 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 67 receiving yards and 4 rushing touchdowns in just two games.
The star out of Stanford should return as early as this week and quickly remind people as to why he is still the undisputed king.
— panthersaccess™️ (@panthersaccess_) September 25, 2020
“Hey why not record a play, maybe it’ll turn out to be a highlight”
— Sak Sports Blog (@SakSports) January 8, 2018
Recency bias would place him as some peoples current top RB in dynasty. Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers he had 30 rushes for 163, 2 receptions, 63 receiving yards and a whopping 4 total touchdowns.
This season Cook is the current RB1 in PPG.
The injury plagued Cook has seemingly moved on from that label. An acl rupture ended his rookie season in 2017. Cook has not missed any games since due to this knee and the surgery has clearly not hindered his performances. The former star out of Florida State did however miss five games in 2018 due to a hamstring injury and two in 2019 with a minor shoulder injury.
Cook is 25 years of age and onto his second contract. He recently signed a 5 year, $62.5 million-dollar contract ($28 million guaranteed).
The Vikings offence runs through Cook and he has a legitimate claim to being the current top RB in dynasty.
32 touches, 226 yards & 4 TDs. 💪
— NFL (@NFL) November 2, 2020
— NFL (@NFL) November 1, 2020
He leads the league in scrimmage yards with 987 (the nearest rival Derrick Henry has 856).
The 25 year old recently signed a 5 year, $ 75 million-dollar contract ($33.8 mil guaranteed) keeping him in New Orleans until the end of 2025.
Kamaras stocks faded last year after he went down with an mcl injury and underwhelmed for most of the season after it. The Saints also mentioned ankle issues in their injury reports.
The former University of Tennessee star has since said he was playing at around 75% on one leg after returning from injury.
He currently accounts for 36.5% of the Saints total offensive yards from scrimmage in 2020. He has seemingly benefited from the absence of Michael Thomas and it should be worth monitoring his fantasy scores and total yardage once Thomas returns from injury.
This is looking like it will be Drew Brees last season. Uncertainty remains as to who will be the Saints QB in 2021 and how much they will target Kamara. I am predicting Kamara will feature heavily in Sean Payton’s passing game for years to come, regardless of who is playing QB.
Alvin Kamara this season:
⚜️ 92.7 PFF REC Grade (1st)
⚜️ 7 TDs (T-1st)
⚜️ 428 YAC (1st)
⚜️ 175 rec. yds after contact (1st) pic.twitter.com/RKZhWg3wH3
— PFF (@PFF) November 1, 2020
Kamara's explosiveness! 🔥
— NFL (@NFL) October 27, 2020
Henry is the reigning rushing leader with 1,540 rushing yards in last season. He currently leads the league in 2020 with 775 rushing yards. The former Alabama star is also the most heavily utilised back in the NFL. He currently has 161 rush attempts, the next most is Josh Jacobs at 147.
After being franchised tagged in the off season, Henry put pen to paper on a 5 year, $50 million-dollar contract ($25.5 mil guaranteed).
The former Heisman winner provides arguably the safest floor due to his heavy usage amongst all the candidates.
One thing lets Henry down though, his usage in the passing game. Henry only has 10 receptions so far this season. In 2019 he finished with 18.
This affects Henrys ceiling and pending your leagues scoring settings will affect how highly you value Henry. In standard scoring leagues Henry would be many peoples’ number 1. In full PPR he would be far from it.
Unless you are in standard scoring league, Henry does not belong in the RB1 conversation and is in the RB5 range.
— Cameron Holt (@theC_Breezy94) July 15, 2020
Most 50-yard touchdowns in the past 2 seasons:
Derrick Henry – 5
A.J. Brown – 5
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 25, 2020
It would be remiss of me to leave out Saquon. He is the youngest of all five candidates at 23 years of age.
Working against him is the fact he is on the worst performing franchise of the five other RBs and is currently recuperating from a devastating acl knee injury.
People arguing for Saquon will point to Dalvin Cook who is three years removed from the same injury. There should naturally be question marks and concerns surrounding Saquon and his knee but given modern medicine these should be minimal.
Saquon is arguably the most naturally talented and athletic of the lot. Among the four others he had the fastest 40-yard time, the best shuttle time, the most reps on the bench press and the best vertical from combine results.
The Giants franchise however, are a debacle. The offensive line ranks among one of the worst in the entire NFL. Will Daniel Jones even be under centre next year? The Giants will have a chance to draft a QB early in the 2021 draft. Saquon owners, however, will be hoping they draft star Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell.
My Saquon Barkley highlight tape, enjoy 😁 pic.twitter.com/MymewLFrS8
— booker (@SaquonBooker) January 5, 2020
Saquon Barkley was an obvious winner of the NFL Combine.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 6, 2018
0.5 PPR by the numbers
|2018||2018 PPG||2019||2019 PPG||2020||
Dynastyboyds RB Rankings 0.5 PPR
- Christian McCaffrey
- Dalvin Cook
- Alvin Kamara
- Saquon Barkley
- Derrick Henry
- Miles Sanders
- Ezekiel Elliot
- Josh Jacobs
- Aaron Jones
- Jonathan Taylor
- Nick Chubb
- Joe Mixon
CMC is still the top RB in dynasty. He is not only younger than Cook and Kamara, but also has less of an injury history. He has also shown a greater consistency as the table shows above.
Cook and Kamara have entered the conversation though. They have closed the gap due to their performances and CMCs absence. However, they have a ways to go still as far as I am concerned. More performance’s like Cook displayed in week 8 against the Packers, however, will lead to a greater debate and a better claim to being the new number 1 RB in dynasty.