2020 Standard League Consistency - RB

Aaron Pags delivers the most relevant information for Standard League fantasy participants in his positional consistency articles. You can follow Aaron Pags on Twitter @FantasyTriage for even more great Fantasy Football content.

The three-down running back has nearly gone extinct in the NFL, as offensive systems become more reliant on the passing game each season.  Game script is becoming a weekly buzz phrase when fantasy football experts attempt to project running back touches.  Combine all of this and finding consistent performers at this position has increased exponentially over the last 5 seasons. 

It is more important than ever before to secure a bell cow on your fantasy roster and this necessity weighs even heavier in Standard scoring leagues.  There are no garbage time swing routes to bail a running back out of his 15 carries for 38 yards disaster in our settings.  Getting consistent work despite unfavorable game scripts and pass-happy offensive schemes can be the difference between a 5-8 fantasy campaign and an 8-5 playoff berth.  Not all backs are created for Standard scoring, see for yourself.

As a reminder, Big Guy Fantasy Sports was built on consistency.  Bob Lung has been fine-tuning his consistency models for over 15 years and with each passing year has produced more and more winners.  If you are unfamiliar with Consistency, Clutch Rate, or Clutch Games you should head here first before continuing on.

Once you are confident in our process, it’s safe to scroll through the table below.  To make it easier to digest, players are listed based on their 2019 Clutch Rate Ranking.  A minimum of 8 games was required to qualify.  Enjoy!

Top 50 Most Consistent Running Backs of 2019

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Christian McCaffrey

CAR

352.20

1

15

16

94%

1

0

Dalvin Cook

MIN

241.40

5

13

14

93%

2

0

Ezekiel Elliott

DAL

259.60

4

14

16

88%

3

-1

Derrick Henry

TEN

279.50

2

12

15

80%

4

0

Todd Gurley

LA

188.40

12

12

15

80%

5

+1

Josh Jacobs

OAK

172.80

14

10

13

77%

6

+2

Nick Chubb

CLE

222.20

6

12

16

75%

7

0

Aaron Jones

GB

267.80

3

11

16

69%

8

0

Saquon Barkley

NYG

192.10

10

9

13

69%

9

0

Mark Ingram

BAL

214.50

8

10

15

67%

10

0

Chris Carson

SEA

199.80

9

10

15

67%

11

0

Leonard Fournette

JAX

184.40

13

10

15

67%

12

-4

Le'Veon Bell

NYJ

148.00

21

10

15

67%

13

0

Melvin Gordon

LAC

141.80

25

8

12

67%

14

0

Alvin Kamara

NO

168.85

15

9

14

64%

15

-3

Marlon Mack

IND

165.30

17

9

14

64%

16

+2

Austin Ekeler

LAC

219.00

7

10

16

63%

17

-4

Kerryon Johnson

DET

76.00

47

5

8

63%

18

0

James Conner

PIT

112.50

33

6

10

60%

19

0

Devin Singletary

BUF

121.20

31

7

12

58%

20

0

Joe Mixon

CIN

190.50

11

9

16

56%

21

0

Damien Williams

KC

110.90

35

6

11

55%

22

0

Adrian Peterson

WAS

132.00

28

8

15

53%

23

0

Raheem Mostert

SF

153.20

20

8

16

50%

24

0

Devonta Freeman

ATL

140.60

26

7

14

50%

25

0

Ronald Jones

TB

137.30

27

8

16

50%

26

+1

Jordan Howard

PHI

101.40

37

5

10

50%

27

+1

David Johnson

ARI

100.50

38

6

13

46%

28

0

Carlos Hyde

HOU

145.20

23

7

16

44%

29

+2

Sony Michel

NE

141.80

24

7

16

44%

30

0

Miles Sanders

PHI

167.70

16

6

16

38%

31

-2

Phillip Lindsay

DEN

162.70

19

6

16

38%

32

-1

David Montgomery

CHI

147.40

22

6

16

38%

33

0

Duke Johnson

HOU

111.00

34

6

16

38%

34

0

LeSean McCoy

KC

92.60

41

5

13

38%

35

+1

Kareem Hunt

CLE

63.60

53

3

8

38%

36

-3

Jamaal Williams

GB

107.30

36

5

14

36%

37

-1

James White

NE

127.65

29

5

15

33%

38

-7

Darrel Williams

KC

53.80

60

3

9

33%

39

0

Latavius Murray

NO

123.20

30

5

16

31%

40

-1

Royce Freeman

DEN

99.20

40

5

16

31%

41

-2

Matt Breida

SF

85.30

44

4

13

31%

42

+1

Benny Snell Jr.

PIT

55.90

59

4

13

31%

43

+1

Rashaad Penny

SEA

68.30

52

3

10

30%

44

0

Kenyan Drake

ARI

163.20

18

4

14

29%

45

-2

Tevin Coleman

SF

114.40

32

4

14

29%

46

-1

Peyton Barber

TB

99.50

39

4

16

25%

47

-1

DeAndre Washington

OAK

85.90

43

4

16

25%

48

0

Brian Hill

ATL

57.20

57

3

12

25%

49

+1

Rex Burkhead

NE

75.10

48

3

13

23%

50

-1


(*SL CG +/- = Total Standard League Clutch Games compared to PPR League Clutch Games)

The Consistent Running Backs

Elite (>90% CR): Christian McCaffrey was a fantasy football MVP in 2019, just absolutely obliterating every other RB/WR/TE in the league under Standard scoring rules.  Run CMC dropped over 1,000 yards receiving, nearly 1,400 rushing yards, and 19 total touchdowns scored.  Is there anything else I need to say?  The only shocking thing to see here is that McCaffrey’s CR wasn’t 100%.  Kudos to Dalvin Cook for finding a way to be mentioned in the same breath.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Christian McCaffrey

CAR

352.20

1

15

16

94%

1

0

Dalvin Cook

MIN

241.40

5

13

14

93%

2

0


Excellent
(>80% CR): Sliding down just a tad, we can see an eclectic trio of star running backs who excelled at being consistent producers in your 2019 fantasy football lineups.  Ezekiel Elliot managers survived the contract drama leading right up to Week 1 and were rewarded with 14 Clutch Games from the 4th highest scoring running back last year.  The more things change, the more Zeke stays the same.  Expect his consistent production to continue.

The other two here were a bit more pleasant surprises.  Derrick Henry finished only behind Christian McCaffrey in Standard scoring points for running backs in 2019 and Todd Gurley found a way to spread his Top 12 overall scoring results out rather nicely.  Focusing on Gurley, there weren’t many great weeks but more importantly, there were barely any duds from Todd.  He didn’t cost you any wins but probably didn’t secure you any either.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Ezekiel Elliott

DAL

259.60

4

14

16

88%

3

-1

Derrick Henry

TEN

279.50

2

12

15

80%

4

0

Todd Gurley

LA

188.40

12

12

15

80%

5

+1


Derrick Henry, on the other hand, was a league-winner prototype.  He smashed in his 12 Clutch Games and although he and Gurley both had the same CR%, Henry outscored Todd by almost 100 points.  Herein lies a great lesson.  While not all CRs are created equally, the consistency has value on your roster and will help you earn more wins over the course of the season than trying to hit the right week with your running backs.

Very Good  (>70% CR):  Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb were both great success stories in 2019 for their fantasy teams in comparison to their draft-day costs.  Chubb did not fall victim to a sophomore slump amassing nearly 1,500 yards on the ground for the Cleveland Browns.  You might even deduce Nick was unlucky to only have scored 8 total touchdowns on the year.  Despite the presence of Kareem Hunt, I still view Chubb as a dependable source of consistent fantasy points going into the 2020 season.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Josh Jacobs

OAK

172.80

14

10

13

77%

6

+2

Nick Chubb

CLE

222.20

6

12

16

75%

7

0


Good
(>60% CR):  With only seven running backs scoring at 70% or higher in 2019, a robust pack of fantasy frustrations lurked just around the corner all season.  The group below is packed with big names and fantasy managers will have to sift through the inevitable summer hype to pinpoint which among them will bring it more consistently in 2020.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Aaron Jones

GB

267.80

3

11

16

69%

8

0

Saquon Barkley

NYG

192.10

10

9

13

69%

9

0

Mark Ingram

BAL

214.50

8

10

15

67%

10

0

Chris Carson

SEA

199.80

9

10

15

67%

11

0

Leonard Fournette

JAX

184.40

13

10

15

67%

12

-4

Le'Veon Bell

NYJ

148.00

21

10

15

67%

13

0

Melvin Gordon

LAC

141.80

25

8

12

67%

14

0

Alvin Kamara

NO

168.85

15

9

14

64%

15

-3

Marlon Mack

IND

165.30

17

9

14

64%

16

+2

Austin Ekeler

LAC

219.00

7

10

16

63%

17

-4

Kerryon Johnson

DET

76.00

47

5

8

63%

18

0

James Conner

PIT

112.50

33

6

10

60%

19

0


My pick is Saquon Barkley.  His talent is undeniable and despite missing 3 full weeks, he still managed almost 200 Standard fantasy points.  Barkley’s 1,400+ yards from scrimmage are outstanding from a supposed “bust”.  He certainly didn’t perform to the standard of the #1 overall fantasy selection, but grabbing him later in Round 1 in 2020 will be my favorite thing to do.

The Inconsistent Running Backs

You did not have to be super connected to the fantasy football world in 2019 to know that this foursome laid their share of eggs.  Zero running back roster constructions went broke drafting David Montgomery and Tevin Coleman.  In the Standard scoring format, running backs are rewarded for their durability and consistency.  Just being able to keep their role in the offense is a valuable attribute.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Sony Michel

NE

141.80

24

7

16

44%

30

0

David Montgomery

CHI

147.40

22

6

16

38%

33

0

Latavius Murray

NO

123.20

30

5

16

31%

40

-1

Tevin Coleman

SF

114.40

32

4

14

29%

46

-1


Montgomery wasn’t the only back to bring fantasy managers to their knees, the New Patriots offense gave us their yearly RB disaster.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me every single fantasy football draft season Bill Belichick and company, shame on me.  Sony Michel was just another in the long line of puzzlingly used running backs by the Pats and we should have known this was coming.  Each year, a New England running back is heralded as the “go-to” option and each year a practice squad player has a three touchdown week.  Don’t fall into the trap in 2020, I beg you.

Biggest RB Movers +/- From PPR to Standard

There isn’t another position more penalized (or less rewarded if you are a purist) by the Standard scoring system than running back.  This is where you can gain the largest edge on your competition; by understanding which RBs struggle to score without the bonus of receptions.  Some actually gain Clutch Games in comparison to PPR scoring leagues.

First the ugly.  James White is a significantly worse fantasy football player in Standard scoring, as evidenced by seven fewer clutch games.  His dependence on the short passing game is a detriment in our game.  White scored the 29th most fantasy points by running backs in 2019 Standard leagues but at a 33% clip consistently.  Let someone else experience his faults this season.

Player Name

Team

FP

FP Rank

CG

GP

CR

CR

Rank

SL CG*

+/-

Josh Jacobs

OAK

172.80

14

10

13

77%

6

+2

Leonard Fournette

JAX

184.40

13

10

15

67%

12

-4

Alvin Kamara

NO

168.85

15

9

14

64%

15

-3

Marlon Mack

IND

165.30

17

9

14

64%

16

+2

Austin Ekeler

LAC

219.00

7

10

16

63%

17

-4

Carlos Hyde

HOU

145.20

23

7

16

44%

29

+2

Kareem Hunt

CLE

63.60

53

3

8

38%

36

-3

James White

NE

127.65

29

5

15

33%

38

-7


Now the positive, Marlon Mack, Carlos Hyde, and Josh Jacobs all outperformed their PPR versions with two more Clutch Games.  They all share in a non-share role in their offenses, carrying the load on the ground in more balanced schemes.  I decided to include Hyde in here purposely to illustrate that having a defined role is important but having skills is still as important.  Targeting the offenses that feature the run more often and have a defined carrier should be part of your Standard league draft prep.

Top Standard League RBs for 2020

These are my draft targets as of 4/1/2020 at running back.  I reserve the right to change my mind between now and Week 1.

Early in drafts: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley.

Mid rounds: Marlon Mack, Kerryon Johnson.

End game:  Adrian Peterson.

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