Updated: 9 hours ago
Earlier I dropped the first article in my series on the 2019 top fantasy scoring players by position as we took a look at the Quarterback position. Next we are going to dive into the top 12 scoring running backs of 2019. To refresh I am pulling the scoring from my number one league, The Elite Fantasy Football League over the 16 week fantasy season which you can follow along all season and off season long right here. The scoring is a full PPR with a bonus point for over 20 yard plays and two bonus points for over 40 yard plays. So let's dive in and see if anything surprises you with who made the top 12.
1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
2019 Fantasy Points: 471.40
In perhaps the most dominant fantasy season ever by a running back CMC finds himself as the number one back in 2019. Regarded as a top pick this past fall many fantasy experts had him sitting behind Barkley, which if you followed that analysis would have missed out on a magical season. CMC finished 152.90 points ahead of the number two running back and a whopping 226 points ahead of the a for mentioned Barkley. McCaffrey ranked 3rd in rush attempts, 278 and 2nd in rush yards, 1,361 among this group. Christian rushed for 14 touchdowns, which ranked 2nd among the top 12. Where McCaffrey separated himself from the field his is receiving stats, which were like WR1 numbers. Christian ranked first in targets, 133 and receptions, 109. McCaffrey finished second in yards, 933 and ranked third in Rec. touchdowns, 4. McCaffrey was also great in ball security as he didn’t have one single turnover all season long.
2. Aaron Jones, Green Bay
2019 Fantasy Points: 318.50 (-152.9)
Next on our list comes perhaps the player that offered the best value this past fall in drafts being viewed as a round three pick. If you were one of the lucky owners to nab him in the third your return on investment was massive as Jones ended 2019 as the RB2. Jones finished with 211 rushes, 8th best, for 984 yards, 8th best, and 16 rushing touchdowns, tied for first ranked. Jones was also used in Green Bay’s pass attack being targeted 68 times, ranked 7th best, catching 47 balls, which ranks 8th among featured backs. Jones totaled 431 yards through the air, ranking 6th, for an additional 3 touchdowns, which ranks 4th. Jones did fumble the ball twice this season. Jones was able to hold off the RB3 in 2019 by 7.10 points.
3. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota
2019 Fantasy Points: 311.40 (-160.0)
The guy coming up next finishing as the RB3 was my #1 target in drafts this past fall. Many were drafting Dalvin in the early second round during last season’s drafts. Dalvin Cook has shown Elite talent in his first two seasons and the only knock on him has been durability. In 2019 Cook was able to stay on the field more than he has in the previous years but still was unable to complete a full season. Cook left two games early because of injury and for the teams that he carried to the championship rounds left them without a performance as he missed week 16. Despite the missed time Cook still finished as the seasons RB3. Dalvin rushed 250 times, 7th best, for 1,135 yards, 7th best, for 13 touchdowns, which tied for third ranked among featured backs. He was a busy guy in the Viking pass attack catching 53 passes, 5th ranked, for 519 yards, 4th ranked, on 63 targets, which ranked 7th among backs. Cook fumbled the ball twice on the year. Despite playing in fewer games, Cook still finished .30 ahead of the RB4 for 2019.
4. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles
2019 Fantasy Points: 311.10 (-160.3)
To say the guy sitting at number three is shocking, would be an understatement as nobody predicted Austin Ekeler to finish as a top five back let alone the RB4 in 2019. Now I stand corrected as above I said Jones was the player that offered best value, when actually it’s Ekeler who was being drafted in the late rounds this fall. In the league I am basing these stats off I know Ekeler was drafted in the 16th round out of 18 that is a huge return on investment. So how did Ekeler do it, now let’s be honest had Melvin Gordon played all season there is probably no way in hell Ekeler would have finished this high so fantasy owners go ahead and thank Melvin Gordon for most likely making a playoff run with Ekeler. Now let’s take a look at where Ekeler ranked among the top twelve in the different areas. Analyzing Ekeler’s rushing stats you can see why he would have been drafted as a late round pick in the fall as he finished as the 12th ranked in all rushing categories as he went 123 rush attempts for 511 yards and three touchdowns. However, in the receiving game he was definitely Elite as he was targeted 108 times, ranks 2nd, catching 83 balls, ranking 2nd, for 950 yards, which is the best among top 12 backs. Ekeler led all backs with 8 receiving touchdowns while also turning the ball over twice. So we add all this up and it comes out to be RB4 beating out the RB5 by 11.3 points.
5. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
2019 Fantasy Points: 290.30 (-181.10)
The next running back on our list entered the 2019 campaign with some risk for us drafting this past fall. Zeke was in the midst of a holdout when many, if not all drafts were taking place causing him to fall. He was back in time for week one and didn’t miss a game, but he started the year off slow before seemingly find some momentum to finish as an Elite option down the stretch as the RB5 for 2019. Zeke rushed 283 times, 2nd ranked, for 1,235 yards, 4th best, and 11 touchdowns, which ranked 5th among featured backs. He finished with the sixth ranked 67 targets, catching 51, which ranked sixth as well. Zeke added one more touchdown through the air and fumbled the ball twice all season long. Zeke ended the season finishing 12.9 points higher than the RB6.
6. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville
2019 Fantasy Points: 277.40 (-194.0)
The RB6 for 2019 is the back out of Jacksonville. Many were skeptical drafting Fournette this past fall because of a.) Injury concerns and b.) behavior/attitude concerns. However, Fournette rewarded is fantasy owners with his best season to date on his way to just missing a top five finish at the position. Fournette rushed 265 times, ranked 6th, for 1,152 yards, 6th best, and 3 touchdowns, which was tied for 12th ranked. Fournette did some damage in the passing this season receiving the 2nd most 100 targets catching 76, which ranked 4th. Fournette compiled 522 yards through the air which ranked 3rd among backs. Fournette also only coughed the rock up 1 time all season long during 16 games. Fournette’s good season beat out the RB7 by 3.4 fantasy points in 2019.
7. Nick Chubb, Cleveland
2019 Fantasy Points: 274.00 (-197.4)
Chubb entered the season with some concerns as well, not because of talent or behavior but because of a new arrival to the backfield. Hunt joining this backfield had some worried about Chubb’s work in the passing game which scared some drafters off in the fall. Now granted he would have half the year to be a monster in the passing game before Hunt suspension was up so some drafted him in the second where he should have been drafted. Looking at the stats Chubb’s receiving numbers were way down from his rookie season only receiving 48 targets, 8th best, catching 35, 10th ranked, for 277 yards, which ranked 9th best among featured backs. It was clear the arrival of Hunt did hinder his production as a receiver. However, when we shift to his rushing numbers this is what we find. Chubb rushed a league high of 285 times for 1,453 yards which led the league through the 16 week fantasy season. He added an 8th ranked 8 touchdowns on the ground while fumbling the ball 3 times throughout the season. This production put Chubb ahead of the RB8 by just .50 points.
8. Derrick Henry, Tennessee
2019 Fantasy Points: 273.50(-197.9)
Henry finished the 2019 as the RB8 after a strong season running the ball. We saw what type of production Henry was capable of when given the full workload at the end of 2018. What we saw was a guy capable of putting up consistent RB1 numbers despite not being used in the passing game which hindered his value slightly in this type of PPR format. Henry secured 18of his 25 targets for 206 yards, which all ranked 12th among the top twelve backs featured. Where fantasy owners benefited from having Henry rostered was in the rushing game where he was an absolute monster. Henry rushed for a 5th ranked 271attempts for 1,328 yards, which ranked 3rd among these backs. Henry also was tied for third with 13 rushing touchdowns while turning the ball over three times. These numbers were good enough to put Henry 18 points ahead of the RB9 for 2019.
9. Mark Ingram, Baltimore
2019 Fantasy Points: 255.50(-215.9)
Mark Ingram turned his first year in the high powered Baltimore run attack into a top ten finish at the position. Here is another guy I was high on coming into the 2019 season due to the opportunity awaiting him. Ingram did not disappoint either on his way to the RB9 finish for 2019. Ingram carried the ball a 9th ranked 202 times for 1,018 yards, which was the 8th most yards among these backs. Ingram scored a 6th most 10 touchdowns on the ground while turning over the ball twice on the year. The one question I had with Ingram entering 2019 was how effective would he be in the passing attack. The answer we received was not very involved receiving only the 11th ranked 30 targets. Ingram turned those targets into 26 catches for 247 yards which both rank as the second fewest among the featured backs. The one plus of these poor receiving stats is he held the second most receiving touchdowns with 5. Ingram committed 2 turnovers over the 2019 season as well. You add all this up and it puts Ingram 10.1 points of 2019’s RB10.
10. Saquon Barkley, New York
2019 Fantasy Points: 245.40(-226.0)
The back that finished as RB10 can be considered a bit of a let down from where he was being drafted this past fall and that is Saquon. Barkley was going off the board as the first overall pick or no worse than a top three pick when drafts commenced for the 2019 season. The fact is Barkley pry would have finished much higher on the list if he hadn’t missed 3 games due to a high ankle sprain. The fact that he still finished this high missing three games shows how Elite of a talent Barkley is. Owners that were able to make it to a championship game with Barkley were rewarded in a big way as he exploded in the fantasy season finale. Barkley ranked first in turnovers this season by not committing a single fumbled ball. Barkley ranked 5th in targets with 69 catching a 7th ranked 49 of them. Barkley racked up 413 yards through the air, ranking 7th, while adding two receiving touchdowns. He rushed for an 8th ranked 200 attempts for a tenth ranked 911 yards. Barkley rushed into the end zone 5 times, which ranked 8th among the featured backs. Despite missing three games Barkley was able to finish .8 points ahead of the 2019 RB11.
11. Chris Carson, Seattle
2019 Fantasy Points: 244.60(-226.80)
The next guys on the list was coming into the season as the Hawks clear starting back and a lot of potential to have a monster year in a run heavy offense. Chris Carson entered the season being drafted in that sweet spot of backs at about the third fourth round. This is how he rewarded the owners that took a shot on him. Carson rushed for a 3rd ranked 278 attempts for 1,231 yards, which ranked 5th among the featured backs. He finished the season with an 8th ranked 7 touchdowns on the ground. Cason really wasn’t used too much in the passing despite the coaches’ promise of getting him more involved racking up 46 targets which he turned into 37 grabs which both ranked 9th. He finished with a 10th ranked 267 yards receiving and two more scores. He did lead the backs featured with 4 turnovers on the year. Despite the ball security issues he was able to close out 2019 4.51 points ahead of our 2019 RB12.
12. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans
2019 Fantasy Points: 244.60(-226.80)
The last player being featured is a back who being drafted as a top 5 pick this past fall. Some will look at where Kamara finds himself at the end of the season and feel a bit let down with what he offered this year. Kamara missed two games due to injury which cost his owners some fantasy production and is why he finds himself just inside the top 12. Kamara’s rushing numbers ranked towards the bottom of the featured backs as he rushed 163 times for 758 yards and just three touchdowns. Where Kamara was able to be dangerous and provide a spark is in the passing game. Kamara ranked 4th in targets with 94 catching a 3rd ranked 79 balls. He turned those catches into a 3rd ranked 515 yards while adding one more touchdown while coughing up the ball just one time. So all and all you got the RB1 you drafted however he just was a low end RB1 and not the Elite talent you were after.