Galileo's 2020 PPR Running Back Tiers

It's draft season and that means you are scrambling to collect every shred of information in order to make the 15 most important decisions of your life. 15 choices provide the foundation of your self-worth for an entire year. 15 choices determine whether your significant other will leave you OR tolerate your addiction for another season. Every draft pick counts. But have no fear. I have assembled the most perfect tiered fantasy rankings that you will ever see in your entire life. These tiers are derived from a projection model that implements all the necessary factors of fantasy evaluation: Coaching Tendencies, Career Efficiency Data, Injury Risk, Strength of Schedule, Calf & Thigh Girth, and Astronomical Analysis. Behold, the 100% accurate 2020 Running Back Tiers.

Alpha Tier

Legendary Hall of Famers CMC and Saquon are guaranteed fantasy supernovas. Both RBs hold the potential to threaten for the top spot regardless of position. It is a blessing and a privilege to watch Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson reincarnated. Do not blink. Enjoy the ride.

Elite Tier

Both Zeke and Kamara are obvious choices for this Elite tier of RBs capable of breaking the 20 PPG threshold, but Austin Ekeler is being underrated as a top tier value in PPR formats. Ekeler's insane efficiency from last season (1.29 Points Per Opportunity) was the second-highest mark since 1994. The top player in that category? Alvin Kamara (2017).

Last season, Ekeler was the sparkplug for the Charger offense. This year, we can expect him to be the engine. Los Angeles traded for McCaffrey's lone Pro Bowl offensive lineman (5-time Pro Bowl OG Trai Turner) and refused to add any significant threat to Ekeler's status as the top back. If Ekeler didn't go undrafted as a rookie, there's no chance he would be available in the second round of fantasy drafts. While working as a committee runner, David Johnson finished as the RB8 in 2015. The following season he would go in the first round of fantasy drafts at RB5. While working as a committee runner, Alvin Kamara finished as the RB3 in 2017. The following season he would go in the first round of fantasy drafts at RB5. Both players were 3rd Round NFL Draft picks. In 2019, Ekeler finished as the RB4 while playing just 56% of his team's snaps and is now available at RB11, going behind Joe Mixon and Kenyan Drake - NFL 2nd and 3rd round picks who have never sniffed what Ekeler did last season. Take advantage of this subconscious bias, because lightning is about to strike twice.

Although I have Ekeler rated in the top 5, waiting to grab him in the second round after taking another top player in the first is a sound draft day strategy. The purpose of these tiers is to identify and categorize player targets. Playing along with ADP can help generate additional value. It's perfectly reasonable to start your draft with two players from this tier. Ekeler is the early round upside play that immediately turns your team into a fantasy juggernaut.

First Round Studs

The highest projected player in this tier (PPG) also carries the highest injury risk. Dalvin Cook's unrepaired labral injury and ACL history is noteworthy enough to warrant an injury flag and drop him a few spots in my full season projection due to missed games. Beyond Cook's injury risk though, this entire class of backs presents as a group of explosive runners who have lead-back level volume locked down. I'm projecting all of them to cruise past 320+ opportunities.

Beyond the injury gamble you'd be taking with Cook, my favorite high risk/reward play is Kenyan Drake who is staring at the opportunity to finally unleash his potential. As soon as he took the field with Kingsbury, he dominated the backfield and smashed defenses to the tune of 19.9 PPG across 8 games, a number that would have registered him as the RB3 in 2019.

RB2 Workhorses