2020 Fantasy Football ADP: Evaluating Top Running Backs with Wide ADP Ranges

Jordan Cohn
May 18, 2020 - 2:06 pm

Running backs are one of the most crucial positions, if not the most important in all of fantasy football. They're also one of the most difficult to draft, given the need for stability and consistency paired with the subsequent desire for a high-ceiling, explosive asset.

A mixture of the two is obviously prized, and it's obviously hard to come by. Those rare blends, like Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, are sure to go within the first picks of the draft and provide a team with a great foundation. But beyond those locks, there's a lot of uncertainty throughout the fantasy football community on when to draft certain players, how to weigh upside (and downside) and so much more.

Looking at a player's Average Draft Position (ADP) data -- I use the set from Fantasy Football Calculator -- is a helpful way to determine where you should be looking to draft a running back (or any player) you may be targeting. This website collects the results from numerous mock drafts, tracking only the times when a human selected a player (not counting the AI draft picks) in order to record ADP.

In this article, I’ll look at the running backs whose value people can't quite agree on. These are the guys, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, who have the highest standard deviation between their picks.

Not a math person? A simple way to think about standard deviation is the variation of their average draft position. Nearly everyone agrees that Christian McCaffrey should be taken first overall. There is little deviation in where he gets selected in the draft. However, if another running back is sometimes taken in the second round, sometimes in the fifth, and sometimes in the eighth, there is plenty of deviation as to when he’s drafted.

Last year, Kenyan Drake was one of those guys. People were unsure of whether or not 2019 would finally be the year he stopped splitting time with Kalen Ballage and broke out in a big way to lead the Miami backfield. He didn't, as it turns out, but was able to turn around his miserable start to the season after he found new life in Arizona.

Ironically, Kenyan Drake is not one of those highly contested players this year, as people feel pretty confident in his ability after a strong showing with the Cardinals. With a standard deviation of just 4.5, most people can agree that he’s a second-round value in 2020. But that’s certainly not the case for other backs around the league.

Let’s take a look.

These mock drafts occurred within a PPR, 12-team snake draft format from the dates May 16 to May 18, 2020.

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