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Fantasy camp battles: Melvin Gordon vs. Phillip Lindsay

The Broncos have two starting running backs in Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay. How will their touches break down in the 2020 season?

Running back Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 22, 2019 in Carson, California Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Update August 24: Vic Fangio says he doesn’t plan on designating a starter at this point. He’s anticipating Gordon and Lindsay playing enough to make the depth chart fluid at running back throughout the season. That will make things confusing for fantasy owners.


In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.

The Denver Broncos finished second to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West last year and are looking to make significant improvements offensively. They made some much-needed additions to their receiving corps adding Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler to a group led by Courtland Sutton to help out second-year signal caller Drew Lock. But they also made a major addition to their backfield.

Phillip Lindsay has been Denver’s starting running back since he entered the league in 2018 and has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. It appears like he could take a back seat to Melvin Gordon in the final year of his rookie deal though, as the Broncos have signed the former Los Angeles Chargers running back to a two-year, $16 million deal. Will they split the workload, or will Lindsay become a forgotten man?

Gordon appears poised to become the starter, he’s getting paid significantly more than Lindsay and has been producing at a high level for a while. He was a top 10 fantasy running back in standard and PPR leagues from 2016 through 2018, but fell short of that mark after a contract dispute caused him to miss the first four games of the 2019 season. When he’s the primary option he can get you 10 or more rushing touchdowns and haul in more than 50 receptions. Not many other backs can do that.

Lindsay has proved that he can be more than a backup and has cracked the top 20 in standard and PPR leagues in both of his pro seasons. It’s unlikely that he’ll be phased all the way out given how well he’s performed, but his role will be diminished significantly.

Verdict

Gordon and Lindsay will be a dynamic one-two punch out of the backfield, but Gordon will carry most of the offensive workload.