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Running backs coming off injury to consider in 2020 fantasy football

How will running backs coming off injuries play in 2020? We take a look at which RBs can help your fantasy team post-injury.

Derrius Guice #29 of the Washington Football Team during the second half during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

There are many reasons an NFL player has a poor season, but the most rampant reasons are injuries. This is a league where players get into multiple car crashes each game. Some players are able to play through difficult injuries that still slow them down and others are sidelined for a whole season. Below, we will look at fantasy football relevant players who should be healthy to start the 2020 season and hopefully contribute more than they could in 2019.

Sometimes post-injury players can be had at a discount in fantasy drafts, but not always. The allure of 16-game upside for a player is sometimes too much, so we’ll take a look at what players are worth targeting this season.

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley, Giants

Barkley didn’t miss a ton of time with his high-ankle sprain last season, but it sure appeared to sap his explosiveness. Finally, in Week 14 he appeared to get back to his usual self and dominate to end the season. That late season domination means we won’t get any discount on Barkley unfortunately.

Alvin Kamara, Saints

Kamara’s season was similar to Barkley’s in that he also went down with a high-ankle sprain and likely returned too early. Kamara also had a late season return to form, scoring four of his five rushing touchdowns in the last two games. Kamara’s touchdown luck was awful, but his ankle also appeared to slow him down. He’s still expensive in fantasy, but there’s no reason to think his upside isn’t again as the No. 1 fantasy back.

James Conner, Steelers

Conner is one of the bigger question marks heading into 2020. There’s no doubt his upside is higher than his ADP right now, but we can’t fault anyone for worrying about his availability. Last season the team rushed him and his shoulder injury back, prolonging his ailment. The good news is they didn’t draft anyone who can easily take his place. The team will likely get Benny Snell and rookie Anthony McFarland more work as they try ton to overburden Conner, but he’ll still be the lead back. Right now his ADP is about the 20th running back off the board, which is right on the edge of where I’d think about taking him.

Chris Carson, Seahawks
Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

Carson and Penny both suffered late season injuries, but Carson is on track to be ready for Week 1 while Penny isn’t. Carson’s ADP has fallen enough from last season to still have some value in a run-heavy scheme.

David Johnson, Cardinals

Johnson was injured last season but also lost his job to Kenyan Drake even when he was healthy. Have his injuries sapped his burst or is he just a better receiver than runner? I expect both have some truth to them and that he’ll need to become a big part of the Texans receiving offense to have a shot at value in 2020.

Derrius Guice, Washington Football Team

Guice can’t seem to stay healthy. When he does have a sliver of health, he puts up good numbers but the sample size is way too small. Washington added Antonio Gibson and should get Bryce Love back from his own injury while Adrian Peterson will go another season. If Guice can stay healthy, he is someone worth rostering. The trouble is, Washington’s offensive line is garbage and he will have competition for touches.

Kerryon Johnson, Lions

Johnson’s injury trouble looks like it could lose him his job. He missed eight games last season and six the previous, which pushed the Lions to take D’Andre Swift early in the second round. Johnson will still be a part of the offense, but his touches per gamer will be lowered along with his fantasy upside.

Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

McKinnon has missed his last two seasons, but so far so good on his return for 2020. In most offenses he wouldn’t be someone to to look too hard at as he’s the No. 3 back on the team, but the 49ers are a different beast. Kyle Shanahan will play the hot hand quicker than any other coach. He also wanted McKinnon as his lead back when he signed him three years ago, so you know he likes him. Also, McKinnon can be had for a pittance.