There aren't nearly as many traditional workhorse running backs as there used to be. For example, in the 2010 season alone there were seven running backs that finished the year with at least 300 carries. Since 2015 only a combined six running backs have accomplished that feat.
There are quite a few reasons for the decline of the classic between-the-tackles running back, but one of the primary culprits is the increased emphasis on the running-back-by-committee (RBBC) approach. While it's a totally viable and effective real-life football strategy, RBBC's can be incredibly annoying for fantasy football.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the three worst running back by committees ahead of the 2020 season.
3. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts' backfield is going to be really frustrating. It's an explosive, run-heavy offense that features the league's second-best run-blocking offensive line, per Pro Football Focus' 2019 grades. Normally that would lead to fantasy gold, but there's a real chance the running backs just cannibalize each other's value. Marlon Mack was too good last season to lose his job, tallying 1,091 rushing yards in 14 games. The team's second-round pick Jonathan Taylor is clearly the more talented of the two, though. The likeliest outcome is these two will split the early-down work, making it tough to trust either one. Even if one takes control of the backfield, they'll still be playing behind Nyheim Hines (107 catches since 2018) for the receiving work. These three will be fighting for snaps all season.
2. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams' backfield was a bit of a mess last year, but at least fantasy owners knew Todd Gurley was the lead back when healthy. We can't say the same this year. Head coach Sean McVay has admitted he plans to rely on an RBBC, creating a four-headed monster between Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and John Kelly. None look like a great option. It'll be tough to trust the rookie Akers, Kelly only saw 3 carries in 2019 and both Brown and Henderson had a yards per carry average below 4.0 last season. This backfield is as unpredictable as it gets.
1. San Francisco 49ers
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them." There are those who think Raheem Mostert has earned the lead role in the San Francisco 49ers backfield, but Kyle Shanahan has shown us who he is time and time again – he's an RBBC coach. That's almost certainly not changing in 2020. For one, Mostert didn't have as much of a stranglehold on the job as you might think. From Week 9-17, Mostert only had one game with more than 14 carries. He broke out in the NFC Championship Game, but Tevin Coleman actually out-carried him the week prior before injuries reduced his role. The two will be splitting time again in 2020. To make matters worse, Jerick McKinnon appears to be back healthy as well. Expect Shanahan to continue riding the hot hand, making it incredibly difficult to predict which RB to use in a given week.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.