Every year we enter the NFL season discussing position battles. Each team has them, and it’s one of the more exciting topics to discuss for fans. However, for fantasy football, it can become a heated discussion trying to figure out which RB is more valuable to own on your squad, and if you chose the wrong guy, then it could be costly to your season.
There are a few things to factor in when looking at position battles, especially from a fantasy football standpoint. Will the new QB take over the starting spot? Is the young exciting rookie actually going to make an immediate impact? Will COVID prevent this guy from reaching his full potential? You can only do so much research, but at the end of the day, you just have to go with your gut. So here’s a list of who you should own on your fantasy team this year, based off my research (more so my gut feeling, but no one really ever knows, right?).
Chicago Bears – Nick Foles over Mitchell Trubisky
When it comes to QBs, there’s a BUNCH of guys I’d rather take before either of these dudes, but if you’re in a deep league, or dynasty, or a league where you’re just desperate for a QB, you’re going to want to know which one is the better option. I think Trubisky is going to win the QB battle in Chicago, and he’ll, at the very least, be the starter for the first few games. However, the Bears traded for Foles for a reason. They obviously want Foles to be a guy who motivates Trubisky to play better, but there’s a real chance Foles takes the starting job away. When it comes down to it, I’m choosing Foles as the guy to own, and you probably don’t even have to draft him. Nick Foles has come off the bench and played well before, can he do it again for a new team? Maybe not to the same extent, but if you are desperate for a QB, Foles has the potential to be nice fill in until you find someone more reliable.
Detroit Lions – D’Andre Swift over Kerryon Johnson
For me personally, I’m not too high on any rookies this year due to the lack of training camp and preparation this rookie class is facing because of COVID. Don’t get me wrong, some rookies will have a good year, but for fantasy football, that could take until week 7 or week 8 until they start playing at their full potential. With that said, Swift is one of the only rookie RBs I think is worth drafting this year. He’s probably going to split carries with Johnson, but Kerryon hasn’t been all that effective with his carries. Based off Swift’s track record in college, I think he’ll be gaining more carries as the season progresses. I wouldn’t reach for D’Andre Swift, but he’s definitely a guy who has the potential to give you that extra push in the 2nd half of the season.
Cleveland Browns – Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt
The short answer, is draft both of them. There isn’t really a true position battle going on in Cleveland, but for fantasy football, Hunt poses a serious threat to Chubb’s value. Chubb will likely produce some good numbers, but Kareem Hunt is going to be taking more reps away than you would like if you have invested in Nick Chubb stock. Your best bet is to draft both guys and lock up the Browns run game, or you could give yourself a nice trading tool later in the season.
Seattle Seahawks – Carlos Hyde over Chris Carson
Most people are drafting Chris Carson while Hyde is getting little to no attention. However, last year when Hyde was over looked he actually put up great numbers and was the Texans leading RB in 2019. Chris Carson is a good RB and can get the job done, but for whatever reason he’s never been able to shake off the other RBs on the roster and be the bell cow. Carson is coming back from a fractured hip and he has a history with fumbling the ball. Carson may start the season as the starter, but due to the concerns around his health, I wouldn’t be shocked if Carlos Hyde ends up being the best RB in Seattle by the end of the year. So draft Chris Carson if he falls to you, but make sure you save a bench spot for Carlos Hyde just in case.
Denver Broncos – Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay
The Broncos will likely be splitting the carries between the two throughout the year, and these two kind of remind me of Melvin Gordon’s situation on his old team in LA. Gordon shared snaps with Austin Ekeler and both of them were still capable of scoring points in fantasy football. Melvin has more stand alone value, but if you’re looking for a solid FLEX option, Phillip Lindsay should be able to be a consistent player in that position. With a very young WR group and a young QB taking the reigns for the first time, I’m expecting the Denver run game to be the focal point this season. I like Gordon and Lindsay this year, but I give Gordon the edge as I believe he’ll have more opportunities than Lindsay.
Indianapolis Colts – Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines over Jonathan Taylor
There’s a ton of buzz surrounding the rookie RB right now, which makes sense, as Taylor was an absolute beast in college. In fact, most people have Jonathan Taylor as the RB to draft in Indy, but I’m having a hard time believing that. Marlon Mack is still a decent RB and is more than capable of being a viable option for this Colts Run game. Also, Philip Rivers has a history of dumping the ball off to his RB in the passing game, and Nyheim Hines has a great opportunity to have the best season of his career as a legit pass option. So where does that leave Jonathan Taylor? He’l likely share some snaps with Mack, however, I don’t think he’s going to get the ball as much as people think. Due to COVID-19, every team is forced to enter the regular season with less preparation as usual, and rookies are going to have it hard this year (at least in the first 4-6 games) as they’ll be trying to adjust to the pro level. So between COVID and the fact the Colts already have two solid options at RB, I suggest staying away from Taylor this year. Draft Mack as he has RB3 potential, and draft Hines, as he has RB4 potential.
Houston Texans – Will Fuller over Brandin Cooks
Deshaun Watson is going to be forced to find a new favorite target this year after Hopkins got traded away. I think it’s also important to note that the Texans front office didn’t do anything to improve this below average O-line either, which means we may see Watson scrambling quite often in the back field. Naturally, he’s going to look for the WR that he’s familiar with first, and that’s going to be Will Fuller. Most people are choosing Brandin Cooks to be the best WR in Houston, but considering that Watson is already comfortable throwing to Fuller suggests that they’ll be connecting more often. The real issue is that Cooks and Fuller have both suffered more injuries than they’d like to, but Fuller has shown to be a nice target for Watson when he’s healthy in the past, where Cooks still has to build that camaraderie. So, let the other people in your league draft Cooks, then take Fuller to add some nice depth to your roster.