Five Running Backs Due for Regression in 2020

by Aaron Stewart · Dynasty Leagues

When compared to wide receivers, the running back position in fantasy football is more volatile year-to-year. In one year, running backs can go from first round picks to mid-round picks. It is important to use advanced stats and metrics to identify running back regression candidates for fantasy football. Unsustainable efficiency from the previous season leads to running backs being picked at their peak, instead of at their value. To find value, players should target running backs that will receive continued volume, despite underperforming last season. Running backs can have unlucky seasons where they should have produced more with their workloads than they did. PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool has identified fantasy football running back regression candidates to discuss for the 2020 fantasy football season.

Derrick Henry

Last season, Derrick Henry scored 18 touchdowns for the Titans while leading all qualified running backs with 303 carries and 1,539 rushing yards. PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool calculates Expected Touchdowns for running backs and Henry had a 7.60 touchdown difference (10.4 expected). That was the largest difference in Expected Touchdowns and actual touchdowns among running backs in 2019. Regression in touchdowns will come for the NFL’s leading rusher.

Alvin Kamara experienced a touchdown regression from 2018 (18) to 2019 (6) and saw his Fantasy Points per Game drop by nearly six. Kamara managed to remain in the top-10 with 17.3 (No. 8) Fantasy Points per Game due to his 81 (No. 3) receptions. A non-factor in the passing game with 25 (No. 49) targets, Henry’s touchdown regression will make it difficult to return value on his first-round ADP.

Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette’s 0.90-percent Touchdown Rate is unbelievable for a running back that had 265 (No. 7) carries and 316 (No. 2) Weighted Opportunities. Fournette’s Expected Touchdown total last season was 12.40 and, if given the same workload, he will produce more than three touchdowns.

While Derrick Henry lead running backs with 7.60 touchdowns over expectation, Fournette’s 9.40 touchdowns below expected was dead last for running backs. Sure, Fournette won’t see 100 targets in the 2020 season, but the positive regression in the touchdown category will more than make up for the decrease in the receiving game.

Raheem Mostert

Three running backs had a difference between their actual touchdowns and Expected Touchdown that exceed four. Raheem Mostert had a +5.80 touchdown difference last season, far exceeding his 4.20 Expected Touchdown numbers.

In five games to end the 2019 season, Mostert averaged 18.56 Fantasy Points per Game and had two top-5 weekly finishes. He scored two fewer touchdowns (7) than he recorded targets (9) during that stretch. A 6.6-percent Touchdown Rate is well above the NFL average and people taking him around his late fifth-round FFPC ADP will be disappointed in the career journeyman and special teamer in 2020.

David Montgomery

Being drafted slightly before Raheem Mostert per FFPC ADP, David Montgomery is a much better alternative because he has positive regression coming his way in 2020. Montgomery disappointed in 2019 by averaging 10.7 (No. 32) Fantasy Points per Game, but only six running backs that averaged more than him had a lower Touchdown Rate than his 2.6-percent mark

If given a similar workload, Montgomery’s 200.2 (No. 20) Weighted Opportunities and 11 (No. 8) Goal Line Carries will produce better results than the RB3 numbers he provided last season; he has no threat to his 2019 workload in 2020 (sorry Tarik Cohen fans). For more on Montgomery, check out Christopher Buonagura’s case for him in 2020.

Le’Veon Bell

Prime Le’Veon Bell is over, but he can still be a value pick for fantasy football teams in 2020 due to his adjusted ADP. His current FFPC ADP of 36.5 means he is slipping to the end of the third round in high stakes leagues. Bell had a 50.8 Run Blocking Efficiency rating last season, which was sixth-lowest among qualified running backs. The Jets invested numerous assets into improving their porous offensive line, including first-round tackle Mekhi Becton and center Connor McGovern.

Check out Le’Veon Bell’s 2020 Projection on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:

Similar to Leonard Fournette, Bell had 270.1 (No. 4) Weighted Opportunities and an abysmal 1.30-percent Touchdown Rate. Last year was a bad season for Bell and yet he still produced 14.2 (No. 18) Fantasy Points per Game. Bell will be a safe RB2 option in 2020 because of his receiving floor and touchdown positive regression.


Running backs are more volatile than wide receivers from a year-to-year basis. It is important to identify the biggest fantasy football running back regression candidates in order to avoid overdrafting certain players. Using PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis Tool, ADP draft values such as Leonard Fournette, Le’Veon Bell, and David Montgomery have been identified. Bounce-back seasons from disappointing 2019 campaigns are expected from these three running backs. The Data Analysis Tool also recommends proceeding with caution with Derrick Henry and Raheem Mostert in fantasy football drafts. Their high-efficiency production is unsustainable going into 2020 and they will disappoint at their current ADPs.