Christian McCaffrey vs Saquon Barkley – Who’s the Best Fantasy Football RB in 2020?

Christian McCaffrey vs Saquon Barkley – Who’s the Best Fantasy Football RB in 2020?


By: John Falabella

If we traveled back in time to last year before the draft Saquon Barkley was on top of most fantasy football experts lists as the number one overall pick in fantasy football. Christian McCaffrey came in between three and four. One year later most rankings have flipped flopped these two guys, McCaffrey now being the top dog, but it’s not about who has the higher ranking it’s about who will have the better numbers at the end of the 2020 fantasy season.

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Is Saquon Barkley the best Fantasy Football RB?

Saquon Barkley will be entering his third year in New York after being the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was drafted to be the workhorse back for the Giants and he compiled over 2000 total yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns his rookie year.

His second year did not go as smoothly as he was sidelined for a few weeks with a high ankle sprain and came back and played through the injury before he was fully healed. This of course impacted his statistics but he still had a decent year with 1,441 total yards and 8 touchdowns. This made him the 9th best RB and 11th best position player (depending on your scoring system) in terms of fantasy points in 2019 but the chances are that you drafted him to be the best and he fell short.

Is Christian McCaffrey the best Fantasy Football RB?

Christian McCaffrey is entering his fourth season in Carolina after being drafted with the number eight overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. McCaffrey was eased into playing time with the Panthers during his rookie season as they still had Jonathan Stewart dominating the early down work. My point is that he did not take a huge beating his rookie season.


In year two McCaffrey was given the keys to the car and he ran with it. He averaged just over 20 touches/game that season and his lowest total was 16 (on the last game of the year) while turning himself into a top three back by accumulating 1,965 total yards and 13 TDs.

McCaffrey took it to a whole new level in 2019 by getting over 400 touches (only has happened 44 times in NFL history) and went for over 1000 yards rushing and 1000 yards receiving in the same season! That has only been done three times (Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig were the others). Christian McCaffrey was by far the highest scoring fantasy non-QB in 2019.

I anticipate both of these backs having excellent seasons in 2020 but they will both be dealing with major changes around them.

The situation in New York

This offseason the New York Giants hired Joe Judge, who was primarily a special teams coach for the New England Patriots but coached the WR’s in 2019. He was brought to New York to bring a new dynamic in the locker room, something they have not had since the early years of Tom Coughlin. Since Judge has never been an offensive coordinator he will be relying on former Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett, to run the offense and call the plays. This bodes well for Barkley as I am sure he will be used as Ezekiel Elliott was used in Dallas and that would work well with young Daniel Jones under center since a strong running game is a young QB’s best friend.

GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS Barkley will still get the bulk of the carries and is the best offensive weapon for the Giants New Head coach At 5’11 – 233 Lbs he is built to carry the load New Offensive Coordinator Old man Eli Manning has retired Working with a young QB – Daniel Jones Barkley was playing hurt in 2019 and his numbers will go up in 2020 Coming off a subpar year and was not as effective without Odell Beckham, Jr. in 2019 Drafted 3 Offensive linemen in the first 5 rounds of the draft (offensive mindset) Possibly two new starting lineman in 2020

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The situation in Carolina

Matt Rhule was hired to replace Ron Rivera in Carolina. Rhule comes from the College ranks as he was the head coach at the University of Baylor for the past three seasons. Over his 20 plus years of football coaching experience only one of those years was in the NFL (2012 Offensive Line Coach with New York Giants). Rhule has coached on the offensive and defensive side of the ball during his time in college but he will trust Joe Brady with the playing calling duties in his first season. Joe Brady was the passing game coordinator for the LSU Tigers last season but the year before that he was with Sean Payton in New Orleans. Another tie to the New Orleans Saints is Teddy Bridgewater, who was signed as a free agent to be the QB for Carolina this season and worked with Brady in New Orleans during the 2018 season.

GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS McCaffrey is still the best offensive weapon on the Panthers New Head Coach (Matt Rhule) There is no clear cut backup on the Roster Matt Rhule had a RBBC at Baylor Joe Brady has ties to the New Orleans Saints and QB Teddy Bridgewater New Offensive Coordinator (Joe Brady) Teddy Bridgewater has ties to the Saints and OC Joe Brady New QB (Teddy Bridgewater) Even if McCaffrey loses touches in 2020 he will probably only drop down to 2019 levels McCaffrey had over 400 touches last season and the coaching staff said that was too many He will, most likely, be used as Alvin Kamara in New Orleans (not a bad thing) McCaffrey is not built to carry a 400 touch load at 5’11 – 205 Lbs

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Who should be the #1 RB off the board in 2020 Fantasy Football drafts?

Saquon Barkley will have to deal with a first time head coach who has never been a coordinator, QB Daniel Jones who is still acclimating himself to life in the NFL, probably two new offensive linemen and a new offensive Coordinator in 2020. All of that plus he will be playing for a team that went 4-12 last season and still has many problems to solve.

If I had the #1 pick in my Fantasy Football draft I would pick Christian McCaffrey. Personally, when I am looking for a “can’t miss player” I want stability when it comes to the majority of what is going on with that players team. The fact that QB Teddy Bridgewater and Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady have history together with the New Orleans Saints carries a lot of weight. That will create stability with the rest of the offense.

I feel that Christian McCaffrey is in a much better situation in Carolina and that is why he would be my choice as the #1 overall pick in 2020!

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