Could We Be Underestimating the 2020 Running Back Class? The Backfield Dominator Rating Finds 4 Steals Beyond the 5 Flashy Names
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Image Credit: Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Eno Benjamin.

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The 2020 class of running backs has several prospects that excite fantasy owners. Surprisingly, the scouting community is less enthusiastic. Many mock drafts do not have a single RB being picked in the first round. Many of our favorite backs figure to be Day 3 selections. However, we know the NFL Draft is not an efficient market for extrapolating fantasy value.

In the first volume of the Dynasty Command Center Rookie Guide, I explained how focusing on RB production and giving less weight to RB athleticism could help us beat the NFL Draft. One of the metrics I didn’t touch on, however, was Backfield Dominator Rating (BDR).

BDR measures an RB’s production in the context of other RBs on his team. It’s a simple average of a player’s share of his team’s RB rushing and receiving production (yards and touchdowns).1 Two years ago it correctly picked out Phillip Lindsay as an undervalued stud, and last year it discovered late-season fantasy Twitter darling Patrick Laird months before his rise up the Dolphins’ depth chart.2 Stars such as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Saquon Barkley rank among the all-time BDR leaders.

Does Backfield Dominator Rating Help Fantasy Owners?

Anecdotes are nice, but the question is whether it helps us beat the draft. As with many production metrics, the answer is yes.

Note how the green line, indicating players with a final BDR of at least 0.7, is above the red line in nearly every part of the draft. To be sure, there have been hits with low BDR numbers3 and busts who do well in BDR.4 But the point is that there is a certain type of RB who tends to be undervalued by the NFL draft. BDR helps us find those undervalued RBs.

Below you’ll find the BDR numbers for the top backs in the 2020 class. Note that these ratings can also be found in the Box Score Scout (the column labeled “rbDominator”) and the RB Prospect Lab.

2020 Backfield Dominator Ratings

Blair Andrews

Managing Editor, Author of The Wrong Read, Occasional Fantasy Football League Winner. All opinions are someone else's.

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