Sometimes, fantasy point totals can deceive.
Case in point. Alvin Kamara finished ninth in points among running backs this past season. That seems decent, right? Well, he was a top-10 fantasy back in just 35.7 percent of his starts. What's more, he scored 45.1 percent of his points in just four games. That's a much bigger factoid than his overall finish.
So, who were the best players when it came to putting up solid totals on a regular basis, and who was more name than numbers? Here's a look at the running backs who finished in the top 20 most often last season (minimum eight games), along with some interesting notes on players to watch as we look ahead to 2020.
1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (93.8 percent): No surprise here, as McCaffrey is coming off one of the greatest fantasy seasons of any running back. Not only did he rank in the top 20 an amazing 15 times, but CMC also scored 20-plus fantasy points 14 times ... no other back had more than seven! McCaffrey also led the position in games with 25-plus fantasy point performances with 11.
2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (87.5 percent): If you're looking for a reliable runner in fantasy leagues, Elliott fits the bill. While his numbers paled in comparison to McCaffrey's, Zeke did rank second among backs in top-20 finishes (14) and games with 20-plus fantasy points (7). He'll remain the centerpiece of the Cowboys offense under new coach Mike McCarthy, so Zeke will be a top-5 pick.
3. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (85.7 percent): Cook enjoyed a breakout season in the stat sheets, as he ranked second behind McCaffrey among running backs in fantasy points per game (20.9). Cook was also second in top-5 finishes (7) at the position, which he produced in 50 percent of his games. While durability has been an issue, Cook is an absolute beast on the gridiron. He'll be a top-5 pick in 2020.
T-4. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (68.8 percent): Jones was a serious touchdown machine this past season, scoring 19 times (tied with McCaffrey). That level of success in the red zone helped Jones produce five top-5 performances and a combined 11 finishes in the top 20 among running backs. Jones is destined to be a first- or second-round pick in 2020 drafts, but touchdown regression is imminent.
T-4. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (68.8 percent): Ekeler was a star for fantasy owners in the first four weeks of last season (without Melvin Gordon), averaging nearly 27 fantasy points a game. He finished with six top-5 performances, which tied for third-most in the league among running backs, and his seven 20-plus point games ranked tied for second with Cook, Elliott and Derrick Henry.
6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (64.3 percent): Kamara was a bit of a disappointment this past season, but he did finish ninth in points among backs and eighth in points per game (17.8) as well. To his credit, Kamara did rank as a top-20 fantasy back nine times in 2019 (T-6). However, seven of those performances found him ranked RB11-RB20 ... or more of a No. 2 fantasy runner in most leagues.
7. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (62.5 percent): Hunt played in just eight games last season, but he was a reliable No. 2/3 fantasy back in those games. In fact, he ranked RB11-RB20 in five games and scored 11-plus points in all but two games. Hunt could be a top-20 pick if he leaves the Browns for a featured role in the offseason (he's a restricted free agent), so keep tabs on his status in 2020.
8. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (61.5 percent): Barkley failed to meet expectations in his second pro season, but it wasn't all bad in the stat sheets. He had four top-5 finishes in 13 games, and his six top-10 ranks tied for seventh-most among fantasy running backs. Barkley figures to be the No. 2 overall choice in most 2020 fantasy drafts, and he'll be the top selection in some leagues as well.
T-9. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (60 percent): Henry led the NFL in rushing yards and was tied with Jones for the most rushing touchdowns (16) at the position. He was far more productive in the second half of the season, though, as Henry had six top-10 finishes in his last seven games compared to just three in his first eight. Regardless, Henry will be a first-round lock in 2020 fantasy drafts.
T-9. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (60 percent): Carson enjoyed a bust out season, averaging 15.5 fantasy points while ranking 12th in total points at the position. While he didn't have any top-5 finishes, Carson did rank as the RB6-RB10 five times (33.3 percent of his games). While he did finish the season on the shelf due to an injured hip, Carson's totals will make him a top-50 pick in 2020.
T-9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (60 percent): Gurley started the year off slowly, but he turned it on in the second half of the season. In fact, the star back finished as a top-20 fantasy back in five of his final eight games. In all, Gurley had eight top-15 finishes at the position. While his status with the Rams is in some question for 2020, Gurley should remain in the RB2 mix in future drafts.
Notes:Kenyan Drake didn't have a single top-10 fantasy performance in his time with the Miami Dolphins. After being traded to the Cardinals, he was a top-10 back three times and had five top-20 finishes. He's an unrestricted free agent for 2020, but he'd be best served staying in the desert for fantasy purposes. ... Miles Sanders wasn't a top-25 back in terms of his level of consistent production (he shared the workload with Jordan Howard for several games), but he did rank in the top 10 five times. Sanders is going to be a prime breakout candidate in 2020. ... Kerryon Johnson played in just eight games in 2019, but he produced just one top-10 performance and was a top-20 back three times. His proneness to injuries will make him a risk-reward No. 2 back in 2020 drafts. ... Sony Michel finished 21st or worst in fantasy points among running backs 14 times. Patrick Laird (13), Benny Snell (12) and even Brian Hill (11) were better. ... Raheem Mostert ranked in a tie for ninth among backs in games with 20-plus points. No other 49ers back had more than one.