The 2020 fantasy football season is nearly halfway through and, for most leagues, the trade deadline is just around the corner.
Managers have seen their teams take shape at this point. There is a pretty good understanding of depth, needs and other roster management considerations as managers prepare for a playoff run.
Additionally, there are those managers who feel the urge to make a big trade so as to spur their respective teams to the playoffs. This leads to a number of potential scenarios, whereby deep teams look to bolster specific positions with a splashy move and buyers hope to get the one marquee player to put them over the top.
The running back position is sure to be crucial both for buyers and sellers in fantasy football. Injuries have ravaged the NFL this year, and the running back spot is no different.
That said, there is some intrigue in the next few weeks. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey should be back this week. It is possible Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb also returns after a bye week.
Teams possessing those guys as stowaways have options, especially if they are in playoff position. But Chubb and McCaffrey are hardly the only guys who could be on the move in fantasy.
Here are five fantasy football running backs managers should look to sell high on prior to the trade deadline.
Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
This list almost has to start with Gurley, who currently ranks sixth at the running back in ESPN leagues.
Gurley has managed to find the end zone eight times in eight games and has scored multiple touchdowns in two different games. Although Brian Hill still gets touches, Gurley gets the majority of the looks in the red zone.
But managers should absolutely attempt to sell high on Gurley if they have running back depth.
The former All-Pro is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. But, more consequently, he also ranks toward the bottom of the league in running back success rate, per Football Outsiders.
In other words, Gurley really has not been able to overcome Atlanta's struggles up front and make his own plays at the line of scrimmage.
Moreover, Gurley is basically a non-factor in the passing game. He has just 13 receptions for 77 yards, and he is hardly the kind of explosive threat out of the backfield he once was in Los Angeles.
Gurley is essentially touchdown-dependent as a fantasy football option. However, managers will likely be enticed by his conversion rates in the red zone. Gurley could net a decent haul and should absolutely be sold if there is already depth in the backfield.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Chubb was off to a tremendous start prior to suffering an MCL sprain in his right knee in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.
The former Georgia standout rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns combined between Week 2 and Week 3. He was averaging nearly six yards per carry, gashing opposing defenses and churning out tough yards in the red zone.
Chubb should return within the next couple weeks, and he could put any number of fantasy football teams over the top in the playoffs.
For those managers with both Kareem Hunt and Chubb on their rosters, it still probably makes sense to sell high on Chubb, if at all possible.
Chubb is likely to assume the feature back role as soon as he returns from injury. However, Hunt had at least 10 carries in each of the four weeks when Chubb was still healthy. Hunt also offers value in the passing game, probably even more so when Chubb returns.
The 24-year-old is one of the best running backs in football when healthy. But Chubb has also dealt with a bit of a committee look, and he is coming off a fairly serious knee injury that has already forced him to miss the last four weeks.
Chubb should be sold at a high price, especially for those already handcuffing with Hunt in the backfield.
Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Just a couple weeks ago, Jones looked like one of the breakout fantasy stars of the season after rushing for over 100 yards in three consecutive games.
This looked like the guy head coach Bruce Arians said would be a major playmaker in Tampa Bay's offense this season. Jones ranks toward the top of the NFL in both success rate and expected yards, per Football Outsiders. He has looked downright explosive at times, having success running off tackle or between the guards.
Plus, Tom Brady had gotten things going in the passing game, seemingly opening things up for Jones to have sustained momentum on the ground.
But things have changed quite a bit for Jones in recent weeks.
The 23-year-old had just 13 carries last weekend against the Las Vegas Raiders. Jones then had just seven carries on Monday against the New York Giants, though he did have four receptions.
However, the most concerning element of the past two weeks relates to Jones' snap counts. He was on the field for 43 percent of the offensive snaps against the Raiders before playing a season-low 24 percent of the snaps against the Giants.
It seems rather confusing for the Bucs to turn to Leonard Fournette after all the success Jones had in his absence. Yet, that is exactly what has happened. Fournette played 56 percent of the offensive snaps against the Raiders and 73 percent against the Giants.
Managers should sell high on Jones immediately, before he becomes practically unplayable.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Carson has been very productive in Seattle. He is also looking exceptionally injury-prone.
The 26-year-old is dealing with a mid-foot sprain suffered in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. Carson missed Seattle's win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8, and he is questionable for this weekend's game against the Bills.
Can Carson be trusted to carry the load down the stretch, or are injuries just too much of a concern for him to remain on rosters?
There is no doubting Carson's effectiveness. He has rushed for nearly five yards per carry and has also loomed surprisingly large in the passing game, which has not happened in previous seasons.
At the same time, guys like Carlos Hyde have had some success in Carson's absence, though Hyde also missed this past weekend's game.
In any case, it might be worth trying to deal Carson, who has plenty of two-way fantasy football value but has also dealt with a few different knocks early in the season.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey will always net an enormous return, regardless of injury and how much time he has missed or Mike Davis' effectiveness for the Panthers.
Yet, that is a perfect reason to sell him.
It seems likely McCaffrey will get the overwhelming majority of touches once he returns. But Davis did prove some things in CMC's absence, and it would not be a huge surprise for Matt Rhule to give him an elevated role in the offense.
Plus, there really is no telling how McCaffrey responds to the ankle injury. This is the first year he has not played in all 16 games; that means something, whether or not a sprain is overly serious.
There is no doubting McCaffrey is a fantasy star, and he has immense upside. But if managers have a chance to get multiple productive players in a potential swap, why not take those chances?
Managers should indeed capitalize on urgency and try to acquire multiple premium assets in exchange for the All-Pro back. It could turn the tide for your fantasy football team.