Sept. 3 (UPI) -- NFL great Jerome Bettis says Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara should be among the best fantasy football running backs in 2020. He also says James Conner and Leonard Fournette can be successful in the right circumstances.
Bettis -- who ranks No. 8 All-Time in rushing yards -- has watched Conner closely over the years. The former Pittsburgh Steelers star saw the current Steelers running back find success and make the Pro Bowl in his second season.
Conner then missed six games due to injury last season and watched his statistics decline.
"I think he will have a great year," Bettis said of Conner. "He is excited to be back out there. He is 100% healthy and ready to go."
Conner doesn't have much competition for carries in the Steelers backfield. He also enters the season alongside a healthy quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and a solid offensive line. Those factors -- and health -- should result in a phenomenal fantasy football campaign.
"His challenge is to stay healthy," said Bettis, a spokesman for Modelo's Beat Bettis Challenge at DraftKings.
"He has all the tools to be a very special running back. He just has to get in 16 weeks and then you will see the finished product."
Bettis said backup running backs Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr. have specific skill sets of physicality and speed, but Conner should remain the team's bell cow, with the bulk of the team's touches in 2020.
Bettis believes Elliott, Kamara and Dalvin Cook will be some of the best fantasy football options this year, and Conner is likely a better value at his current average draft position. Fournette -- the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft -- was released Monday by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Joe Mixon, of the Cincinnati Bengals, is the only running back from that year's draft class with more career carries than Fournette. The 2017 class also featured Conner, Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Chris Carson, Marlon Mack, Kareem Hunt, Aaron Jones and Tarik Cohen.
Fournette now is a free agent and can sign with any team. But Bettis said he needs to land a specific role to return to fantasy football relevance.
Fournette "team dependent"
"He is a really good running back, but he is team dependent," Bettis said of Fournette. "I don't think he will be productive if he [only] gets seven or eight carries [per game].
"But he can be special if he gets 20 to 25 carries. You have to give him an opportunity to play and get out of the way."
Bettis compared Fournette to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. Both have shown they have more success when given more carries, which allows them to wear down opposing defenses with their physical running styles.
All running backs perform better behind good offensive lines. Bettis said that has been the main issue with former Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell since he joined the New York Jets. Bell is likely a fantasy football commodity you want to stay away from on draft day as his stats have declined since he left Pittsburgh.
"The problem with Bell is his offensive line is not very good," Bettis said. "He has chance to do some special things if he can get productivity out of his offensive line. The problem is the line and running back are tied together."
McCaffrey is the No. 1 running back and top overall player in the 2020 UPI fantasy football rankings. Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Cook and Kamara round out the Top 5 options. Conner is No. 16 in the running back rankings.