2021 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
The 2021 NFL season is quickly approaching, so let’s take an early peek at who is making the top-20 fantasy running back cut. (PPR)
Running Back Rankings
1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
He rushed for a career-high, 1,557 yards, and added 361 through the air while scoring 17 total touchdowns over 14 games. The Vikings offense should continue to live and breathe through their stud RB.
2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
A major dual-threat, Kamara found the end zone 21 times in 15 games. This accompanied 112.5 total average yards compiled per game. With Drew Brees retired, whoever is quarterbacking for the Saints in 2021 should depend upon Kamara more than ever.
3. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Let’s hope CMC returns at a full 100%. Remember, this is the guy who rushed for 1,387 yards, caught another 1,005, and scored 19 touchdowns in 2019.
4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Henry is a machine after posting league highs across the board with 2,027 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. He’s in his prime and we are riding him while he’s hot.
5. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Some may say Chubb is too high here. I don’t think so. This is a guy, who while missing four games, still scored 12 times. This stud also rushed for 5.6 yards per tote and averaged 101.4 scrimmage yards per game.
6. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
We hope Barkley returns to his roots in 2021. He’s the focal point of the Giants offense and should continue to be active as both a high-powered rusher and receiver in 2021. Daniel Jones looked lost without him last year.
7. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
When healthy, Jones is a force. He averaged a career-best 78.9 rushing yards per game and scored 11 times in 14 games. This came along with 355 receiving yards. If he wasn’t the real deal, the Packers would have moved on from him in free agency. That, they did not.
8. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor amazed as a rookie (my first mentioned within) when the Colts finally put him in the driver’s seat after he toted the rock at 5.0 yards per attempt. From there, he tallied a sweet 1,468 yards and 12 touchdowns. Whew! The sky is the limit for this kid in 2021.
9. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
I’d love to bump Elliott up as next season approaches. However, he’s here at No. 9 for now after producing a career-low 979 rushing yards in 2020. His eight touchdowns last season also mark an all-time low. Will he turn a new leaf moving forward?
10. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
Monty really began to pick up his fantasy pace as a sophomore, producing 1,508 total yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020. With stability at QB in 2021, Montgomery comes with much fantasy appeal.
11. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
Gibson panned out better than expected as a rookie, after having a handful of big games to reward his fantasy owners with. Look for him to improve on his average 76.2 total yards he produced per game as he continues to find his groove in Washington.
12. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
Dobbins ran at an explosive 6.0 yards per carry in 2020 and bulldozed in nine rushing touchdowns. He’s got what it takes to be your No. 1 fantasy RB. That is when Lamar Jackson isn’t stealing all of the run action.
13. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Pass-catching is Ekeler’s forte. So, he should continue to thrive working with Justin Herbert, who took the league by storm as a rookie. As long as Ekeler remains healthy, he will be the lead guy in command over the rest of the Chargers RB riff-raff.
14. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Free Sanders in 2021, please! We can hope under new coaching/quarterbacking that the Eagles offense runs differently this fall. Look for Sanders to build on the 72.3 rushing yards he averaged per game and increase six touchdowns scored in 2020.
15. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Harris was the first RB selected in the 2021 draft and will be a big aid to a declining Big Ben. Look for Harris to be start-worthy right out of the gate as a back, who in his last two years at Alabama, tallied 3,419 yards and 50 touchdowns.
16. DeAndre Swift, Detroit Lions
It’s frustrating to own any Lions RB in fantasy football. So, temper expectations and hope Swift builds on his middling 878 total yards he squeaked out in 2020. His saving grace was the 10 touchdowns he managed. Also hope that Jamaal Williams doesn’t eat too much into Swift’s touches.
17. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
A glaring example of a guy drafted too quickly in 2020, CEH failed to live up to the hype. Aside from dealing with an injury late season, Edwards-Helaire finished his rookie campaign with 1,100 total yards and just five scores. Look for he and the Chiefs to mesh better this season.
18. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon slides into this list as a guy who should move up in the ranks as the season plays out. If the Bengals improve their offensive line Mixon will be worth the draft pick spent on him. Though, he also needs to stay healthy. Knock on wood.
19. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Carson is a stud when he’s healthy. He’s a three-back down and the Seahawks love to run the ball. He’ll keep the fantasy points rolling, making him a serviceable RB2 with plenty of upside given any game script.
20. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins
Gaskin hits the top-20 list since the Dolphins declined to draft any early-round RBs as competition. He should remain top-dog on a flourishing Dolphins offense when hopefully, Gaskin stays healthy all season.
Updated Fantasy RB Rankings
Look for these rankings to be updated periodically as running back situations may change or become more muddied as practices and training camps play out.