Running back news has been few and far between, so the rankings have stayed fairly firm. The trade for Julio Jones can only help Derrick Henry see fewer defenders in the box, but he doesn’t have all that much room to rise in the rankings. The extension the Ravens Gus Edwards just signed reiterates his likely large role in the offense. He rises a bit in the rankings, but J.K. Dobbins still has upside as he’s expected to see more work as a receiver while at the very least splitting time with Edwards.
A similar dynamic is brewing in Detroit, as Jamaal Williams has been talked up as the bruising back while Swift is the scat back. The Lions are also looking at Todd Gurley as well. Factor in the Lions likely poor overall offense and Swift’s expected fantasy points will be lower than many, including myself, hope.
The NFL Draft has packed up Roger Goodell’s chair and free agency has just a few veterans looking to avoid working out too much. We will continue to see impactful moves that will push the rankings around a bit, but for the most part we are set at the fantasy skill positions. That means it’s time to see where we are in the 2021 fantasy football rankings. Closer to the season, we’ll split this up into standard and PPR, but until then, let’s go with .5 point PPR scoring.
Rankings at this time of the year are still in flux, but it’s good to get an idea of value throughout the offseason, as it allows you to watch trends with some perspective and maybe not jump on bandwagons unless absolutely necessary.
We have to go back to the well with Christian McCaffrey as our No. 1 pick despite his injuries last season. And the same goes for Saquon Barkley, as those two remain two of the few backs who get three-down work and plenty of targets. The same is true for Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara. Derrick Henry is the exception in that he just overpower his competition with the number and consistency of his carries and touchdowns. I still find it harder to trust him completely in PPR leagues, but he’s still Top-5 no matter the format.
After the Top 5 things get pretty murky at running back. There are plenty of backs who can force themselves into Top 5 consideration, but relying on them getting 20-25 touches per game is tough. I love Jonathon Taylor this season and expect him to roll, but could Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and even Parris Campbell cut into his workload? Yes, they very much can. The same can be said for most of the high-upside guys from six to 20 in the rankings. This is why I’ll likely go with wide receivers and stud tight ends after the top running backs are off the board.
2021 Running Back Rankings
|27||Melvin Gordon III||DEN|
|31||Ronald Jones II||TB|
|57||Benny Snell Jr.||PIT|
|58||Mark Ingram II||HOU|
|62||Jeff Wilson Jr.||SF|
|70||Todd Gurley II||ATL|
|77||Anthony McFarland Jr.||PIT|
|81||Duke Johnson Jr.||FA|
|89||Larry Rountree III||LAC|
|100||Stevie Scott III||NO|