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Running back rankings for 2021 fantasy football

Free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft have shuffled the rankings around. See where your favorite players have landed.

Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards tackled by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports


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

Rk Name Team
Rk Name Team
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR
2 Dalvin Cook MIN
3 Saquon Barkley NYG
4 Derrick Henry TEN
5 Alvin Kamara NO
6 Nick Chubb CLE
7 Jonathan Taylor IND
8 Ezekiel Elliott DAL
9 Aaron Jones GB
10 Austin Ekeler LAC
11 Najee Harris PIT
12 Joe Mixon CIN
13 Cam Akers LAR
14 Antonio Gibson WAS
15 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC
16 Miles Sanders PHI
17 D'Andre Swift DET
18 J.K. Dobbins BAL
19 Chris Carson SEA
20 Raheem Mostert SF
21 David Montgomery CHI
22 Josh Jacobs LV
23 Myles Gaskin MIA
24 Kareem Hunt CLE
25 Chase Edmonds ARI
26 Travis Etienne JAC
27 Melvin Gordon III DEN
28 James Robinson JAC
29 Mike Davis ATL
30 Damien Harris NE
31 Ronald Jones II TB
32 Trey Sermon SF
33 David Johnson HOU
34 Zack Moss BUF
35 Javonte Williams DEN
36 James Conner ARI
37 Leonard Fournette TB
38 Devin Singletary BUF
39 AJ Dillon GB
40 Michael Carter NYJ
41 Gus Edwards BAL
42 Kenyan Drake LV
43 Rashaad Penny SEA
44 Jamaal Williams DET
45 Tony Pollard DAL
46 Nyheim Hines IND
47 Latavius Murray NO
48 Darrell Henderson LAR
49 Phillip Lindsay HOU
50 Tarik Cohen CHI
51 J.D. McKissic WAS
52 Alexander Mattison MIN
53 James White NE
54 Tevin Coleman NYJ
55 Giovani Bernard TB
56 Darrel Williams KC
57 Benny Snell Jr. PIT
58 Mark Ingram II HOU
59 Marlon Mack IND
60 Salvon Ahmed MIA
61 Carlos Hyde JAC
62 Jeff Wilson Jr. SF
63 Rhamondre Stevenson NE
64 Javian Hawkins ATL
65 Darrynton Evans TEN
66 Adrian Peterson DET
67 Kenneth Gainwell PHI
68 Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB
69 Chuba Hubbard CAR
70 Todd Gurley II ATL
71 Sony Michel NE
72 Wayne Gallman SF
73 Le'Veon Bell KC
74 Boston Scott PHI
75 Jerick McKinnon KC
76 Malcolm Brown MIA
77 Anthony McFarland Jr. PIT
78 Joshua Kelley LAC
79 La'Mical Perine NYJ
80 Justin Jackson LAC
81 Duke Johnson Jr. FA
82 Matt Breida BUF
83 Kerryon Johnson PHI
84 Damien Williams CHI
85 Ty Johnson NYJ
86 Samaje Perine CIN
87 Ito Smith ATL
88 Kylin Hill GB
89 Larry Rountree III LAC
90 Rex Burkhead NE
91 Eno Benjamin ARI
92 Justice Hill BAL
93 Chris Evans CIN
94 Jermar Jefferson DET
95 Elijah Mitchell SF
96 Devontae Booker NYG
97 Mike Boone DEN
98 Khalil Herbert CHI
99 Kene Nwangwu MIN
100 Stevie Scott III NO
101 Gary Brightwell NYG
102 Jaret Patterson WAS
103 JaMycal Hasty SF
104 Trey Ragas LV
105 Gerrid Doaks MIA
106 Kalen Ballage PIT
107 Jake Funk LAR
108 DeeJay Dallas SEA
109 Travis Homer SEA
110 Darwin Thompson KC
111 Elijah McGuire KC
112 Royce Freeman DEN