It’s possible that Nick Chubb is underrated. A central figure in the Cleveland Browns’ offensive revival, Chubb is a throwback to ground-and-pound running backs of another era. He doesn’t do much at all in the passing game—which is probably why he doesn’t get as much love as he should—but he’s nearly impossible to tackle and plays a starring role in a run-first offense. That makes him an easy top-10 pick on our list.
To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.
Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.
The official fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.
No. 10, Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns, RB
The Browns made it clear this summer that Chubb is a big part of their plans with three-year, $36 million extension. In just 12 games last season, he ran for 1,067 yards, which was good enough for the seventh most rushing yards in the NFL. But where he really impressed was with 12 touchdowns on the ground, which tied him for third most in the league. In just 12 games.
Competition for touches
Chubb is the clear 1 in a 1-2 punch with Kareem Hunt in the Browns’ backfield, the later the team’s receiving threat. Hunt’s overall numbers from last season are somewhat inflated because his workload increased in Chubb’s absence. With a full season of work, even with Hunt taking away some potential work, Chubb’s going to get more than enough work to produce some of the best rushing totals in the league.
Team offensive expectations
Cleveland averaged a middling 25.5 points per game last season, with the injury bug eating into its impressive roster of skill players. Things should be better on the injury front this year, and this offense should produce numbers that put them comfortably in the league’s top-10. It’s also worth pointing out that the Browns have one of the best, if not the best, offensive lines, pointing to big gains for Chubb.
What’s his upside?
With a full season of work (17 games this year, don’t forget), Chubb could easily push 1,300 yards. And he’s already shown that a dozen touchdowns in as many games is doable.
What’s his downside?
Chubb wasn’t slowed at all by his knee injury, coming back strong after a short stint on IR. Still, until he proves otherwise, injury concerns will follow. A roster loaded with this much talent could also take away touches.
250 carries; 1,250 yards; 102 touchdowns; 25 receptions; 160 yards; 1 receiving touchdown