Fantasy Football RB Rankings for 2021 Season (PPR Scoring)

Tier 1

1. Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey only played in 3 games last year, but in those 3 games he averaged 30.13 PPG. If CMC isn’t taken number 1 overall in all leagues, honestly I do not know what to tell you.

2. Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry is a straight up beast. He ran for over 2,000 yards and 17 TDs. He doesn’t catch a ton of passes, but who cares? Just imagine if the Titans did start implementing him more in the passing game.

3. Dalvin Cook

“The Vikings got the steal of the draft in that one, I promise you,” Jimbo Fisher said. “All the ones who didn’t think he was first round, I never understood that, and I used to laugh at that in that somebody’s going to regret that one day.” Well old Jimbo ain’t wrong, so don’t make the same mistake that every NFL team that passed on him in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft did. Cook should be taken in the top 3, without hesitation.

4. Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara is a do it all back. I believe that even without Drew Brees, Kamara will still have another productive fantasy football season. If the Saints are good, that will give him more opportunities running the ball, if they Saints are bad, that will give him more opportunities catching the ball. Either way, expect a great year from Kamara.

5. Aaron Jones

As it appears Aaron Rodgers is going to play for Green Bay next season, which is great news for the other Aaron, that is Aaron Jones. Also, Jamaal Williams is in Detroit and the back up AJ Dillon isn’t much of a pass catching back, so that’ll leave plenty of touches for Jones. I expect a fantasy year similar to the one Jones had in 2019 (19 total TDs, 1,500 total yards and about 50 catches).

6. Ezekiel Elliott

Zeke had a bit of a down year last season, but poor QB play, a new head coach, a banged up offensive line were all a large part in the drop off. Even in a down year, Zeke still finished ranked 9th among RBs in PPR leagues. If Dak is fully recovered from that horrific leg injury that he sustained last year, Zeke will be back to his old dominant self. Feed The Zeke.

7. Nick Chubb

Nick Chubb may be the most underrated RB in the NFL, and pretty soon people aren’t going to have a choice but to consider him a top 5 RB in the NFL and in fantasy football. Chubb only played in 12 games last year, but he still had 12 rushing TDs. I’ll take a TD a game average any day of the week.

8. Jonathan Taylor

I think Jonathan Taylor may have a chance to be the best RB in 2021. Indianapolis has the best offensive line, a new QB in Carson Wentz, and a great defense. Wentz did just have foot surgery and may be out 5-12 weeks, which would add value to Taylor, if either Jacob Eason or Sam Ehlinger end up starting at QB. Taylor started to get better as the year progressed and he caught an astonishing 92.3% of the passes thrown his way. Marlon Mack may eat into some of his touches on the ground and Nyheim Hines will eat into some of his catches, but I still believe Taylor will have a great 2nd year.

9. Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley is getting the benefit of the doubt here, just because he is Saquon Barkley. It sounds like early on Barkley may be on a snap count and who knows if he will ever truly be the same. But the “what he can be” factor keeps him in the top 10.

10. David Montgomery

David Montgomery really started to get going towards the tail end of the season last year. As a matter of fact he scored 20 plus points in each of the last 6 games. He also ended up finishing ranked 4th among RBs. But he just misses the top 10, because to start the season his QB will most likely be Andy Dalton then Dalton will most likely be replaced by a rookie, Justin Fields. So, there is a good deal of unknown on how the Bear’s offense will operate next season.

Tier 2

11. James Robinson

Probably the coolest story last season was James Robinson’s path to the NFL. He was a walk on at Illinois St, then he went undrafted and signed with Jacksonville. He then went on to rush for over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs, had 49 catches for 344 yards and 3 TDs, finished the season ranked 7th among RBs in PPR scoring. I’m rooting for Robinson to build upon last season. Robinson could end up being a steal in the 2nd or 3rd round.

12. Najee Harris

Many people are predicting Najee Harris to be the offensive rookie of the year, and for good reasons. One, he is on the Steelers and they love running the ball. Two, he not only can run the ball, but he can also catch. Three, he’s over 6 feet, 230lbs and as fast as lightning. I would have ranked him even higher, but he is still just a rookie, even though he’s built like a tank with cheetahs for legs.

13. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

I almost put Clyde Edwards-Helaire higher up in the rankings. I think for a rookie he played well last year, and I also believe the Chiefs will get him more involved in the offense. The Chiefs should have used him more in the Super Bowl, where he only had 9 attempts for 64 yards, which comes out to be a 7.11 Y/A. I think Andy Reid has to have noticed that as well, and Reid will get him more touches next season.

14. Chris Carson

I don’t know if you’ve seen Chris Carson this offseason, but the guy looks juiced. As long as he doesn’t get drug tested for HGH (human growth hormones), I think the Seahawks running game will be back next year. Unless, former 1st round pick Rashaad Penny can finally get healthy, the Seahawks backfield is gonna be all Chris “on the juice” Carson.

15. Joe Mixon

Joe Mixon is a good RB on a bad team. If he stays healthy, Mixon could be a top 10 fantasy RB this year. But, unfortunately for Mixon the Bengals drafted a WR with their first pick instead of some much needed Offensive line help. So it wouldn’t shock me if Mixon gets dinged up again. The upside with Mixon is that he is a solid pass catcher, so even if the Bengals are playing from behind he will still be involved in the offense.

16. Antonio Gibson

Antonio Gibson had a pretty solid rookie season, and it is beginning to look like RBs out of Memphis are pretty good. A few backs from Memphis that have been solid in the NFL are Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, and watch out for recently drafted Kenny Gainwell for the Eagles as well. Gibson is a do it all back, he can catch, he can run up the middle and take it to the outside. His downfall is simply how much Matthew Berry likes him. If you haven’t learned the hard way yet, Matthew Berry is awful at fantasy football advice.

17. Gus Edwards

Gus “the Bus” Edwards is finally getting his chance to be the number 1 RB on a team. JK Dobbins is out for the year and Mark Ingram is in Houston. With a career average of 5.2 yards per carry and 700 plus yards rushing in each of his last 3 seasons as a 3rd stringer, it seems like it’s about damn time Edwards gets to show what he can do as a lead back.

18. Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler was handed the lead back role last season when fellow teammate Melvin Gordon left for the Broncos, and Ekeler wasn’t able to capitalize on that opportunity. Given that mostly had to do with an injury plagued season, but either way I think Ekeler is getting way over hyped this season. If Ekeler can stay healthy he should get a lot of opportunities to get a lot of fantasy points, but I don’t think he’s as good as people are selling him to be. Don’t get me wrong Ekeler is still good, just not top 10 pick good.

19. Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders is a very good RB out of Penn State, but might be a bit injury prone, just like another RB out of Penn State (Saquon Barkley). But just like Saquon, when healthy he is a great RB. If you draft Sanders, be sure to take Kenny Gainwell as his handcuff back.

20. Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs should be ranked higher, but the Raiders brought in Kenyan Drake, who at the very least will take away passing opportunities from Jacobs. Drake could also end up being the 3rd down back. The good news is, Jacobs won’t be the bell cow back and that should help keep him healthy. So, even with Drake in town, Jacobs makes a solid FLEX play.

Tier 3

21. Melvin Gordon III

Melvin Gordon is a solid Flex RB in all formats, and he should be the starter all season for the Broncos. But, the Broncos traded up in the 2nd round to draft Javonte Williams out of North Carolina. There are rumors that Williams will eventually take over as the lead back. If you draft Gordon you may also want to draft Williams as well.

22. Kareem Hunt

Let’s face it, if Hunt was on any other team than the Browns, he would be the starter and most likely a top 10, if not, top 5 RB. Since he is on the Browns, his role is a complimentary back to Nick Chubb. With that being said, Hunt is still a great pick and FLEX play each and every week.

23. Darrell Henderson

Cam Akers suffered a season ending injury, tearing his Achilles, this offseason. So, the next man up is Darrell Henderson. Henderson will finally get his chance at being a legit number 1 RB in the NFL and I’m excited to see what he can do. Last year, Henderson had 783 total yards, 6 total TDs and he averaged 4.5 yards per carry, while splitting time with Akers.

24. Raheem Mostert

Raheem Mostert has averaged 5.6 Y/A his entire career, so when given the opportunity he has dominated. Mostert is coming off a season shortened by injury, where many people predicted a big year from him. Mostert didn’t deliver and neither did his QB, Jimmy Garoppolo. So what did the 49ers do? They drafted two potential replacements for both positions. At QB they drafted Trey Lance and at RB they drafted Trey Sermon. Mostert and Jimmy G both have potential to be the comeback player of the year. But they both also have potential to be replaced by a a guy named Trey.

25. Myles Gaskin

Myles Gaskin kind of came out of nowhere last year, but he really shouldn’t have. While in college at Washington, he ran for 5,323 total yards and had 57 total TDs with a 5.6 Y/A. In year two in the NFL Gaskin finally got his opportunity and he took full advantage of it. Depending on where Gaskin is drafted, he could end up being the steal of your draft.

26. D’Andre Swift

New Offensive Coordinator, Anthony Lynn, is in Detroit now. Lynn is a former NFL RB and he loves to run the ball. That alone will help out Swift this year, but Lynn likes to use a lot of RBs. The Lions also brought in Jamaal Williams and there are rumors they may sign Todd Gurley. Those two reasons are why I have Swift this far down on my list.

27. Chase Edmonds

Honestly, Chase Edmonds doesn’t appear to be a starting RB in the NFL. I think he is more like a JD McKissic or James White type of RB. And I think eventually James Connor will be the team’s lead back. But that doesn’t mean Edmonds would be a bad player to have on your team. If he is like McKissic or White, that is still a great FLEX player to have on your team.

28. Leonard Fournette

Playoff Lenny was dominant in the playoffs last year and not so dominant in the regular season. If the Bucs get Playoff Lenny all year then he will end the season way higher than 29. But the Bucs still have Ronald Jones and they brought in pass catching expert Giovani Bernard. I think that both Fournette and Jones will have big games, but they will also have low fantasy scoring games. Bruce Arians will go with the hot hand approach and it will be difficult to predict which player that will be each week. Tinker, tinker.

29. Ronald Jones II

Last year Ronald Jones was my fantasy football breakout player of the year favorite, and he probably would have been if the team didn’t sign Leonard Fournette. Fournette will be around again next year, so Jones will have another season splitting carries. I have Jones lower than Fournette, but out of the two, Jones is who I’d draft, based on where you could pick him.

30. Sony Michel

Sony Michel was traded to the Rams for a 4th and 6th round pick. Michel a former 1st round draft pick is now headed to a team where he will immediately split time with Darrell Henderson. I believe Michel still has a lot left in the tank at only 26 years old, but I also think Henderson is a beast. There is a good chance that Michel could beat out Henderson for the lead back duties, however, I think it is more likely the two end up being a two headed monster for the Rams next year.

Tier 4

31. Mike Davis

It seems very strange that the Falcons seem 100% sold on Mike Davis. I would have thought the Falcons would have brought in some competition either in free agency or the draft, but they didn’t. They did sign Cordarrelle Patterson and Javian Hawkins, but that still makes me think they are going all in on Mike Davis. I just didn’t think Davis was all that good last year with the Panthers, even though Christian McCaffery went down with an injury.

32. David Johnson

David Johnson went from being one of the best fantasy football RBs in the league to almost appearing as though his career was just about over. Johnson did end the season with three consecutive 20 plus point games, but Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram are now in Houston. With creepy Deshaun Watson most likely suspended for the entire season, the team will lean heavily on the run. Expect all 3 RBs to get a lot of touches. However, Johnson is still the best pass catcher out of the three, so he gets the edge.

33. Kenyan Drake

I’m surprised that Kenyan Drake and the Cardinals didn’t work out a deal to bring Drake back to Arizona. And I also don’t know why Drake chose to sign with the Raiders. It always seemed like Drake wanted to be “the” guy on a team, but he left the Cardinals where that was actually possible, to join the Raiders to be a backup. I think Drake took the money and ran, and he’s one of my top picks to be a bust this season.

34. James Conner

James Conner when healthy with the Steelers, he was awesome. But he just can’t stay healthy. I do think he is the better back than Chase Edmonds and if he has a healthy season he will eventually be the lead back. If that happens Conner will at least put up Kenyan Drake like numbers. Drake had over 1,000 total yards and 10 total TDs last year with the Cardinals.

35. Michael Carter

Luckily for Michael Carter is he won’t have a lot of competition in New York, or at least he shouldn’t. Unluckily for Michael Carter is he’s on the Jets.

36. Nyheim Hines

If your league gives points for punt returns and kick returns that only adds to Nyheim Hines’ value. My league does, so he makes my list. But even if your league doesn’t, Hines had 63 catches and 862 total yards with 7 total TDs. That was good for 15th among RBs in scoring last season.

37. James White

James White had a really bad year last year where his dad was killed in a car accident and his mom was critically injured. You hate to see news like that, for anyone. It is understandable to see why he wasn’t his normal self with such tragedies. I’m rooting for him to come back strong and have a good season.

38. Devin Singletary

It seems like the Buffalo Bills are due to have a RB step it up. But the question is, will they? I think Singletary will put up decent fantasy numbers, but I think Zach Moss has a better shot of being the better of the two. But the problem for both RBs, is that the Bills choose not to run the ball. I don’t think the Bills can’t run the ball, I just think they prefer to air it out. So, Singletary gets the edge with his pass catching ability.

39. Jamaal Williams

I think Jamaal Williams will regret his decision to leave Green Bay. Yes, he will most likely have better stats this year, but the Lions won’t be winning very many games. Going from making it to the NFC championship game in back to back years to missing the playoffs for however long his new contract is, will make him rethink his life choices.

40. JD McKissic

JD McKissic is basically a WR playing RB, because that is literally what he is. In all 5 years at Arkansas State, McKissic was a WR. But, that is what makes him such a great player to have in fantasy football. Last year he had 110 targets and caught 80 of them. If he gets the same amount of opportunities, then he will have another top 20 finish among RBs in scoring. But, I just don’t think he will with Fitzmagic running the show.

41. Javonte Williams

I’m not buying all the Javonte Williams hype. I think Marvin Gordon is the better RB. But I am buying the hype just enough to end my rankings with Javonte Williams at 41. I could be wrong on Williams, but I wouldn’t risk the value of the pick that you would have to give up to get him.

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