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Dynasty Rankings

Updated: 1:53pm EDT 9/15/21
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Running Back Rankings

Team Rank Name ADP Seasons Played DS Analysis
1 1 Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR N/A 4 McCaffrey never missed a game due to injury…until last season, when he sat out 13 (ankle/shoulder). He finished as the PPR RB1 in 2019 and the RB2 in 2018. Only 25, CMC will retain that type of upside for the foreseeable future.
2 2 Saquon Barkley, RB NYG 1.1 3 Barkley’s 2020 ACL tear steals the current headlines, but recall that he finished as the PPR RB1 in 2018; the RB10 in 2019 (13 games). The Giants have Barkley, 24, under contract through the 2022 season.
3 3 Jonathan Taylor, RB IND N/A 1 Taylor rolled up 1,468 total yards as a rookie. Only 22, he brings an excellent combination of youth, talent and opportunity. Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines are slated for free agency in the spring.
4 4 Alvin Kamara, RB NO N/A 4 Kamara hasn’t reached 200 carries in a season. But he has caught 82, 81, 81 and 83 balls to open his career. At 25, Kamara’s only question is how he adapts to life without Drew Brees.
5 5 Dalvin Cook, RB MIN N/A 4 Since the start of the 2018 season, Cook has missed 10 games due to injury. That’s our only hesitation with the 26-year-old, though. He’s posted back-to-back top-6 PPR finishes, despite the absences. He’s signed through his age 30 season.
6 6 Nick Chubb, RB CLE N/A 3 Despite a physical style, Chubb’s first missed games in the NFL didn’t surface until last season. Still, he finished at PPR RB7 in PPG. 2021 was going to be a contract year, but the Browns inked him to a 3-year extension on July 31.
7 7 Derrick Henry, RB TEN N/A 5 Henry’s coming off a massive 397-touch regular season. While eye-opening, Henry’s been remarkably durable through 5 pro seasons. That’s helped the 27-year-old lead the league in rush yards in 2 straight seasons.
8 8 Najee Harris, RB PIT N/A 0 The Steelers have talked up Harris as a 3-down back. He has the requisite size (6’1, 232), and we see the talent for him to thrive in that role. We’ll see how Pittsburgh addresses the QB position long-term. 2021 could be Ben Roethlisberger’s last year in the league.
9 9 D'Andre Swift, RB DET N/A 1 Swift has the backing of a coaching staff that wants to lean run. The 5’8, 212-pounder has a 3-down skill set and flashed it last year with 4.6 yards per carry and 46 receptions (13 games). Swift doesn’t turn 23 until January.
10 10 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB KC N/A 1 CEH underwhelmed as a rookie while dealing with late-season hip and ankle injuries. The former 1st rounder enters year 2 as the clear lead back, though. Only 22, he’ll have every chance to cement his status as the top back moving forward.
11 11 Joe Mixon, RB CIN N/A 4 After a lost 2020, 2021 is a critical campaign for Mixon. The 25-year-old at least looks like a 3-down player with Gio Bernard out of town. And you have to love the young weapons in this offense: Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd.
12 12 J.K. Dobbins, RB BAL N/A 1 Dobbins was highly efficient as a rookie (6.0 YPC), and efficiency should remain a huge plus alongside Lamar Jackson. Dobbins simply isn’t ticketed for a 3-down role this fall. Time will tell if Baltimore wants him to eventually become a bigger part of the passing game — but that’s the key to unlocking RB1 potential.
13 13 Antonio Gibson, RB WAS N/A 1 A raw rusher out of Memphis, Gibson torched year 1 expectations (1,042 total yards, 11 TDs in 14 games). The 23-year-old’s receiving ability helps boost his multi-year RB1 ceiling.
14 14 Aaron Jones, RB GB N/A 4 Jones caught a break with the return of Aaron Rodgers. Longer-term, the RB’s tied to Green Bay through the 2024 season after signing a new deal in the spring. A.J. Dillion’s presence isn’t ideal. But Jones, 26, should remain the clear "1A" RB following back to back seasons with 1,450+ total yards.
15 15 Ezekiel Elliott, RB DAL N/A 5 We’re not putting too much stock into Elliott’s 2020, one that found Dak Prescott playing only 4 full games. He should remain a workhorse this fall. While we don’t see Zeke, 26, staying in Dallas this long, he’s currently signed through his age 31 season.
16 16 Austin Ekeler, RB LAC N/A 4 Ekeler looks to rebound from a 10-game 2020 (hamstring, concussion). New OC Joe Lombardi — coming over from Sean Payton’s staff — is intriguing. Of course, the rapid rise of Justin Herbert also bodes well for Ekeler’s future. The 26-year-old is signed for 3 more seasons.
17 17 Miles Sanders, RB PHI N/A 2 We’ll see if Philly’s new coaching staff trusts Sanders in a 3-down role. Offseason additions at RB were underwhelming: Kerryon Johnson, Jordan Howard and 5th-rounder Kenneth Gainwell, an undersized player. Sanders, 24, is under contract for 2 more seasons.
18 18 Travis Etienne, RB JAC N/A 0 A Round 1 pick, Etienne landed in an Urban Meyer offense that’s tough to project. Looking at just the player, though, Etienne has the run/catch skill set, athleticism and college production to forecast future RB1 totals. He turns 23 in January.
19 19 Josh Jacobs, RB LVR N/A 2 Jacobs scored 12 TDs in 2020, but his efficiency took a major step back (4.8 YPC to 3.9 YPC). He retained a limited pass-catching role, too. The arrival of Kenyan Drake doesn’t signal that HC Jon Gruden wants a big change for Jacobs. Time’s at least on Jacobs’ side — he doesn’t turn 24 until February.
20 20 Javonte Williams, RB DEN N/A 0 Williams was an eye-popping tackle-breaker at UNC, and he’ll be given every opportunity to be Denver’s long-term lead back. The 21-year-old enters the league with little tread off his tires, never carrying more than 166 times in a season. Note that Melvin Gordon enters a contract year.
21 21 Cam Akers, RB LAR N/A 1 Akers is a major wild card after suffering a July Achilles tear. He showed lead back potential down the stretch in 2020 but now faces an uncertain role for 2022 and beyond. The good news: Akers just turned 22 in June.
22 22 James Robinson, RB JAC N/A 1 Hopefully you sold Robinson immediately after his productive rookie season. He's likely to lose lead duties to 1st-rounder Travis Etienne sooner than later.
23 23 David Montgomery, RB CHI N/A 2 You have to be encouraged by Montgomery’s strong end to 2020. But his pass catching role will be the key factor to watch going forward. The 24-year-old is under contract for 2 more seasons.
24 24 Chris Carson, RB SEA N/A 4 Durability is a question for Carson, 27 in September. But it’s clear the team has some short-term faith in the veteran back after signing re-signing him to a 2-year deal this offseason. He’s the locked in lead back for at least 2021.
25 25 Kareem Hunt, RB CLE N/A 4 Hunt, 26, signed a 2-year extension last September. He’s taken some work off Nick Chubb’s plate over the past 2 years while excelling in the receiving game (75 combined catches). Chubb signed a 3-year contract extension on July 31.
26 26 Chase Edmonds, RB ARI N/A 3 Edmonds has proved himself as a pass-catcher, racking up 53 grabs last year. So that lays a nice floor. The ceiling potential comes if he can capture Arizona's lead ball-carrying role with Kenyan Drake out of the picture.
27 27 Trey Sermon, RB SF N/A 0 Sermon landed in a nice spot: 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan's run scheme is 1 of the best in the NFL, and similar to what Sermon ran at Ohio State. The 3rd-round rookie will need to earn his carries, though, in a backfield that also includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Wayne Gallman and rookie Elijah Mitchell.
28 28 Damien Harris, RB NE N/A 2 After a redshirt rookie season, Harris ripped off 5.0 yards per carry last year. He looks like New England's lead back -- at lest in the short term. The issue is that he doesn't project for a big pass-catching role.
29 29 Darrell Henderson, RB LAR N/A 2 Henderson finds a huge opportunity in 2021 after Cam Akers' season-ending injury. But he has a lot to prove after injuries and inconsistency held him back over his first 2 NFL seasons. Henderson will be 24 when the 2021 campaign kicks off.
30 30 Gus Edwards, RB BAL N/A 3 Edwards, who signed a 2-year deal this offseason, finds himself back in a timeshare with rising stud J.K. Dobbins. Edwards’ upside remains capped because of the Ravens’ backfield timeshare. He’ll play this season at 26 years old.
31 31 Ronald Jones, RB TB N/A 3 RoJo enters a contract season looking to reclaim lead back duties from Leonard Fournette. For as dynamic as Jones can look as a rusher, his value takes a hit because he’s an inconsistent pass catcher. The USC product is at least on the young side — he’ll play this season at just 24.
32 32 Michael Carter, RB NYJ N/A 0 Carter dropped to Round 4, but he landed in a fine spot for immediate playing time. While he’ll never project as a workhorse, he brings the pass-catching skill set we like to see. The UNC product exited school with 82 career catches (4 seasons). We’re also high on new OC Mike LaFleur, a Kyle Shanahan disciple.
33 33 Myles Gaskin, RB MIA N/A 2 Miami courted RB upgrades over the offseason but ultimately settled on former Ram Malcolm Brown and 7th rounder Gerrid Doaks as additions. Bullish news for Gaskin — at least for ’21. He’s signed for 2 more seasons.
34 34 Leonard Fournette, RB TB N/A 4 Fournette came up huge in the postseason last season, and the team rewarded him with a 1-year deal worth up to $4 million. He projects as the backfield touch leader but will be pushed on rushing downs by Ronald Jones and passing downs by Gio Bernard. Fournette turns 27 in January.
35 35 Zack Moss, RB BUF N/A 1 Health will be key for Moss, who's coming off January ankle surgery. He’ll also need to fend off Devin Singletary, who’s signed for 2 more seasons. Buffalo’s pass-heavy approach limits the overall appeal of this backfield.
36 36 Melvin Gordon, RB DEN N/A 6 Gordon was solid as a rusher last year, ranking 10th among 47 RBs in Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating. He struggled as a pass catcher, though. And the Broncos signaled that they want a long-term backfield change with the drafting of Javonte Williams early in Round 2. Gordon, 28, is a free agent in the spring.
37 37 Tony Pollard, RB DAL N/A 2 We like Pollard’s ability, but he’s fully expected to remain behind Zeke Elliott for the next 2 seasons. (Pollard is a free agent in 2023 — the first year Dallas can reasonably get out of Elliott’s massive contract.) The Memphis product is just 24.
38 38 A.J. Dillon, RB GB N/A 1 A surprise pick last spring, Dillion (6'0, 247) was predictably quiet as a rookie (48 touches). Jamaal Williams’ departure puts Dillion in the #2 role alongside Aaron Jones, who recently signed a 4-year deal. Aaron Rodgers’ return at least boosts Dillion’s profile for 2021.
39 39 Sony Michel, RB LAR N/A 3
40 40 Kenyan Drake, RB LVR N/A 5 Surprisingly, Vegas signed Drake to a 2-year deal with an average annual value of $5.5 million — slightly more than what Chris Carson got from Seattle. Drake’s efficiency stunk last year with Arizona, but he doesn’t turn 28 until January and the big contract clearly signals a sizable role. Josh Jacobs is signed for at least 2 more seasons.
41 41 Mike Davis, RB ATL N/A 6 Davis landed in an excellent spot for 2021 production. And he proved that he can provide a boost to fantasy owners when given an opportunity: Davis ranked as the PPR RB12 last year in place of Christian McCaffrey. Just note that Atlanta marks his 5th team since entering the league. Davis, 28, is playing on a 2-year deal.
42 42 Nyheim Hines, RB IND N/A 3 With 170 career catches, Hines is established as a pass-catching back. But he enters the 2021 season with QB concerns due to Carson Wentz’s foot injury. Hines, 25 in November, also enters a contract year.
43 43 Kenneth Gainwell, RB PHI N/A 0 Like most of the RBs in this class, Gainwell got disappointing draft capital, slipping into the early 5th round. Even more worrisome is that he was the 9th RB off the board. He landed in a decent spot, though. Gainwell can immediately push for a pass-catching role behind Miles Sanders. And Sanders is signed with Philly for just 2 more seasons.
44 44 Jamaal Williams, RB DET N/A 4 Williams’ and his diverse skill set garnered a 2-year deal worth $6 million. He’s stuck behind D’Andre Swift in the short-term, but we know this Lions coaching staff wants to emphasize the run. Williams is 26.
45 45 Alexander Mattison, RB MIN N/A 2 Signed for 2 more years, Mattison will remain in a handcuff role behind Dalvin Cook. The Vikings drafted competition in the spring with 4th-round speedster Kene Nwangwu.
46 46 Rashaad Penny, RB SEA N/A 3 2021 will be an audition for Penny, who’s highly unlikely to return to Seattle. The oft-injured back has made only 27 appearances in 3 seasons. He’ll need to play well to lock down Seattle’s #2 job behind Chris Carson. Penny does profile as a low-risk trade target because he’s (1) only 25 and (2) highly talented.
47 47 James Conner, RB ARI N/A 4 Durability remained an issue last year for Conner, who missed 3 games. It’ll be critical for him to handle goal line work in Arizona, especially with Chase Edmonds set to see most of the pass catching work. Conner is only 26, but it’s no shock he landed just a 1-year deal ($1.75 million) in free agency.
48 48 Rhamondre Stevenson, RB NE N/A 0 The Patriots backfield is a blessing and a curse. New England has finished top 10 in rushing TDs in 5 straight seasons and top 10 in rushing yards in 4 of those 5. But the RB room tends to be a guessing game from week to week. Stevenson will be cheap in drafts, though, and brings some intrigue as a 227-pounder with nimble feet. Sony Michel is set to hit free agency next offseason.
49 49 Elijah Mitchell, RB SF N/A 0 This 6th-round pick joins a crowded 49ers backfield alongside fellow rookie Trey Sermon, plus veterans Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Wayne Gallman. Mitchell isn’t even a lock to make the final roster. But there’s also a chance he captures a role in 1 of the league’s top rushing attacks. Mitchell brings some juice with a 4.35-second 40 time, an 83rd-percentile vertical, a 94th-percentile broad jump and a 71st-percentile 3-cone drill.
50 50 Chuba Hubbard, RB CAR N/A 0 We were hoping Hubbard would land somewhere where he’d have a chance to win the lead ball-carrying job as part of a committee backfield. In Carolina, his short-term upside is Christian McCaffrey’s handcuff. And even a CMC injury probably wouldn’t turn Hubbard into a 3-down back considering he didn’t excel in the passing game at Oklahoma State.
51 51 Devin Singletary, RB BUF N/A 2
52 52 Raheem Mostert, RB SF N/A 5 The 49ers drafted 2 RBs — 3rd rounder Trey Sermon and 6th rounder Elijah Mitchell. So Mostert’s time may soon be up in San Francisco. Knee and ankle issues limited the veteran to only 8 appearances in 2020. The 29-year-old enters a contract year.
53 53 Darrynton Evans, RB TEN N/A 1
54 54 David Johnson, RB HOU N/A 6 Johnson projects as Houston’s lead back for 2021. Somewhat surprisingly, he fared OK in that role last year (RB21 production in 12 games). The issue is Houston’s supporting cast, especially with Deshaun Watson unlikely to play for the Texans any time soon (if at all). DJ turns 30 in December.
55 55 Jeff Wilson Jr., RB SF N/A 3
56 56 Phillip Lindsay, RB HOU N/A 3
57 57 Tarik Cohen, RB CHI N/A 4
58 58 Anthony McFarland Jr., RB PIT N/A 1
59 59 Javian Hawkins, RB UNS N/A 0 Here’s the 1st undrafted player to make our rankings. We’ve seen undrafted RBs make noise recently in Phillip Lindsay and James Robinson -- but those guys are still much more the exception than the rule. Hawkins (only 5'9, 183 pounds) is a long shot but at least landed in a backfield with some short- and plenty of long-term opportunity. Mike Davis is signed for 2 years, and behind him sits Cordarrelle Patterson and Qadree Ollison.
60 60 Kene Nwangwu, RB MIN N/A 0 Minnesota surprisingly made Nwangwu the 6th RB off the board. It’s a bet on traits and athleticism. Nwangwu totaled just 150 touches (143 carries, 7 catches) across 4 seasons at Iowa State. But he flashes elite burst on tape and tested as a 99th percentile athlete. He’ll battle for the #3 RB job in Minnesota this year. Dalvin Cook is signed through 2025 and Alexander Mattison through 2022.
61 61 Tevin Coleman, RB NYJ N/A 6
62 62 Latavius Murray, RB BAL N/A 8
63 63 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB TB N/A 1
64 64 Malcolm Brown, RB MIA N/A 6
65 65 Kylin Hill, RB GB N/A 0 Hill was 1 of our favorite pre-draft sleepers after excelling as a runner in 2019 and a pass-catcher in 2020. His stock takes a hit, though, after he sunk to the late 7th round of the NFL Draft. He also joins a crowded Packers backfield behind Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The hope here is that Hill can eventually take on Jamaal Williams’ old role as a change-of-pace and pass-catching back behind Jones.
66 66 Khalil Herbert, RB CHI N/A 0
67 67 Larry Rountree, RB LAC N/A 0
68 68 Ty'Son Williams, RB BAL N/A 1
69 69 Chris Evans, RB CIN N/A 0
70 70 J.D. McKissic, RB WAS N/A 5
71 71 Gerrid Doaks, RB UNS N/A 0
72 72 La'Mical Perine, RB NYJ N/A 1
73 73 Marlon Mack, RB IND N/A 4
74 74 James White, RB NE N/A 7
75 75 Damien Williams, RB CHI N/A 7
76 76 Justin Jackson, RB LAC N/A 3
77 77 Joshua Kelley, RB LAC N/A 1
78 78 Benny Snell, RB PIT N/A 2
79 79 Justice Hill, RB BAL N/A 2
80 80 Boston Scott, RB PHI N/A 3
81 81 Kerryon Johnson, RB SF N/A 3
82 82 Wayne Gallman, RB ATL N/A 4
83 83 Duke Johnson, RB UNS N/A 6
84 84 Salvon Ahmed, RB MIA N/A 1
85 85 Eno Benjamin, RB ARI N/A 1
86 86 DeeJay Dallas, RB SEA N/A 1
87 87 Todd Gurley, RB UNS N/A 6
88 88 Kalen Ballage, RB PIT N/A 3
89 89 Carlos Hyde, RB JAC N/A 7
90 90 Matt Breida, RB BUF N/A 4
91 91 Jordan Wilkins, RB IND N/A 3

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