2021 RB Fantasy Football Standings
With the 2021 fantasy football the season is approaching, how is the consensus ranking of Pro Football Network evolving at RB? Which players do our fantasy analysts consider bona fide starters, and which players should you be looking to leave on the table when your draft starts? Let’s take a look at the 2021 Consensus RB Rankings from our Senior Fantasy Analyst, Eric Moody, and our Fantasy Analyst, Tommy Garrett.
Which 12 players make up the RB1 group in our 2021 fantasy football rankings?
Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook topped list of household names
1) Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
2) Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
3) Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
4) Derrick Henri, Titans of Tennessee
5) Alvin Kamara, Saints of New Orleans
6) Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
When McCaffrey was in the field in 2020, he made sure fantasy owners got their money’s worth. In his three games, McCaffrey recorded 225 rushing yards, 149 yards on 17 receptions and totaled 6 touchdowns. This production per game brings McCaffrey back to the top of the standings in 2021. Dalvin Cook is in second place after playing 14 games again. He’s set career highs in rushing yards (1,557), rushing touchdowns (16), total yards (1,918) and total touchdowns (17).
Another player returning from injury is Barkley, who has the advantage of competing with McCaffrey – if he can stay healthy. Barkley played 29 games in his first two seasons, going over 1,000 rushing yards each season and going over 2,000 total yards as a rookie. It’s hard to argue against Henry as a fantastic option. In the past two years, he has totaled 681 carries, 3,567 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns.
Kamara is an extremely powerful dual threat weapon, but never made it past 200 runs during his NFL career. Nonetheless, he has seen over 80 receptions each season and has averaged over 700 receiving yards over his four-year career. Elliott remains one of the top six options in our RB Fantasy 2021 rankings despite a somewhat declining season. One major concern is the presence of Tony Pollard, who could limit Elliott to around 300 touches at his cap.
Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers and Antonio Gibson add a youthful touch to RB1 pic
7) Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
8) Nick Chubb, Cleveland browns
9) Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
10) Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
11) Antonio Gibson, Washington football team
12) Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Taylor’s rookie campaign was full of promise. However, the majority of his best performances came against weaker run defenses. During this time, he struggled more against the best defenses he faced. He will likely still have to share the workload with the other full-backs in Indianapolis, limiting his touches to a likely high of 300.
Chubb has all the talent to lead the position and dominate our fantastic RB standings for 2021. Still, Kareem Hunt’s presence could mean we see Chubb struggling to get past 275 touches this season. In Los Angeles, things are looking good for Ekeler. If he had been healthy all season, he would have been in the game for 185 races and 86 receptions. Concerns about the number of additional hits he might receive are limiting his cap.
We know what Aaron Jones is at this point, with 225-250 carries and 55-60 receptions. Depending on the role played by AJ Dillon, he could be a player who could even surpass this ranking. Gibson completes the RB1 section of our 2021 standings. There are injury issues, but there is a lack of top-level competition in that backfield, which could see him hitting 275 or more touches this season.
RB 2021 Ranking | 13-24
Which RB of the RB2 group are the lucky charms of their respective teams?
Joe Mixon and D’Andre Swift sit atop a group of potential cows
13) Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
14) By André Swift, Detroit Lions
15) JK Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
16) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
17) Darrell Henderson, The Los Angeles Rams
18) Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
This area of the RB 2021 standings has the potential to provide excellent feedback. These six full-backs have the potential to lead their team in touchdown by a clear amount. The situations surrounding Mixon and Edwards-Helaire are particularly good for their value. These three have little serious competition for the keys in the running or passing game. Both have a proven track record as wide receivers, and if they can get 50 or more receptions, they could easily break into RB1 territory in 2021.
Cam Akers’ injury really opened things up to Darrell Henderson’s fantastic value. From Weeks 2-7, Henderson had 15.5 touches per game, averaging 86 yards and 0.67 touches per game. However, that ranking could drop pretty quickly if the Rams bring an experienced option to compete for the touches.
The situations for Swift, Dobbins, and Carson are a bit different. Swift has the presence of Jamaal Williams, who could steal the precious touches Swift needs for that ultimate advantage. Carson has a similar situation with former first-round pick Rashaad Penny. If Penny can stay healthy, he could pull off enough touches to limit Carson’s ceiling. Dobbins is the most intriguing and a player with bust potential in 2021. Gus Edwards is a very good running back, and Lamar Jackson will also steal takes from Dobbins’ workload.
Lots of value offered behind the RB2 group in our 2021 ranking
19) Mile Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
20) David Montgomery, Chicago Bear
21) Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Adventurers
22) Myles Gaskin, Miami dolphins
23) Kareem Hunt, Cleveland browns
24) Travis Étienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
This is another area where there is serious value potential. The question marks around Sanders and Montgomery never seem to subside, but the two have proven that when given the chance, they can produce. Competition around Montgomery is likely limiting his cap, but he should steal the majority of races. The arrival of the Kenyan Drake really hampered Jacobs’ rise. Still, he has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and saw his goals drop from 27 as a rookie to 45 in his second season.
Myles Gaskin has the potential to be the star of this group. The Dolphins have very little top-end competition for touches, and Gaskin has provided solid feedback on limited opportunities in 2020. The most impressive element might very well be turning 47 targets into 41 receptions, making him one. potentially reliable weapon in the passing game.
The roles of Kareem Hunt and Travis Etienne are so hard to judge at this point. Both could see significant touches on both elements of the offense, but it’s hard to imagine they get more than 250 touches without hurting Chubb or James Robinson. Last season, Hunt had this opportunity and finished as an RB10 in both formats. This is realistically the cap for both players. However, there should be a floor high enough to make them worthy of an RB2 position in our 2021 Fantasy RB rankings.
RB 2021 Ranking | 25-60
How is the rest of the RB job looking as we head into August and the real start of the draft season in the Draft Leagues?
2021 RB Fantasy Football Standings | 25-36
25) Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons
26) Pursue Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
27) Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos
28) Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
29) Michael Carter, New York Jets
30) James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
31) Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32) Rahim Mostert, San Francisco 49ers
33) Damien Harris, New England Patriots
34) David Johnson, Houston Texans
35) Zack Moss, Bison Tickets
36) Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
RB 2021 Ranking | 37-48
37) Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
38) James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
39) Léonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
40) Trey’s Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
41) Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
42) Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Adventurers
43) AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
44) Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
45) Latavius Murray, Saints of New Orleans
46) Devin Singletary, Bison Tickets
47) James White, New England Patriots
48) Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
RB 2021 Ranking | 49-60
49) Philippe Lindsay, Houston Texans
50) JD McKissic, Washington football team
51) Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
52) Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bear
53) Salvon Ahmed, Miami dolphins
54) Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
55) Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
56) Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles
57) Darrel Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
58) Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
59) Damien Williams, Chicago Bear
60) Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
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Ben Rolfe is Senior Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.