Earlier in the off-season I dropped my first pass at dynasty rankings by position. Now that we’ve waded through a month of free agency, with the NFL Draft right around the corner, it’s time to see how players on the move have impacted the position. As before, these ranks do not include 2021 rookies, who will be added once the draft has passed.
Yesterday I covered QBs, today I’m going with my Top 50 RBs.
1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers. Sure, 2020 didn’t go as hoped, but McCaffrey still scored six TDs in three games played. He’s a beast, especially in this system.
2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings. Cook has been an amazing force for the Vikings, who are still a run-first team. He’s a great bet as a rusher and passer.
3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints. Kamara had an amazing 2020 season, including a six-touchdown Christmas that won a lot of leagues. The Saints are transitioning at quarterback, but Karama remains a big-time weapon.
4. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants. I believe in Barkley’s talent, but two years of difficult injuries and questions about the Giants bring him down a couple spots for me.
5. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts. It’s entirely possible he’s too low. Taylor was held back a bit by the staff in his rookie year, but he finished on a tear. He’s the best back on the team, and hopefully his workload in 2021 will reflect that.
6. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans. Henry had an amazing 2020, going over the 2,000-yard mark. With the Titans losing passing game weapons, he could get an even bigger work load in 2021.
7. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns. Chubb is a powerful and dominating runner. The Browns have a plethora of weapons, but the attack on offense starts with Chubb.
8. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers. My ideal landing spot for Jones was right back in Green Bay, where he continues to thrive. Getting a big, long-term deal back in Green Bay has me bullish on Jones’ future.
9. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions. The Lions’ re-build begins in 2021, and Swift figures to be a cornerstone.
10. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys. Zeke is another tough one. His 2020 wasn’t great, but the Cowboys as a whole struggled without Dak Prescott. Still, I think he’s a sell.
11. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers. An injury limited his 2020, but Ekeler was dominant when on the field. He is a good bet to reach RB1 numbers again in 2021.
12. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams. Akers came on to end the season. Darrell Henderson is still there, but Akers figures to be the feature back in a good offense.
13. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens. Gus Edwards is back, and Lamar Jackson will run, too, but Dobbins is explosive. He should take a step up in year two.
14. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team. Gibson had a great rookie year, showing he can carry the load. He was a great value in rookie drafts last year and figures to be a great piece on the field for an improving Washington squad.
15. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon struggled to stay on the field in 2020, too, but with Joe Burrow and an improving offense, he is poised to bounce back. Releasing Giovanni Bernard indicates the Bengals believe Mixon is ready to carry the load, too.
16. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles. Sanders has been explosive when on the field and figures to be a big part of the attack with Jalen Hurts at QB.
17. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars. Robinson was the surprise hit of 2020. The Jaguars added Carlos Hyde and could add in the draft, but Robinson still seems poised to lead the team’s running back group.
18. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs. The rookie was solid for the Chiefs in 2020 and looks to be the anchor in the backfield going forward. But the Chiefs are a pass-heavy team, which will limit his ceiling.
19. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears. Montgomery ended 2020 on a tear and figures to be a solid option in the backfield. The question is the Bears’ offense.
20. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders. Jacobs has been solid since entering the league, but the Raiders adding Kenyan Drake to the mix is an indication Jacobs won’t carry the load alone.
21. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks. Carson returned to Seattle, which seems like a good fit. He’s a solid RB2 option in that offense.
22. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns. If Chubb is the thunder, Hunt is the lightening in the Browns’ backfield. Last year showed both can thrive in that offense.
23. Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos. Gordon is in the last year of his deal in Denver, but Phillip Lindsay has moved on. He figures to carry the load, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos grab a running back in the draft.
24. Damien Harris, New England Patriots. Harris finished 2020 strong and the Patriots haven’t added anything in the way of competition. It’s still the Patriots, but Harris feels like and under-the-radar value.
25. Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders. Signing Drake is an indication the Raiders want diversity in the running back group. He finished as RB16 for the Cardinals in 2020 and figures to make an impact for the Raiders.
26. Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals. This is where Edmonds finished in 2020 despite limited touches and I think he holds the same value in 2021.
27. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins. If the Dolphins don’t draft a running back, I’ll move Gaskin higher. He’s the best back on the squad right now, but I suspect he’ll soon be in a committee.
28. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers. Prior to re-signing Jones, many thought Dillon was in line to lead the backfield. I didn’t then, nor do I think his value is gone with Jones back. He’ll be in the mix.
29. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals. Conner moves from Pittsburgh to Arizona, where he figures to split with Edmonds. He’ll be more of the pounder and should return decent value, provided the Cardinals don’t grab a top back in the draft.
30. Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills. The Bills return Moss, Devin Singletary and added Matt Breida. It’s hard to know who ends up being the best value, but for now I’m going with Moss as my top option.
31. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fournette returned to the Buccaneers on a one-year deal. The backfield includes Ronald Jones, Bernard and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I think Fournette is the best of the group, but this is a fantasy split at best.
32. David Johnson, Houston Texans. Johnson was a solid RB2 when on the field for Houston, but the team’s offense is a question and the addition of Lindsay and Mark Ingram should make fantasy players weary.
33. Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers clarified the backfield when Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon moved on, but they seem like a team likely to draft a running back. I like Mostert, but at best he splits with Jeff Wilson, Jr.
34. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks. Once a First-Round draft pick, Penny is working his way back from an injury that cost him most of 2020. He’ll split with Carson in 2021. He still has value, but a wide range of on-the-field outcomes.
35. Phillip Lindsay, Houston Texans. I love Lindsay and his talent, and I suspect he could end up being the best back for the Texans in 2021.
36. Jeff Wilson, Jr., San Francisco 49ers. Wilson balled out when given a shot in 2020. He figures to share the load with Mostert in 2021, but he’s a much better draft value at this point.
37. Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones is in the last year of his rookie deal. He led the team in rushing during the regular season in 2020, but it’s a crowded backfield and his 2021 and future beyond that seems murky at best.
38. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills. Singletary was the only Bills back to play and start 16 games in 2020 and he put up worse numbers than his rookie year. He’ll have a role, but Moss seems to have the brighter future.
39. J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team. McKissic seems to have found the right spot to maximize his talents in Washington, serving as a great fit along with Gibson in the backfield.
40. Darrell Henderson, Jr., Los Angeles Rams. Henderson had his moments in 2020, but Akers looks like the better prospect. He’ll be a part of the backfield but should have only a supporting role.
41. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys. Pollard looked good filling in for and running alongside Elliott in 2020. He’s an elite handcuff and occasional contributor for now.
42. Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts. Hines is a solid pass-catcher and contributor. Taylor is a beast running the ball but Hines is a decent flex value in PPR.
43. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens. Edwards returns to the Ravens where he figures to play second fiddle to Dobbins. But Edwards often got goal line work in 2020, so he could be too low, and a sneaky value.
44. Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears. Cohen is a pass-catching weapon, but he missed a lot of 2020 during which Montgomery showed his skill catching balls. How will the split work in 2021? That will define a lot of Cohen’s value.
45. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings. He’s a decent young back and great handcuff for those who roster Cook.
46. Benny Snell, Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers. Snell currently looks like the best back on the Steelers’ roster, but I fully expect them to draft a top back.
47. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions. Swift is the best back in Detroit, but Williams joins a committee that includes Kerryon Johnson, too. I suspect Williams will be the next best contributor in Detroit.
48. La’Mical Perine, New York Jets. The Jets’ backfield is wide open, and the second year back figures to play a roll. I suspect the Jets will also draft a back.
49. Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons. Davis is a veteran and the best back on the Falcons’ roster currently. This is another place where I suspect a rookie will have an impact.
50. Tevin Coleman, New York Jets. Coleman fizzled with the 49ers in 2020 but he gets a fresh start with a wide-open unit in New York. Can he make the most of it?
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
Leave a Reply