Running Backs Updates, News, & Research

Akers, C. – LAR (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams (6/23) Advice: Rams running back Cam Akers is a popular breakout candidate. That’s not surprising after coach Sean McVay said this offseason that he views Akers as “an every-down back” and “a special player.” Akers didn’t rate highly in Pro Football Focus’ elusiveness metric (37th out of 63 qualifiers) nor in yards after contact per attempt (2.84, 34th out of 63), and he also struggled in short-yardage conversions (50% success rate over 26 tries including 1 of 4 on goal-to-go plays). But what he did do was produce good numbers in a lead back role late in the year after he got over a rib injury. His final six games, playoffs included, saw him score three times, run for 561 yards on 132 carries and catch 11 passes for 147 more yards. That makes for a 17-game pace of just over 2,000 total yards. Whether or not he can play 17 games remains to be seen, but the Rams seem committed to him after giving Akers at least 15 carries in each of those final six games — and over 20 carries in four. A challenging schedule notwithstanding, people will draft Akers with the idea he’ll have a shot at over 300 touches in an improved Rams offense. That’ll make him an easy pick between 12th and 18th overall in just about every league. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.05 — 2.11
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Born: June 22, 1999, Clinton, MS

Barkley, S. – NYG (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (6/23) Advice: Saquon Barkley is expected to be fine coming off last year’s torn ACL, and he should be ready for training camp. If he’s healthy as expected then Barkley should once again be considered a first-round draft pick in all Fantasy leagues, and he will likely be selected in the first five overall picks. Last year was a disaster for Barkley, who appeared in just two games and suffered a torn ACL in Week 2. However, he should return in time for training camp, and he still has the potential to be the No. 1 RB in all Fantasy leagues in 2021. Remember, prior to 2020 Barkley scored at least 20 PPR points in 16 of his first 29 games and failed to score at least 13 PPR points just five times over that span. He should remain the focal point of the Giants offense, and hopefully he’s healthy for all 17 games this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.08
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Born: February 9, 1997, Bronx, New York, NY

Carson, C. – Sea (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (6/23) Advice: Fantasy managers might not feel comfortable trusting Chris Carson as a No. 2 running back. Carson, 27 just after the season starts, figures to remain the primary rusher for the Seahawks, but to what degree? His carries per game sunk from 18.5 in 2019 to 11.8 in 2020. As such, Carson had just four games out of 12 with 15-plus carries and seven with 15-plus touches. Those were also down from 2019. There’s no guarantee Carson will regain his previous workload, especially coming off a season where he missed four games and still has a number of talented young rushers on the depth chart behind him. Tack on a tough slate that includes the Steelers, Saints, Washington, Bears and the NFC West, and Carson feels riskier than ever. The bottom line: he’s delivered nice Fantasy weeks about half of the time over each of his past two seasons, and that’s probably close to what a good year would look like from him at this point. Whether you think he can get there or not will determine when you take him, but expect Carson to get snagged between 30th and 40th overall. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 2.07 — 4.11
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Born: September 16, 1994, Biloxi, MS

Chubb, N. – Cle (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns (6/23) Advice: If you’re playing in a league where catches don’t count, Nick Chubb is a surefire first-round pick and could be selected as high as No. 5 overall. But the fact that he has 27 receptions in 20 career games with Kareem Hunt does limit Chubb’s PPR upside. He would need a season like Derrick Henry’s to justify a first-round pick in that format. Chubb has Henry’s incredible efficiency (5.2 career YPC) and he scores nearly as often, but the volume seems unlikely as long as Hunt is on the roster. Last year, Henry averaged 23.6 carries per game; Chubb has two games in his career (and zero in 2020) with that many rush attempts. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 2.02
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Born: December 27, 1995, Cedartown, GA

Cohen, T. – Chi (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears (6/23) Advice: Cohen missed most of 2020 with a torn ACL and David Montgomery had a major breakout. That makes Cohen’s role in 2021 more mysterious than it was heading into last season. For that reason, Cohen should be treated as a low-end No. 3 running back in PPR worth a pick no sooner than Round 8. In non-PPR he’s a flier in the double-digit rounds. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 4.03 — 12.03
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Born: July 26, 1995, Bunn, NC

Conner, J. – Ari (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals (6/23) Advice: James Conner joined the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, placing him in a committee with Chase Edmonds. The uncertainty around his role makes Conner a high-upside No. 3 running back draftable as early as Round 5. Conner has actually been more efficient as a pass catcher than Edmonds, but the expectations is that Conner will handle the early down and short yardage work while Edmonds works more in the passing game. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense has produced 34 running back touchdowns over the past two seasons, giving Conner top-15 upside. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.08 — 9.11
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Born: May 5, 1995, Erie, PA

Cook, D. – Min (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings (6/23) Advice: Cook reinforced last year that he is one of the truly elite backs in the game and should be drafted with a top-five pick in all formats. Cook’s 16-game pace over the past two seasons puts him at 2,041 yards from scrimmage, 55 receptions and 17 touchdowns. The only problem is that Cook has never actually played 16 games in an NFL season. if he’s able to stay healthy for 17 games in 2021 he could legitimately challenge Christian McCaffrey for No. 1 overall. If you draft Cook in the first round, it may be a good idea to take Alexander Mattison in Round 10 or 11. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.05
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Born: August 10, 1995, Miami, FL

Davis, M. – Atl (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons (6/23) Advice: Mike Davis has flashed at times in his career with both the 49ers and Bears, but it wasn’t until joining Joe Brady’s Panthers offense that we saw his true talent shine. What makes Davis a strong Fantasy asset is his ability to impact the game both as a runner after contact and as a receiving option. He joins an Atlanta offense loaded with talent across the board, and the Falcons didn’t draft a running back. With a workload similar to the one he took on in 2020 in Christian McCaffrey’s offense, Davis can be an RB1 in 2021, and he’s slam dunk value at his current ADP. Even if unexpected RBs eat into his workload, the offense is likely to be productive enough for Davis to return plus value on his ADP. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.01 — 9.09
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Born: February 19, 1993, Lithonia, GA

Dillon, A.J. – GB (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers (6/23) Advice: Dillon should replace Jamaal Williams in the secondary role in the Green Bay running game, which makes Dillon worth a speculative pick as early as Round 8. Williams averaged 138 carries and 30 catches per season in Green Bay, but with Dillon’s skillset, we’d expect a more run-heavy role. That makes him a better bet in non-PPR, but the truth is Dillon won’t likely be more than a flex unless Jones gets hurt. In Dynasty, Dillon is more exciting because of his youth and his rare size/speed combination. He’s best valued as a high-upside No. 3 back in that format, more valuable to a rebuilder than a contender. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 4.10 — 9.11
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Born: May 2, 1998, New London, CT

Dobbins, J.K. – Bal (RB)

J.K. Dobbins Fantasy Football Outlook (2021) (7/1) Advice: Dobbins had a successful rookie campaign, scoring nine touchdowns and averaging an impressive six yards per carry. But there could have been so much more, had he started seeing 10 touches per game prior to Week 6. The Ravens again led the league in rush attempts and yards per carry, but Dobbins received just 152 touches on the season. In other words, even though he was dynamic and in a perfect offense for rushing the ball, the volume simply wasn’t there for him to finish as an elite fantasy running back. Unfortunately, that’s probably going to be the case again this season, with Gus Edwards, who put up similarly strong stats last year, and Lamar Jackson taking a large share of the carries. That hardly makes Dobbins useless from a fantasy perspective, and he can and should be drafted as a strong RB2. But absent an Edwards injury, his upside is a bit capped. (FantasyPros.com)
ADP: 1.11 — 4.02
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Born: December 17, 1998, Houston, TX

Drake, K. – LV (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Kenyan Drake, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (6/23) Advice: Don’t rule out drafting Kenyan Drake if you can pluck him at a very good value. How will he fit in behind Josh Jacobs in Las Vegas? Well, Drake was actually more effective in goal-to-go carries with the Cardinals (8 of 19) than Jacobs was last year (5 of 16). The Raiders have also made mention of Drake’s receiving experience — he caught 50-plus passes in 2018 and 2019 while Jacobs averaged 1.9 catches per game in his time with the Raiders. Those could be two of several specialty roles Drake gets with Las Vegas, giving him some mild Fantasy potential. It won’t result in as many touches as he had with Arizona (15.9 carries per game in 2020) unless Jacobs gets hurt or benched for being ineffective, which would then open up Drake to more work. Ultimately, expect no more than 10 touches per game from Drake in a given week, but some of those touches could be catches and touchdowns. Round 8 or 9 feels like the right time to draft Drake as either a top-notch backup or as a starter on a Zero-RB roster. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 5.03 — 9.02
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Born: January 26, 1994, Powder Springs, GA

Edmonds, C. – Ari (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (6/23) Advice: It appears Chase Edmonds will finally get his chance to be the lead running back for the Cardinals. The team only added James Conner as serious playing-time competition for Edmonds, but unless Conner plays like Superman, Edmonds should get a chance at the most work he’s ever had. Not only should that include plenty of passing situations (he averaged 3.3 receptions per game last year), but a healthy dose of the early-downs work as well. That could total close to 15 touches per week — more in games Conner misses due to injury. The main risk is whether or not Edmonds can handle it since he has four career starts and nine career games with 10-plus touches (six in 2020). The other issue is a lack of experience in goal-line carries — Edmonds literally has one career carry inside the 5-yard line (three catches, all for touchdowns). That combined with guys like Conner and Kyler Murray taking those touches from him will make touchdowns tougher to come by. At least his schedule outside of the NFC West isn’t that much of a deterrent. This all means Edmonds has a great shot at well over 1,000 total yards (he had 850 total in 2020), but not many scores. Running backs with that kind of outlook are usually reserved for Round 5 or 6. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 4.02 — 7.10
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Born: April 13, 1996, Harrisburg, PA

Edwards-Helaire, C. – KC (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (6/23) Advice: After sky-high expectations in 2020, Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns as a post-hype breakout candidate with top-20 appeal in 2021. He actually started off his rookie season with some good numbers, averaging 11.7 non-PPR/15.1 PPR points per game in his first six. Then the Chiefs acquired Le’Veon Bell … and gave some work to fellow back Darrel Williams … and then Edwards-Helaire got hurt. No wonder his playing time, touches and Fantasy totals shriveled. So why trust him now? Despite Williams sticking around and the Chiefs adding long-time pass-down specialist Jerick McKinnon, Edwards-Helaire is still considered Kansas City’s best back. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him fall into 15 touches per week, and it would be most excellent if he could pick up the short-yardage/goal-line role he barely had last year. A much-improved offensive line and a fairly good schedule also helps. Edwards-Helaire is worth the late second-round price tag. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.07 — 4.04
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Born: April 11, 1999, Baton Rouge, LA

Edwards, G. – Bal (RB)

Ravens placed RB Gus Edwards on the reserve/COVID-19 list. (7/27)
Advice: COVID positive and not just a close contact, Edwards will be required to miss the first 10 days of training camp. He can participate in virtual meetings, and will still be back in action a week before the Ravens’ first preseason game. Players’ return timelines were all over the map in 2020, but there does not seem to be much concern that Edwards will miss more than the required amount of time. Although the Ravens are going to employ a two-back approach regardless, Edwards’ absence will give ascendant second-year pro J.K. Dobbins more than a week to show off his ability in every phase of the running game. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)
ADP: 7.07 — 11.05
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Born: April 13, 1995, Monrovia, Liberia

Ekeler, A. – LAC (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (6/23) Advice: Austin Ekeler’s reception-heavy upside carries him as a first-round value in PPR formats, but not necessarily in non-PPR. He followed up his breakout 2019 season with a modest 2020 thanks in part to a hamstring injury that cost him six starts. Still, the Chargers rusher averaged 93.3 total yards per game, just 3.6 yards off his 2019 average. He also averaged 5.4 receptions per game, 0.4 grabs off what he did a year prior. Ekeler has comfortably moved into the lead role, but he still has work to do when it comes to getting carries near the goal line (one last year, six the year before) and heavy workloads (15-plus touches in just 17 of his past 40 games). Maybe that puts Ekeler toward the beginning of Round 2 in non- and half-PPR leagues, but the catches he’ll get from game to game keep him in play as a top-10 overall choice in full PPR. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 2.06
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Born: May 17, 1995, Lincoln, NE

Elliott, E. – Dal (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (6/23) Advice: Ezekiel Elliott might not be the same elite Fantasy option he was at the start of his career, but he can still be among the best players at his position. And he’s worth drafting with a first-round pick in all formats. The best argument for Elliott is the way he performed when Dak Prescott was healthy. In the first five games of the season with Prescott, Elliott scored at least 20 PPR points in four of those outings. He had five games of 11-plus PPR points over his next 10 outings (he didn’t play in Week 15 because of a calf injury), and it was clear he missed Prescott and a competent offensive line, which was also banged up. With everyone healthy around Elliott, he should rebound and play at a high level again. The earliest you should draft Elliott is No. 5 overall in all leagues. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 2.01
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Born: July 22, 1995, Alton, IL

Etienne Jr., T. – Jax (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (6/23) Advice: The Jaguars selected Travis Etienne 25th overall in the NFL Draft, and, while he should be a very good Fantasy player in the long run, this might not have been the best landing spot for his immediate value. Etienne figures to play plenty but will split time with James Robinson and is probably more of a fourth- or fifth-round pick in re-draft leagues. Obviously, there is huge upside here, because Etienne is a big-time playmaker in all facets of the game, averaging 7.2 yards per carry and 11.3 per reception over his four years at Clemson. The good news is that he’ll be lining up next to his college QB, Trevor Lawrence, and that combination could be especially fruitful in the passing game, which is likely where Etienne will have to make his primary impact, at least at first. Robinson figures to see most of the early-down work, with Etienne handling a lot of the third downs (and occasionally splitting out wide or lining up alongside Robinson in two-RB sets), and he can be a viable Fantasy starter in that role, maybe as a better Nyheim Hines. Etienne will cost a lot more than Hines on Draft Day — and in Dynasty leagues, he’s probably a top-five pick in most formats — because his upside is so much higher. Maybe it’s a situation where he starts out slow but eventually becomes the No. 1 RB for Jacksonville — and a league-winner for your squad. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 2.01 — 15.12
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Born: January 26, 1999, Jennings, LA

Fournette, L. – TB (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6/23) Advice: Leonard Fournette earned the nickname “Playoff Lenny” by racking up 300 rushing yards (4.69 ypc) and 148 receiving yards with four total TDs. In just four games, Fournette touched the ball 82 times (with 21 targets). That’s a modern Fantasy workhorse role right there. Of course, that’s not how Fournette was used during the regular season, Ronald Jones is back and 2020 draft pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn has one more offseason (hopefully this time not spent on the COVID-19 list) to work his way into the mix. As a mid-sixth round pick, Fournette offers situation-based Fantasy upside but his value is tenuous and dependent on him keeping the passing down role and getting red zone opportunities. If offseason acquisition Gio Bernard takes over the passing down role full time, Fournette’s ceiling is capped. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 2.01 — 8.02
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Born: January 18, 1995, New Orleans, LA

Gaskin, M. – Mia (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (6/23) Advice: Myles Gaskin looks like the starting running back for the Dolphins again this year. If he stays in that role then he could be a standout Fantasy option in all leagues worth drafting as early as Round 4. In 2020, Gaskin was among the best waiver wire additions in all formats. He had eight games with at least 12 PPR points in the 10 games he appeared in, and he had six games with at least 19 total touches. Keep an eye on what happens with the Dolphins backfield prior to training camp, but Gaskin could be a No. 2 Fantasy running back if he’s the starter in Week 1. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.04 — 6.03
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Born: February 15, 1997, Lynnwood, WA

Gibson, A. – Was (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team (6/23) Advice: Antonio Gibson is coming off a standout rookie campaign in 2020, and he’s worth drafting as early as Round 2 in all leagues this season. Preferably, Gibson will be drafted in Round 3, but he should be viewed as a high-end No. 2 Fantasy running back in all formats. Last season, he scored at least 12 PPR points in eight of his first 11 games. A toe injury in Week 13 slowed him down over the final five games of the season, but he should be healthy coming into training camp. He will share passing-downs work with J.D. McKissic, but Gibson is a converted receiver from Memphis and had 36 receptions on 44 targets as a rookie. There’s plenty of room to grow for Gibson, and he could emerge as a top-10 Fantasy running back this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.08 — 2.10
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Born: June 23, 1998, Stockbridge, GA

Gordon III, M. – Den (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos (6/23) Advice: Even though Melvin Gordon has scored at least nine touchdowns and totaled at least 75 yards per game in each of his past five seasons, he figures to be an unpopular Fantasy pickup. That’s because the Broncos drafted fresh young rookie Javonte Williams to work in tandem with Gordon. However, many people feel Williams will overtake Gordon at some point this season, making the 28-year-old veteran useless for Fantasy purposes. Here’s the reality: The Broncos prefer a multi-back approach, so Gordon will see work so long as he’s healthy and effective, even if it’s on fewer touches. And that’s the issue: Gordon has hit 15-plus PPR in just 11 of 29 games over the past two seasons, so if he’s seeing fewer touches with Williams in the fold, then the Fantasy frustrations will only grow. You might want to root for someone else to take Gordon by the end of Round 4 before you’re stuck considering him in Round 5 or 6. If the idea of him in your lineup makes your gag reflex kick into overdrive, then strongly consider taking other rushers earlier on Draft Day. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.10 — 6.04
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Born: April 13, 1993, Kenosha, WI

Harris, D. – NE (RB)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said RB Damien Harris “has an opportunity to really compete for the lead spot.” (7/29)
Advice: “Damien was a player who improved a lot from year one to year two,” Belichick confirmed. “Now he has an opportunity to really compete for the lead spot..I’ve been impressed with the commitment that he’s shown.” Harris’ production skyrocketed from four total carries as a rookie to 137 across 10 appearances last year, out-carrying Sony Michel 41 to 17 in the only three games the duo were available together. The former still averaged just 4.2 routes run as a non-factor in the passing game, but does have double-digit touchdown upside from the ground if the offense removes Cam Newton’s team-high 19 carries inside the five-yard line from the picture. Michel’s chances to make the final roster have increased since Rhamondre Stevenson’s placement on the NFI list, but Harris is still the clear-cut option to lead this backfield in carries as a middle-of-the-road RB2 currently being overlooked as such. (Phil Perry on Twitter)
ADP: 4.10 — 8.05
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Born: February 11, 1997, Richmond, KY

Harris, N. – Pit (RB)

Najee Harris 2021 Outlook: A Top 10 Fantasy RB (6/23) Advice: Look for Najee Harris to be used early and often. He is going to surpass 1,000 yards rushing and can get close to the LeVeon Bell status as a receiver as well. This makes him an early fantasy pick as the rookie RB most likely to crack the top 10. The run game in Pittsburgh will be back. Harris is a worthy RB2 pick for your fantasy team and should be considered amongst the likes of Austin Ekeler and Chris Carson in the second or early third-round of your fantasy drafts. He will not disappoint you. (RotoBaller.com)
ADP: 1.03 — 15.11
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Born: March 9, 1998, Martinez, CA

Henry, D. – Ten (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans (6/23) Advice: Nothing, it seems, can slow Derrick Henry. He finished third in PPR scoring in 2020 and will almost certainly go off the board in the first six picks in all drafts this season. He’s had at least 380 carries in each of the last two seasons, including the postseason, so it’s fair to wonder if he’ll break down at some point, but we’ve seen no sign of that yet — if anything, Henry keeps getting stronger as the season goes on. Don’t expect another 2,000-yard season, but Henry should be the favorite to lead the NFL in rush attempts, yards and touchdowns, and should be a no-doubt-about-it No. 1 RB, even without catching passes. Until he shows signs of slowing down, it doesn’t make much sense to bet against him. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.08
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Born: January 4, 1994, Yulee, FL

Hines, N. – Ind (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (6/23) Advice: Hines is one of the better pass-catching backs out there, and his role in the Colts offense makes him a viable flex option in the middle rounds — especially if you’re going with a zero-RB approach to your draft. However, he may end up disappointing in 2021 if you’re expecting a repeat of last season, because the Colts swapped out the retiring Philip Rivers for Carson Wentz, a much more mobile quarterback. Wentz has been willing to throw to his running backs, of course, but he’s more likely to take off and scramble when the pressure comes than Rivers, who loved to dump it off to his backs. Hines is still worth drafting in all formats, but he may not have as many stretches of starting-caliber production as he did a year ago. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 6.05 — 10.02
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Born: November 12, 1996, Garner, NC

Hunt, K. – Cle (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns (6/23) Advice: Kareem Hunt is a bit of unicorn for Fantasy purposes. He is a borderline No. 2 running back with Nick Chubb healthy, and he has league-winning upside as a quasi-handcuff if Chubb goes down. That makes Hunt worth a fifth-round pick in PPR leagues, but he has more upside than anyone else who will be available at that point. In 2020, Chubb left Week 4 with an injury and Hunt was a top-eight running back in all formats. After Chubb returned, Hunt ranked 18th in PPR, one spot behind where he finished in the final eight games of 2019. Hunt’s new contract with the Browns makes it likely he’ll be sharing with Chubb until he’s 28 years old, which means he’s more of a high-end No. 3 running back for Dynasty purposes. This offseason may very well be the best time to sell in that format. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.07 — 5.03
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Born: August 6, 1995, Elyria, OH

Jacobs, J. – LV (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (6/23) Advice: Josh Jacobs is certainly a startable Fantasy running back, but the past 12 months haven’t been kind to him. He finished 14th among rushers in PPR points per game at 14.3, but actually scored at least that many points just five times in 15 games. He was more consistent in non-PPR formats, which shouldn’t be that surprising considering he averaged 2.2 catches a game in 2020. Jacobs was also a mess in short-yardage goal-line situations, scoring on just 5 of 16 tries from three yards or closer. Then this offseason, the Raiders let three capable offensive linemen go and spent decent salary-cap space on Kenyan Drake. He figures to keep Jacobs off the field in most passing situations and might even replace him in goal-to-go opportunities (Drake scored on 8 of 19 tries from three yards or closer last year). Point is, Jacobs shouldn’t be overvalued in Fantasy drafts, especially PPR formats. Late Round 3 is the spot to draft him in reception-based formats; early Round 3 is acceptable if catches do not count. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.12 — 4.01
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Born: February 11, 1998, Tulsa, OK

Johnson, D. – Hou (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans (6/23) Advice: Just about the only thing Johnson had going for him last season was that he had little competition for carries in an offense helmed by Deshaun Watson. Now he’s got Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram in the backfield with him and a ton of uncertainty about Watson’s status for the upcoming season. Johnson actually had a decent bounceback season in 2020 and could be a decent No. 2 Fantasy RB if he gets a similar role, with 12-ish carries and three-to-four targets per game. However, given the uncertainties around Houston’s offense, you can’t target him as anything more than a low-end No. 3 RB, preferably as bench depth. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.05 — 7.10
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Born: December 16, 1991, Memphis, TN

Jones II, R. – TB (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6/23) Advice: Ronald Jones was an industry favorite of those drafters employing a zero-RB strategy in 2020, but the hype was deflated after the Jags surprisingly cut Leonard Fournette and the Bucs signed him. Although Jones flashed breakaway ability and more often than not looked like the most effective RB on the roster during the regular season, mental errors in the form of fumbles and dropped passes continued to plague him. At one point it looked like he was finally taking on the role Fournette ultimately earned in the playoffs, but then Jones got injured. Jones makes for a risky flier due to his unlikely role in the passing game and his uncertain role in red zone. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 3.01 — 6.12
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Born: August 3, 1997, Fort Stewart, GA

Jones, A. – GB (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (6/23) Advice: Aaron Jones re-signed with the Packers in the offseason and should remain a top-five Fantasy back worth an early first-round pick. In fact, it’s possible Jones will be even more involved in the passing game now that he’s sharing with A.J. Dillon and not Jamaal Williams. Over the past two seasons, the Packers have been in the top third of the league with 268 passes thrown to running backs. Williams commanded 80 of those targets, or 2.9 per game. It seems very unlikely Dillon is on the field for passing downs near as often, which should boost Jones’ target total. The only downside would be if Dillon took some short-yardage work because of his size, but Jones has 30 touchdowns over the past two seasons, so it’s hard to imagine the Packers choosing someone else inside the 5. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.05 — 2.07
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Born: December 2, 1994, Savannah, GA

Kamara, A. – NO (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints (6/23) Advice: Alvin Kamara will once again be an early first-round Fantasy draft pick, but it’s fair to wonder what kind of impact Drew Brees’ retirement might have on his production. A big part of what has made Kamara a bona fide RB1 has been his receiving volume. Brees was quick to check down to Kamara, but typically running QBs (like Taysom Hill) are less likely to do so, and it showed in the games Hill started in 2020. Hill also threatens to potentially steal red zone carries from Kamara. This is no reason to completely downgrade Kamara, whose elite contact balance and elusiveness behind a borderline elite Saints offensive line still makes him a locked-in RB1. However, you might want to hope Jameis Winston ends up starting at QB rather than Hill. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.09
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Born: July 25, 1995, Norcross, GA

McCaffrey, C. – Car (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers (6/23) Advice: McCaffrey entered the year as the first player selected in most leagues, but his 2020 season was wrought with the injury bug. In the games McCaffrey did play, he lived up to the hype from a production standpoint and it’s easy to see why. RB targets are the name of the game in any league that uses full or half-point PPR scoring, and he’s the surest bet in the NFL for those. More underrated is McCaffrey’s role in the red zone — second only to maybe Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook. With Mike Davis moving on to Atlanta, Carolina potentially upgrading at QB with Sam Darnold, and the return of RB-friendly OC Joe Brady, McCaffrey should be the first overall pick in every format. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.04
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Born: June 7, 1996, Castle Rock, CO

Mixon, J. – Cin (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (6/23) Advice: Joe Mixon is a top-12 back in all formats, worthy of a pick early in Round 2. This will be Mixon’s first year in Cincinnati without Giovani Bernard, who has averaged 52 targets per year the past four seasons. Mixon’s career high in catches is 43, but without Bernard we expect Mixon to top 50 catches. The only thing left stopping Mixon from being a top-five back is whether the Bengals offense and offensive line can push him over the top. For that to happen they’ll need to improve on Mixon’s 3.6 yards per carry from 2020 and get him to double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career. Don’t rule either out. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.07 — 3.12
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Born: July 24, 1996, San Francisco, CA

Montgomery, D. – Chi (RB)

David Montgomery Fantasy Football Outlook (2021) (7/7) Advice: I was the one pounding the drum for David Montgomery last season when he was being drafted as the 25th RB off the board. With that being said, in no way did I anticipate a top-5 finish! Despite a truly terrible offense, Montgomery produced for fantasy managers and helped deliver some titles with his dominant stretch to end the year. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t be expecting that same level of dominance in 2021. Tarik Cohen will be back and healthy, which means a dramatic dip in receiving production for Montgomery. Additionally, Damien Williams was added to this backfield to take the Cordarrelle Patterson role, which will take some carries away too. Montgomery is still going to provide fantasy managers with a very safe floor week after week, but we need to temper our expectations for the young RB heading into this season. Fantasy players that draft Montgomery thinking that they’re going to get 2020 production are most likely going to be disappointed. It’s safe to view Montgomery as a mid-range RB2. My Very Early Projection: 249-1058-8 rushing & 31-238-1 receiving. (FantasyPros.com)
ADP: 2.01 — 4.06
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Born: June 7, 1997, Cincinnati, OH

Moss, Z. – Buf (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills (6/23) Advice: Zack Moss is expected to be fine after having ankle surgery in January, and he should be ready for training camp. He will be part of a crowded backfield in Buffalo this season with Devin Singletary and Matt Breida, and Moss should be considered just a reserve Fantasy option in most leagues. He is only worth drafting with a mid-round pick at best in most formats. Training camp will likely determine if Moss starts, but the Bills will rely on all three running backs when healthy. In ranking Buffalo’s backfield, plan on drafting Moss first, then Singletary and then Breida. But this isn’t the ideal situation for these guys since Buffalo is a high-volume passing attack with a quarterback in Josh Allen who also uses his legs. Moss struggled as a rookie in 2020 and only scored more than nine PPR points four times. That was while sharing with only Singletary, and now the addition of Breida could make this backfield messy. Barring an injury to Singletary and/or Breida, it will be tough to trust Moss as a starting Fantasy option in most leagues this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 7.04 — 11.07
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Born: December 15, 1997, Hialeah Gardens, FL

Mostert, R. – SF (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (6/23) Advice: If you’re collecting mid-round running backs, or looking for a Zero-RB candidate to help you start the season strong, check out Raheem Mostert. When he’s been healthy he’s given the 49ers offense a jolt of explosiveness that the rest of the roster has difficulty matching. Unfortunately, the 29-year-old has struggled to stay on the field throughout his career, including a half-season lost in 2020. And that’s just part of Mostert’s problems — the 49ers improved their depth throughout the offseason, including adding two rookie running backs, plus Jeff Wilson is still around. Matching the 13 carries per game Mostert had last year could prove to be difficult given the Niners’ depth, but if he shines during the preseason then odds are he’ll be the first man up in a multi-pronged approach. His unreliability makes him a no-no long-term, but if you need a player who may deliver some help through September and maybe pitch in down the line, figure Mostert will be there for the taking between Rounds 8 and 9. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 2.07 — 5.11
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Born: April 9, 1992, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Pollard, T. – Dal (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys (6/23) Advice: Tony Pollard will open the season as the backup to Ezekiel Elliott, and that makes him one of the top handcuffs on Draft Day in all leagues. Pollard is worth drafting as early as Round 8, whether you select Elliott or not, since Pollard could be a league winner if Elliott were to miss any time. We saw that in 2020 when Elliott was out in Week 15 against San Francisco with a calf injury, and Pollard stepped in and scored 30 PPR points. Unfortunately, Pollard likely won’t do much when Elliott is healthy, so keep that in mind, but we like Pollard as one of the top lottery tickets in 2021. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 5.12 — 10.12
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Born: April 30, 1997, Memphis, TN

Robinson, R. – Jax (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (6/23) Advice: Robinson quickly emerged as a must-start Fantasy running back in 2020, but that probably won’t be the case in 2021 after the Jaguars invested a first-round pick in Clemson’s Travis Etienne. Robinson still figures to open the season as the No. 1 RB for the Jaguars, but he definitely won’t be dominating the work like he did as a rookie, with Urban Meyer already saying he views Etienne as the third-round back. Robinson can still have value if he gets 200 carries and, say, 40 targets, but even that is no guarantee. Ideally, you would see something like the Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara backfield split from Kamara’s rookie season where both were must-start players, but this Jaguars offense is unlikely to be as valuable as that Saints backfield was. Robinson was a must-start back in 2020, so this is a disappointing outcome, and it probably moves Robinson into the RB3 discussion on Draft Day. If you can get him in the fifth round or later, he can be a valuable piece, but he’s unlikely to be a difference maker now. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.04 — 5.01
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Born: August 9, 1998, Rockford, IL

Sanders, M. – Phi (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (6/23) Advice: Miles Sanders was expected to be a breakout candidate in 2020, but he failed to deliver in his sophomore campaign. Heading into Year 3, he could face some competition for touches, but he’s still worth buying back into as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues. Sanders should be selected in Round 2 or 3 in all formats. Injuries to Sanders and the offensive line hurt his production in 2020 and, instead of seeing his Fantasy points per game rise from 13.6 in 2019, he slipped to 13.4 last year. But he still averaged 5.3 yards per carry. And, more importantly, he averaged 18.3 PPR points per game in three starts with Jalen Hurts. The Eagles added plenty of bodies this offseason to compete for touches with Sanders (including Jordan Howard and Kerryon Johnson, plus Boston Scott is still there), but most of them profile as backups, although the addition of rookie Kenneth Gainwell could impact Sanders in the passing game. Still, there’s reason for optimism about Sanders this year. He might have failed as a breakout in 2020, but he can easily rebound this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 2.02 — 4.04
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Born: May 1, 1997, Pittsburgh, PA

Scott, B. – Phi (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (6/23) Advice: Boston Scott will compete with Kenneth Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Howard to be the No. 2 running back in Philadelphia this season behind Miles Sanders, and Scott is only worth drafting with a late-round pick in deeper leagues. Last year, Sanders missed four games, and Scott averaged 10.3 PPR points per game over that span. If Scott ends up No. 2 on the depth chart then he could be a handcuff option for Sanders, but it’s likely the Eagles will use a committee to replace Sanders if he misses any time due to injury this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 11.05 — 15.12
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Born: April 27, 1995, Baton Rouge, LA

Singletary, D. – Buf (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (6/23) Advice: Devin Singletary will be part of a crowded backfield in Buffalo this season with Zack Moss and Matt Breida, and Singletary should be considered just a reserve Fantasy option in most leagues. He is only worth drafting with a mid-round pick at best in most formats. Training camp will likely determine if Singletary starts, but the Bills will rely on all three running backs when healthy. In ranking Buffalo’s backfield, plan on drafting Moss first, then Singletary and then Breida. But this isn’t the ideal situation for these guys since Buffalo is a high-volume passing attack with a quarterback in Josh Allen who also uses his legs. Singletary did excel in two of three games that Moss missed in 2020 due to injury, scoring at least 16 PPR points in those outings, but he also had 10 games with nine PPR points or less for the year. Barring an injury to Moss and/or Breida, it will be tough to trust Singletary as a starting Fantasy option in most leagues this year. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 6.01 — 10.06
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Born: September 3, 1997, Deerfield Beach, FL

Swift, D. – Det (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions (6/23) Advice: Swift should be one of the most popular breakout picks of 2021 and a solid selection in the second round in any format. The 22-year-old should benefit greatly from Anthony Lynn’s system, which has consistently been amongst the league leaders in targets to running backs. Last year Swift averaged more than four targets per game and his 6.3 yards per target were above average for any back, much less a rookie. In 2021 he has legitimate 80-catch upside and should see more work on the ground as well. Swift saw 15 touches in five games last year and averaged 20.8 PPR Fantasy points in those five games; that production would have made him the No. 4 back in Fantasy in 2020. In Dynasty, Swift is a top-five back worth a pick at the end of Round 1 in a startup. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.02 — 3.08
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Born: January 14, 1999, Philadelphia, PA

Taylor, J. – Ind (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts (6/23) Advice: Taylor ended up where many expected him to be by the start of his second season: as a consensus first-round pick in all leagues. Of course, those of you who drafted him as a rookie know the path to getting to that place was anything but a straight line. Taylor opened the season as a backup, but quickly became the starter with Marlon Mack’s injury. And then … nothing really happened for a while. He got around a dozen carries and a few targets per week for a few months, and even found himself effectively benched for a stretch in November when both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines surpassed him at one point. Taylor eventually locked up the No. 1 role down the stretch, rushing for 651 yards and seven touchdowns over his final five games and averaging nearly 20 carries per game. He’ll enter 2021 as the unquestioned top option in Indy and is one of the few backs with the potential to challenge for the No. 1 overall spot if he earns a larger role in the passing game. He ended up being exactly what we expected in the end. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.01 — 1.12
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Born: January 19, 1999, Salem, NJ

Williams, J. – Den (RB)

2021 fantasy player outlook for Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos (6/23) Advice: Javonte Williams is set to be among the most popular rookies taken in Fantasy drafts. Built like a linebacker, the North Carolina product is a strong, violent runner with good burst, balance, and very quick cuts. He also has very good hands and is as close as a rookie can be to being an effective pass blocker. As part of a two-back committee with the Tar Heels, Williams rumbled for 19 touchdowns (along with three more through the air) and over 1,400 total yards. His experience sharing touches will help him deal with Melvin Gordon in 2021. If you draft Williams (21 years old), you’re hoping Gordon (28) fades sooner than later, leaving Williams as the primary back. Gordon’s pedigree will make him the first back taken in drafts, but Williams’ potential in this offense cannot be ignored. Eager seasonal Fantasy drafters might find themselves reaching for Williams by the end of Round 7, while others would pleasantly take him by Round 9. He’ll definitely be a Round 6 or 7 choice in Dynasty start-ups and keeper leagues, and bank on him getting nabbed between sixth and ninth overall in rookie-only formats. (CBSSports.com)
ADP: 1.09 — 16.01
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Born: April 25, 2000, Wallace, NC

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