September 3 update: As we close in on our drafts, I’m not as confident in “my guys” as I usually am, but I do have them and gave them a little nudge in this update. Here are a few of the running backs I’ve been grabbing in drafts:
Miles Sanders — His ADP has dropped since his hamstring injury, but he should be ready for Week 1 and I love his every-down backability in a strong offense.
Jonathan Taylor — I may take an early hit on this one with Marlon Mack taking away work, but I think Taylor is just too good not to win the bulk of the rushing attempts behind a strong offensive line.
Raheem Mostert — Kyle Shanahan isn’t going to give Mostert 20 carries a game, but he doesn’t need them in this super efficient rushing offense. He’s proven he’s the better back between him and Tevin Coleman and he’s on the best running back rushing team in the league.
Antonio Gibson — His talent should shine on a team devoid of talent outside Terry McLaurin.
Zack Moss — All signs point toward Moss having an early role in Buffalo, including as the goal line back. I like him enough to see him taking over the lead back work on a good rushing team.
August 31st update: Since we last talked, Leonard Fournette has been released, Jalen Reagor will miss a week or two of the regular season and Alvin Kamara is currently a holdout. At this point, Fournette’s release will have the biggest impact on rankings. He was already pretty low, so we aren’t looking at huge movement, but he’s likely to go from 250 or more touches to a possible backup role wherever he lands. Ryquell Armstead gets the biggest bump, as he will get the first shot at lead back work while Devine Ozigbo gets a bump as his likely backup. Chris Thompson gets a bump, but I had already bumped him after good reports. He’s likely going to stick to his receiving role.
Reagor’s injury helps DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward to start the season, but if Reagor only misses a couple games, he still can be a useful player. and until we know Kamara is gpoing to miss time, we can’t drop him much.
August 28th update: With just two weeks until the season opener between the Chiefs and Texans, your fantasy football drafts are closing in fast. So far, knocking on wood while crossing my fingers, no prominent running backs have gone down with season-ending injuries in training camp. That will likely change, as it always seems to happen, but we haven’t had to make any drastic changes in the rankings.
There are injuries though and they will impact rankings, especially as we get closer to Week 1. Some of the more prominent players have been David Montgomery, Miles Sanders, Darrell Henderson, and D’Andre Swift. Thankfully, the majority of these injuries shouldn’t linger too far into the season, if at all.
Ronald Jones, Damien Harris, and Nyheim Hines have all moved up my rankings in this update while Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook have taken slight dips due to a chance they holdout.
Check out our printable drafting tiers!
Football is just about back! fantasy football PPR running back rankings. Training camp is meaningful and what we learn over the next 20-plus days will help us rank these players more accurately. However, with no preseason games and somewhat limited media coverage due to Covid-19, it is going to be tougher to evaluate camp battles, but it’s never been that easy either.
Nonetheless, there is information that helps better inform our rankings. Movement over the next month will come courtesy of injuries, camp battles, and even hype or as I like to call it, “depth chart scaling.” Below, you can check out our running back rankings for the 2020 season. We are using half PPR to balance between standard and full PPR for the time being.
Christian McCaffrey was so far ahead of every other fantasy running back this season that he could lose a big chunk of his fantasy points and still be the No. 1 back. So, even if new head coach Matt Rhule doesn’t use him as much as they did last season, there’s still a strong chance he ends up the top fantasy back again.
Saquon Barkley had a down season in 2019 due to a rookie quarterback and a high ankle sprain, but he was a beast to end the season. Daniel Jones wasn’t awful last year and had some huge games, so there is upside with him at the helm, while Barkley should be the engine of their offense.
Tier 1 could just be McCaffrey, but with his usage is somewhat in question. I think it’s safe to lump him, Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott into the same top-tier luxury apartment.
Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook both are Tier 1 capable. Cook is similar in usage to Elliott and Kamara has the ability to go off for a season and lead your fake team to a championship. Kamara will need to get his touchdown numbers back up, which is never a given. The good news for Kamara is that you can count on his receptions in PPR, which still makes him safer than most.
Derrick Henry’s schedule has me bullish on him despite his lack of receptions. The Titans should be favored in around 10 games and have a good run defense strength of schedule. Henry’s floor is lower than the other top backs but he will get plenty of opportunities to run and score.
Tier 3 goes from Miles Sanders all the way to Joe Mixon and is full of players with great upside. Nick Chubb gets a much better offensive line to run behind this season. Miles Sanders doesn’t have to share touches with Jordan Howard anymore. Josh Jacobs, if he wasn’t hurt last season, would have likely finished in the Top 10 fantasy running backs. Kenyan Drake, if he can repeat his second half, could end up in the top five this season. Austin Ekeler was dominant when Melvin Gordon was out last year and has McCaffrey-like upside. The rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire is risky, but you’ll need to pay up for his tremendous upside in the Chiefs monster offense.
Movers and Shakers
Training camp has given Jonathan Taylor, Ronald Jones, Damien Harris, Jerick McKinnon, Chase Edmonds, and Bryce Love some early hype and a good base to build on going into Week 1.
Running back rankings for half-PPR 2021 fantasy football
|24||Melvin Gordon III||DEN|
|25||Ronald Jones II||TB|
|45||Todd Gurley II||ATL|
|51||Benny Snell Jr.||PIT|
|52||Jeff Wilson Jr.||SF|
|55||Duke Johnson Jr.||HOU|
|70||Mark Ingram II||FA|
|75||Anthony McFarland Jr.||PIT|
|85||Lynn Bowden Jr.||MIA|