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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Miles Sanders No. 29

Miles Sanders comes in at 29 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Miles Sanders has shown that he can be a top back in this league, but opportunities haven’t always been there for big usage. With a new regime in town, it doesn’t look like he’ll be a bell-cow back like we’d hope, but the offense will be skewed toward running backs, much like the Colts offense over the last few seasons as new head coach Nick Sirianni was their offensive coordinator. Sanders should have opportunities this season.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 29, Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles, RB

Through two seasons and 28 games played and 22 games started, Sanders has 2391 total yards, 12 touchdowns and 78 receptions. Last season with Carson Wentz was fairly painful for the offense and it showed in Sanders’ receiving numbers, while injuries also kept him out of four games.

Competition for touches

There will be plenty of competition for touches, but also more running back touches than with the previous regime. Boston Scott has been getting a lot of work with the first team and we can expect rookie Kenny Gainwell and offseason pickup Kerryon Johnson to see some touches throughout the 17 week season. But Sanders is still the No. 1 option on the team.

Team offensive expectations

Expectations aren’t especially high with Jalen Hurts at the helm. He has plenty of upside, but plenty of downside as well. With such a wide range of outcomes for the offense this season, grabbing a piece of it in fantasy is risky.

What’s his upside?

Sanders upside will likely be tied to his usage and the efficiency of Hurts and the offense. One good thing is that Hurts is a running quarterback, which always helps running back efficiency on a per touch basis. Add in how well Sirianni’s offense uses running backs on the ground and through the air and there is reason for optimism.

What’s his downside?

Sanders could easily have limited touches in a backfield that will utilize multiple backs and if the offense gets bogged down, efficiency on those touches could be low. With his floor being lower than other players his caliber, he is riskier than many RB1s. I still like his upside enough to take that risk though.

Projection

210 attempts, 1,000 yards, 9 touchdowns — 45 receptions, 330 yards, 3 touchdowns