Mike and Adam's 2021 Dynasty Rookie Rankings- Running backs
Welcome back fantasy football enthusiasts! There is no question the most valuable position in fantasy football. It is the running back's. Getting a top tier running back is tough and if you get a hold of one, you don't give him up unless you get an insane trade haul for them.
Check out Mike and I's top 10 dynasty rookie running backs, and then check out each of our breakdowns below!
Najee Harris- Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike- Going into the draft, whoever went to the Steelers was going to be my RB1. They have desperately needed a RB since Le'Veon Bell left. James Conner isn't the most talented back, but he was fantasy relevant in this Steelers offense whenever he was healthy. I fully expect Harris to be a RB1 in fantasy this season and going forward.
Adam- I saw Vegas had a line of 275 touches for Najee Harris in his rookie season, and if he stays healthy I would have zero issues pounding the over. The Steelers love to give their RB's a lot of carries, which is weird since they have not been strong at RB for a few years. However, Najee is better than any RB they've had in the last few years and, he has the capability to be the RB1 in the entire league in the next few years.
Javonte Williams- Denver Broncos
Mike- Williams is my favorite back in the class. He can do it all. People worry about his 40 time, but that doesn't matter when you can't bring the guy to the ground. The Broncos traded up in the second round to make sure they got him, which shows me he will be their lead back sooner rather than later. Draft capital matters at the RB position, and I am all in on Williams pushing Harris for RB1.
Adam- The player comparison I saw for Williams is Kareem Hunt. What has Kareem Hunt done for the Browns? He has taken Nick Chubb's goal line touches. Melvin Gordon has 1 year left on his contract and may not even play all 17 games with a possible suspension on the horizon. Denver's offense is ready to explode with all the weapons, and Williams strength will provide a fantasy team a lot of points.
Travis Etienne- Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike- I have Etienne sitting here at my RB3, but with the recent news about Urban Meyer playing him at WR is definitely something to keep a close eye on. I think Etienne is a tremendous talent that is built for today's football, but his production will depend on the touches he gets. I imagine that Meyer will give Etienne plenty of touches since they spent a first round pick on him. I think that if Etienne turns out to be a bust, it is more because of the team he is on rather than the talent.
Adam- Etienne is a guy that some fantasy owners may be hesitant about due to the crowded backfield of Etienne and James Robinson. However, Etienne's best quality is his production is absurdly good. Fast and lean RB's do not always stay healthy and his ability to go 4 years at Clemson and not get hurt is an insanely promising. He may even end up being a WR, take advantage of the opportunity to draft him to rack you up rushing and receiving yards.
Kenneth Gainwell- Philadelphia Eagles
Mike- I like the talent of Gainwell more than I do the landing spot for fantasy. As an Eagles fan, I am ecstatic about the draft pick, and I think it was a steal. For fantasy purposes, I would have loved to see a day 2 pick spent on him by a team who is a bit more RB needy. However, Nick Sirianni is coming from the Colts who just had two fantasy relevant players at the RB position last year, so maybe it could happen in Philly as well. Myles Sanders has also struggled a bit with injuries, so Gainwell could always see extended action. He is a player who can do a multitude of things, so if Philly uses him properly, he can shock people with his production as early as this season.
Adam- The 3 players Gainwell played behind at Memphis all went on to be fantastic fantasy RB's. I personally believe Gainwell is going to be a better fantasy value than all 3 of those players. Gainwell is going to rack you up a lot of yards and makes smart decisions. He will not try to make plays happen and will let the play develop. The big plus side of him is I expect Philly to use him as a slot receiver. He will be even more valuable their. You are getting a player who will rack you up receiving and rushing yards all season long.
Michael Carter- New York Jets
Mike- The talent in the Jets RB room is far from great. Carter can easily walk in there and be the week 1 starter. His draft hype took a back seat to his fellow teammate Javonte Williams, but Carter put up more rushing yards and similar receiving stats last season. Williams is he more superior talent, but Carter is walking into an excellent situation that I expect him to take full advantage of.
Adam- Carter's biggest value in fantasy will come down to his placement and role within a franchise. If he is the number 1 option for a team, he will take advantage of the opportunity. He will utilize all of his touches and rack up a lot of yards and plenty of touchdowns. Him being drafted by the Jets, puts him right to the stop of the RB depth chart which means Carter is a top fantasy choice.
Trey Sermon- San Francisco 49ers
Mike- Trey Sermon landed in a perfect spot. Sermon is a good player, not great, but the system he is in has produced amazing fantasy numbers for whoever is playing. The issue is, for this season at least, he won't be the guy carrying the load. It is mostly a RB by committee, and if the 49ers get the injury bug again, Sermon could see an expanded role. He is a good investment for any dynasty format.
Adam- Trey Sermon found a diamond in the rough. Sermon was a guy who's fantasy production is going to be determined by the system he is playing in. Lucky for him, he get to play in a RB's dream in San Francisco. I really can not remember a RB who has not succeeded in fantasy while playing for Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Sermon is playing in a crowded backfield, but the 49ers love to establish the run early, and Sermon could help with that goal.
Chuba Hubbard- Carolina Panthers
Mike- Chuba is one of those highly rated players who's value diminished over the past year or so. However, he is landing in a tremendous scheme for a backup RB. Christian McCaffery is clearly the RB1, but if he ever gets injured, Hubbard could slide into the RB1 territory. Mike Davis saved my fantasy team last season, and Hubbard is a younger and possibly even more talented player. Hubbard is a great handcuff for CMC owners and a great dynasty stash player.
Adam- If this was the 2020 fantasy football draft season, Hubbard would be an ideal fantasy player. He was unbelievable early in college, but a rough last season for Oklahoma State made his stock fall. However, he gets to be the direct backup to the NFL's best RB Christian McCaffery. Last season Mike Davis succeed very well in that role and if Hubbard can return to his normal level of play, he will rack up plenty of fantasy points.
Rhamondre Stevenson- New England Patriots
Mike- Stevenson is a player I a staying away from in fantasy. The draft selection by the Patriots just doesn't make sense to me. He is a very similar player to Sony Michel, and he isn't as talented as Damien Harris. Stevenson isn't going to challenge for the James White receiving back role either. Stevenson could become fantasy relevant if Harris ever is injured.
Adam- This pick may be a reach for you in dynasty drafts. However, New England have not had much success from their RB's in recent years, but Stevenson could look to take Sony Michel's roster spot going into this season. If he does Stevenson will be a top back in a team that needs help in establishing the run. New England has never run the ball very well, and that could hurt his fantasy stock. If you are desperate for RB depth than you should take Stevenson, but if not, stay away.
Chris Evans- Cincinnati Bengals
Adam- If you take Evans, it is probably your last pick in the last round. He is far from a ready product, but he is playing behind Joe Mixon who seems to have trouble staying on the field. An opportunity to get a lot of touches if Mixon goes down may seem like a great idea.
Elijah Mitchell- San Francisco 49ers
Mike- Whenever you have a RB selected by the 49ers, you want to stash them on your bench. The 49ers go through RB more than any other team, and if Mitchell is ever a starter for just 1 week, the stash will be worth it.
Adam- He is playing in San Francisco and with Kyle Shanahan. That is all that needs to be said!
Gerrid Doaks- Miami Dolphins
Mike- I have Gerrid Doaks rounding out my top 10. The Dolphins looked like a team who was going to take a RB in the draft, and they didn't until late in day 3 when they selected Doaks. Doaks is a big bodied RB who could steal some carries on early downs sooner rather than later. Myles Gaskin turned out to be a solid player last year, but he is a smaller back who dealt with some injuries. I would not be surprised if by midseason, Doaks is getting more carries than Gaskin. Long term, Doaks probably won't end up a great fantasy player because, like I said before, draft capital matters. Next year has a lot of talent at the RB position, so Doaks could be a player that as soon as he starts to produce, you trade him while his value is at an all time high.
This years wide receiver class was one of the best in recent memory. There are plenty of players who can be late round picks who can make some noise for your fantasy team. Check back soon for the WR's!
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