There’s a reason running backs are often the first off the board in fantasy football drafts. The position is, depending on your scoring settings, the most important position in all of fantasy. That’s why it’s oh so important to get the position right. You can’t miss at running back if you want to make the playoffs, much less win it all. The best way to do that; pass on these three running backs for the 2021 season.
With draft season approaching quicker than many realize, here are three fantasy football running backs to avoid at all costs. The ADP’s were taken from Fantasy Football Calculator on August 12th for 12-team PPR leagues.
On the record, I think Najee Harris is a great talent who will have a great career. Unless you’re playing a dynasty format, he shouldn’t be on your radar right now. Most of that comes from the fact that his current ADP is RB10 and taken in the early second round. He is currently drafted ahead of Jonathan Taylor and David Montgomery. who were both top-six backs last season. Do we really believe that Harris is going to come in as a rookie and outperform all but nine guys?
The problem doesn’t stem from Harris, it stems from the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, more importantly, the offensive line. Their offensive line could possibly have all five starters either playing new positions, starting their first games with the Steelers or starting their first time period. This line is in such shambles. PFF has them as the second-worst offensive line in the league. Nobody can run consistently behind that, especially a running back who is also paired with an aging quarterback that has regressed mightily himself the past few years.
Miles Sanders’ ADP is “only” RB20 and sees him taken in the early stages of round four. While Sanders was somewhat durable his rookie season, he had a little more trouble last season. While injuries are common among running backs, it’s not a good sign for a running back of his age to have three different injuries, two of which coming on the same right knee. He was RB26 last season and, according to our consistency rankings, was a “bust” (outside of top 36) candidate 16% of the time, or one in every six games.
Overall, that stacks up well compared to other running backs in the league. The only problem is that unlike the other running backs, Sanders has a new head coach this season. RB20 seems pretty high for a guy in a new scheme, who is coming off an injury-riddled year. Add in that the strength of schedule for Eagles running backs is in the middle of the pack in terms of toughness, and there aren’t many things that tell us he’s due for a productive season. As a result, he’s a guy that should only be rostered if he falls. He certainly isn’t worth an early fourth-round pick in fantasy football.
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When Cam Akers went down with a torn achilles, all eyes turned to Darrell Henderson. Suddenly, everyone decided that he was a must-grab, as seen by his current ADP as fantasy football RB22. Are we just going to forget the production last season of the guy that is “worthy” of a mid-fourth-round pick? While Henderson lost his job and was fighting for carries all season, he was a “bust” candidate over 50% of the time. Considering he played in 15 games, this isn’t exactly off of a small sample size either. In fairness, Henderson has only been in the league for two seasons. Are we really going to trust him as an RB2 when he has under 200 total carries to his name?
The Rams do have the sixth-easiest schedule for running backs, but let’s not forget about backup running back Xavier Jones either. When talking to reporters about him, head coach Sean McVay said: “Been really pleased with him…Xavier got better and better last year…with his opportunities, he’s really delivered.” We all have seen how McVay likes to overthink his offenses and spread the love between running backs. When you consider all that Henderson has left to be desired and all that Jones gives McVay, there’s no doubt that the Rams will have nothing less than a running back committee by the end of the season.