If you want to win your fantasy football league, you need to hit early on running backs. While the “Zero RB” strategy has picked up in popularity in the past few years, the fact is getting a good running back early that can produce for your the entire season is massive. While it’s important that top players have a high ceiling, it is just as important that your top guys are also predictable and consistent.
For those of you who have busy lives, you can kick back and relax because, at FlurrySports, we’ve already done all the heavy lifting for you. You can find our 2021 fantasy football consistency rankings here. Our tool measures how often a player is a “boom,” “starter” or “bust” at their position (the finish for each category varies based on position and is explained on the tool’s page). This tool is as in-depth as you’ll find out there, as it looks at 100 WRs, 75 RBs, 60 TEs, 40 QBs, and even it takes into account every team’s defense as well.
Using our tool and looking at 2021 results, who does the data tell us can be relied upon early in your drafts? Here were your most consistent 2021 fantasy football RBs.
Most Consistent 2021 Fantasy Football RBs
Jonathan Taylor (Startable 87.5% of his games)
Was there any doubt Jonathan Taylor would be on this list? Taylor was the RB1 by almost 50 points and he single-handedly carried many teams to their fantasy championships. One of the most underrated parts of his game was how consistent he was. While he did go ballistic some weeks, his value was seen in his ability to be a “set it and forget it” player.
Not only did Jonathan Taylor play 16 games, but he was a “starter” (Top-24) player in 87.5% of games last season. Most fantasy losses come when players flame out, and Taylor very rarely lets team owners down.
The best part about Taylor is that while he was a “bust” (outside of Top-36) in 12.5% of games, both of those games came within the first three weeks. While being labeled a “bust” is never ideal, he showed out late in the season and going into the fantasy playoffs.
Austin Ekeler (80%)
Few running backs in the league are as good and as consistent as Austin Ekeler, when healthy. Unfortunately, staying on the field has been Ekeler’s main issue going into 2021. Last season, Ekeler finally stayed on the field for most of the season and his fantasy football owners reaped the rewards. Although he played in “only” 15 games in 2021, he still outscored the likes of Joe Mixon and Najee Harris by over 25 points.
The thing that made Ekeler so good last year was that he was one of only two running backs (the other being Josh Jacobs) who was never a bust. That can be attributed to the Chargers’ reliance on him in the passing game. With over four receptions in 10 of his 15 starts last season and nothing changing offensively this year for Los Angeles, Ekeler seems primed for another consistently great season.
Josh Jacobs (85.7%)
If I were to ask you who the second-most consistent “starter” running back in fantasy football was, it would take you a few dozen guesses to say Josh Jacobs. While he was only a “boom” for 7.1% of games, he was the definition of consistent.
Jacobs played a decent-sized role in each game for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021. Jacobs ran for under 50 yards and no rushing touchdowns in four games. In each of those four games, he had at least five receptions. While Jacobs struggled to score more than 20 ppr points most weeks, he always had a solid role capable of being a competent start in nearly every fantasy format.
Leonard Fournette (78.6%)
For a guy who missed the last three games of the season and played under 50% of snaps in three games, finishing as a top-tier running back is pretty impressive. Most of that was thanks to his massive usage in the passing game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Leonard Fournette only scored on the ground twice over his last seven games. However, he averaged 7.5 targets per game over his last six games. While he only found the endzone through the air twice all of last season, the Leonard Fournette fantasy floor is clearly stable. With Tom Brady back at the helm for the Buccaneers as well, it seems a given that Fournette will be a big producer in 2022 as well.
Derrick Henry (75%)
Admittedly, the injury bug plagued “King Henry” last year. Derrick Henry was only able to suit up for eight games in 2021. When he was able to get on the field, there was little doubt who ran the show. Henry was a “starter” 75% of the time and a “boom” candidate 50% of the time. He played at least four games less than all the running backs ahead of him and was still under 30 points away from a top-10 fantasy football RB season.
The Tennessee Titans are Derrick Henry. He is their entire identity. With the loss of AJ Brown hurting an already weak receiving corps, Henry could possibly be asked to shoulder even more of the workload for the Titans. The only thing keeping Henry from dominance in 2022 again is health and, up to last season, he missed only three games over the previous five seasons.
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