The calendar has officially turned to September, which means an old friend is soon to join us once again. Ah yes, welcome back football! Oh, how we missed you! Of course, along with the kickoff to the 2021 NFL season come legions upon legions of fantasy football drafts. My sincerest apologies go out to those of you whose drafts back in August. Special T’s and P’s to the J.K. Dobbins owners out there, after he became Exhibit A for why you don’t draft until after the preseason.
For the rest of you who are in leagues with competent commissioners, you’re bound to have some ADP conundrums on your plate in the lead-up to and during your fantasy football draft. We at FlurrySports are here to help! Read on for a breakdown of the fantasy football ADP battle between a trio of first-round running backs: Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott.
Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy Football ADP Battle
Note: All ADPs and ranks reflect a 12-team, PPR draft format
Alvin Kamara Fantasy ADP: 1.03
ADP Position Rank: 3
Overall Rank: 3
One year after his fantasy football ADP took a tumble, Alvin Kamara is back in the good graces of owners. His ability to produce in PPR scoring formats is second to none. Kamara’s fantasy upside is sky-high once again entering the 2021 season. With a firm stranglehold on the lead RB role for the New Orleans Saints, volume does not figure to be an issue for the 26-year-old, even as he plays alongside a new signal-caller.
In actuality, the slip in Alvin Kamara’s fantasy football ADP last year was completely nonsensical when one considers the major statistical anomaly of his 2019 season. Kamara’s 171 attempts in 2019 were just 16 fewer than he had last season. Furthermore, his 4.7 yards per carry two seasons ago was just below the 5.0 he averaged last year. However, his 16 rushing touchdowns from this past season dwarfed the five he scored back in 2019. Kamara was also more productive as a receiver last year. His 756 yards and five scores through the air both were well ahead of his 2019 totals.
After his touchdown production rebounded last season, fantasy football players everywhere once again consider Kamara a superstar. The Saints offense around him experienced some turnover this offseason with Drew Brees announcing his retirement. One could make an argument that new starter Jameis Winston is a better NFL quarterback right now than Brees proved to be in his final season. Kamara may not see quite as many check-down passes if Winston pushes the ball downfield more frequently. But given the lack of proven receivers in New Orleans, look for Kamara to have a solid workload as both a rusher and pass-catcher once again this season.
Derrick Henry Fantasy ADP: 1.05
ADP Position Rank: 5
Overall Rank: 5
Next up in this fantasy football ADP battle is the man they call “King” in Nashville. Superstar running back Derrick Henry will once again be the focal point of the Tennessee Titans’ offense this season. Despite being nowhere near the pass-catching threat as the other two running backs in this ADP battle, Henry is still in the running to go top-three in PPR fantasy drafts this season.
Henry’s NFL career was admittedly slow to take off. After winning the Heisman Trophy as part of an incredible collegiate career at Alabama, expectations were through the roof when the Titans drafted him. Once earning a bell-cow role in the Tennesse backfield, Henry has thrived. In fact, he has only gotten better in each of the last three years despite topping 1,000 yards rushing in 2018. He upped that figure to the north of 1,500 in 2019 before joining the shortlist of eight backs to run for over 2,000 yards last year. Henry’s 2,027 rushing yards were the fourth-most ever in a single season. He added a career-high 17 touchdowns for good measure.
Concerning this fantasy football ADP battle, Henry might actually be the safest of the three RBs. Even with the addition of Julio Jones to bolster the passing attack, there is no doubt that the Titans’ offense will run through their stud ball-carrier again this season. Duplicating last season’s stats won’t be easy, but the 27-year-old will see no shortage of carries. While Henry’s floor is rock solid, his lack of involvement in the passing game does hinder his upside in PPR leagues. He settles into the middle of this ADP battle as a result.
Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy ADP: 1.05
ADP Position Rank: 4
Overall Rank: 4
Bringing up the rear in this fantasy football ADP battle is Dallas Cowboys tailback, Ezekiel Elliott. In some ways, Elliott almost fits a similar narrative as Alvin Kamara did last season. Based on his previous body of work in the NFL, 2020 was by all accounts a disappointment for the 26-year-old. After signing a massive new contract to remain in Dallas, Elliott finished with career-lows in rushing yards, average yards per carry, and total touchdowns last season.
Despite his disappointing 2020 campaign, Elliott is once again hanging onto a top-five spot in the current fantasy football ADP. It remains to be seen just how much of last year’s struggles were truly a reflection of Elliott himself. After all, the Cowboys’ entire season got thrown off the rails when quarterback Dak Prescott was lost to a broken ankle. Throw in several injuries along the offensive line and it’s honestly no surprise that Zeke’s production dropped. In actuality, the fact that he fell just 21 rushing yards short of a third consecutive 1,000-yard season is quite impressive given the circumstances.
The consensus opinion is that with Prescott back under center, Elliott will revert to superstar form this season. At a minimum, his ability to find the end zone on a more regular basis hinges on Prescott being healthy. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury in training camp has many concerned about the health of the Cowboys’ QB once again. The offensive line is not as talented as it was early on in Elliott’s NFL career either. There’s an argument to be made that the entire offense is being overrated coming into the year. Elliott is being overvalued and finds himself a distant third behind Kamara and Derrick Henry in this ADP battle.