To win your fantasy league, you need a running back that you can start with confidence that is able to be consistent on a game-to-game basis. They are considered the most important position in fantasy football. You either get a great one that you can rely on, or you draft one and see that week after week he brings you duds. For this article, we are going to debate the fantasy football values of three great RBs: Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones and Ezekiel Elliott.
The “start” will be the most valuable player, based on their average draft position (ADP). On the other end, the “cut” is the player with the least amount of value, based on where they are being selected. The ADP of these players was taken from Fantasy Football Calculator on August 9th, looking at 12-team PPR draft data.
Fantasy Football Start/Sit/Cut: Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott
Start: Joe Mixon Fantasy Value
When you think of a top fantasy football RB, when does Joe Mixon come to your mind? He is not the top talent RB by any means, but he works for it and dividends pay off. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, he is being drafted11th overall as the eighth-best RB. That might not seem so special, but with the kind of 2021 he had, that’s a steal. The Joe Mixon fantasy football output last season featured double-digit points in all but four games last year while having 20+ points seven times.
The biggest difference between Mixon and the two others is that this is no competitive backfield. Behind him is a young Carter Evans, who was unproductive in his first year, and Samaje Perine, who is the same age, but nowhere near as good and has been on multiple teams. Unless he is hurt, you can count on Mixon to get high volume in the backfield. And as long as he is healthy, he could find a way to sneak into the top five by the end of the year.
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Sit: Aaron Jones Fantasy Value
There are quite a few 50/50 backfields this year in the NFL, and one is happening in Green Bay. Aaron Jones is battling for the top position with A.J. Dillion. This is going to be considered a 1A and 1B backfield. So, why sit Jones?
There is a bunch of upside with Jones this year. Even if Aaron Jones splits snaps evenly with Dillon, he’ll put up good numbers due to his pass-catching ability. Who is Aaron Rodgers’ top receiver? Jones could be getting a lot of targets out of the backfield.
Are increased targets the only reason for his good upside? That’s only where his upside starts. In 2020, Jones found paydirt 11 times in 16 games. Is it sustainable? Last year, he found the end zone 10 times in 17 games while also dealing with a couple of nagging injuries during the second half of the season. In short, he has a lot of red zone value, so that means touchdown points. With an ADP of 15th, why not use the spot on someone who can have the potential to have many great fantasy games?
Cut: Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy Value
Another 50/50 backfield scenario. Ezekiel Elliott is battling with Tony Pollard for the top spot, but we all know that Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy will have Elliott in that role. Even with that confidence in knowing he is the top back, why should we have any confidence in this guy? For those who haven’t seen the pictures and videos of Zeke at training camp, let me catch you up. He looks out of shape and a shell of what was his dominant self. That means we are in for more games where he doesn’t produce fantasy numbers. This is the same guy who was been a bust last year after many used a first or second-round pick on him,
This season, his ADP is much lower. With an ADP of 26th, his expectations are lowered and now many aren’t expecting much. He is still bound to underperform with Pollard looking great and seemingly much more talented. In 2020, in his final 10 games, he was only usable four of the weeks. Last season, Ezekiel Elliott was a fantasy “starter” in just over 60% of his games.
What scares me this year is how banged up their offense is too. We know that the only guaranteed passing options are CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz for a few weeks, and Tyron Smith has suffered a major injury. Zeke doesn’t look to be in any shape or form to be the workhorse he is being drafted as. There are guys being drafted later, in James Conner, Travis Etienne and David Montgomery, who are better off on your team.