Fantasy Football Running Backs
Updated: a day ago
Perhaps more than any other position, being an effective Fantasy Football running back is reliant on scheme. Running backs need touches to rack up fantasy points. They need good blockers.
The NFL has trended towards the pass in recent years, but running backs still have a major role to play in Fantasy Football. Derrick Henry was on the fringes of the MVP conversation. A good ground attack can still be an integral part of the offense. Even the most pass-focused teams need strong running back production.
5 Picks Fantasy Football Running Backs
With an early look ahead to 2021, here are the five premier running backs for Fantasy Football managers to consider.
Earning Pro Bowl honors, Josh Jacobs built on a good rookie year with a spectacular second season. The Raiders might have fallen short of the playoffs, but Jacobs showed he is one of the game’s best running backs.
Ranking eighth in total points, Jacobs’ numbers weren’t quite as spectacular per play as they were in his rookie year, but he recorded five more touchdowns. He was also a threat as a pass-catcher with 238 receiving yards on 45 targets.
Unlike other headline running backs, Jacobs’ situation is settled in Las Vegas. The offense will look much the same next season – he’s one of the safer options in 2021.
It was a big-time down year for Ezekiel Elliott in 2020. He couldn’t assert himself as he had in years’ past, but the Dallas Cowboys and Elliott will hope to bounce back in 2021.
Elliott took the league by storm. He topped the NFL in rushing yards in two of his first three seasons, and in all three of those campaigns he was the leader in rushing yards per contest. Elliott’s stock has taken a hit over the last couple of years, but don’t underrate him as a fantasy option next season.
Only three running backs scored more points than Elliott in 2019. That number was only four in 2018. When Dak Prescott is healthy, Elliott is among the game’s best at his position.
Much like Jacobs, Dalvin Cook ticks the continuity box. Barring something out of the blue, the Minnesota Vikings offense will be about Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen. That’s a formula which worked nicely for Cook in 2020.
He amassed the third-most points in the league, and sat top of the pile in points per game. This followed a strong 2019, in which Cook ranked fifth in points.
On the back of consecutive Pro Bowl campaigns, Cook is still improving. His yards per carry and yards per game increased notably last season. Outside of Derrick Henry, there’s a strong argument for Cook as the best RB in the sport.
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It’s all change for Jonathan Taylor. He might be staying with the Indianapolis Colts and a strong offensive line, but it will no longer be Philip Rivers handing him the ball. Indy has traded for Carson Wentz, and the uncertainty of that move could impact Taylor’s fantasy stock.
A great rookie year sets Taylor up nicely as a fantasy option in 2021, however. He was third in rushing yards, and fourth in total points.
Even if Wentz cannot regain his near-MVP form, Taylor should still put up decent numbers with the run blocking the Colts possess.
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It was no contest for the top spot here. Derrick Henry is a transcendent talent. He had almost 500 more rushing yards than anyone else, he had more touchdowns, and his 5.4 yards per attempt was only bettered by Nick Chubb (of players with more than 900 yards).
This, of course, is not just a good year. Henry has been dominant in consecutive seasons, leading the league in rushing yards. He’s got 35 touchdowns over that span and led all players in yards from scrimmage in 2020.