3 Running Backs I'm Already WAY TOO HIGH On for 2021 Fantasy Football
Nick Chubb - RB Cleveland Browns
Current ADP: 13, RB10 (per Underdog)
This offense was AWESOME during their first year under Kevin Stefanski. They told us exactly what they were going to do with their signing of Jack Conklin and drafting Jedrick Wils --- they wanted to run, block, run, fake a run, and run. And it led to them being the Browns had the single highest graded run-blocking line in the NFL. (#7 in pass blocking)
You combine that with what a heavily implemented play-action scheme does for a running back and you're looking at elite production.
He played in 12 games last year, he had over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns. Include the two playoff games, so 14 overall, it's 1435 yards and 13 touchdowns. At this point it's hard to argue that Chubb isn't the second best runner in the NFL and on a raw level probably better than Henry.
I made the what does a league-winning running back consist of video last year, and even without pass-catching, Chubb still fits the criteria of what someone like that is made of. There have been a few league winners (> 20 FPPG) and the ones that didnt hit the receiving mark were always, obviously, behind the best run blocking lines in the league along with being a top 12 scoring offense, cleveland was 13th last year, 0.3 behind Pittsburgh, second year of the offense, more importantly the QBs 2nd year in the offense, 2nd year for wirfs. we out here with chubb.
Also, just a side note, not exactly sure what changed in Cleveland, but over the 2nd half the year, Chubb was more involved in the passing game.
Weeks 1-11 (6 games): He literally had a total of 4 targets and 3 receptions.
Weeks 12-DP (8 games): 23 targets, 19 catches.
They need to get him more involved in the screen game. He literally had 5 screen targets on the year, all from Weeks 12-DP. He caught all 5 and averaged 16 yards per reception on them - the single highest number among RBs.
imagine getting him as your RB2 1st pick of the 2nd round. I'd probably take him like 6-8 overall. Rankings will be released in the draft guide soon.
Chris Carson - Seattle Seahawks
Current ADP: RB19 (35)
Chris Carson at the back of the 3rd round, early 4th round is like stealing change from a blind homeless man.
Seattle resigns Carson to a 2-year extension, bag worth of nearly $15M.
Injuries plagued Carson for most of 2020, which probably led to the dip in volume. In 2020, Carson played in 12 regular season games, and after seeing 16+ touches in 93% of games in 2019, hit that mark in just 50% of games.
But on an efficiency level, Carson was as good as ever, setting a career-high with 4.8 ypc, he averaged just 0.2 fewer FPPG than in 2019, and his per/game receiving numbers paced out to: 61 targets and nearly 50 receptions and 383 yards.
Carson is only 26 years old, nothing in this backfield has proven to be any sort of competition for him: Rashaad Bentknee, Stick to being a DJ Dallas, Travis go Homer. It's a brutal depth chart behind Carson.
According to Underdog ADP, Carson is RB19 at the end of the 3rd round. Until he hits the 2nd round, I'll be scooping tons of Carson.
Damien Harris - New England Patriots
Current ADP: RB32 (88)
I'm not sure why, but I'm so in on Damien Harris this year.
There's a TON of uncertainty in this backfield. And there's still a lot not to like about this situation for Harris.
They resigned James White to a shit one-year deal.
Sony Michel is still in New England, for now...
With them drafting Rhamondre Stevenson, Michel might be on his way out.
Remember, with Sony Michel dealing with his foot injury last summer, Harris was soaking up the first team reps, then he got placed on the IR with a hand injury which kept him out the first three weeks of the year.
He came byke in Week 4, ripped off 100 yards on 17 carries against the Chiefs, before injuring his quad, a couple of weeks later dealing with an ankle injury
Then in Week 8 through the rest of the season, he took over as the guy in this backfield. He averaged about 15 carries and 74 rushing yards/game. In that span of 8 games he averaged over 5 ypc and 3.2 YAC/attempt.
Harris was legitimately good last year. And he did it while defenses swarmed on top of the offense. While it'll still likely be the case, to a lesser extent in 2021, nothing was worse than the group of pass-catchers they had last year.
It's like going into the snack drawer and seeing nutri-grain bars, pretzels, raisins and seltzer.
They spent a bit in free agency - bringing in Jonny Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne. So we're not bringing oreos to the closer, but at least we've got some old, stale poptarts.
That should alleviate some of the pressure on Cam, Harris and the offensive line. Speaking of the offensive line, even with Marcus Cannons opting out of the season were PFF's 6th best run-blocking line in the league. Harris will be efficient bc he makes guys miss in tight spaces and bc the offensive line will give him room. Per PFR, only Raheem Mostert averaged more yards before contact than Damien Harris did in 2020. The line will be good, he will be good, the offense is questionable but will be way better than last year. The QB situation will be the wildcard here, but I think we see Cam for the majority of the season. It'll hurt Harris on the GL
Is Harris going to catch 30 passes, probably not, his ceiling is probably capped at like high-end RB2, maybe top-15 fantasy back with some no-show games, but I almost think he's a lock to finish as an RB2 this year.