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Updated Running Back Rankings - Fantasy Football PPR Drafts

Gus Edwards - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, Draft Sleepers

It is the final days before the NFL season starts, and many fantasy football players will still be drafting until the final night before kickoff. Below we provide a look and review of our latest updated fantasy football running back rankings, here to set you up well if there is a crunch for preparation time at this point.

Be sure to also check out our entire 2021 fantasy football rankings dashboard. It's loaded up with our rankings for all other league formats and scoring settings including:

If you have already drafted, we serve you well here also. Perusing the running backs analysis here, it can be confirmed that you made some quality picks, or this can serve as a handy guide to preseason trade targets. Now let's get to it!

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Fantasy Football Running Back PPR Rankings

Pos. Tier Pos.
Player Overall
Overall Tier
1 1 Christian McCaffrey 1 1
1 2 Dalvin Cook 2 1
1 3 Alvin Kamara 3 1
1 4 Derrick Henry 4 1
1 5 Aaron Jones 5 1
1 6 Ezekiel Elliott 6 1
1 7 Austin Ekeler 7 1
2 8 Saquon Barkley 10 2
2 9 Jonathan Taylor 12 2
2 10 Najee Harris 16 2
2 11 Antonio Gibson 17 2
2 12 Nick Chubb 18 3
3 13 Joe Mixon 21 3
3 14 David Montgomery 28 3
3 15 Clyde Edwards-Helaire 29 3
3 16 James Robinson 32 3
3 17 Chris Carson 33 3
3 18 D'Andre Swift 35 3
4 19 Gus Edwards 49 4
4 20 Darrell Henderson 50 4
4 21 Miles Sanders 51 4
4 22 Mike Davis 52 5
4 23 Javonte Williams 55 5
5 24 Josh Jacobs 59 5
5 25 Myles Gaskin 62 5
5 26 Kareem Hunt 63 5
5 27 Damien Harris 66 5
5 28 Chase Edmonds 68 5
6 29 Raheem Mostert 71 6
6 30 Trey Sermon 81 6
7 31 Ronald Jones II 95 7
7 32 Melvin Gordon III 96 7
7 33 Jamaal Williams 100 7
7 34 James Conner 101 7
7 35 Kenyan Drake 105 7
7 36 Zack Moss 113 8
7 37 AJ Dillon 114 8
7 38 Leonard Fournette 115 8
8 39 Tony Pollard 121 8
8 40 Devin Singletary 122 8
8 41 Nyheim Hines 123 8
8 42 Sony Michel 124 8
8 43 James White 127 8
8 44 Michael Carter 132 8
8 45 Kenneth Gainwell 135 9
9 46 J.D. McKissic 141 9
9 47 Giovani Bernard 142 9
9 48 Phillip Lindsay 145 9
9 49 Carlos Hyde 160 10
9 50 Ty Johnson 163 10
9 51 David Johnson 164 10
10 52 Tevin Coleman 170 10
10 53 Tony Jones Jr. 171 11
10 54 Ty'Son Williams 172 11
10 55 Alexander Mattison 173 11
10 56 Malcolm Brown 178 11
10 57 Rhamondre Stevenson 179 11
10 58 Damien Williams 184 11
10 59 Darrel Williams 185 11
10 60 Rashaad Penny 186 11
10 61 Darrynton Evans 194 11
10 62 Latavius Murray 198 12
11 63 Jerick McKinnon 206 12
11 64 Chuba Hubbard 212 12
11 65 Marlon Mack 227 13
11 66 Mark Ingram II 231 13
11 67 Salvon Ahmed 236 13
11 68 Samaje Perine 247 13
11 69 Devontae Booker 249 14
11 70 Justin Jackson 257 14
11 71 Alex Collins 258 14
11 72 Boston Scott 261 14
11 73 Tarik Cohen 269 15
11 74 Kylin Hill 278 15
12 75 Justice Hill 282 15
12 76 J.J. Taylor 283 15
12 77 Xavier Jones 289 15
12 78 Matt Breida 291 15
12 79 Benny Snell Jr. 301 15
12 80 Trayveon Williams 302 15
12 81 Elijah Mitchell 306 15
12 82 Chris Evans 307 15
12 83 Jeff Wilson Jr. 308 15
12 84 Eno Benjamin 311 15
12 85 Joshua Kelley 314 16
12 86 Ty Montgomery 315 16
12 87 D'Onta Foreman 318 16
12 88 Larry Rountree III 320 16
12 89 Dare Ogunbowale 324 16
12 90 Kalen Ballage 327 16
12 91 Jake Funk 329 16
13 92 Jaret Patterson 341 16
13 93 DeeJay Dallas 342 16
13 94 Khalil Herbert 358 17
13 95 Ke'Shawn Vaughn 360 17
13 96 Devine Ozigbo 362 17
13 97 La'Mical Perine 367 17
13 98 Caleb Huntley 371 17
13 99 Rex Burkhead 372 17
13 100 Javian Hawkins 373 17
13 101 Anthony McFarland Jr. 375 17
13 102 Travis Homer 380 17
13 103 Kyle Juszczyk 383 17
13 104 Jermar Jefferson 384 18
14 105 Adrian Peterson 395 18
14 106 Mike Boone 397 18
14 107 Todd Gurley II 398 18
14 108 Pooka Williams Jr. 399 18
14 109 JaMycal Hasty 406 18
14 110 Kene Nwangwu 408 18
14 111 Jalen Richard 411 18
14 112 Ito Smith 418 18
14 113 Darwin Thompson 424 18
14 114 Jordan Wilkins 428 18
14 115 Royce Freeman 431 18
14 116 Le'Veon Bell 435 18
14 117 Gerrid Doaks 436 18
14 118 Alec Ingold 439 18
14 119 Wayne Gallman 440 18
14 120 D'Ernest Johnson 447 18


Tier 1 Running Backs

In the top two slots, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are the easy picks, and you should be thinking ahead to your second and third selections on the turn. Alvin Kamara is also an easy selection now that Jameis Winston has been named New Orleans’ starting QB over Taysom Hill. Derrick Henry will be hard-pressed to match last season’s rushing totals, but he has led the league in rushing yards and TDs in each of the past two seasons and there is no reason to expect a significant drop-off in production.

Aaron Jones has rushed for 25 TDs over the past two seasons, and even if that production falls off slightly because of A.J. Dillon, he could catch more passes this season. Ezekiel Elliott is set for a big rebound year in what could be the best offense in the NFC. Austin Ekeler is unlikely to emerge as a goal-line runner this season, yet should be good for double-figure TD totals from scrimmage.


Tier 2 Running Backs

Saquon Barkley remains a true injury risk as I indicated in my latest rankings update article here. If you drafted him already, build some good RB insurance behind Barkley, and that does not mean rostering Devontae Booker. Jonathan Taylor led all RBs and was second in the NFL last year with 10.2 yards after the catch per reception. If he catches more passes this season, the upside can be elevated as long as Carson Wentz remains healthy and at least adequately effective.

Najee Harris is all about volume, of course, but a healthier Ben Roethlisberger also can boost his outlook. Antonio Gibson was a TD revelation as a rookie and now the Washington offense looks improved with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.


Tier 3 Running Backs

Nick Chubb and Joe Mixon may be considered Tier 2 players by some fantasy analysts. Chubb is the lead runner on a team that was fourth in run-pass ratio last season and should remain in that range. Kareem Hunt does share touches, but outside of Dalvin Cook and Henry, Chubb may be the best pure runner in the league. Joe Mixon is hungry to put a disappointing 2020 season behind him.

David Montgomery is a very good RB2 pick when he slips to the second half of the third round or later. He played very well down the stretch, and if you say he had a friendly schedule, I say a good RB will take advantage of such matchups. Clyde Edwards-Helaire needs to show he can become more than a secondary option in the Kansas City offense. James Robinson may not be overworked like he was last season, yet will still function as a high-end RB2.

Chris Carson is a value when taken in the fourth round. He was 13th in average fantasy points per game last season at RB and finished 12th in overall points at the position in 2019. He plays at a high-end fantasy RB2 level when healthy and there will be no threat to his role as Seattle’s No. 1 RB. De’Andre Swift has a lot of backers based on potential volume, yet he also has bust potential. Swift is going to get a lot of defensive attention because of the lack of surrounding playmakers, and throwing to him out of the backfield won’t be the way to catch up when the Lions fall behind by significant margins in many games.


Tier 4 Running Backs

Gus Edwards takes over as the lead RB from the best rushing team in the league last season. You may be concerned about the presence of Lamar Jackson, yet consider Edwards rushed for six TDs in a lesser role last year and has averaged 5.2 yards per carry so far in his career.

The Rams do seem concerned about the durability of Darrell Henderson, and that is why they acquired Sony Michel. When Henderson is healthy, though, he is an upside performer with the ability to make plays of note from anywhere on the field. Miles Sanders would have more appeal if we could count on him more as a goal-line runner.


Tier 5 Running Backs

Mike Davis does not get enough respect. He is versatile and fully expected to function as the lead RB for the Falcons. Atlanta has confidence in him and so should you. Wayne Gallman will not be a threat to his starting status, he was just added off waivers. Javonte Williams will at least be a viable flex play as a rookie. Josh Jacobs is not a “sexy” fantasy name, yet he did rush for 12 TDs last season.

Myles Gaskin was never a local favorite among Miami insiders and is now caught in a committee situation. Chase Edmonds is very promising, as he is certainly more dynamic than James Conner and just needs to stay healthy to possibly unlock his potential. Trey Sermon has feature-back promise, but the 49ers may always cap the ceiling of their RBs with timeshares and committee approaches.


Tier 6 Running Backs

Raheem Mostert is one of the most dazzling speed runners in the league when available, and could have even more upside if he works with Trey Lance in an RPO attack.


Tier 7 Running Backs

Ronald Jones is stuck in the most confusing committee situation in the NFC, and should only be looked at as a fantasy RB4. If you want to avoid significant frustration, do not invest in the Tampa Bay backfield at all.

Melvin Gordon is likely gone from Denver after this season and will be heavily pushed by Javonte Williams, yet he is also determined to prove he is still a very effective RB himself. He does have appeal as a flex player.

James Conner could function as the inside complement to Edmonds as he operates on the inside with Edmonds on the perimeter. Kenyan Drake should pair with Jacobs much like Edmonds does with Conner, as a RB who works in space, but there is not much upside.


Tier 8 Running Backs

Zack Moss has the potential to rush for eight-plus TDs as the main short yardage RB for Buffalo. Sony Michel could be a primary goal-line option and finisher for an improved Rams offense.

Nyheim Hines can post quality numbers in any given week, yet he is also very unreliable. At this point, though, you are starting to get into the territory of pass-catching specialists who have very limited ceilings and Hines has some more statistical promise than others.

James White gets a minor boost again with Mac Jones taking over at QB for New England, but Jones is certainly no Brady, so do not overestimate White’s outlook for 2021.

Michael Carter is going to prove to be significantly undervalued in this tier. He is an electric and versatile playmaker who will emerge to be the best fantasy producer from the Jets RB crew this season.


Tiers 9 and Beyond

J.D. McKissic could see his value drop as Fitzpatrick is more of a downfield thrower than a check-down QB.

Ty Johnson is stirring a lot of recent buzz, but Tevin Coleman is also in his way, and the Jets backfield does look like a full-on committee until Carter starts to rise.

Rhamondre Stevenson is a more explosive runner than Damien Harris and it would not be surprising to see him push Harris at some point.

If you must roster a Texans RB, Mark Ingram should be the best bet for rushing TDs.

Alex Collins looked very good this preseason and may work in a timeshare with Rashaad Penny if Carson goes down, and would likely be the inside runner in such a situation.

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.


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