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Best Matches for Fantasy Football Purposes: Running Back (2021)

by Kyle Yates | @KyleYNFL | Featured Writer
May 5, 2021

If I’m being perfectly honest, I had a scene from a movie pop into my head when I started writing this article. For anyone who listens to the FantasyPros Football Podcast, you know that this is a very rare occurrence due to how few movies I’ve seen.

Anyway, when I read the title, Mrs. Doubtfire immediately came to my mind. In this scene, Robin Williams, Harvey Fierstein, and Scott Capurro look into the camera and sing the hook from Matchmaker, Matchmaker from The Fiddler On The Roof. It’s one of the best clips from an outstanding movie and I now guarantee that that riff will be stuck in your head for the next three hours. You’re welcome.

The fantasy football gods were playing matchmaker over the three days of the NFL Draft and there were some talented players that fell into fantastic spots for fantasy purposes. Some players we fully expected to land in favorable situations, but some others fell a little bit short.

Who were the players at the RB position that landed in the best possible spots for their Dynasty outlook? Let’s take a look.

Najee Harris (RB – Pittsburgh Steelers)

Harris landing in Pittsburgh is a dream scenario for fantasy managers. While it was highly unlikely that he was going to land in a situation that would fail to give him a massive workload, there were some offenses in the late-1st that could’ve hurt his outlook. Instead, Pittsburgh is going to run Harris into the ground and utilize his full skillset. He’ll shoulder a huge workload and then also be a factor as a receiver out of the backfield. It might not be to the extent of Le’Veon Bell from years prior, but he’ll be a true workhorse back. That workload is fading out of fantasy football more and more, which is going to make Harris a highly sought after commodity in rookie drafts and redraft leagues alike this off-season.

Travis Etienne (RB – Jacksonville Jaguars)

While James Robinson Dynasty managers might disagree with this being a perfect match, Etienne’s going to slide in nicely in this offense. Etienne’s pass-catching ability is going to be a huge asset for fantasy football and Trevor Lawrence already has plenty of familiarity throwing the ball his way. With this, combined with Etienne’s threat to take it to the house on every play, he’s going to be featured heavily. With that being said, I do still believe that Robinson is going to be involved and he could still have fantasy relevance. Etienne’s not going to see every single touch in this offense, but he landed in a perfect spot that will utilize his skillset well.

Trey Sermon (RB – San Francisco 49ers)

Heading into the NFL Draft, Sermon was a complete wildcard. There was a chance that he fell into the right situation that was going to give him a large enough workload to be fantasy relevant. However, there was also the possibility that Sermon could land as a backup RB that was drafted on Day 3, which is practically a death sentence for fantasy purposes. Instead, Sermon saw the 49ers trade up and select him in the third round to add him to an offense that is set to go nuclear. While Kyle Shanahan will alternate RBs like he has always done, the investment in Sermon signals that they have big plans for him in this offense. As you look across the league, it’s hard to find a better spot that Sermon could have landed for fantasy football.

Michael Carter (RB – New York Jets)

Carter had to wait a bit to hear his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft, but once he did, it was a perfect fit. With Mike LaFleur set to run Kyle Shanahan’s system, Carter is an instant plug-and-play option for a zone team. With a loaded receiving corps, a talented rookie QB, and a solid offensive line, Carter has everything around him to be successful. With his burst and agility, he should be able to pick up chunk gains routinely and he could be a very reliable fantasy asset. As far as landing spots go for Carter specifically, the Jets were at the top of the list.

Larry Rountree III (RB – Los Angeles Chargers)

I talked about Rountree on The FantasyPros Dynasty Football Podcast leading into the NFL Draft and mentioned that he could be a solid fantasy option if he was given the opportunity. While the late draft capital isn’t exactly inspiring, there’s a path for Rountree to see significant work in a dynamic offense. Joshua Kelley has done next to nothing to prove that he’s worth rolling out again in 2021 and Justin Jackson‘s shown flashes of his talent, but he can’t stay healthy. There’s an opening on this roster for the rotational RB next to Austin Ekeler and Rountree might have the best shot of returning fantasy football value of any of the Day 3 running backs. Keep him in mind when you’re on the clock late in your drafts.

 


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Kyle Yates is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive and follow him @KyleYNFL.