Joe Pisapia’s Early Top-20 Running Back Rankings (2021 Fantasy Football)
Joe Pisapia, host of The FantasyPros Fantasy Football Podcast, is back to offer his early top-20 running back rankings.
These rankings are for half-PPR leagues. You can find our full fantasy football expert consensus rankings here.
Derrick Henry (TEN)
Despite leading the NFL in rushing back-to-back seasons (a feat accomplished just twice in the last 20 years), Derrick Henry still doesn't get enough credit. While he'll never have the PPR upside of CMC or Dalvin Cook, Henry has two straight seasons of 300+ carries, 16+ TDs. Many are concerned with henry's workload catching up with him, but he's a physical freak of nature and was used sparingly his first two years in the NFL. He's worthy of top 3 overall consideration in all formats, even with low reception totals.
Nick Chubb (CLE)
After suffering an injury Week 4, Nick Chubb returned in Week 10 and rattled off 8 TDs over his final 8 games. While Kareem Hunt should handle the bulk of the receiving workload out of the backfield, Chubb is about as solid of an RB1 as you will find. If he stays on the field for 17 games, he's a lock for well over 1K yards rushing and double-digit TDs.
Austin Ekeler (LAC)
It's easy to understand people being frustrated with Joe Mixon in 2020, but once Joe Burrow was done, there was no reason to push him back onto the field after his injury. The Bengals invested heavily in Joe Mixon last off-season, and there are no challengers to his position in the offense. He also had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons before 2020's disappointment. Having faith and buying back into Mixon for '21 is a good idea and will be rewarded.
Chris Carson (SEA)
Although Chris Carson appeared in just 12 games, he actually had a breakout season in many ways. He improved his status in the Seattle passing game, matched his 9 TDs from '20 in 4 fewer games, and improved his YPC. Carson returned to the Seahawks in free agency and his role in the offense is pretty clear. As your RB2, you could do far worse than Carson.
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator - which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents - to our Draft Assistant - that optimizes your picks with expert advice - we've got you covered this fantasy football draft season.