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10 Running Backs Our Experts Like More or Less Than ADP (2021 Fantasy Football)

Aug 1, 2021
James Robinson

Average Draft Position, or ADP as it’s known by many, is a great resource as you prepare for your fantasy football draft. It gives you a sense of what players are expected to cost, based on how the fantasy community, in general, has drafted. We offer ADPs for individual sites, and you can also check out our consensus ADP which provides the consensus of several ADP sources.

Today, we’re taking a look at players our experts — Mike Tagliere, Kyle Yates, Dan Harris, and Joe Pisapia — are higher or lower on versus our consensus ADP.

ADP and rankings are based on half-PPR scoring formats.

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Players Our Experts Like More Than ADP

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
Expert Consensus RB5 | ADP RB7

Our perception of Ezekiel Elliott may be a bit skewed after his lackluster performance for fantasy last season. However, we need to remember the full context of the situation and recognize that Zeke was a top-tier fantasy option through the first five weeks of the season. He was the RB3 when Dak Prescott was healthy and on the field and was averaging a healthy 19.9 fantasy points per game. With Dak presumably back and ready to go for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, Zeke’s a fantastic option again this season to lead your team as a RB1. If you happen to get him at a bit of a discount because of what happened last season, that’s just simply icing on the cake.
– Kyle Yates

Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
Expert Consensus RB7 | ADP RB9

I do an article every year highlighting which players performed better than expected based on where their touches took place, as well as how many carries/targets they receive. Aaron Jones has finished No. 7, No. 4, No. 4, and No. 16 over the last four years on that list, which highlights just how good he is. During that time, he’s scored 143.4 more fantasy points than the average running back would’ve. Him and Alvin Kamara are much more similar than most realize. You take proven production at the top of drafts, and Jones has proven it time-and-time again.
– Mike Tagliere

Chris Carson (RB – SEA)
Expert Consensus RB16 | ADP RB20

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.
– Joe Pisapia

Travis Etienne (RB – JAC)
Expert Consensus RB20 | ADP RB30

Urban Meyer is certainly known for valuing speed on the football field and the Jaguars have not been shy about their intent to draft Kadarius Toney if he were there at pick No. 25 in the NFL Draft. With Toney off the board, they went with the explosive RB prospect that can absolutely fly in Etienne. My belief is that the Jaguars intend to deploy Etienne as a traditional RB, but then also as a player that they will use all over the formation and simply get the ball in his hands. If that’s the case, Etienne’s going to be extremely valuable for fantasy football right away. He’s a true home-run threat and he’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield. As we sit here in early June, I wouldn’t be shocked if Etienne finishes as a top-15 RB in fantasy right out of the gates. My Very Early Projection: 184-881-5 rushing & 71-607-2 receiving.
– Kyle Yates

Trey Sermon (RB – SF)
Expert Consensus RB31 | ADP RB39

Sermon was a tough one to project where he was going to go in the draft, as he seemed like a running back who was best-suited to play 10 years ago, although talented. Fortunately for him, he found a team that loved him, and it just happened to be the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan has churned out a lot of RB1s throughout his coaching career, so knowing he wanted to trade up for Sermon speaks volumes. He might be on the fantasy radar relatively quickly.
– Mike Tagliere

Players Our Experts Like Less Than ADP

Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
Expert Consensus RB9 | ADP RB6

This time last year, I was much higher on Taylor than the consensus. I like Taylor, but did everyone forget about what happened the first 10 weeks of the season? Taylor was the RB19 and David Montgomery was the RB20. Taylor finished the year as the RB6 while Montgomery was the RB4. Many will talk about Montgomery’s schedule as the reason for his production, hence why he’s ranked at RB20 in ECR right now, but are they ignoring Taylor’s schedule? He played against the Texans TWICE, Packers, Raiders, Jaguars, and the Steelers (who were decimated by injuries in that game). That’s a large reason for his jump in production. I still like Taylor, just not nearly as much as the consensus.
– Mike Tagliere

Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
Expert Consensus RB21 | ADP RB16

There were certainly positives from Jacobs’ 2020 season, including that he scored 12 touchdowns and carried the ball 273 times, each third-most in the NFL among running backs. But ask any fantasy manager who rostered him and he or she will tell you that it never felt comfortable, even if Jacobs did finish as an RB1 in fantasy. Preseason chatter of a massive increased role in the passing game was pure fluff (he received just 45 targets on the year), and there was, of course, his Instagram hoax about not playing in Week 14. Now, he’ll share running back work with Kenyan Drake, and the best-case scenario is that Jacobs handles the rushing down work while Drake comes on for passing downs, as Jon Gruden has suggested. That should leave Jacobs as a weak RB2 in half-PPR formats, one who needs consistent work around the goal-line to have significant value.
– Dan Harris

Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
Expert Consensus RB23 | ADP RB18

Sanders is one of the most exciting RBs to watch in the entire NFL, but he’s been a headache for fantasy managers over the past couple of seasons. While he could be incredible for fantasy if he was given the workload that a CMC or Zeke got, the Eagles coaching staff has refused to lean on him and they’ve consistently rotated in multiple other options. With Nick Sirianni coming in as Head Coach, there was some optimism that things could be different this time around. However, the Eagles signed Kerryon Johnson in free agency and added Gainwell in the NFL Draft, therefore signaling that we should be expecting more of the same. With Hurts taking away some rushing volume, plus the presence of multiple other RBs in this backfield, there doesn’t appear to be much upside to selecting Sanders this upcoming season. He can be viewed as a low-end RB2 this year.
– Kyle Yates

Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI)
Expert Consensus RB30 | ADP RB25

I know Kliff Kingsbury went on record as saying Chase Edmonds was a starting back in the NFL. Don’t confuse starting with workhorse. They are not the same thing. James Connor was brought in to share the workload and barring an injury to one, this seems like a backfield that is destined to frustrate fantasy owners, even if you roster both. Edmonds as RB depth is ok, but I’d prefer a WR in my flex spot over Edmonds.
– Joe Pisapia

James Robinson (RB – JAC)
Expert Consensus RB35 | ADP RB23

Fantasy managers are in a bit of a quandary when it comes to what to do with James Robinson. He smashed every expectation set for him last season and was a huge reason why many fantasy players were in their championships. However, the Jaguars turned over the entire front office and coaching staff that brought Robinson in. Additionally, the new coaching staff selected an explosive rookie in the first round, which doesn’t look good for the second-year RB. With that being said, Robinson is not going to be completely relegated to the bench now. Etienne’s role for this offense is going to be flexible, which means that we could see a lot of 2RB sets from this offense this season. It’s just that Etienne is simply going to be receiving the clear majority of the touches in this case. Robinson still has value as a depth piece RB for your roster, but he most likely can’t be relied on as anything more than a FLEX play week in and week out. My Very Early Projection: 102-469-4 rushing & 51-379-2 receiving.
– Kyle Yates

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