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Running Back Rankings for Week 1 Fantasy Football

Full running back rankings for 2021 Week 1 fantasy football.

Welcome to the fantasy football Week 1 running back rankings hub! Say that five times fast.

Below you will find my top-60 running backs for Week 1, perhaps unsurprisingly dominated by some familiar names up top. Although limited to a run-centric method of usage, Tennessee Titans’ lead back Derrick Henry maintains a top 5 position with talented dual threats Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones on either side of him. A bevy of two-headed backfields like the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt, alongside San Francisco 49ers’ Raheem Mostert & Trey Sermon, find themselves planted firmly in the top 24. Stud rookies Javonte Williams and Michael Carter vie for single-flex viability towards the RB3/RB4 groupings.

These rankings are geared toward .5PPR scoring formats for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season but should aid those who play in both non-PPR and full-point PPR formats. Check back throughout the week to see how expectations have changed as news continues to roll in, enhancing our prognostication abilities. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @Ginger__Nic for any fantasy related advice.

Week 1 Standouts

Najee Harris (RB6) – The Buffalo Bills’ front-seven is no push over, especially with Star Lotulelei’s return from his 2020 opt-out. However, the pace of this game should keep the Pittsburgh Steelers chucking it all night long and rookie bellcow Najee Harris will benefit as a result. Although this might not be a carry-heavy outing for the young rusher, the upside here is found in Harris’ proficiency in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield.

Harris is a sure bet to see 20-touches or more given the Buffalo offense’s ability to score at will, with much of that tilting towards the passing game. Over the last two seasons, the top-5o fantasy backs (of which Harris is one) have averaged 4.35 yards per carry and 7.79 yards per reception, while catching 77% of the passes thrown their way (per Ryan Weisse). With the potential for up to 25 total touches featuring 7 or more receptions for Harris this week, you’ve got a week-winner on your hands.

Injury note: Bills’ DT Star Lotulelei has registered a second Did Not Participate (calf) practice designation despite encouraging words from head coach Sean McDermott. Lotulelei’s absence would be a boon for Harris.

James Robinson (RB8) – With lead back duties locked up for another year, James Robinson is set to feast against a notoriously soft Houston Texans’ defensive-front that allowed the most rushing yards in the league last year (2,564), the second-most rushing touchdowns (24), and ranked dead-last in run defense NEFF rating. And that was before they lost future Hall of Fame lineman J.J. Watt this off-season.

Raheem Mostert (RB17) & Trey Sermon (RB23) – The Detroit Lions were the most fantasy friendly defense for opposing backfields last year, allowing 30(!) .5PPR FPPG. With the game’s best designed run game heading to town, it’s going to be a long night for new head coach Dan Campbell. Fire up both Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon as RB2s, with both RBs candidates to finish inside the top 15 at the position. For deep leagues and DFS purposes, even consider taking a flyer Elijah Mitchell.

Ty Johnson (RB30) – On a recent episode of The Fantasy Football Hustle, Brian Drake mentioned that a local New York beat reporter had confidently told him that Ty Johnson is the No. 1 RB for the Jets at the moment. The quick and capable one-cut back should have little issue carving up the Carolina Panthers’ largely unimposing front-seven, toting the rock in the Shanahanian rushing scheme. Expect a solid RB3 performance.

Week 1 Running Back Rankings

(% Rostered via Sleeper)

RankPlayerTeamOpp% Rostered
1Christian McCaffreyCARvs. NYJ90%+
2Dalvin CookMINat CIN90%+
3Alvin KamaraNOvs. GB90%+
4Derrick HenryTENvs. ARI90%+
5Aaron JonesGBat NO90%+
6Najee HarrisPITat BUF90%+
7Joe MixonCINvs. MIN90%+
8Raheem MostertSFat DET90%+
9James RobinsonJACat HOU90%+
10Nick ChubbCLEat KC90%+
11Jonathan TaylorINDvs. SEA90%+
12Austin EkelerLACat WAS90%+
13Ezekiel ElliottDALat TB90%+
14Saquon BarkleyNYGvs. DEN90%+
15Antonio GibsonWASvs. LAC90%+
16Chris CarsonSEAat IND90%+
17Clyde Edwards-HelaireKCvs. CLE90%+
18Miles SandersPHIat ATL90%+
19Mike DavisATLvs. PHI90%+
20David MontgomeryCHIat LAR90%+
21Kareem HuntCLEat KC90%+
22Ty'Son WilliamsBALat LV70-79%
23Damien HarrisNEvs. MIA80-89%
24Jamaal WilliamsDETvs. SF70-79%
25Darrell HendersonLARvs. CHI90%+
26D'Andre SwiftDETvs. SF90%+
27Devin SingletaryBUFvs. PIT80-89%
28Nyheim HinesINDvs. SEA70-79%
29Elijah MitchellSFat DET<30%
30Josh JacobsLVvs. BAL90%+
31Myles GaskinMIAat NE90%+
32Ty JohnsonNYJat CAR<30%
33Melvin Gordon IIIDENat NYG90%+
34Chase EdmondsARIat TEN90%+
35Javonte WilliamsDENat NYG90%+
36Matt BreidaBUFvs. PIT<30%
37Michael CarterNYJat CAR70-79%
38Kenyan DrakeLVvs. BAL80-89%
39Giovani BernardTBvs. DAL<30%
40Phillip LindsayHOUvs. JAC60-69%
41Sony MichelLARvs. CHI60-69%
42James WhiteNEvs. MIA30-39%
43Damien WilliamsCHIat LAR<30%
44Leonard FournetteTBvs. DAL90%+
45James ConnerARIat TEN80-89%
46Justin JacksonLACat WAS<30%
47Carlos HydeJACat HOU<30%
48Tony Jones Jr.NOvs. GB<30%
49Tevin ColemanNYJat CAR30-39%
50AJ DillonGBat NO80-89%
51J.D. McKissicWASvs. LAC40-49%
52Latavius MurrayBALat LV50-59%
53Rashaad PennySEAat IND<30%
54David JohnsonHOUvs. JAC60-69%
55Alexander MattisonMINat CIN40-49%
56Tony PollardDALat TB60-69%
57Chuba HubbardCARvs. NYJ50-59%
58Anthony McFarland Jr.PITat BUF<30%
59Darrel WilliamsKCvs. CLE<30%
60JaMycal HastySFat DET<30%