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)
|1||Christian McCaffrey||CAR||vs. NYJ||90%+|
|2||Dalvin Cook||MIN||at CIN||90%+|
|3||Alvin Kamara||NO||vs. GB||90%+|
|4||Derrick Henry||TEN||vs. ARI||90%+|
|5||Aaron Jones||GB||at NO||90%+|
|6||Najee Harris||PIT||at BUF||90%+|
|7||Joe Mixon||CIN||vs. MIN||90%+|
|8||Raheem Mostert||SF||at DET||90%+|
|9||James Robinson||JAC||at HOU||90%+|
|10||Nick Chubb||CLE||at KC||90%+|
|11||Jonathan Taylor||IND||vs. SEA||90%+|
|12||Austin Ekeler||LAC||at WAS||90%+|
|13||Ezekiel Elliott||DAL||at TB||90%+|
|14||Saquon Barkley||NYG||vs. DEN||90%+|
|15||Antonio Gibson||WAS||vs. LAC||90%+|
|16||Chris Carson||SEA||at IND||90%+|
|17||Clyde Edwards-Helaire||KC||vs. CLE||90%+|
|18||Miles Sanders||PHI||at ATL||90%+|
|19||Mike Davis||ATL||vs. PHI||90%+|
|20||David Montgomery||CHI||at LAR||90%+|
|21||Kareem Hunt||CLE||at KC||90%+|
|22||Ty'Son Williams||BAL||at LV||70-79%|
|23||Damien Harris||NE||vs. MIA||80-89%|
|24||Jamaal Williams||DET||vs. SF||70-79%|
|25||Darrell Henderson||LAR||vs. CHI||90%+|
|26||D'Andre Swift||DET||vs. SF||90%+|
|27||Devin Singletary||BUF||vs. PIT||80-89%|
|28||Nyheim Hines||IND||vs. SEA||70-79%|
|29||Elijah Mitchell||SF||at DET||<30%|
|30||Josh Jacobs||LV||vs. BAL||90%+|
|31||Myles Gaskin||MIA||at NE||90%+|
|32||Ty Johnson||NYJ||at CAR||<30%|
|33||Melvin Gordon III||DEN||at NYG||90%+|
|34||Chase Edmonds||ARI||at TEN||90%+|
|35||Javonte Williams||DEN||at NYG||90%+|
|36||Matt Breida||BUF||vs. PIT||<30%|
|37||Michael Carter||NYJ||at CAR||70-79%|
|38||Kenyan Drake||LV||vs. BAL||80-89%|
|39||Giovani Bernard||TB||vs. DAL||<30%|
|40||Phillip Lindsay||HOU||vs. JAC||60-69%|
|41||Sony Michel||LAR||vs. CHI||60-69%|
|42||James White||NE||vs. MIA||30-39%|
|43||Damien Williams||CHI||at LAR||<30%|
|44||Leonard Fournette||TB||vs. DAL||90%+|
|45||James Conner||ARI||at TEN||80-89%|
|46||Justin Jackson||LAC||at WAS||<30%|
|47||Carlos Hyde||JAC||at HOU||<30%|
|48||Tony Jones Jr.||NO||vs. GB||<30%|
|49||Tevin Coleman||NYJ||at CAR||30-39%|
|50||AJ Dillon||GB||at NO||80-89%|
|51||J.D. McKissic||WAS||vs. LAC||40-49%|
|52||Latavius Murray||BAL||at LV||50-59%|
|53||Rashaad Penny||SEA||at IND||<30%|
|54||David Johnson||HOU||vs. JAC||60-69%|
|55||Alexander Mattison||MIN||at CIN||40-49%|
|56||Tony Pollard||DAL||at TB||60-69%|
|57||Chuba Hubbard||CAR||vs. NYJ||50-59%|
|58||Anthony McFarland Jr.||PIT||at BUF||<30%|
|59||Darrel Williams||KC||vs. CLE||<30%|
|60||JaMycal Hasty||SF||at DET||<30%|