Must-Draft Running Backs for 2021 – Part 1

Curtis Patrick shares his 2021 fantasy running backs who won’t cost you a top-36 pick — but could win you a fantasy football championship. 

In 2019, Curtis gave you Austin Ekeler long before anyone else had solved the Chargers backfield riddle. In 2020, he put you on Kareem Hunt when he was still being drafted at RB30 by ADP. Who’s up in 2021?

Must-Draft Running Backs for 2021 – Part 1

This isn’t an article that focuses on the no-brainer, high-volume running backs being selected in the first two of rounds of every fantasy draft. You can’t always control which backs in that group fall to you in a draft. Average draft position is fairly rigid at the top. This is an article where I’ll share my primary mid and late-round targets that you can plan your draft around because you know you can get them by being just a little aggressive.

If you love reading about running back values, also be sure to check out Shawn Siegele’s latest piece on runners, 5 Heavily Discounted RBs Who Were Much Better Than Advertised in 2020.

Now, on to my targets. It’s driven by data and supported by situational analysis. Sometimes, taking the name off of the player helps us to be more objective in our analysis.

Part 1 only features one player. I think he’s the most important player in the top-50 of drafts this season — so I’m going to spend some time laying this out.

Let’s start with a back who’s in line to be the unquestioned starter for the first time in his career.

  • His expected fantasy points have increased each NFL season
  • His fantasy points over expectation have increased each NFL season
  • He was RB11 in PPR over a four-game stretch at one point in 2020
  • His team has averaged 19.75 rushing touchdowns per season since 2017
  • He was the most efficient running back in major college football history

Who is this player? You can’t afford not to read this before your next draft.

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Curtis Patrick

RotoViz Co-Owner. Host, Dynasty Command Center Podcast. High Stakes Dynasty Champion. Top-12 Finisher in 2020 FFPC Main Event. Champion, Inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame King’s Classic League.

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