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Fantasy Football RB PPR Rankings 2021: Best running backs to draft, sleepers to know

Fantasy Football RB PPR Rankings 2021: Best running backs to draft, sleepers to know

How highly should you prioritize running back receptions in PPR leagues? Obviously, catches matter, especially in full-point PPR formats, but if the yards and TDs aren’t there, too, they only matter so much. Conversely, even if a guy doesn’t get many catches, he can still have significant value — assuming he gets into the end zone. That creates more potential sleepers and busts, which means our 2021 fantasy RB PPR rankings are even more volatile than our standard edition.

The differences start at the top. Derrick Henry is our top overall player in standard leagues, but he falls to fifth in PPR formats. Last season, he finished third among RBs in PPR leagues behind Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook. The (hopefully) healthy returns of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley will further move him down the list. However, if Henry once again leads the league in rushing and rushing TDs, which he has two years in a row, he should be no worse than a top-five PPR back (which he has also been two years in a row).

Nick Chubb is another notable dropper after catching just 16 passes in 12 games last year. Still, you might be surprised to know he finished 11th among RBs in PPR scoring, proving once again that if you score and rack up yards on the ground, you can be a stud. Kenyan Drake (16th ranked), Ronald Jones II (20), Miles Sanders (23), and JK Dobbins (24) also finished as RB2s despite all having fewer than 30 catches on the season. Sanders, who caught 50 passes as a rookie, is a prime candidate to greatly improve on an already solid finish, and Drake will likely go back to more of a receiving-back role (with fewer TDs) now that’s the backup in Vegas.

On the flip side, several backs make big jumps in PPR thanks to their pass-catching prowess. Nyheim Hines and J.D. McKissic combined for 745 rushing yards and 10 total TDs (four on the ground), but they were both top-17 PPR RBs thanks to 63 and 80 catches, respectively. We’re not ranking them that highly heading into this year, largely because both play behind stud sophomore backs who are no slouches themselves when it comes to catching passes, but it’s clear they have a lot of upside. James White and Tarik Cohen also fit this mold, with Austin Ekeler being the gold standard because he also gets a good amount of carries.

Ekeler might be a little too good to solely be considered a “receiving back,” and players like that are usually undervalued studs in PPR leagues. Going into this season, Myles Gaskin, Kareem Hunt, Chase Edmonds, Travis Etienne, Devin Singletary, and possibly Leonard Fournette fit that bill. With the exception of Hunt, all could be their teams’ primary backs in addition to getting 40-plus catches. That could result in top-15 seasons if everything breaks right (see Mike Davis’s No. 12 PPR ranking last year). At the very least, they should rack up catches and get at least 115 carries (likely more) and work as flexes.

The biggest PPR breakout candidates this year are Joe Mixon (no Giovani Bernard), D’Andre Swift (46 catches in 13 games last year, should get significantly more carries), and Najee Davis (43 catches his final year at Alabama). Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Antonio Gibson were good pass-catchers in college and could also be primed for more receiving work in their second seasons, while Michael Carter and Javonte Williams (25 catches apiece while splitting time at North Carolina last year) both have the potential to catch a decent amount passes.

Touchdowns will always matter most in fantasy, whether it’s a standard, half-point PPR, or full-point PPR league, so don’t overvalue catches early in your PPR drafts. However, in the middle and late rounds, taking chances on players expected to see a good amount of targets is the way to go. That’s more reliable than hoping your mid-tier RBs gets lucky and scores a lot.

We’ll be adjusting these RB PPR rankings and providing further analysis from now until Week 1, so check back for updates! For individual player analysis, check out our standard-league RB rankings.

2021 Fantasy RB PPR Rankings

Rankings are based on full-point PPR scoring formats

RankPlayer
1Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
2Saquon Barkley, Giants
3Alvin Kamara, Saints
4Dalvin Cook, Vikings
5Derrick Henry, Titans
6Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
7Aaron Jones, Packers
8Antonio Gibson, Washington
9Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs
10Austin Ekeler, Chargers
11Nick Chubb, Browns
12Jonathan Taylor, Colts
13David Montgomery, Bears
14Miles Sanders, Eagles
15D’Andre Swift, Lions
16Najee Harris, Steelers
17Joe Mixon, Bengals
18JK Dobbins, Ravens
19Myles Gaskin, Dolphins
20Kareem Hunt, Browns
21Josh Jacobs, Raiders
22Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
23Mike Davis, Falcons
24Travis Etienne, Jaguars
25Darrell Henderson, Rams
26Javonte Williams, Broncos
27Devin Singletary, Bills
28Melvin Gordon, Broncos
29Michael Carter, Jets
30Raheem Mostert, 49ers
31David Johnson, Texans
32Nyheim Hines, Colts
33JD McKissic, Washington
34Damien Harris, Patriots
35Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers
36Phillip Lindsay, Texans
37James Robinson, Jaguars
38Ronald Jones II, Buccaneers
39Tarik Cohen, Bears
40Jamaal Williams, Lions
41Gus Edwards, Ravens
42Zack Moss, Bills
43James White, Patriots
44Latavius Murray, Saints
45Trey Sermon, 49ers
46James Conner, Cardinals
47AJ Dillon, Packers
48Tony Pollard, Cowboys
49Kenyan Drake, Raiders
50Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles
51Alexander Mattison, Vikings
52Tevin Coleman, Jets
53Darrel Williams, Chiefs
54Justin Jackson, Chargers
55Malcolm Brown, Dolphins
56Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
57Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons
58Devontae Booker, Giants
59Marlon Mack, Colts
60Benny Snell Jr., Steelers
61Kerryon Johnson, Eagles
62Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots
63Darrynton Evans, Titans
64Samaje Perine, Bengals
65Chuba Hubbard, Panthers
66Damien Williams, Bears
67Salvon Ahmed, Dolphins
68La’Mical Perine, Jets
69Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers
70Joshua Kelley, Chargers
71Mark Ingram, Texans
72Jeremy McNichols, Titans
73Anthony McFarland Jr., Steelers
74Javian Hawkins, Falcons

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Janice Tilson

Janice has been phenomenal in the success of Stock Market Pioneer. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Stock Market Pioneer.

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