5 Running Backs with ELITE UPSIDE in 2021 Fantasy Football

5 Running Backs with ELITE UPSIDE in 2021 Fantasy Football

Cam Akers

Checks every box

  • Behind a very good QB
  • Top 10 Scoring Offense
  • Top 5 RBing line
  • 215+ lbs 
  • 89 Percentile WASS
    • phenomenal athlete (has breakaway speed)
  • 87th Percentile CTS
    • very good pass-catcher
  • Malcolm Brown gone (led team in receptions, targets, RZ touches)
  • Averaged over 20+ touches/game L6 weeks and everything we're seeing out of camp points towards an absoutely massive year & workload out of Akers. I've been saying this since before it was cool to say this, but Cam Akers has legitimate fantasy RB1 overall upside


Antonio Gibson - WFT

  • If Akers is a premiere athlete, Gibson is an olympian.
  • He's the raw version of Christian McCaffrey at 6-0, 228lb running a 4.39 40-yard dash.
  • He saw 170 carries last year, the man had a career total of 77 touchs in college.... Let's give the man a second to marinate.
  • Guy had the 3rd highest PFF rushing grade (among backs with 150+ carries)
  • Remember this episode is about having elite upside. The toe is a concern but I'm less concerned about it now than I was earlier on in the offseason.
  • We know Gibson has the size and is a phenomenally gifted athlete, in the receiving game too. 
  • Gibson ranked top-12 among all NFL RBs last year in:
    • YPRR (9)
    • Catch Rate (7)
    • Breakaway Runs (12)
    • Juke Rate (8)
  • I'd assume they weren't trying to put the whole team on his byke last year as a rookie with nothing at the QB position. His opportunity share last year was just 47.3% - 34th in the league. Look for that workload to expand big time in 2021.
  • Gibson can take it to the crib on any given carry, he can catch passes, make guys miss, will take ALL of the GL carries
    • Gibson (10), Peyton (8 - had 6 in Week 1), JDM (2).
  • Idk if Fitz will be good, but it'll definitely be a more explosive offense, adding Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown - that's a whole lot of playmakers and speed to cover for defenses ... speaking of defenses they get to play PHI, DAL and NYG a zillion times... This is the last 7 weeks of their schedule lmao, from weeks 11-17: CAR, SEA, LV, DAL, PHI, DAL, PHI


Austin Ekeler

  • I actually think Ekeler has a very darkhorse chance of finishing as the RB1 overall in fantasy this year.
  • Ekeler was on pace for 114 targets in games Herbert was on the field for last year.
  • And what might be the biggest change for this offense is their new offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, comes from the Saints, where Kamara became the league's RB1 last year. THe problem of the past is Anthony Lynn saw everything RB related as type A and type B backs, on the GL, he'd have all his RBs step on the scale before stepping onto the field and whoever had the highest number got the carry. And yes, Kamara is a 40-piece bucket heavier than Ekeler, but we still didn't see the Saints divy up their GL work to big backs, Kamara dominated GL touches. The upside for Ekeler to do the same isn't just a mere projection, it has precedent.
  • Literally the leagues most improved offensive line (signed all-pro Center Corey Linsley, drafted Rashawn Slater with the additions of Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi - both graded inside the top-32 guards per PFF). Ekeler has always been one of the most efficient players on a per touch basis, imagine what he's going to do with an actual supporting cast around him??
  • A real deep threat QB, good line, weapons like a mf ---- Ekeler is going to be a nightmare. He might actually average 6.7 ypc. 


Honorable Mentions

Trey Sermon - SF

I love this kid as a player, and the Kyle Shanahan RB speaks for itself. People like to talk about the carousel within this backfield, but it's injury related.

We CANNOT forget Devonta Freeman was the overall RB1 in Atlanta under Shanahan in 2015 - he had 361 opportunities in 15 games... over 24/game.

In 2017, Carlos Hyde saw 240 carries and 88, yes 88 targets....

I'm a fan of Sermon's talent, the opportunity he finds himself in with Jeff Wilson already starting on the PUP and Mostert limited at practice. His ADP is going higher and higher because of this upside, and I'm not saying I like where he's getting drafted, but a monster rookie year with big time upside is real.

This team wasn't even a top-20 scoring team in the NFL last year and had 40 carries inside the 10 yard line.

Their healthy (Kittle and Deebo both byke) and hopefully Trey Lance under center. Shit is gonna be spicy in SF this year, and Sermon is going to benefit.


Myles Gaskin - Miami

I haven't ben giving Gaskin enough love this year, he's actually a guy I'm staying away from at his current price which has actually been dropping tremendously lately, but i'd be a fraud if I didn't mention that the upside he has is very real..

They didnt add shit to this backfield and he was seeing over 20 ops/game in the games he was healthy for last year. And this offense looks to be very improved with the additions of Fuller and Waddle.



IF ____ GETS HURT Crew

Tony Pollard

Chuba Hubbard

A.J. Dillon

Darrell Henderson

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