2021 Top Running Backs

4 min read
Targets and TDs Fantasy Football Running Backs

The 2022 NFL Draft is complete, the 2022 NFL Schedule (thoughts on the 2022 NFL Schedule) has been released! The fantasy football community is eager to start the upcoming 2022 Fantasy Football Season! Before that happens, I want to give a look at the Running Backs and some key stats for the position from the 2021 Fantasy Football Season. I think it may be helpful as we look forward towards our Running Backs of preference in 2022. Especially if we can compare previous years to see any trends.

Keep in mind a players Ability, Availability, Opportunity, Consistency, Advantage/Upside and Matchup. Feel free to review our position leaders in Targets and Touchdowns for the 2021 Fantasy Football Season as they are players that most likely were a top player at their position last year. I believe both statistics are helpful in finding opportunity for Fantasy Football production!

2021 Top Running Back – Targets

PlayerTeamReceptionsReceiving YardsReceiving TDsTargetsGames PlayedTargets/Game
Austin EkelerLAC70647894165.88
Najee HarrisPIT74467394175.53
Leonard FournetteTB69454284146.00
D'Andre SwiftDET62452278136.00
Cordarrelle PattersonATL52548569164.31
Alvin KamaraNO47439567135.15
Ezekiel ElliottDAL47287265173.82
Aaron JonesGB52391665154.33
Josh JacobsLV54348064154.27
Myles GaskinMIA49234463173.71

Above are your Top 10 Running Backs in Targets for the 2021 NFL Season. I lean towards still wanting a Running Back that has more rushing yards than receiving yards. Although, I will take all the receiving yards that the Running Back can handle! It’s like added Wide Receiver value for a position that isn’t as big on Receptions. Referencing some history with Targets, Targets RB – 2019 Regular Season and 2021 Running Backs give an idea of what we anticipated going into previous seasons.

2021 Top Running Back – Touchdowns

Using the above yearly Touchdowns rankings, I am looking from one year to the next to see how many of the previous years Running Backs made the following years list. As you follow the colors (Grey – 2015, Green – 2016, Red – 2017, Blue – 2018, Grey 2019 and Electric Blue 2020) it helps to pick out who stayed on the list from the previous year.

In 2016, 10 running backs from 2015 made it. In 2017, 9 running backs from 2016 made the Top 20 list. While in 2018, 8 running backs from 2017 made it. For 2019, 13 running backs from 2018 made the Top 20. In 2020, 7 running backs from 2019 made the list and they were joined by 5 rookie Running Backs (noted with the yellow block beside their name)! Then in 2021, 9 running backs from 2020 made the list! Referencing some history with Touchdowns, Targets RB – 2019 Regular Season and 2021 Running Backs give an idea of what we anticipated going into previous seasons.

2021 Top Running Back – Rushing

PlayerTargetsReceptionsReceivingRushingTotal Yards
Jonathan Taylor51403601,8112,171
Nick Chubb25201741,2591,433
Joe Mixon48423141,2051,519
Najee Harris94744671,2001,667
Dalvin Cook49342241,1591,383
Antonio Gibson52422941,0371,331
Ezekiel Elliott65472871,0021,289
Elijah Mitchell20191379631,100
Derrick Henry20181549371,091
Damien Harris21181329291,061
Melvin Gordon38282139181,131
Austin Ekeler94706479111,558
Javonte Williams53433169031,219
Alvin Kamara67474398981,337
Josh Jacobs64543488721,220
Devin Singletary50402288701,098
David Montgomery51423018491,150
Sony Michel3321128845973
Leonard Fournette84694548121,266
AJ Dillon37343138031,116

The chart above is nice because so often we hear about the Rushing Leaders at the Running Back position. Basically, because over the years, the Running Backs just rushed the football. That is certainly something to keep in mind but not the only thing. Depending on the type of league you have, those receptions and receiving yards could be very beneficial. Najee Harris had a pretty good year last year because he got plenty of Targets (which led to Receptions) and Touchdowns. Although, just comparing Rushing Yards he was 611 yards away from the leader Jonathan Taylor. Seems like a very substantial gap when just taking into account Rushing Yards.

The chart can be re-sorted by category to help you see of the Top 20 Rushing leaders in 2021, who had other opportunities in the passing game as well. Those Running Backs may turn out to be a little more helpful for you depending on your league and settings. I am certainly a fan of players at positions that do a little bit more (ie. Running Backs that get a few more Receptions, Wide Receivers who get a few more Rushing Yards and Quarterbacks who can get a few more Rushing Yards) throughout the year as they may be valued more in your league. They are not as obvious, but areas to be aware of when going into your 2022 Drafts. Referencing some history with Rushing Yards, Targets RB – 2019 Regular Season and 2021 Running Backs give an idea of what we anticipated going into previous seasons.

2021 Top Running Backs Final Thoughts

The 2022 Fantasy Football Season is getting closer as the summer goes along. Much will happen from now until the start of the season. Be flexible and look for the value when drafting your Running Backs this year. Most value will come from Targets, Touchdowns and Yards that a Running Back can accumulate through the course of the season. If you have the opportunity to draft a Running Back that has a rushing floor with some receiving upside, I think you would be smart to make that selection.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to stay current on thoughts, analysis or updates!

Targets and TDs Fantasy Football

Find players that will have: Ability – Availability – Opportunity – Consistency – Advantage/Upside – Matchup

If your players are on an offensive team that can get many Targets and Touchdowns, you know I would be interested in them! Statistics courtesy of The Football Database, a great resource for your NFL players statistics. If you enjoyed the article, please share it with others (via the social media links)

Missed any recent posts?!, check them out below as you get your mind focused on fantasy football opportunities!

I hope everyone continues to stay safe and healthy! Enjoy the journey throughout the 2022 Fantasy Football Season!

Join Our Mailing List!

    More Stories

    5 min read
    4 min read
    4 min read

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    error: Content is protected !!