Running back is supposed to be the position that changes the most after the NFL Draft. That's because age matters more there than any other and also because mediocre running backs get supplanted every year by early picks. The 2021 class looks like it might be a little bit different.
Najee Harris, Travis Etienne Javonte Williams and Trey Sermon were the only backs taken in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Michael Carter went early in Day 3 and seems to not have much competition in New York. Outside of that it's a bunch of dart throws who appear to have very little chance of earning a feature role in 2021, and that's why you'll only see five rookies in my top 48 Dynasty running backs below.
In all honesty, Harris and Etienne are the only two I feel confident can be anything close to feature backs. And it sure doesn't sound like Urban Meyer thinks Etienne will be a feature back in Week 1. That leaves Harris as the only rookie in my top 15 running backs. If the Steelers offensive line can be even passable, Harris could produce the type of rookie year that vaults him into the top 12. Other than Etienne, it's hard to imagine any other back coming close to that.
- We get a standout rookie RB basically every season, but is 2021 setting up to be an exception? We break that down on the Fantasy Football Today podcast. Listen below and follow at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts:
What does that mean for the Dynasty value of running backs? It means a boost for the guys at the top.
What looked like a weak class coming into the draft was treated as a very weak class by NFL teams. The vast majority of the backs new to the scene are more likely to hurt the running back on their team than help your Fantasy team. That explains why elite running backs are higher on this month's trade chart than they were earlier in the offseason. There are fewer of them than ever and this class isn't going to reverse that trend.
In other words, if you have an elite back, now is the time to hold unless you're really committed to a rebuild.