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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Week 1 Fantasy RB Rankings

James Robinson at No. 6? Gus Edwards at No. 10? Raheem Mostert at No. 11? That’s right — it’s not preseason anymore. All those rankings and sleeper lists you carefully studied throughout August are out the window. Now, it’s about touches and matchups. Our Week 1 fantasy RB rankings reflect that, though there’s a giant caveat: We don’t know for sure how a team will divvy up running back carries and snaps, nor do we know the strengths of offensive lines and defenses. 

Week 1 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QuarterbackWide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

So, why try to play matchups at all then? Well, we have to base these rankings on something, and historical performance mixed with season outlooks is the best way to do it. Perhaps the Lions and Texans, who were tied for the most fantasy points allowed to RBs last year, have improved, but based on offseason moves and projections, they still won’t be particularly strong. That’s why Robinson and Mostert are ranked where they are. Whether you think they should be as high as they’re ranked is a matter of debate, but it’s tough to argue that they should be safe starters in 10- and 12-team leagues this week.

GET RANKINGS, SLEEPERS & MUCH MORE TO DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet

That’s why you shouldn’t get too hung up on the order here, at least for the top few tiers. Guys like Ezekiel Elliott (@ Bucs), Saquon Barkley (vs. Broncos), and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Browns) are lower than where you drafted them, but we’re still recommending they be in your lineups. We’re not getting too crazy.

WEEK 1 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

It’s the guys in the 24-45 range, as it is every week, who fantasy owners will have questions about. Given how little we know about some of these committee situations (Broncos, Jets, Buccaneers, Texans, Cardinals, Bills, Dolphins), it’s tough to feel overly confident about any of their backs this week, but chances are, you’ll be taking some chances on at least one RB in your lineup. Our rankings give an approximation of who we think will have the most value. Some are so close that it’s not even worth trying to guess if you don’t have to, especially in a situation like the Bills (vs. Steelers) where they’re playing a stout defense.

We’ll learn a lot more about these committees after Week 1, but even then we won’t know everything. The first weeks of the season are a feeling out process, both for fantasy owners and the teams themselves. You can bet on talent or perceived matchups, or try to find a combination of both. That’s why we’re still recommending both Broncos backs (@ Giants) be used as at least flexes, but have no love for any Jets backs (@ Panthers). The matchup isn’t expected to be bad, but we have no idea who will get an appreciable amount of touches, if anyone. 

You never want to bench a good performance, and it’s especially painful in Week 1. You don’t need to totally ditch a guy you drafted high (unless there are worries about his workload), but you also shouldn’t just play the guys you drafted in the order you drafted them. It’s never too early to consider other factors, especially at a position as important as running back.

Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings as needed throughout the week. so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 1: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring.

  • 26 Javonte Williams, DEN @ NYG
    27 Chase Edmonds, ARI @ TEN
    28 Melvin Gordon, DEN @ NYG
    29 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ NE
    30 D’Andre Swift, DET vs. SF
    31 James Conner, ARI @ TEN
    32 Jamaal Williams, DET vs. SF
    33 Trey Sermon, SF @ DET
    34 Phillip Lindsay, HOU vs. JAX
    35 Ronald Jones II, TB vs. DAL
    36 Leonard Fournette, TB vs. DAL
    37 Devin Singletary, BUF vs. PIT
    38 Tevin Coleman, NYJ @ CAR
    39 Sony Michel, LAR vs. CHI
    40 Zack Moss, BUF vs. PIT
    41 JD McKissic, WAS vs. LAC
    42 Michael Carter, NYJ @ CAR
    43 Kenneth Gainwell, PHI @ ATL
    44 Ty Johnson, NYJ @ CAR
    45 AJ Dillon, GB vs. NO
    46 James White, NE vs. MIA
    47 David Johnson, HOU vs JAX
    48 Mark Ingram, HOU vs. JAX
    49 Nyheim Hines, IND vs, SEA
    50 Darrel Williams, KC vs. CLE
    51 Damien Williams, CHI @ LAR
    52 Rhamondre Stevenson, NE vs. MIA
    53 Ty’Son Williams, BAL @ LV
    54 Latavius Murray, NO vs. GB
    55 Devontae Booker, NYG vs. DEN
    56 Justin Jackson, LAC @ WAS
    57 Malcolm Brown, MIA @ NE
    58 Kenyan Drake, LV vs. BAL
    59 Giovani Bernard, TB vs. DAL
    60 Alexander Mattison, MIN @ CIN
    61 Tony Jones Jr., NO vs. GB
    62 Tony Pollard, DAL @ TB
    63 Elijah Mitchell, SF @ DET
    64 Justice Hill, BAL @ LV
    65 Salvon Ahmed, MIA @ NE
    66 Wayne Gallman, ATL vs. PHI
    67 Rashaad Penny, SEA @ IND
    68 Marlon Mack, IND vs. SEA
    69 Joshua Kelley, LAC @ WAS
    70 Benny Snell Jr., PIT @ BUF
    71 Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL vs. PHI
    72 Samaje Perine, CIN vs. MIN
    73 Darrynton Evans, TEN vs. ARI
    74 Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs. NYJ
    75 Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. ARI

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