Fantasy Sports

Who are the top running back picks and busts for NFL fantasy football in 2021/22?


Football is still one of the biggest sports around and is part of the big four which dominate the sporting landscape. The mixture of drama and hard-hitting action football delivers means it will always be popular. Even a brief look back to the 2020/21 season throws up some awesome games to remember and a Super bowl finale which saw Tom Brady triumph once more.

Many people love to take their passion for football a step further by betting on the result of games and competing against friends for bragging rights. Although we are currently in the offseason, football fans can get a head start for next season by looking at the Super Bowl odds on the Best Odds site. The site makes it easy to see who the favorites, underdogs and dark horses are predicted to be.

Playing NFL fantasy football is also hugely popular and a different way to get closer to the action next season. The chance to coach your own virtual side and put your expert knowledge to the test is a real buzz – and running backs are perhaps the most important additions to any fantasy lineup.

Why are running backs crucial in fantasy football?

There are a few very good reasons for this. Firstly, they often bring home lots of points, due to the high number of touches and rushing yards they accumulate in games. Of course, they also have a high chance of scoring touchdowns when playing. Running backs are also great value when building a fantasy side and can be a source of consistent points return over a season. Of course, the key to all this is picking ones who perform well, week-in and week-out. If you are currently trying to decide who this might be in 2021/22, the below should help.

Which running backs should you consider picking for your fantasy side?

Trey Sermon for the 49ers is certainly an interesting choice who could really perform well if things go his way. Although the 49ers do have a few decent backs to pick from, he could well see plenty of game time in 2021/22. The fact that he was a 3rd round pick seems to suggest he is not seen as a bench warmer. In addition, other RBs on the 49ers books (like Jeff Wilson) have injury concerns or are seen more as backup players (like Wayne Gallman). Trey Sermon’s NFL potential looks huge and this means he could shine as a rookie in 2021/22.

Josh Jacobs from the Raiders is another intriguing choice for any 2021 fantasy team. He ended up as RB8 in 2020 which was a decent return. Although he can be inconsistent at times, most weeks he brings in the points. 2020 saw him deliver nine games of double-digit point returns, for example. A lot of the Raiders’ offense runs through Jacobs, and that’s ideal as far as fantasy football is concerned.

For many people who like to play NFL fantasy football, picking Phillip Lindsay from the Houston Texans could be a smart move. Although David Johnson is in front of Lindsay to start, he is very injury prone. This should see Lindsay get plenty of game time in 2021/22 and bring home plenty of fantasy points. He also has the ability to perform to a high level, as his 1,000+ running yards seasons on a poor Broncos side previously shows.

Which running backs should you avoid in your NFL fantasy football side?

 But which are the NFL running back busts to avoid in 2021/22? Although it may seem a surprise, Ezekiel Elliott from the Dallas Cowboys might be worth swerving. There are a few reasons for this – not least the fact that he is over 25 now. Elliott’s carries were greatly reduced in 2020, as Tony Pollard gradually started to feature more and more in the offensive lineup. As a result, Elliott’s yards were also down as well as his touchdowns but perhaps the most telling stat for fantasy players was that his average yards per attempt dropped to 6.5 – the lowest figure in his career so far.

Another running back that some players will want to avoid is Cam Akers from the Rams. While his playoff stats were very good last year, the danger is that he will simply not produce these types of numbers over a whole season. Akers ran for 625 yards last season and it is likely that he will continue to be used in rotation with Darrell Henderson Jr, who was just one yard shy of that total – but from seven fewer carries. Additionally, with the rocket arm of Matt Stafford coming over from Detroit, the Rams might not run the ball as much as many other teams.

Melvin Gordon from the Broncos is also one running back pick who could be a bust. Although the talent is there, Gordon is often beset by injury problems which limit his time on the field of play. At 28, he is also past his prime as a running back. He is also pretty inconsistent and failed to make 47 rushing yards in a third of his games in 2020. Put this with a failure to make 8.5 fantasy points in 40% of matches in 2020 and you have a player who does not return much compared to other options at around his average draft position.

NFL fantasy running backs are a key position to fill

All positions in your fantasy NFL side are key, but running back is one to particularly focus on. The really crucial thing is to know not only who you should think about selecting but also who you should avoid! By doing this, you not only get players in your fantasy side who will perform well regularly but also avoid the busts who can drag you down.

About Andy Stitzer

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