These 3 Running Backs Are Set To Take Off in 2021
By Jesse Moeller (Twitter @JMoeller05)
Now that the NFL draft has come and gone, there are some running backs whose situations look much better than they did before the draft. I will recommend three running backs whose arrow is pointing up in dynasty: one rookie, one potential workhorse, and one late-round flier.
Travis Etienne (RB16 ADP 49)
While Najee Harris is still my RB1 in the 2021 class, the difference between them does not make sense. Both players landed in great spots, received the desired draft capital, are attached to good offenses, and have an easy path to the first-year production. (Sorry, not sorry, James Robinson truthers.) The more I dive into the situation for both players, and it is a 1A/1B comparison for me. Javonte Williams is a clear tier below them both. If you have an early Superflex pick, the move would be to trade down to the 1.08 pick in the Superflex draft, take Etienne and a future draft pick.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB17 ADP 51)
Let us go back one year, and CEH was the surprise first-round pick to the best offense in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. In a class with names such as Taylor, Swift, Dobbins, Akers, Helaire was the only rookie running back drafted in the first round. His stock took off like a rocketship to RB1 in the 2020 class. On top of that, he managed to creep into the first round of Superflex dynasty startups as RB5 pick 11, which shows what a good landing spot will do to a rookie’s dynasty value. Predraft, CEH was the RB5 in the class.
What went wrong for Helaire to cause him to drop 40 spots in one year? The offensive line was one of the worst in football during his rookie season. Remember week one against the Texans, where CEH had ten RedZone opportunities and could not score a touchdown? That narrative lingered around him throughout the year as it ended with Clyde finishing with only three total rushing touchdowns on the season.
According to ESPN, the Chiefs Team Run Block Win Rate was tied for 30th in the NFL at 67%. To put into context how inadequate that number is, you want to know who the two teams the Chiefs tied with were? The Jets and Chargers. ðŸ˜²
Now before you rush out to sell CEH, the Chiefs have spent this offseason completely rebuilding the offensive line. We all saw the Bucs absolute domination of the Chiefs front in the Super Bowl as Mahomes was constantly running for his life. In step six, new faces for the 2021 season. The most notable additions are Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown Jr, two excellent linemen in the league. Those six additions instantly transform this line into one of the better groups in the league.
The entire offense is moving forward, in particular the rushing attack. Acquire CEH while his price is depressed and enjoy the production, Wait until midseason, and his price will be much higher than it currently is. CEH has RB1 seasons in his future, make sure you are out infront of the market on this one before it is too late.
Zack Moss (RB38 ADP 141)
Here is a friendly reminder of the player Zack Moss was coming out of Utah.ðŸ˜œ
Something that I find very interesting is that Zack Moss true YPC (4.1) was better than Cam Akers (3.9). ðŸ˜² Moss (.78) also produced more fantasy points per opportunity than Akers (.64). ðŸ§
Some stats show how explosive and elusive Moss truly is. His juke rate 29.4%, and yards created per touch (1.71) were 7th in the NFL last year.
I thought that Zack Moss was a plodder who ran a 4.65 forty-yard dash at the NFL combine? While that is true, Moss tweaked his hamstring earlier in the day, which affected his time and caused him to drop out of the rest of the combine. If we are going to give Laviska Shenault the benefit of the doubt for a slower time due to injury, Zack Moss deserves that right as well. His underlying numbers suggest he is more explosive than he tested last year.
Zach Moss has been written off due to his insufficient testing numbers (injury), playing his rookie season while battling Covid, while playing in a timeshare with a subpar offensive line in 2020. At his current cost of a mid-third-round pick, I am making that deal every time. You likely will have to upgrade the offer, as I even traded a 2022 2nd round pick for Zack Moss because I believe in the player he is. I see an offense in 2021 that will be much improved running the football, and Moss will have a more significant role moving forward. I see a top 24 season from him in 2021.
Excuse my poor spelling. I am all about standing by your work. While the community disagrees, I think it would be a great time to go out and get Moss at a considerable discount. You should be able to flip for more next offseason.