No CodeNeeded

2021 Fantasy RB Rankings & Draft Tiers: Your Guide To The Top 4 Picks, Handcuffs, More

2021 Fantasy RB Rankings & Draft Tiers: Your Guide To The Top 4 Picks, Handcuffs, More article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook

Sean Koerner — the No. 1 fantasy football draft ranker of 2019 — breaks down the final edition of his 2021 RB Draft Tiers. This series is part of our Action PRO subscription, which will not only grant you access to these Tiers, but also to Koerner's real-time rankings in our 2021 Fantasy Draft Kit.

Running back continues to be the most important position in fantasy football.

There are two reasons RBs can decide the fate of your team:

  1. There are fewer workhorse backs in this pass-heavy era, so positional scarcity makes it critical to draft at least two workhorse RBs.
  2. RBs are most likely to miss time due to injury (or to lose their job), paving the way for late-round picks or even waiver wire pickups to emerge as league-winners.

As a result, many draft strategies focus on how many RBs to draft early on. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Zero RB strategy, which I agree with … in theory. It mainly focuses on Reason No. 2 above, but ignores Reason No. 1 — that’s why I would dub my approach as the RB Surplus Strategy: I aim to draft two RBs before the end of Round 3/4 because, as I mentioned, it’s critical to acquire two who are set to open the season with a reliable workload. Then I target high-upside backs in the middle and late rounds.

With all that said, I've outlined the final version of my 2021 RB Draft Tiers below. These are based on my rankings as of Sept. 3, but reminder to check our 2021 Draft Kit for real-time rankings between now and the end of the season.

Fantasy RB Rankings & Tiers