Fantasy football: 9 RB sleepers to draft in 2021

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You can never have too many running backs in fantasy football. Even if you have more running backs than you can play, they are so valuable that you can probably get good market value for them. So whether you plan to trade the running back or keep him as depth, it’s always good to look for value at every point in the draft.

That’s what we’re trying to help you do in this article. We believe we’ve identified the players who are bound to outperform their draft position in 2021. Our average draft position is sourced from fantasypros.com for standard scoring leagues.

Without further adieu, here are our running back sleepers for the upcoming season.

1. James Robinson, Jaguars -- 39th overall

There was reason for concern with Robinson -- until rookie running back Travis Etienne suffered a season-ending injury. That injury is a brutal blow, not just for Jaguars fans but for all NFL fans. Etienne is a special talent. He leaves behind a massive share of carries and catches for Robinson. Urban Meyer does a nice job highlighting his running backs. Robinson should have another monster season.

2. Myles Gaskin, Dolphins -- 45th overall

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The Dolphins had plenty of opportunities to add to their running back group this offseason. They elected not to. That shows they have faith in Gaskin to carry the load for them in 2020. He could enjoy a breakout season, especially if the new additions at receiver (Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle) help Tua Tagovailoa and the passing game.

3. Kareem Hunt, Browns -- 47th overall

He finished as RB10 in 2020 when Nick Chubb missed just four games. I'm not sure why Hunt is RB22. Even if Chubb plays every game, Hunt has significant value in an offense that can clearly support two fantasy-relevant running backs. Hunt isn't the lead back, but the numbers prove he has the potential to be a top back.

4. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals -- 61st overall

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The Cardinals signed James Conner this offseason, and he's got some juice when running behind a decent offensive line. (Conner did not have that luxury in 2020 with the Steelers.) Still, Edmonds is one of my favorite players with the potential to be a breakout star. He was so good as a change-of-pace back behind Kenyan Drake. It's easy to see why the Cardinals want Edmonds to be a bigger part of their offense in 2021, with Drake joining the Raiders in free agency.

5. Damien Harris, Patriots -- 65th overall

I know what you're thinking: Never trust a Patriots running back! And to a degree, I think that's fair. New England will rotate from Harris to James White to Rhamondre Stevenson and even perhaps J.J. Taylor. But Harris is RB1 in that deep backfield. His spot as RB28 in fantasy is an underestimate of what he can do in 2021. With a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones, the Patriots are going to play bully ball. Harris will be the top option.

6. Gus Edwards, Ravens -- 74th overall

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Speaking of bully ball, the Ravens have one of the most impressive rushing attacks in the NFL. With Mark Ingram on a new team and J.K. Dobbins out for the year, Edwards has a clear path to a big workload in 2021. And yet his ADP doesn't reflect just how often he could be carrying the ball. Considering he has averaged 5.2 yards per carry during his career, Edwards should have a nice season this year.

7. Trey Sermon, 49ers -- 80th overall

He may not be THE 49ers' running back – that's Raheem Mostert – but Sermon is one of the top 49ers running backs. And that's a big job. Sermon is a big, bruising back who will likely help San Francisco score touchdowns and run out the clock in games when the 49ers are winning. As the season goes on, the 49ers are probably going to get Sermon more involved. Don't be discouraged if he's not putting up big numbers right away.

8. David Johnson (107th) and 9. Phillip Lindsay (150th), Texans

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Here's the thing: You need to draft both of them. The Texans have a confusing hodgepodge of running backs, with Johnson, Lindsay and Mark Ingram. The truth is that Ingram is far past his prime. So it's likely that Johnson or Lindsay ends up being the lead back. And while Houston's offense is likely to stink, there should be volume for Johnson or Lindsay. I like drafting both players with some of your final picks. That way, you own the backfield in case one of them emerges as a legitimate starter in fantasy. Dominate your fantasy football league with The Huddle. Sleepers, custom rankings & much more. TAKE 20% OFF* with code sleeper21. *New customer offer, cannot combine offers. Expires 9/8/21.

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