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2021 NFL DRAFT: Running Back Value

My concentration when it comes to the NFL Draft is to find players that could be huge in the Fantasy Football, Regular Season DFS, and Preseason DFS. This has lead to me landing on finding some great values in each draft, last year it was James Robinson who became an easy go to pick in drafts, and an easy pick in the early part of the DFS season. He was someone that looked great on film, and just needed an opportunity to go out and play, because I knew he would go out and play well. This same thing happened with Kareem Hunt in 2017 with the Chiefs. Now this is not to say that its tough to hit on top end talent. Last year Jonathan Taylor was clearly the best back in the draft, and once he finally started going there was no stopping him. My second favorite RB in last years draft was Cam Akers, and like with Taylor I just knew that it was a matter of when for him. That is what this article will be about, point out which players you should be ready to jump on when the opportunity presents itself.

Below you will see a simple summary as to why I like these players.

1) Javonte Williams (North Carolina):

Height: 5-10. Weight: 220.

Projected 40 Time: 4.53.

Projected Round (2021): 1-2

If I were an NFL team I would feel much better about taking Williams a bit later than possibly having to reach for Travis Etienne, or Najee Harris. I see Williams as the first true workhorse RB that will be available for teams to go out and get. I loved the balance, and vision that Williams has when running. He is also able to make catches out of the back field. Where he needs work is with his blocking.

Javonte Williams former college teammate Michael Carter was also really impressive on film. To me he is much more of a James White type player. He could hold some value in the preseason, and a couple of weeks in DFS but not someone you'd want to target in season long.

2) Jaret Patterson:

Height: 5-6. Weight: 195.

Projected 40 Time: 4.52.

Projected Round (2021): 4-6.

Patterson is definitely a smaller back so it is tough to see him really ever becoming a three down RB. But Patterson is very electric with the ball, he has incredible vision, and is a powerful back for his size. The thing that I love about Patterson is that he would consistently be able to run to his spots. Whether this was simply running through a hole, picking up the first down, or taking what was given to him on the field, he was able to convert. I see him being someone we can play a ton in Preseason DFS. He could become a nice PPR asset as well if he lands in the right spot.

3) Elijah Mitchell

Height: 5-11. Weight: 217.

Projected 40 Time: 4.53.

Projected Round (2021): 4-6.

Mitchell is my favorite late round flyer in this draft. This is due to the fact that he seems like one of the few RBs in the draft that actually could become a workhorse RB. He had 29 rushing TDs between the 2018, and 2019 season, so you can see that he has a habit of getting into the endzone. Mitchell is another RB that has great vision, especially when it comes to seeing what is blocked for him. He is going to be someone in season long that I watch to monitor where he goes. Then I will be looking over the preseason notes to see if he is someone we can lock into a preseason DFS slate.

4) Ramondre Stevenson:

Height: 6-0. Weight: 232.

Projected 40 Time: 4.56.

Projected Round (2021): 3-4.

Stevenson was suspended for start of the 2020 season, and this is probably why he will fall to the second round, but in the limited amount of touches he has had he has looked great. Like all the other RBs I mentioned about he has great vision, but what I like most was his burst. Once he gets to the hole he bursts through it. Stevenson might not ever become a star RB but he is someone that could be a waiver wire flyer for us to pick up at the end of the season. If he goes to the Patriots he could be a great pick in preseason DFS as well.

5) Chuba Hubbard:

Height: 6-1. Weight: 207.

Projected 40 Time: 4.52.

Projected Round (2021): 4-6.

I am struggling to see why Hubbard is not getting hyped up more, so I had to look it up. Apparently he has had some injury concerns, and that he looked bad in pass protection. Besides that he is exactly what you would be looking for in an NFL RB. He can do it all, but maybe what people are seeing is that he isn't elite in anything. Hubbard had 2094 rushing yards, and 21 rushing TDs in 2019. Hubbard is my Darkhorse pick to become the next James Robinson / Kareem Hunt. The worry is that he would end up being Rodney Anderson. (Who was probably the best RB in his draft class but injury concerns caused teams to stay away. He has been injured his first two seasons).

6) Larry Roundtree:

Height: 5-10. Weight: 210.

Projected 40 Time: 4.7.

Projected Round (2021): 3-5.

I struggle with Roundtree because I could see him being used like Leonard Fournette, a first and second down option that a team just jams in there. He could then hold value, and that is the best outcome, but other than that I am not sure I see him ever being a stud. Roundtree is a "Good Effort" RB. Meaning that he is a tough runner who always tries to get that extra yard. He does run a bit too upright as well. He's outlook will depend on his landing spot.

7) Jah-Maine Martin:

Height: 5-10. Weight: 214.

Projected 40 Time: 4.55.

Projected Round (2021): 5-7.

Every year there is a small school RB that is clearly going to be a good RB in the NFL this year that RB is Martin. He can sort of be a safety pick for an NFL team where they do not think he will ever be a start RB, but if they need to rely on them they can. (Terrence West, and James Robinson as examples). JMM which is what you will in the future be referred to by Fantasy Experts that were late to the party is someone that can be a true workhorse RB. He has a good strong build, that always him to run hard. He has good enough quickness to get away from defends as well.


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