NFL Quarterbacks, Ranked

In this article, I will rank every quarterback in the NFL within two qualifiers: they must start on an NFL team in 2021 and have played 150 snaps in their career. I am adding Deshaun Watson as an exception.

1. Patrick Mahomes II (Kansas City Chiefs)

Patrick Mahomes sits atop this list, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. The fifth-year superstar out of Texas Tech instantly stepped into elite status as soon as he became an NFL starter. He has amassed a Super Bowl ring, an NFL MVP, and Super Bowl MVP in that time while being incredible both by the eye test and analytically. Mahomes possesses a league-leading 0.305 EPA/play along with a 0.175 EPA+CPOE composite since 2019. He is the best in the business.

2. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

As clear as Mahomes is number one, Aaron Rodgers is number two. Rodgers is the reigning NFL MVP and is one of the most talented arms in history and analytically brilliant. Rodgers is third in the NFL in EPA/play and EPA+CPOE composite since 2019 and had the best analytical season in the NFL in 2020 at his age.

3. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)

I am not going to take into account or delve into the allegations against Deshaun Watson. In terms of his ability and production, he is as elite as they come. Watson since 2019 has a steller EPA+CPOE composite and EPA/play combination of 0.148 and 0.213. Watson is very obviously an elite talent and has carried this Houston team since he was drafted in 2017.

4. Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Tom Brady has been nothing short of brilliant analytically for most of his career and since leaving Foxboro he has only improved. His analytical output has starkly increased since arriving in West Florida and the eye test tells you the same. He is an elite NFL quarterback.

5. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)

Russell Wilson is the logical next guy up on this list. Since 2019, his EPA+CPOE composite ranks fifth in the NFL. Wilson has been consistently great his entire career in Seattle and shows no signs of slowing down.

6. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)

Lamar Jackson deserves more credit for what he has accomplished and his skillset. Jackson has posted a fourth-best 0.248 EPA/play since 2019 coupled with a fourth-best 0.152 EPA+CPOE. Both numbers are downright elite and fly in the face of the idea he is a bad passer. Jackson has made great strides to be a far more than a formidable passer and is the most dangerous quantity in the league on the ground. 

7. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)

Josh Allen slots in seventh on this list. In 2020, Allen posted a third-best 0.173 EPA+CPOE composite and a fifth-best 0.256 EPA/play. Allen has backed that up with a sixth and seventh-best showing in 2021, respectively.

8. Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)

Murray is perhaps the most dynamic player not named Lamar Jackson in the league. Anyone who watches the Oklahoma product play knows his ability to escape and create. Murray has also made huge strides analytically. In 2021, his EPA+CPOE composite has rocketed to a second-best 0.197.

9. Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams)

Matthew Stafford after being freed from Detroit has been downright phenomenal. His analytics already exceeded what a quarterback playing in Detroit should output. In Los Angeles, Stafford has posted a league-best EPA/play of 0.388 and a league-best EPA+CPOE composite of 0.2o0. His CPOE numbers have been somewhat underwhelming, and his composite is buoyed by the EPA/play. I would like to see more, but Stafford has placed the Rams in a great position to challenge for the Lombardi Trophy.

10. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)

Justin Herbert is on a lightspeed ascent on this list. I expect him to exceed this ranking very soon. In 2021, Herbert had posted a fifth-best EPA/play of 0.269 along with a ninth-best EPA+CPOE composite of 0.158 prior to the Chargers’ drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. His rookie season in 2020 was solid for a rookie and he is looking like a potential top-five quarterback.

11. Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)

I could see Prescott being even higher than this based on dynamism and eye test alone. He is analytically extremely solid posting an eleventh-best EPA+CPOE composite and seventh-best EPA/play since 2019. Prescott is as solid as they come and I could see being higher on this list I just don’t see it right now, however, the gap from Prescott to the next guy down is tangible.

12. Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

Kirk Cousins is surely the most overhated quarterback in the league. Cousins is an extremely efficient passer and the analytics bear that out. Since 2019, Cousins is eighth in EPA+CPOE composite (0.145) and tenth in EPA/play (0.208). Cousins is not flashy nor is going to make your head spin but he is extremely good.

13. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)

Burrow is a rapidly emerging talent and could very well move up this list going forward. In 2021, since recovering from the gruesome leg injury he suffered in his rookie season he is roughly the 9th-best analytical quarterback. I need more of a sample size but he looks the part.

14. Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans)

To be clear, the next three to four quarterbacks are extremely hard to dissect and separate. Everyone understands that Tannehill is a good quarterback, but analytically he has been unbelievable. Since 2019, Tannehill has posted a 0.173 EPA+CPOE composite and a 0.287 EPA/play, which both rank second in the league. According to the analytics, Tannehill should be much higher on this list but I am factoring in the eye test and dynamism along with a dip in analytical prowess in 2021.

15. Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns)

With the wealth of talent in the NFL, it is kind of tough to see Mayfield advancing too much higher than ~10th on this list in the future. Mayfield is rock solid and has improved analytically over time but he just lacks the dynamism.

16. Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders)

Carr sort of gets the short end of the stick in these rankings. He has been solid but that is not enough to overcome the analytically superior Tannehill and Cousins and is not dynamic enough to beat out Mayfield or Burrow.

17. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)

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Matt Ryan is not analytically very good but anyone with eyes knows he is a very good quarterback. Once we move past the top 16, the former MVP is just clearly the best guy left. 

18. Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints)

Jameis Winston’s arm talent is undeniable and is up there with the best. However, his decision-making has plagued his career and while New Orleans looks to have eliminated some of that it is still a huge detraction on him.

19. Daniel Jones (New York Giants)

Jones has improved rapidly as time has gone on. In 2021, Jones is a mid-pack analytical quarterback despite being putrid in his early days. The thing that separates him from those below him though is his running ability that teams really are starting to have to account for.

20. Teddy Bridgewater (Denver Broncos)

Teddy Bridgewater is as efficient and solid as you’ll get in this neck of the list. Bridgewater has been analytically brilliant since joining the Denver Broncos, but his lack of dynamism and arm talent hurts his stock.

21. Carson Wentz (Indianapolis Colts)

Wentz has had a rollercoaster of a career. Prior to tearing his ACL, he was the front-runner for MVP in 2017. Afterward, he has struggled mightily. Since joining Indianapolis, Wentz has rebounded moderately but this is likely where he will reside in the league ranks from here on.

22. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)

Tua has improved sharply since his rookie season in 2020. The Dolphins seem to trust their investment. Although I do see the potential for Tagovailoa to ascend, his arm is not very explosive.

23. Tyrod Taylor (Houston Texans)

Tyrod Taylor is a solid option at the quarterback position. The Virginia Tech product is extremely efficient and has checked out analytically most of his career, especially in 2021. His lack of arm talent and x-factor limits his upside but he is very solid.

24. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington Football Team)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, much like Tyrod Taylor is a journeyman who provides stability. He will not wow you, but Fitzmagic has a winning pedigree and knows how to manage a game and offense.

25. Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers)

Jimmy Garoppolo is perhaps the quarterback most holding his offense back in the NFL. He is efficient but his inability to push the ball down the field has caused a Kyle Shanahan offense loaded with playmakers like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to suffer. His analytical footprint has also suffered in 2021 with George Kittle chronically injured and a defense that is keeping him on the field more than usual. The 49ers spent the third-overall pick in 2021 on Trey Lance, and he will replace Garoppolo soon.

26. Mac Jones (New England Patriots)

Much like Jimmy Garoppolo, Mac Jones is very limited in pushing the ball downfield. Jones, however, is weaponless and has room for growth. The Alabama product is only below because of his rookie status.

27. Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles)

Jalen Hurts is by most metrics a horrifically inefficient passer. Hurts does have the upside of being an elite runner, but unless he improves his passing acumen he will remain in the cellar.

28. Jared Goff (Detroit Lions)

Jared Goff was a mid quarterback under Sean McVay and is bad in Detroit. He is a placeholder for the Lions until they find their guy in the draft.

29. Sam Darnold (Carolina Panthers)

One would have thought that Darnold would’ve improved after leaving the perils of the New York Jets, however, he really hasn’t. Darnold is still a hindrance under center and there’s a reason the Carolina Panthers are reportedly in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.

30. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

If Pittsburgh had anyone to replace him, he would’ve already been sent to the retirement home.

31. Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Here starts the trio of rookie quarterbacks in horrible situations. Lawrence however has made the most out of his of the three and has shown signs of progression recently.

32. Justin Fields (Chicago Bears)

Fields is receiving zero favors from the offense and team around him. However, he is also been poor in his own right. He is being sacked at an alarming rate relative to his offensive line quality and has struggled at pro pace.

33. Zach Wilson (New York Jets)

Wilson is the worst of the aforementioned trio so far. His situation is atrocious, but his decision-making has been putrid, and has not looked good save a bright spot against the Tennessee Titans.

NFL Predictions, Week 1

The 2021 NFL season is kicking off tonight, therefore, myself and my fellow PFP contributor Lukas Briggs will make our picks for the first slate of games against the spread.

Thursday Night Football

Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5)

Lukas’ pick: Dallas Cowboys cover

Cam’s pick: Dallas Cowboys cover

In the most anticipated matchup of week one, the defending Super Bowl Champions face the Dallas Cowboys. Both Lukas and I believe Tampa will win this game, however, the high-powered offense of Dallas keeps the deficit within the 9.5 point spread.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons

Line: Atlanta Falcons (-3)

Lukas’ pick: Philadelphia Eagles cover

Cam’s pick: Atlanta Falcons cover

As you can see, we are split on this one. Lukas sees Atlanta as not anything more than it was last year, which was a worse team than Philadelphia. I disagree, as I believe Atlanta’s defense will make some moderate gains and Arthur Smith is a huge net positive at head coach.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills

Line: Buffalo Bills (-6.5)

Lukas’ pick: Buffalo Bills cover

Cam’s pick: Buffalo Bills cover

This game was extremely easy to call. The Bills are just clearly the better team, and the Steelers don’t even get a full touchdown in the line.

Minnesota Vikings vs Cincinnati Bengals

Line: Minnesota Vikings (-3)

Lukas’ pick: Minnesota Vikings cover

Cam’s LOCK: Minnesota Vikings cover

This was another easy game to predict. The Vikings are much better than Cincinnati and this line is far too low. I am making it my lock of this NFL game week.

San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions

Line: San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)

Lukas’ pick: San Francisco 49ers cover

Cam’s pick: San Francisco 49ers cover

The 49ers are playoff contenders, the Lions are #1 overall pick contenders.

Arizona Cardinals vs Tennessee Titans

Line: Tennessee Titans (-3)

Lukas’ pick: Tennessee Titans cover

Cam’s pick: Tennessee Titans cover

The Tennessee Titans are truly on a path to title contention. A team that was already great added Julio Jones in the off-season. The Cardinals can surely score points, but Tennessee is truly an elite team.

Seattle Seahawks vs Indianapolis Colts

Line: Seattle Seahawks (-3)

Lukas’ pick: Seattle Seahawks cover

Cam’s pick: Indianapolis Colts cover

This is going to be a very interesting matchup between two top-class head coaches. Lukas thinks that the better team on paper wins, however, I think that the Colts cover at home while controlling the clock and game.

Los Angeles Chargers vs Washington Football Team

Line: Washington Football Team (-1)

Lukas’ pick: Washington Football Team covers

Cam’s pick: Los Angeles Chargers covers

This is quietly one of the best games going into the first week of NFL action. This game could truly go either way. Lukas believes that the stout WFT defense will be more than enough to complement a surging offense and beat the Chargers. I believe the Chargers can be deep playoff contenders, and they will beat Washington with a new quarterback in town.

New York Jets vs Carolina Panthers

Line: Carolina Panthers (-4.5)

Lukas’ pick: New York Jets cover

Cam’s pick: Carolina Panthers cover

This is likely going to be a game that is forgotten by next week. However, the debut of Zach Wilson is noteworthy. Lukas sees this as a battle of mediocre at best clubs and with a spread north of four points, he’d take the points. I believe the Panthers are better than that and will cover their points.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans

Line: Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)

Lukas’ pick: Houston Texans cover

Cam’s pick: Houston Texans cover

This game is truly between two of the lightest weights in the NFL. A Jaguars team with a rookie quarterback and a bad roster and a Houston team that is just plain bad and without Deshaun Watson. Lukas and I both agree to just take the points here, I wouldn’t watch this game.

Cleveland Browns vs Kansas City Chiefs

Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)

Lukas’ pick: Cleveland Browns cover

Cam’s pick: Kansas City Chiefs cover

This matchup could easily be an AFC championship game preview. In what should be a spectacle, Lukas believes that Browns will at least cover the spread and perhaps win. I think in Arrowhead this will be a tough task.

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots

Line: New England Patriots (-3)

Lukas’ pick: New England Patriots cover

Cam’s pick: New England Patriots cover

This is a very interesting week one matchup pitting Bill Belichick against his former assistant and two former Alabama teammates dualing at quarterback. Lukas and I both believe New England will just be better prepared, and Belichick’s record against young signal-callers like Tua Tagovailoa is stellar.

Green Bay Packers vs New Orleans Saints

Line: Green Bay Packers (-3.5)

Lukas’ LOCK: Green Bay Packers cover

Cam’s pick: Green Bay Packers cover

This game may look juicy on paper, but it truly isn’t. The Saints aren’t even playing at home due to Hurricane Ida, and their roster is not necessarily what it once was. New Orleans is down Michael Thomas, thus they may field the worst pass-catching corps in the NFL. Lukas and I both see a comfortable win for the Packers and he has made it his lock.

Denver Broncos vs New York Giants

Line: Denver Broncos (-3)

Lukas’ pick: New York Giants cover

Cam’s pick: Denver Broncos cover

This is a pretty mediocre NFL matchup, to be honest. Lukas believes the Giants have the potential to be a sleeper team this year, and I feel the same about Denver. Both teams likely will not do too much damage this year.

Sunday Night Football

Line: Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

Lukas’ pick: Los Angeles Rams cover

Cam’s pick: Los Angeles Rams cover

The Rams are one of the best teams in the NFL and are very likely to contend for the Lombardi Trophy. The Bears are in a transition period and the roster is worse than it was last year. This should be a comfortable win in Matthew Stafford’s Rams debut.

Monday Night Football

Line: Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

Lukas’ pick: Baltimore Ravens cover

Cam’s pick: Baltimore Ravens cover

The Raiders are a pretty mediocre team. The Ravens despite having what is now a crisis at running back after the season-ending injuries to JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards should get it done as their roster is still very good.

NFL Preview and Predictions, NFC

As the 2021 NFL season approaches, let’s take a look at the NFC and the outlook for its divisions and teams:

NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys

Outlook: Playoff contender

Division Prediction: 1st

Record Prediction: 11-6

The Dallas Cowboys are going to be an extremely potent offense in 2021 with the return of Dak Prescott. This will be compounded by the existing spoils of offensive weapons in Dallas including Ceedee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys will benefit from a relatively weak NFC East which will be coupled with the second easiest schedule in the NFL. These factors should lead to an exorbitant win total, however, a defense that was lackluster in 2020 didn’t appear to get any better. A division win for the Cowboys is in store nonetheless.

Washington Football Team

Outlook: Wild Card Contender

Division Prediction: 2nd

Record Prediction: 9-8

The 2021 Washington Football Team bolsters a defense that can compete with any in the NFL. In 2020, Washington reached the playoffs mostly because of a tattered NFC East and is looking to build on that. However, it is unlikely that they do much to build on their 2020 campaign in terms of the end product. The team will endure clearly the toughest schedule in their division ranked 15th. The next closest team (the New York Giants) having the 25th toughest. The offense in Washington did not make any huge strides either, however, Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing Alex Smith under center is some help. The offense will rely on the continued progression of Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to support their stellar defense. Washington will be a team that no offensive coordinator likes to play, however, that will not be enough to see a true breakout season.

New York Giants

Outlook: Mediocrity

Division Prediction: 3rd

Record Prediction: 7-10

The 2021 New York Giants will enter the season hedging their success entirely on the offensive upside. Joe Judge’s team will be pinning their hopes on the progression of signal-caller Daniel Jones and the health of running back Saquon Barkley. The team’s addition of Kenny Golladay at wide receiver will surely help their fortunes, however, he is not an elite talent that will offset a relative shortcoming in the Giants’ pass-catching room. There is a lot that must go right for the Giants to contend, and they are just not there yet.

Philadelphia Eagles

Outlook: Entering rebuild

Division prediction: 4th

Record Prediction: 4-13

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a transition period, and they know it. The majority of the team that won the super bowl three years ago is either off the books or in the twilight of their career. Any hope for the team’s expeditious success rides on sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts showed flashes on the backstretch of the 2020 season when called upon, but it is nothing more than a hope for the Eagles that he takes flight in 2021. Philadelphia does have the easiest schedule in the NFL heading into the season, so there is some upside.

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers

Outlook: Super Bowl Threat

Division Prediction: 1st

Record Prediction: 12-5

The Green Bay Packers have one last shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the near future. The reigning NFL MVP and all-time great quarterback Aaron Rodgers has committed to one more year in Green Bay before parting ways with the organization. The team returns nearly all its stars and looks to dominate again. Green Bay has concerns about weakened protection, losing perhaps the best center in the league, and David Bakhtiari recovering from an ACL tear. The Packers also will endure a top-five toughest schedule, but that is the case for both Minnesota and Chicago as well.

Minnesota Vikings

Outlook: Playoff Team

Division Prediction: 2nd

Record Prediction: 10-7

The Minnesota Vikings are poised to post a bounce-back campaign after a disappointing and injury-riddled 2020. The team will regain two-time all-pro pass rusher Danielle Hunter along with Michael Pierce, Eric Kendricks, and Anthony Barr that missed all or a significant portion of the year previous. Minnesota also added Breshaud Breeland and Patrick Peterson to a struggling cornerback room while drafting their potential franchise left tackle in Christian Darrisaw. The team also added Dalvin Tomlinson to a rejuvenated defensive interior. Minnesota does have to bear the fourth-toughest schedule in 2021, however, the defensive renovation and plethora of offensive weapons spearheaded by Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook with Kirk Cousins under center will lead them back to the postseason.

Chicago Bears

Outlook: Not Enough

Division Prediction: 3rd

Record Prediction: 8-9

The Chicago Bears have all their eggs in the Justin Fields basket in 2021 and beyond. The sooner that Fields plays the quicker Chicago knows where they are as a franchise and perhaps compete. Chicago failed to add much of anything in the offseason, the highlights being projected depth running back Damien Williams along with Desmond Trufant replacing Kyle Fuller at cornerback. They likely won’t improve on last season with a tough schedule and a resurgent Minnesota. Chicago could have a bright future if Fields is the real deal, but 2021 won’t be that breakout season.

Detroit Lions

Outlook: Rome wasn’t built in a day

Division Prediction: 4th

Record Prediction: 2-15

The Detroit Lions are beginning a complete and total rebuild. The organization traded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay is now in New York. New General Manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell plan to endure a tough road ahead. Expect Detroit to pick in the top three in the 2022 NFL draft.

NFC South:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Outlook: Super Bowl Threat

Division Prediction: 1st

Record Prediction: 14-3

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are entering the 2o21 season as the reigning Super Bowl champions. The team did something that is rarely possible, they retain essentially the same roster that captured the Lombardi Trophy. Tampa Bay will enjoy another stellar season led by Tom Brady and Bruce Arians. Expect the Buccaneers to challenge for a repeat title.

New Orleans Saints

Outlook: Wild Card Contender

Division Prediction: 2nd

Record Prediction: 8-9

The New Orleans Saints are entering a new era post-Drew Brees. The Saints are going to go forward with Jameis Winston while retaining most of the team. Winston is going to make mistakes that Brees did not, and there is much speculation around trading star-wideout Michael Thomas. New Orleans will regress without Brees, however, the team’s roster will keep them somewhat afloat.

Carolina Panthers

Outlook: Volatile

Division Prediction: 3rd

Record Prediction: 7-10

The Carolina Panthers have a very good roster and a coach that appears capable in Matt Rhule. The team will return all-pro running back Christian McCaffrey from injury. The young core including Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn, and Donte Jackson will surely take progressive steps. However, Sam Darnold at quarterback is a huge question mark and it is unlikely Darnold takes the team to playoff contention. The Panthers will both look amazing and awful at different times this season.

Atlanta Falcons

Outlook: Mediocrity

Division Prediction: 4th

Record Prediction: 6-11

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a 4-12 season in 2020, however, it is unlikely they will be that bad again. The team did lose all-pro wide receiver Julio Jones, however, the team brought in a generationally talented pass catcher in the draft in Kyle Pitts. The Falcons defense is still very lackluster and Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, and the aforementioned Pitts will not be enough to output success in Atlanta.

NFC West:

Los Angeles Rams

Outlook: Super Bowl Threat

Division Prediction: 1st

Record Prediction: 11-6

The Los Angeles Rams have one of the best rosters in football. The team bolsters perhaps the most dominant corner in the league Jalen Ramsey and the league’s most dominant defender Aaron Donald. Add that to a solid surrounding defensive unit, a great pass-catching room, and one of the league’s best offensive minds Sean McVay on the sideline, the Rams are terrifying. On top of all of this though, they added star quarterback Matthew Stafford who very well could lead them to the promised land. Their record may seem conservative juxtaposed with the writeup, however, the NFC West is the league’s best division, and playing Arizona, Seattle, and San Francisco six times combined is a tough test.

Seattle Seahawks

Outlook: Playoff Team+

Division Prediction: 2nd

Record Prediction: 10-7

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a season where they posted a 12-4 record. Seattle will regress from this but will still be a very dangerous team. The team will have Russell Wilson throwing to an even more progressed DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett with Chris Carson in the backfield. The defense will be serviceable and Pete Carroll’s team is poised for a great season. The Seahawks will be very dangerous in 2021.

Arizona Cardinals

Outlook: Wild Card

Division Prediction: 3rd

Record Prediction: 9-8

The Cardinals retain a high-powered offense spearheaded by Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, however, the defense is a question mark. The defense lost legendary cornerback Patrick Peterson and may well lose Chandler Jones. The addition of JJ Watt is extremely positive, however, the unit itself is still a bit mediocre. On top of this, Kliff Kingsbury is likely not the guy going forward and with a resurgent Rams under Sean McVay in this tough division, Arizona’s ceiling is capped.

San Francisco 49ers

Outlook: Near miss

Division Prediction: 4th

Record Prediction: 8-9

The San Francisco 49ers will be victims of a division that is just entirely too good. Kyle Shanahan will have his hands full attempting to navigate a loaded division while having clearly its worst quarterback. Whether it is Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Trey Lance, the 49ers quarterback will be miles behind the likes of Wilson, Murray, and Stafford. The team will retain a very talented defense but the lack of an elite quarterback and weapons while in a brutal division are going to hinder San Francisco. However, any team in this division could make a playoff run so don’t count Kyle Shanahan out.

Wild Card Teams:

Minnesota Vikings (10-7)

Seattle Seahawks (10-7)

Arizona Cardinals (9-8)

Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings, 2021

The 2021 NFL season is approaching, as such the 2021 fantasy football season is also on the horizon. In this article, I will outline the top 20 running backs to target in your upcoming fantasy draft:

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey remains the top choice not only at running back but in the entirety of fantasy football in your drafts. The Stanford Cardinal product produced a historic fantasy season in 2019 following up a stellar 2018. Despite McCaffrey’s injury woes last season, he should top your draft board.

2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Followed closely behind McCaffrey is the Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook. Cook is primed for another excellent season having been an incredible fantasy back whenever he is on the field. He should be the second player off the board in your fantasy football drafts.

3. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts sits third on this list due to enjoying a blistering home stretch of the season in 2020 after being given the reigns as the team’s lead ball carrier. The Colts have the easiest schedule in terms of rush defenses, and Taylor should feast.

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry is the fourth running back to come off the board, as the Alabama Crimson Tide product looks poised for another monster season, having broken the 2,000 rushing yard barrier in 2020. Henry’s lack of upside in the passing game keeps him from being any higher on this list but you should have no hesitation slotting him as your RB1.

5. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants rounds out the top five because of his elite talent in both the running and passing game. Despite his torn ACL in 2020, the G-Men’s tailback is poised for an extremely productive season.

6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints’ workhorse slid a bit because of the riches available at the top of the running back position. Kamara is a bonafide top fantasy option as he provides exorbitant upside in the passing game.

7. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris is poised to enjoy a massive rookie season as the 2021 first-round draftee slots into an offense that is historically conducive to running back success. Harris also will have the advantage of an extremely easy schedule and should comfortably be taken in the first round of drafts.

8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

Nick Chubb is an extremely safe bet at the top of your fantasy football drafts. The former Georgia Bulldog is the leader of a potent Cleveland Browns’ rushing attack and looks to build on his already great career thus far. Perhaps the best pure runner in the league, Chubb is a great pickup.

9. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

Antonio Gibson is in a prime position to break out this season. He was extremely successful in 2020 when given the reigns of the Washington rushing attack, and with high receiving upside, he is a top choice.

10. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers running back is poised to produce another solid season with Aaron Rodgers committing to the team for one more season. Jones is a touchdown machine with awesome receiving upside, managers drafting at the bottom of the first round should be confident in selecting him.

11. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott is in line to churn out a bounce-back season with star quarterback Dak Prescott back at the helm. Elliott is a much better player with Prescott under center and should be expected to perform at a high level.

12. JK Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

JK Dobbins is ready to take on the workhorse role in the frightening Baltimore Ravens’ rushing attack. The Ohio State product will produce a stellar season alongside quarterback Lamar Jackson and establish himself in the NFL.

13. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

The sophomore Lions running back is in line for a total breakout season. Swift averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2020 and should produce at an extremely high level leading the offense.

14. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

David Montgomery projects as one of the safest bets in fantasy football. For what should be third-round draft value and Montgomery provides extremely reliable and solid production.

15. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

The pass-catching Ekeler is a very solid choice in your drafts because of his usage and rapport with Justin Herbert. Ekeler provides very good value for your team and projects as a second or third-round choice.

16. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Kansas City Chiefs should enjoy an improvement on his rookie campaign. Although Edwards-Helaire did not enjoy requisite usage in 2020, and that should change in 2021.

17. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Miles Sanders is a reliable choice in your fantasy drafts with good value in the third round. Sanders provides both rushing and receiving upside that translates to fantasy success and will be relied upon next to Jalen Hurts.

18. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon should finally have the solid, consistent season fantasy managers have been waiting for. Mixon’s production should steady in 2021 with Joe Burrow returning and Cincinnati reloading on offense in the draft.

19. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

Myles Gaskin of the Miami Dolphins will enjoy a stellar season as the focal point in Miami’s rushing attack. Gaskin showed what he was capable of in 2020 and the path is clear for him in 2021.

20. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs takes some hit in value due to the arrival of Kenyan Drake, however, he is still a solid option. Jacobs is a premier NFL runner and is a solid RB2 in drafts.

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