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2021 Free Agent Running Backs

Dynasty players and fantasy savants are well aware that there’s more than one way to gain an edge over leaguemates during the offseason. One way to accomplish this is by keeping tabs on NFL free agents. The beauty of keeping up with free agency is that it marks an inflection point, not only for that player but their teammates as well. We can use this information in a number of different ways and I’ll provide some thoughts on that below the 2021 Free Agent Running Backs table. 

The table of 2021 Free Agent Running Backs includes the following information: Player, Age, Team, Snaps, Rushing Yards, Receiving Yards and Free Agent Status

PlayerAGETeamSnapsRu YDSREC YDSStatus
Aaron Jones26GB5391,104355UFA
Kenyan Drake27ARI615955137UFA
Gus Edwards26BAL347723129RFA
James Conner26PIT561721215UFA
Wayne Gallman26NYG391682114UFA
Christopher Carson26SEA403681287UFA
Todd Gurley27ATL507678164UFA
Frank Gore38NYJ38065389UFA
Mike Davis28CAR581642373UFA
Adrian Peterson36DET316604101UFA
Jeff Wilson25SF311600133RFA
Jamaal Williams26GB419505236UFA
Phillip Lindsay27DEN27050228RFA
Brian Hill25ATL327465199UFA
Devontae Booker29LV23842384UFA
Malcolm Brown28LAR472419162UFA
Boston Scott26PHI383374212RFA
Leonard Fournette26TB383367233UFA
Carlos Hyde30SEA26035693UFA
Le'Veon Bell29KC270328138UFA
Jerick McKinnon29SF372319253UFA
Kalen Ballage25LAC301303166UFA
Samaje Perine25CIN20730166UFA
Rex Burkhead31NE269274192UFA
Matt Breida26MIA15225496UFA
Alfred Morris32NYG11123819UFA
Devonta Freeman29NYG26217258UFA
Darrel Williams26KC262169116RFA
Josh Adams24NYJ7515729RFA
Dare Ogunbowale27JAC18514554ERFA
James White29NE330121375UFA
Dion Lewis30NYG304115127UFA
Ty Montgomery28NO7210127UFA
D'Onta Foreman25TEN32955RFA
DeAndre Washington28MIA879130UFA
Corey Clement26PHI1087525UFA
T.J. Yeldon27BUF427022UFA
Tyler Ervin27GB1426784UFA
Buddy Howell25HOU47643RFA
Mike Boone26MIN315910RFA
Tevin Coleman28SF635334UFA
Dontrell Hilliard26HOU22482RFA
Ameer Abdullah28MIN714258UFA
LeSean McCoy33TB11631101UFA
Marlon Mack25IND112630UFA
Chris Thompson30JAC15920146UFA
Dwayne Washington27NO11150UFA
Theo Riddick30LV481443UFA
Austin Walter25SF12327ERFA
Ryan Nall25CHI68067ERFA

As mentioned above, there are a number of ways to utilize this information. I’ve done my best to succinctly summarize a few (not all) of those below.

1 – Acquiring these players and/or their backups prior to signing.

Acquiring these free agents or their impending successors is the most direct way to play these inflection points. For example, if Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are unlikely to re-sign in Green Bay, the value of AJ Dillon explodes as the presumed bell-cow in the Packers offense. We can also use this information to form new assessments on the future outlooks of the departed.

Another inexpensive way to play it is by adding or acquiring backups. For example, the Steelers have been very noncommittal on retaining James Conner. If you have reason to believe they won’t deploy high draft capital on a replacement, acquiring Benny Snell and/or Anthony McFarland could provide a big return on a small investment.

Finally, those in deeper leagues who’re looking to round out their rosters with high upside fliers can also benefit. If we know that a starter or direct handcuff is becoming a free agent, we can assume the running back depth chart will be changing. Therefore, we can add or acquire the new handcuff for relatively little. In the event of injury or poor play, the returns can be huge.

2 – Analyzing potential rookie landing spots

Depending on when your league holds its rookie draft, the effectiveness of this will vary. For those drafting prior to the NFL Draft, this can be extremely useful.You can assign probabilities for potential outcomes and adjust values for free agents and rookies accordingly.

I compiled some early 2021 Rookie Running Back Rankings for those interested.

3 – Evaluating how the offense allocates the vacated snaps and subsequent production

Lastly, when a key contributor on an offense departs, the number of snaps they played, as well their production (to some degree), must now fall to a teammate(s). If a significant number of snaps is vacated, you can analyze the splits to interpret what kind of workload the incoming starter and/or backup is likely to see.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my other work here Articles and follow me on Twitter @FantasyFuru

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