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2021 RB Lotto Ticket Rankings (1 Viewer)

daylight

Footballguy
UPDATED Friday September 10 after the season opener of TBB v DAL.

In 2016, 2017, 2018,  2019 and 2020 we had a thread that folks seemed to find valuable so I am starting another version for 2021 - it's a living, ongoing list of potential King Makers at RB - the idea is to be PREEMPTIVE on RBs most likely sitting on the Waiver Wire (depending upon league size, sharks or guppies, etc.).  The definition of this thread is generally re-draft.

To paraphrase @TZMarkie from 2016: "This is for re-draft and we are looking for the ones with the best combination of availability, upside and possibility of a big workload. That combination would likely give the average owner the best chance at hitting the "lottery ticket RB" that could change an owners season...The point is, regardless of however you see it, and whatever your league preference and/or breakdown may be, in most cases a typical owner (think redraft with 5-7 bench spots) will only be able to truly "take a shot" on one or two of these guys".

To paraphrase @Interseptopus from 2019:  "A lotto ticket, to me, costs almost nothing, and is easily expendable for the next lotto ticket, but has potential to win you your season. ... Lotto tickets, in my mind, are easily cut from one week to the next."

P.S. I want to give a shout out to

@SameSongNDance for starting this annual tradition back in 2016!

Friday September 10 Note:  I did away with the 'keys' ('lotto', 'handcuff', etc.) because that required too many judgement calls on my part and I don't want to influence where I am not qualified. 

Editor note about the spirit of this list:  While TZMarkie and Interseptopus defined "what a LOTTO is" opinions and league sizes vary.  This list is meant to be a cast a wide net review as a tool to make your own judgement calls.  Then make your own rankings. Please share if you're willing.  Some RBs are included, like AJ Dillon in GP, in the event of a very shallow league.  Others are included like Darrel Williams in KCC because what if a frustrated owner drops him during a bye week crunch?  In both cases those backs fit TZMarkie and Interseptopus' criteria. 

CANDIDATES for the Season Changing - King Maker List - loosely ranked by chronological mention:

BAL - Ty'Son Williams - Matt Waldman favorite - @sushinsky4tsar seems to disagree:  LINK  - @sushinsky4tsar shared this LINK  

BAL - for completeness:  L Murray  - per @SoBeDad

BAL - for completeness:  D Freeman 

BAL - for completeness:  L Bell 

BAL - a tip o the hat to @Tanner9919 for the Gus Edwards suggestion which unfortunately did not make this list before he tore his ACL

GBP - Kylin Hill - Tags from Fantasy Pros loves this guy and as a Packer fan I can say he looks decisive when he runs through the line, can get outside and catch the ball - but please don't listen to me!  @Buck Bradcanon shared this LINK     

GBP -  AJ Dillon - per @Cranjis who writes "AJ Dillon is the ultra league winning handcuff"

LAC - Rountree per @Boston stating:  "should have an opportunity for the complimentary role for the Chargers."

ATL - Ollison - Ollison seems to be the handcuff  to own in ATL per @Boston + @zamboni agrees stating "I'd also add Qadree Ollison. He may be JAG, but runs with power and is reasonably shifty for a guy his size. Mike Davis is no world beater despite his success in filling in for CMC last year. Not sure Davis' hold on the starting gig is as strong as we think."  @foxco agrees

ATL - Caleb Huntley - per @JFS171

CHI - Damien Williams per @Dacomish stating "I moved on from Cohen to Damien Williams for the Chi Cuff for free."

CHI - Tarik Cohen - per @wgoldsph LINK  

CHI - Khalil Herbert - per @Edgar who writes "Khalil Herbert over Damien Williams in CHI"

HOU - Lindsay - "I think Lindsay(HOU) could be the 2021 version of Mark Davis" @BoltBacker  - @MTskibumnotes "Lindsay, he is dirt cheap and I have been grabbing him in all of my best balls"

PHI - Kenneth Gainwell per @zamboni who states "I'll submit Kenneth Gainwell - he's being discussed a bit in the Miles Sanders thread. By most accounts he's a dynamic pass catcher and could have a role there early on if Sanders doesn't fix his drop issues"

MIA - Salvon Ahmed - per @jtd13 who states [Aug 18] "Salvon Ahmed should be mentioned in this thread. Still the wrong part of an RBBC, but it sounds like his role as a legit receiving threat is continuing in practice today."   -  @foxco agrees with the S Ahmed call

MIA - M Brown - per @Adso who makes his argument here:  LINK   

CLE - D'Ernest Johnson - per @RenegadeGM who writes:  "If we are talking about #3, off the radar types, I'll go with D'Ernest Johnson, CLE."

SEA - Alex Collins - per @IHEARTFF who writes:  "Alex Collins again in Seattle apparently"

SEA - Rashaad Penny - per @SeniorVBDStudent 

LAR - per @IHEARTFF who writes, and the editor appreciates this:  "whichever guys make the Rams roster"

LAR - Xavier Jones - per @zamboni who adds "Xavier Jones is worth mentioning as a guy who could emerge there."

LAR - Sony Michel - per @Tanner9919

DET - J Jefferson - per @Ilov80s who writes "Jermar Jefferson in Detroit. Swift has a groin injury already. Williams would be the main guy but they are sure to use a committee all season. Jefferson could get on the field early"

NYJ - Ty Johnson - per @JFS171 who writes an excellent post in this thread on Johnson here:  LINK

CAR - Chubba Howard - per @Hankmoody who writes "Chuba Hubbard is mine.  He's the ultra-handcuff already and he's got the talent to be on the field with CMc and get his own touches as well." @massraider agrees

MIN -  Alexander Mattison - per @Gally

NO - Tony Jones - per @Edgar who writes:  "Tony Jones is a nice sleeper over 31yo Latavius Murray" @massraider agrees

TBB - Gio Bernard - per @Tanner9919 "in PPR leagues"

CIN - Samaje Perine - per @Truebluey LINK   

CIN - Chris Evans - per @Truebluey LINK   

ARI - Eno Benjamin - per @JFS171 LINK - @zamboni agrees:  "Perfect late round dart throw IMO" as well as @Ilov80s

ARI - Jonathan Ward - per @JFS171 wrting: "The one catch with Eno is the team seems infatuated with Jonathan Ward" LINK  

WAS - Jaret Patterson - per @MAC_32 - @JFS171 contributes:  LINK  

NEP - JJ Taylor - per @JFS171 - @massraider agrees

KCC - J McKinnon - per @Stat Correction

KCC - Darrel Williams - per @Birdie048

SF - Trey Sherman - per @hamsterdam

SF - JaMycal Hasty - per yours truly

ATL - Wayne Gallman - per @elcohiba

TEN - Mekhi Sargent - per yours truly - per Waldman “remember that name”

 
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Boston

Footballguy
Rountree should have an opportunity for the complimentary role for the Chargers...Jackson and Kelley are nothing special...he looked good last week and it will be interesting to see if LA gets him into the game a little earlier this week.

Ollison seems to be the handcuff to own in Atlanta...was hoping Hawkins could sneak into a change-of-pace role but not hearing anything too special about him so far.

 

BoltBacker

Footballguy
I think Lindsay(HOU) could be the 2021 version of Mark Davis, and he may not even need a big injury in front of him either. Ingram is nearing the end, Burkhead spends a lot of time dinged up, and I'm not convinced David Johnson starts the season on the final roster. 

I'm not sure if Lindsay is incapable in the passing game or Gordon was just better at it and assumed that role in den. If Lindsay were starting and even just had average receiving stats for a starting RB he could help a lot of zero-RB drafters be in the hunt for a title.

 

MTskibum

Footballguy
I think Lindsay(HOU) could be the 2021 version of Mark Davis, and he may not even need a big injury in front of him either. Ingram is nearing the end, Burkhead spends a lot of time dinged up, and I'm not convinced David Johnson starts the season on the final roster. 

I'm not sure if Lindsay is incapable in the passing game or Gordon was just better at it and assumed that role in den. If Lindsay were starting and even just had average receiving stats for a starting RB he could help a lot of zero-RB drafters be in the hunt for a title.


I came here to post Lindsay, he is dirt cheap and I have been grabbing him in all of my best balls.

He is only in his 4th year and had 1300 and 1200 total yards his first 2 years in the league and can beat out a 31 year old Mark Ingram and a washed up David Johnson for the starting role.

 

zamboni

Footballguy
Love this thread from past years. Just to re-clarify, are we talking about guys who we think can emerge only with an injury to the starter, even without an injury, or any of the above?

Going with any of the above, I'll submit Kenneth Gainwell - he's being discussed a bit in the Miles Sanders thread. By most accounts he's a dynamic pass catcher and could have a role there early on if Sanders doesn't fix his drop issues. And if Sanders struggles in the run game or gets hurt, it wouldn't surprise me to see the handpicked Gainwell rather than Boston Scott be the primary beneficiary.

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Can you give me some insight on Ty'son Williams? That is a new name to me. I checked out his playerprofiler and it's not impressive. You think he's in line to get work in case of injury over Justice Hill?

 

zamboni

Footballguy
I'd also add Qadree Ollison. He may be JAG, but runs with power and is reasonably shifty for a guy his size. Mike Davis is no world beater despite his success in filling in for CMC last year. Not sure Davis' hold on the starting gig is as strong as we think.

 
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Adso

Footballguy
MIA - LOTTO Malcolm Brown

Started preseason with the first team ahead of Gaskins (they have the same career yard/attempt at 4.0) and the rest of the low/undrafted RB room, signed a notable contract, excellent pass pro, capable backfield receiver, biggest back on the roster with a nose for the end zone and playing in the same scheme he's spent his career in. I'll let the FBG's lay it out: 

Source: https://www.footballguys.com/article/2021-backup-running-backs-to-target 

There is plenty of evidence the NFL thinks Malcolm Brown is good. To start his career, Brown had a committee role with the Rams before the Lions offered him a two-year contract as a restricted free agent, which the Rams chose to match. Brown then entered free agency in 2021 and signed with the Dolphins. The 2020 Myles Gaskin storyline, where he became a starting running back with little forewarning, seems entirely possible for Brown. If not, Brown is a cheap, three-down capable running back in a backup role behind a low pedigree Gaskin who has not seen a leading role in an NFL offense. That is a great formula for an injury-away backup running back entering the season. - By Jordan McNamara


Source: https://www.footballguys.com/article/2021-gutcheck-531-2021-career-year-candidates

Myles Gaskin is getting love as an underrated running back after he unexpectedly led Miami's rushing attack in 2020. This is a new offensive scheme in 2021 and Gaskin will work alongside Brown, a free-agent acquisition from L.A. who has an equally underrated game.

Brown had one of the more compelling athletic profiles in his draft class with the exception of breakaway speed. Well-built, physical, quick, and fluid, Brown possesses above-average contact balance.

The fact he earned another deal while Todd Gurley was in his prime but injury was a concern and Darrell Henderson wasn't ready tells you that Brown earned his value within the organization. I expect Brown to earn 175-220 carries in this offense and lead the team in yards-per-carry and rushing touchdowns. If Gaskin gets hurt, Brown could be a 1,000-yard rusher with 7-10 scores if Tua Tagovailoa plays to his ability. - By Matt Waldman


Source: https://www.footballguys.com/article/2021-late-round-fantasy-draft-optimization

Malcolm Brown: Myles Gaskin performed well in 2020 but has minimal pedigree otherwise and did not stay healthy later in the season with his tweener-sized frame. Brown has a quality veteran profile of outproducing expectations on NFL depth charts, especially versus younger players. Expect to see Brown as a strong RB2 or even in a committee with Gaskin independent of injury in Miami. - By Chad Parsons

 

foxco

Footballguy
I'd also add Qadree Ollison. He may be JAG, but runs with power and is reasonably shifty for a guy his size. Mike Davis is no world beater despite his success in filling in for CMC last year. Not sure Davis' hold on the starting gig is as strong as we think.
I like this one; Davis didn't really get *that many* carries last season and IIRC his YPC wasn't that great. Room for someone to eat into his touches maybe. As an end of the bench lotto ticket he's worth a shot. 

Also like the Salvon Ahmed call, at least to see if he can sustain a role in the offense. Looked good last week at least.  

 

JFS171

Footballguy
I’ll add Ty Johnson in NY. That Jets OL looked like maulers in the first preseason game, and it’s completely plausible to me that they’ve really taken to the new scheme. They’re not without talent on the OL. 

Seems widely assumed it’s Michael Carter’s backfield, but Ty Johnson led the way and looked awesome doing it, ripping off chunk plays from the get go. If everyone’s freaking out about Malcolm Brown taking Myles Gaskin’s role (which I’ll believe it when I see it), why is nobody talking about Ty Johnson? I thought Johnson looked great in his opportunities last year, but then Gase and company would bench him so Josh Adam’s could slam into the line. Never made much sense for me, but Raheem Mostert went through several other teams before landing in the Shanny system and exploding. I think Ty Johnson might be the next Mostert and he costs nothing. 

Hat tip to @rockaction for talking about Johnson in a few other threads that got me to take another look.

Per The Athletic’s beat writer for the Jets:

There’s so much talk about rookie running back Michael Carter, but the Jets’ lead back might end up being Johnson. He showed Saturday how perfect he is for this blocking scheme. And if LaFleur is anything like Kyle Shanahan (he is), he’s going to ride the hot hand.

In 2019, the 49ers signed Tevin Coleman and added Matt Breida as a priority undrafted free agent. Yet they turned to Raheem Mostert, a journeyman, during the season as the lead man in their rotation. Granted, all three saw significant playing time throughout the year and combined to rush for 1,939 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Johnson rushed nine times for 33 yards against the Giants but had six for 31 in the first quarter behind the starting offensive line. He looked quick, fast and decisive in where he wanted to run. All three are important qualities to succeed in this zone-blocking scheme.

 

Gally

Footballguy
Probably a bit too high a price to be considered a Lotto RB but Alexander Mattison is one injury away from an oft injured RB to being a league winner.  Same with Pollard.   I figure these guys are already on the radar but figured to mention them anyway.  I would be willing to reach a little more on Pollard as I think he may have some flex stand alone value where I think Mattison needs an injury to have value.  

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
Love this thread from past years. Just to re-clarify, are we talking about guys who we think can emerge only with an injury to the starter, even without an injury, or any of the above?

Going with any of the above, I'll submit Kenneth Gainwell - he's being discussed a bit in the Miles Sanders thread. By most accounts he's a dynamic pass catcher and could have a role there early on if Sanders doesn't fix his drop issues. And if Sanders struggles in the run game or gets hurt, it wouldn't surprise me to see the handpicked Gainwell rather than Boston Scott be the primary beneficiary.
Heard on a podcast Gainwell was getting drafted in every draft but his usage was so bad week 1 they are all bailing 

 

zamboni

Footballguy
Heard on a podcast Gainwell was getting drafted in every draft but his usage was so bad week 1 they are all bailing 
Classic preseason overreaction. He'll probably get some more run in week 2 and 3 and his price will probably rise.

Still, I think we need to see what happens in week 1 of the regular season before making any determination about his role.

 

Edgar

Footballguy
-Gimme Khalil Herbert over Damien Williams in CHI

-AJ Dillon is the ultra league winning handcuff

-Tony Jones is a nice sleeper over 31yo Latavius Murray

 

sushinsky4tsar

Footballguy
Can you give me some insight on Ty'son Williams? That is a new name to me. I checked out his playerprofiler and it's not impressive. You think he's in line to get work in case of injury over Justice Hill?
 It's a deep one, and he's buried, but a Waldman special.   South Carolina guy (I believe), transferred to BYU and showed some really nice flashes on his draft year before going down with an ACL injury (I believe).   Injury killed his draft stock.   UDFA to Baltimore who Waldman was pumping up last year as a "remember the name" guy to keep an eye on.   He was never sold as a guy with a lot of sizzle or immense physical upside.  Just kind of a solid RB capable of climbing up a depth chart.  It's probably even money that he ever scores 3 fantasy points and 15-to-1 that anyone ever plugs him to their starting lineup.   

 

The Dude

Footballguy
Lot of quality thought sharing in this thread every year.  But it’s also guys throwing out every variation possible so some guys get pt.  
 

i suggest the list be part depth chart to satisfy the latter.

and the focus of the list to be ascending talent

 

Tanner9919

Footballguy
I like the call on AJ Dillon.

Gus Edwards 

Sony Michel - don't believe the fluff about the other NE rb's Michel has done it before , while the others haven't

who is the #2 RB in ATL - it's not like Davis is a top notch player.

Gio Bernard in PPR leagues

 

Tornacl

Footballguy
I like the Gus Edwards call.  He had over 700 yards last season WITH Ingram on the team, now Ingram is gone.  If Dobbins were to miss significant time, Edwards could be a league winner.

 

Birdie048

Footballguy
Agree Gio has potential in PPR

What about RB2 in KCC?  Is it Darrel Williams? On that offense any potential starter is worth a cheap grab (I just spent 5.01 of 5 round draft) 

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
I'm cooler on Jaret Patterson now as Gibson's toe injury may be a thing of the past, but he was my priority early summer. Lot of other names mentioned sprinkled throughput my rosters, but they're not really lotto tickets imho. Maybe semantics, but they're talented backups with a clear path to the lineup and i don't see that as a lotto ticket. 

 

dmac37

Footballguy
Agree Gio has potential in PPR

What about RB2 in KCC?  Is it Darrel Williams? On that offense any potential starter is worth a cheap grab (I just spent 5.01 of 5 round draft) 
Darrel Williams seems to have a strong hold as the #2RB in the most high powered RB friendly offense. He may start out as the goal line back with CEH looking bad in that role last year. If CEH were to go down, Williams can be a league winner. I also took him as my final pick in the 5th round of our rookie/FA draft.

 
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Truebluey

Footballguy
I think Samaje Perine and Chris Evans both have excellent handcuff potential in Cincy. Evans still has to move up the depth chart a lot, but 

"Evans was considered one of the top 15 running back recruits in the country out of Indianapolis' Ben Davis High School and made an immediate impact with the Wolverines by playing in all 13 games in 2016 (88 carries, 614 yards, 7.0 yards per carry, four touchdowns; six receptions, 87 yards, 14.5 average, one start). He garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2017, rushing for 685 yards and six scores on 135 carries (5.1 per) and grabbing 16 passes for 157 yards (9.8 per) and a score. -- by Chad Reuter"

 

JFS171

Footballguy
-Gimme Khalil Herbert over Damien Williams in CHI

-AJ Dillon is the ultra league winning handcuff

-Tony Jones is a nice sleeper over 31yo Latavius Murray
I found myself looking at Tony Jones yesterday and wondering if the Saints don’t just let Latavius Murray stroll on out the door. Good add to the list. 

Per Spotrac, Saints have a potential out with Murray taking a $1.8MM dead cap hit, but shedding $7.6MM over the next two years. 

 
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wgoldsph

Footballguy
Okay hear me out - Tarik Cohen.  He's coming off a major injury and still isn't practicing, but he is set to be ready to go by the start of the season.  Nagy loves him and there's a good chance he will be off punt returns and will focus purely on being a receiving back, which could provide fields with a safety valve and make him a great ppr value.  Also, he costs nothing in drafts.

 

Helaire-ious

Footballguy
Truebluey said:
I think Samaje Perine and Chris Evans both have excellent handcuff potential in Cincy. Evans still has to move up the depth chart a lot, but 

"Evans was considered one of the top 15 running back recruits in the country out of Indianapolis' Ben Davis High School and made an immediate impact with the Wolverines by playing in all 13 games in 2016 (88 carries, 614 yards, 7.0 yards per carry, four touchdowns; six receptions, 87 yards, 14.5 average, one start). He garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2017, rushing for 685 yards and six scores on 135 carries (5.1 per) and grabbing 16 passes for 157 yards (9.8 per) and a score. -- by Chad Reuter"
Agree. I am debating Tony Jones vs Perine as my next ww add. I'm droping Hawkins. Still holding some hope for Doaks before I drop him lol

 

hamsterdam

Footballguy
Good to see this thread back up for 2021!

Shout out to @daylight

As previously mentioned, looks like Ty Johnson could have a big role. Looking to scoop him late, especially if I draft Michael Carter.

 

JFS171

Footballguy
One I haven’t seen mentioned yet - Eno Benjamin. He basically redshirted last year after going in the seventh round, but they kept him on the roster all season despite never dressing him for a game. Edmonds is a fine player, but we’ve never seen him carry the mail as a lead guy. Connor looked washed to me. 

It’s completely plausible to me that Benjamin brings more thump than Edmonds and more receiving and burst than Connor and ends up Arizona’s lead guy when it’s all said and done. 

 

tangfoot

Living Slackmaster
Jermar Jefferson in Detroit. Swift has a groin injury already. Williams would be the main guy but they are sure to use a committee all season. Jefferson could get on the field early. 
Oh, I really hope not.  We already have too damn many JJs in fantasy football.  And now you're telling me I may even have to parse among the JJeffersons?  No, thank you!

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Oh, I really hope not.  We already have too damn many JJs in fantasy football.  And now you're telling me I may even have to parse among the JJeffersons?  No, thank you!
I don’t want it either. I would prefer to see Swift deliver in his promise.

 

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