Welcome to fantasy football land: Where running backs matter
By James Doino
Round 4 target: Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Each league owner has that one player they have their eyes on prior to the draft; Najee Harris is my official “Man Crush Must Have” fantasy player of 2021.
I know the question marks surrounding the Steelers. The offensive line is coming off a rough season and has had some turnover heading into 2021. There is also the question of if Big Ben not only can still play at a high level but can he simply make it through the entire season in one piece.
All that being said, volume is king in fantasy football and Harris shouldn’t have a problem seeing 20+ touches a week between carries and receptions.
2021 Outlook via ESPN:
"“Harris was scooped up by Pittsburgh with the 24th pick of April’s draft. Standout RB prospects from Alabama are nothing new, but Harris is a bit of a unicorn in that he’s huge (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) and an outstanding receiver with a large catch radius (43-425-4 receiving line in 2020). Absurdly elusive for his size, Harris’ 3.1 forced missed tackle rate is third best in this year’s class during the past three seasons. Harris is severely lacking speed, but his combination of size, strength, tackle breaking, elusiveness and receiving ability supplies him with a high ceiling. He’ll immediately slot in as the undisputed lead back. Pittsburgh’s offensive line isn’t as good as in year’s past, but volume is king and Harris could push for 20 touches as soon as Week 1. He’s immediately a mid-range RB2 and sports RB1 upside.”"
Word to the Wise:
If Najee gets off to a blazing start, you may be able to “parlay him into a fortune” at the trade deadline.
Per Warren Sharp: “the Pittsburgh schedule should provide Harris with favorable opportunities. The Steelers will face the fifth-easiest schedule of run defenses in rushing efficiency and explosive rushing rate allowed. In fact, five of their six opponents before their Week 7 bye ranked in the bottom half of defensive DVOA last season.”