Dynasty RB trade targets for 2021 fantasy offseason

Amazingly, we have made it through the most tumultuous and stressful fantasy football season we have seen yet. Now we get to flip the switch in our heads and evaluate our dynasty teams by looking at some RBs to target in 2021 trades. Regardless if you won your league or have the 1.01 selection in the upcoming rookie draft, all of that prep and success for 2021 starts right now by getting ahead of your league mates.

Dynasty RB trade targets 2021 — Buy “Kinda” High

Not every RB you will try to acquire in 2021 dynasty trades needs to be a sleeper or someone that is waiting in the wings. Anytime you can get someone who comes at a lower price than their actual value is a win. Subtle and incremental wins like this build sustained dynasty teams that can compete for years to come. 

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Does anyone else remember this guy, or has the whole dynasty community written him off already? In Week 16, Ezekiel Elliott had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. He hasn’t scored a rushing TD since Week 5, and likely won’t crack 1,000 yards. He’s washed up — too many carries and can’t take it anymore. 

From Weeks 1 to 5, Elliott was the RB3 in PPR scoring. He rushed 89 times for 364 yards while scoring five rushing touchdowns. Elliott added 24 receptions on 32 targets, 173 yards, and one more score. All in all, Elliott averaged 22.3 PPR points per game. The Dallas Cowboys were firing on all cylinders. They were the number one offense in the NFL, and Dak Prescott was looking like an MVP candidate.

Related | Dynasty WR trade targets for 2021 fantasy offseason

Since Week 6, he is the RB26. His ppg has dropped by 52% to 10.8 in PPR scoring, and that is all people are remembering. They forget that Ezekiel Elliott was the only RB in 2019 to be an RB24 or above in every game. Let me ask you this question. How many true workhorse running backs are left in the NFL? Guys who are treated as a three-down RB and aren’t subbed off for a “specialized” player? You can fit them all on one hand if you are counting.

The team will likely bring back Dak Prescott, and this offense will be humming like it was when the season started. Targeting a workhorse RB like Ezekiel Elliott in a trade allows you to get a dynasty player who is still inside the top six at his position for 2021 at a bargain. 

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Most guys on this list, or any really, will be based on what we saw on the field. We don’t have that with Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon. He hasn’t played since Week 6, and the whole season seemed to be one big song and dance. Personally, I think the team’s medical staff botched this entire thing. He should have had surgery to fix his foot, and he could have possibly returned. Instead, this was a lost season, but that is another conversation for another time. 

There is also this narrative that Joe Mixon is prone to injury. I don’t know about that one. In his first three seasons, Mixon played in 14, 14, and 16 games. Through Week 6, Mixon was the RB9 in PPR. He had 119 carries for 428 yards with three touchdowns. Mixon was also on pace to have by far his best year as a receiver. He caught 21 of his 26 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. 

He is 24 years old and just got a new contract before the season. Mixon was coming off back-to-back 1,400 yard seasons with eight or more TDs. He has a stud QB who should be back either before or during the 2021 season. The Bengals will also likely upgrade the offensive line either through the NFL Draft or the impending free agency. 

I am all about buying low and selling high. I can’t think of how Joe Mixon’s value could be any lower than it is right now. If you want another RB on your dynasty team that has top-12 upside every week in 2021, Joe Mixon fits the bill.

Dynasty RB trade targets 2021 — Buy Low

We hit on a few guys who will cost a fair chunk of change. These players will take significantly less to acquire if you want to make a trade for an RB as the 2021 dynasty season kicks off.

A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers

One of the things I always preach is to be aware of contracts in the NFL. Then, look at who will be the next man up and determine if they are just a guy or a potentially valuable asset. This is something I find to be imperative when looking for RB trade targets. Aaron Jones is set to become a free agent after the season ends. The team already has an insurance policy in place if they can’t work out a deal. 

While we can all sit here and make fun of the Packers for their 2020 NFL Draft, and we will, they took A.J. Dillon out of Boston College for a reason. That reason was on display in the snow in Week 16 against Tennessee. Dillon rushed 21 times for 124 yards and two TDs, catching his only target for five yards in the Packers’ 40-14 win. Up to that point, he had 24 rushes on the entire season.

While that Week 16 outing likely boosted his value, a mid-to-late 2021 second could be enough to get it done. What you get in return is a bruising back who is way too athletic for his size and is paired with a Hall of Fame QB and behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. 

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

I know 2020 has seemed like it was a decade long, but what also seems like a decade ago was when the Seattle Seahawks drafted Rashaad Penny. Not only did they draft him, but they also spent a first-round pick on him. 

2020 was a lost season for Penny due to a torn ACL at the end of 2019. He finally managed to get back on the field, but the team is easing him back into action. In his first two seasons in the NFL, Penny had 150 carries for 789 yards (5.3 avg) and five TDs. He also added 17 receptions for 23 yards and another score through the air. 

Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson will be free agents after the season, leaving Penny and 2020 rookie DeeJay Dallas as the RBs on the roster. Head coach Pete Carroll has already hinted that Carson could be gone, and if so, Penny vaults into the low-RB2 range instantly. He could climb higher once we see him in a leading role. If you need some RB depth on your dynasty team for 2021, targeting Rashaad Penny trade makes a lot of sense and won’t break the bank.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.