There’s no denying that Najee Harris has been a rookie breakout, posting RB1 numbers on a team that struggled to move the ball at times this year. As Harris and the Pittsburgh Steelers surprisingly found their way into the playoffs, what should we expect from him in fantasy football postseason leagues and DFS contests?
Najee Harris enjoyed a breakout rookie season
There’s no denying what Harris has done this year. One of the top running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft, Harris posted 1,200 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. He also hauled in an eye-popping 74 receptions for 467 yards (third-most among RBs) and 3 TDs through the air.
In half-PPR scoring, Harris finished the year as the RB6, an impressive feat for a rookie. While there are quarterback questions in Pittsburgh, Harris will be a key part of their future plans.
Harris is the unquestioned lead back in Pittsburgh
No other running back came close to carving into Harris’ workload this year. The Steelers typically feature one ball carrier, and there’s no question that Harris is the most talented back on their roster.
Harris saw 307 carries this season, second to Jonathan Taylor. Behind Harris in carries on Pittsburgh’s roster was Benny Snell (just 36). So, yeah — Harris is the dude. He struggled to break off the big plays throughout the year, logging 6 rushes of over 20 yards and zero over 40. His longest run of the year was a 37-yard tote. Still, opportunity is king in fantasy football, and Harris has essentially zero competition on his team for RB touches.
What to expect from Harris throughout the playoffs
When looking at playoff fantasy leagues, gauging what teams have an opportunity to make a deep run is important. I don’t think the Steelers have the legs for it. They limped into the playoffs on the back of an improbable win by the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Indianapolis Colts, and Ben Roethlisberger has been struggling to throw the ball lately.
Harris is currently the second-most expensive RB on the Wild Card round slate at $6,600 on DraftKings. Kansas City has been right in the middle of the pack in fantasy points per allowed over the last four weeks. Yet, they also held this Steelers offense to only 10 points just three weeks ago. In that game, Harris still managed 110 scrimmage yards.
Harris has RB1 potential for as long as he plays in fantasy playoff leagues, but there’s a good chance the Steelers’ run ends after only one contest. In Wild Card Weekend DFS competitions, it’s a steep price to pay for a running back in a game that might not go his way. In Week 18, Harris had only 55 scrimmage yards. I’m not convinced that Harris is worth the price to play in playoff formats as the second-most-expensive RB.