Eight rookies are slated to be starting for their respective teams this fall when the NFL starts. From a fantasy standpoint, drafting these guys always comes with some level of risk. You can hit the jackpot or you can throw away your season with a simple guess/gamble.
Nick Chubb will get the bulk of the carries in Cleveland. With Duke Johnson in the backfield too, Chubb should be able to get comfortable without being rushed. If the passing game opens up, the defenses can’t throw 8 in the box to bottle him up either. He will have some fantasy value this season.
Royce Freeman should benefit from a solid passing game in Denver to be an effective RB. He’ll have Booker as his backup, giving the Broncos a good 1-2 punch in the backfield. Freeman is strong and explosive. In bigger leagues, he could have value as an RB1.
Kerryon Johnson is in a similar situation in Detroit. With Blount as his backup, you’ll see the same results with a 2 back set. Johnson has good breakaway speed which will only enhance his fantasy value.
Sony Michel will be Tom Brady’s new RB this season. We all know how Brady can perfectly utilize his RBs. And Michel has exactly the tools needed to excel in this offensive set. I love him as an early round fantasy pick.
Saquon Barkley…….we’ve all seen the highlights. He’s a beast, he’ll make an immediate impact in the NFL. Having Jonathan Stewart as a teammate will be huge for this rookie. Barkley can hurt you in so many ways and will be a solid RB1 for years to come. In keeper leagues, he’s a gold pick.
I loved Rashaad Penny in college, but was surprised he was drafted so high. Seattle is a mess right now, so it’s hard to be too high on him at this moment. He’s very talented, very quick, but the team is going to need to gel around him before he becomes an asset in fantasy.
RBs don’t get much more explosive than Ronald Jones II. He may struggle the first couple weeks without Jameis on the field, but I can see a mid-season bump for him. Draft him fairly early and he’ll pay off by the end of the season.
Derrius Guice is the new face in the Washington Redskins’ backfield. Provided the offensive line holds up, Guice and Alex Smith will give the Skins a good pass/run balance. Draft him in the first few rounds, currently an RB2, but could easily prove to be an RB1 by season’s end.
A few backups could make a splash this season. Chris Ivory will have all eyes on him as McCoy looks to be headed towards some legal trouble and/or a suspension. Ivory has value in fantasy, as he has proven in the past.
CJ Anderson is essentially replacing Jonathan Stewart as Christian McCaffrey’s backup. He’s younger than Stewart and gives Carolina better pass catching abilities. In fantasy, he’s basically a reserve deep on your bench. But he’s a valid bye week/injury replacement for when it’s needed.
Frank Gore will be behind Kenyan Drake on the Dolphins’ depth chart. A sure fire HOFer, Gore will get his carries and be very valuable in goal line situations. Miami also has Kalen Ballage out of ASU. Extremely versatile, look for the Dolphins to utilize him in many schemes. Still, Gore and Ballage will both be reserves in fantasy barring a breakout or injury.
There will be 4 RBs with experience, but playing different roles this season, or just playing for a new team. Indianapolis will be going with Marlon Mack as their starter. Playing behind Gore has assuredly helped him, and Colts fans are hoping he can be the guy to count on for the next few years.
Isaiah Crowell (NYJ), Doug Martin (Oak), and Jerick McKinnon (SF) changed their address this offseason. All 3 will get the bulk of the carries for their team. Crowell will be teamed up with Bilial Powell for a nice, versatile backfield. Doug Martin will see a lot of carries, but Lynch will get the majority of the goal line opportunities. This doesn’t bode well for fantasy. McKinnon will benefit from Jimmy G’s success in San Francisco. A solid passing game will free him up to provide a nice running game for the 49ers as well as value on the fantasy side.
Like every other season, nothing is for granted in football, be it on the field or in fantasy. A smart draft always helps, but making the right moves as the season progresses is just as important. I wish all you all the luck……..unless you’re in a league with me.