Doug Martin. Alfred Morris. Trent Richardson.
Seems like every season a rookie running back — or two, or three — makes a name for himself in fantasy football leagues. Those three guys did it last season for their owners. This year’s crop of rookies offer plenty of intrigue even if the field seemed a little weak at the NFL Draft.
Leading the way in average draft position according to Fantasy Football Calculator is Denver’s Montee Ball. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Ball because of the opportunity in front of him — Willis McGahee (cut!) and Knowshon Moreno coming off injuries, Denver not signing Ahmad Bradshaw — and head coach John Fox’s ability to extract production from running backs. Just look at what he got out of the corpse Moreno at the end of last season.
Ball is going 22nd overall at the running back position, which is RB2 territory. This is assuming a lot
namely that McGahee won’t be healthy enough to start in Week 1. I think that’s a little too rich for my blood for a rookie running back especially in redraft formats. But clearly, now, Ball is set to be the starting RB in Denver this season. His ADP will rise, however, on the news of McGahee’s departure.
Other notable rookie runners:
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
Bell is being drafted a few spots behind Ball at 25th among running backs. So basically he is the first RB3 off the board. Plenty of opportunity for him and his style of running — downhill, physical — fits in well with the Steelers. He toted the rock a ton in college though, so durability issues could surface at some point.
Eddie Lacy, Packers
Fantasy owners want nothing more than for the Packers to finally have a quality fantasy option at running back (see below). Lacy is the 27th running back off the board in mock drafts currently.
Gio Bernard, Bengals
Of all the rookie running backs, I think I like Bernard the most. The opportunity is right there in front of him. Last year’s starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis is anything but inspiring as a running back, though he got the job done last year for the most part. This team needs a better option at RB and Bernard might be it. 31st running back off the board, near the end of round six in 12-team mock drafts. Good value.
Johnathan Franklin, Packers
More proof that fantasy owners want the Packers to have a legitimate fantasy football running back.
Zac Stacy, Rams
Interesting player here. Steven Jackson is gone. Isaiah Pead, a rookie last year, is suspended to start the season. Daryl Richardson played well in 2012 but does not appear to be an every-down back, more of a change-of-pace guy. Opportunity for Stacy to steal the job in training camp. Great value, too: 41st running back, ninth round pick.
Here are today’s great reads:
- Looking for a fresh, new strategy for fantasy football this season? Try streaming quarterbacks. There are plenty of bad defenses to exploit on a weekly basis in a league tailored to offenses, and particularly quarterbacks. [4for4.com]
- Buzzy offseason for the St. Louis Rams. I still like Sam Bradford and think he’s got potential to be a good fantasy quarterback someday. But have you seen their skill position players? In my opinion, YIKES. Get the guy some real help, please. [RazzBall]
- Chris Ivory as a fantasy football sleeper in 2013. As a Saints fan, I enjoyed watching Ivory play. He runs hard and is a lot faster/quicker than you think. But he has fumble issues at times, and his physical nature leads to injuries. Boom or bust, in my opinion, but worth the price in the middle rounds. [RotoProfessor]
- Some over/under predictions starting with Aaron Hernandez. I’ve said this on Twitter but I’ll reiterate here: Give me Hernandez > Rob Gronkowski this year. I know there are injury concerns, but I feel like he’s been a little unlucky. Could easily put together a 15-16 game season and if so, look out. [Roto Arcade]