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A Closer Look at the Rookie Running Backs

This Year’s Group of Rookie Running Backs seems to be very underwhelming on first glance…


To me, I say not so fast… I expect some contributions by the second quarter of the season…


There are a lot of options when it comes to rookie RB’s in 2014, but the main problem facing most fantasy owners is that none of them scream even RB2 when it comes to plugging them into your fantasy team.  And that’s ok.  Don’t feel the urge to make a splash and draft any of the particular RB’s relatively early in your draft.  If one falls, and there is good value there – then ok, pull the trigger if Bishop Sankey lasts until the 6th round in your league.  But if not – wait!

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Barring injury, it doesn’t look as if any of the rookie RB’s will be getting a lot of touches.  And owners that spent picks on Sankey, Hyde, Hill, etc. may get impatient when their RB’s are not getting a lot of touches early.  However, as the season goes on – each of them should see their roles expand – and this is even if the respective starters in week 1 for their clubs stay healthy.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect from each of the options:

Bishop Sankey

I really like Sankey as a runner.  Especially with that OL.  Shonn Greene is not very good as an NFL starting running back.  His track record speaks for itself.  Even though as of now Sankey profiles as the 3rd RB on the Titans depth chart, both Green and Dexter McCluster are one-dimensional backs.  Sankey has the ability to be an all-purpose back and I expect him to be the starter, barring injury – no later than week 6 in 2014.

Carlos Hyde

Hyde seems to be the second RB off the board.  Owners that drafted Hyde are banking on Frank Gore falling off…something that owners have been banking on for at least the last two seasons.  Will it happen?  Perhaps.  And if it does, there is little question that Hyde would become a top 20 RB option.  If Gore gets off to another solid start – and the owner in your league gets impatient and drops Hyde – he could be an ideal option.  Gore faded down the stretch in 2013, and Hyde should see his touches marginally increase as the season wears on.

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Andre Williams

Williams may just be the goal line back for the Giants right out of the gate, and to be honest – in standard formats he likely has the most value as of week 1 in my books out of any of the rookie RB’s.  Jennings missed time with a concussion last year and has not been the epitome of health in his career.  If he does go down, Williams is in line for significant touches.

Jeremy Hill

I love Giovani Bernard, and find it difficult to envision that he won’t get 20 touches a game in the Bengals offence, but that doesn’t mean that Hill can’t find a role.  Hill has had a very solid pre-season for the Bengals as a rookie, and is a good handcuff for any Bernard owner.  The Bengals should score plenty of points, and I think Hill will profile as at worst a RB3 in the second half of 2014 – perhaps even finding a way to get to around 10 touches a game.  Edit: With news that BGE has been cut, if he is on your WW now, go and grab him.  And if by chance you find him sitting on your WW after a slow start behind Bernard – think about adding him as the season drags on.

Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman

I may have saved the man with the most 2014 fantasy upside for last.  The Falcons should score a ton of points.  Steven Jackson is 31, and is not the most reliable option to be out there week in and week out.  Freeman is someone you will likely have to spend a draft pick to acquire as I don’t see anyone cutting ties with him during the year because of the big unknown cloud that will follow Steven Jackson’s health all season long.  However, if week 4-5 rolls around and the owner of Freeman gets impatient and drops him…then pounce.  The upside is far too high, especially in PPR leagues.

Any of the rookies are worth a flier late in your drafts if they are there and you have the bench room.  I love Hyde and Freeman in dynasty formats.  With any of the other RB’s though, unless they slip late I would just let the first quarter of the season progress – and see if owners in your league that invested picks in these rookies gets impatient.  With all of them having obstacles in their way for significant playing time, they might just cut them loose.  And if they do, it is your time to pounce and take advantage.


Have any other rookie RB’s that you think we should keep our eye on?  We want to hear from you!

About Brads.Got.Moxy

Brad is the co-founder of moxyball.com and is an avid fantasy sports enthusiast and blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy for additional fantasy sports insights.

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