Fantasy Football 2017: Rookie RB Rankings
2017 Fantasy Football: Rookie RB Rankings
Rookie mincamps are officially underway. With a number of running backs drafted in the first round this year, who's most likely to make the biggest immediate impact?
10. Marlon Mack, Colts
Frank Gore is the clear starter, but the 33-year-old is close to the finish line. The South Florida product doesn’t have much competition when it comes to being the No. 2 back, which means a potentially important role in this potent offense.
9. D’Onta Foreman, Texans
The 233-pounder could turn into an annoying presence for Lamar Miller owners as a goal-line threat. Miller only had five touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his first season as Houston’s lead back.
8. Alvin Kamara, Saints
On the one hand, good luck finding consistent work in a backfield with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Then again, Kamara could end up as the lightning to that duo’s thunder. Either way, his big play potential might lead to explosive moments playing behind Drew Brees.
7. Jamaal Williams, Packers
There’s a real chance the BYU standout ends up atop Green Bay’s depth chart by Week 1. That’s especially true if Ty Montgomery gets moved elsewhere on the field. Either way, Williams showed he could handle a heavy workload after rushing 234 yards in 2016. His 137.5 yards per game ranked fifth in the country.
6. Samaje Perine, Redskins
While it feels like incumbent Robert Kelley is getting overlooked in discussions about Washington’s backfield, there are reasons why folks are intrigued with the new guy. Perine, one of the Redskins’ fourth-round picks, is a legitimate power runner. That’s something Washington’s lackluster red-zone attack needed last year.
5. Kareem Hunt, Chiefs
Compact and productive describes the Toledo product. The one to watch in Kansas City’s backfield does as well. Jamaal Charles is gone. Spencer Ware is the likely Week 1 starter, but he struggled over the second half of 2016. Charcandrick West had some fantasy football juice once upon a time, but Hunt is the biggest threat to Ware’s gig.
4. Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Minnesota moved on from Adrian Peterson and jumped into the Latavius Murray business during free agency. The ex-Raider gets the early nod as the likely leading rusher, but there’s no ignoring Cook’s production at Florida State.
3. Joe Mixon, Bengals
Cincinnati spent high picks on Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard yet averaged only 4.0 yards per carry in 2016. Mixon brings controversy because of a domestic violence incident, but also Pro Bowl upside. It’s possible there’s just enough work available for a big 2017 impact. It’s also possible the dynamic talent overtakes the veterans.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
Cam Newton received help in many ways when Carolina selected McCaffrey eighth overall. One of the top all-purpose yardage threats in D1 history, McCaffrey provides the Panthers with a ground game standout and a versatile pass catcher. It’s conceivable the rookie becomes Carolina’s second-biggest threat behind tight end Greg Olsen. Consider McCaffrey an RB2 entering draft season.
1. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars
Are we looking at the new Ezekiel Elliott? In terms of thrilling talent, sure. In terms of production, probably not, because Jacksonville’s offensive line cannot match Dallas’. So what? Fournette becomes the central figure for the Jaguars and an ideal, rugged option for a Tom Coughlin team. He also likely becomes a low-end RB1 by the time fantasy drafts truly kick in.