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2024 Pre-Draft Rookie Rankings for (Dynasty) Fantasy Football: Running Backs


Here are the top 10 rookie running backs that you should target in your (dynasty) fantasy football leagues in 2024!

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2024 PRE-DRAFT ROOKIE RANKINGS FOR (DYNASTY) FANTASY FOOTBALL: RUNNING BACKS


Here are the top 5 rookie rankings for RBs to target in (dynasty) fantasy football!


But first, here are those just outside the Top Five:


10. Cody Schrader

9. Audric Estime 

8. Bucky Irving

7. Ray Davis

6. MarShawn Lloyd


 

5. Blake Corum, Michigan



Bio: Blake Corum is entering the draft as the most decorated college running back in the 2024 class. He’s strung together three good seasons at the University of Michigan and helped the Wolverines win the national championship this last season. In four years at Michigan, Corum has 3,737 rushing yards and 58 rushing touchdowns along with 56 receptions for 411 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t do much his freshman year, but really burst onto the scene his sophomore year and never looked back. His 2023 season was his most impressive: 258 carries for 1,245 yards and a whopping 27 rushing touchdowns as a senior (which led the nation). Corum now looks to keep his momentum as a top-notch running back going as he heads to the NFL. While Corum is a great pure runner, he doesn’t “wow” anyone with his speed (4.53 40 time). What does “wow” people is his excellent vision and footwork. He is a patient runner and has good enough hands, but he’ll have to widen his route tree at the next level. Although he was a workhorse back in college, he will likely not be a workhorse back in the pros due to his small stature (5’8” and 205) but he’ll still be a reliable, smart, no-nonsense runner. Blake Corum should be drafted as a late second to early third-round rookie pick and found in rounds 11-12 in redraft leagues. He will likely be more valuable as a real-life running back than a fantasy asset due to his physical limitations.


Height: 5’8”


Weight: 205 lbs


Strengths:

-elite rushing profile

-good vision

-good footwork

-patient runner


Weaknesses:

-small

-lacks athleticism

-limited route tree 


NFL Draft Projection: Round three or four


Fantasy: Corum’s value will be based on his landing spot more than anything. He has a lot of good traits, but his size and athleticism are cause for concern. His college production came from heavy usage which he likely won’t replicate due to his smaller stature and he doesn’t have the elite game-breaking speed to make big plays in limited volume. These things make him a bit of a longshot fantasy-wise.


 

4. Trey Benson, Florida State



Bio: If you love drafting big, athletic running backs, then Trey Benson is your guy. He put up two solid seasons for the Florida State Seminoles (990 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns in 2022, 906 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in 2023), and should be a lock to be drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. What makes him stand out is his physical nature and athleticism; he’s a big-bodied, punishing rusher. At the NFL combine, Benson ran a 4.39 second 40-yard dash at 6’0” and 216 lbs. While he checks all the toolboxes physically, he still has concerns. He had a brutal knee injury his freshman year, causing him to miss the whole 2020 season. He would then only take three carries in the following season for Oregon as a redshirt sophomore. Benson eventually transferred to Florida State where he would win the starting running back position. Benson’s injury history and his moments of indecisiveness as a ball carrier are his main cause of concern. If he can stay healthy for the duration of his career and improve on his vision as a ball carrier, he can end up being the best running back in this class. He has the size and athleticism to be a three-down back and can be a solid fantasy contributor for the next five to seven years. As of now, Benson should be a middle to late second-round pick in rookie drafts and hovering around round 9 in redraft.


Height: 6’0”


Weight: 216 lbs


Strengths:

-Tackle breaking 

-Explosive athlete 

-Size to be a three-down back

-Good enough receiver out of the backfield


Weaknesses:

-Lack of vision at times

-Indecisive

-Concerning injury history 


NFL Draft Projection: Round two or three


Fantasy: No running back in this class has the type of ceiling that Trey Benson has. Most fantasy-relevant running backs have the patience and vision to rip off big gains and Benson must improve on that to take the next step. If he can piece it all together, he can easily be a top-15 fantasy back since he is such a gifted athlete and has the frame to handle a heavy workload.


 

3. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin



Bio: Standing at 6’1” and weighing in at 235 pounds, Braelon Allen is easily one of the bigger running back prospects in recent memory. Being only 20 years old, he’s also one of the youngest players in the entire draft. Coming out of high school, Allen was a two-way player, being recruited to play on the defensive side of the ball until he ultimately ended up playing running back for the University of Wisconsin. He won and kept the starting running back role as a true freshman and became the fourth true freshman in Badger history to rush for 1,000 yards. Allen has surprisingly quick feet and elusiveness for a power back. As one would assume, Allen also has the size and strength to break arm tackles and push the pile forward. He can be a dangerous player in a run-first offense but does struggle in the passing game. He is limited in his route-running capabilities and not the greatest pass blocker which is a must to be a three-down back in the NFL. Allen would benefit from going to a team that loves to wear out the defense by running the football. Since he is so big, he is one of the players who will get better as the game goes on and the defense gets worn out. He is a classic volume-play kind of running back. Find him in redraft leagues around round 13 and the end of round 2 in dynasty rookie drafts.


Height: 6’1”


Weight: 235 lbs


Strengths:

-Big frame that can handle a three-down workload

-Young (20 years old)

-College production

-Freshman Breakout year 


Weaknesses:

-The way he carries the football can lead to fumbles

-Limited route tree

-Pass protection


NFL Draft Projection: Round two or three


Fantasy: Braelon Allen needs to refine his route running as a receiver and work on pass blocking to become a trusted three-down back. Other than that, he has enough size and athleticism to be a difference-maker in the league. Since he isn’t much of a pass catcher, he may be more of a volume-based back which would lower his floor and ceiling in PPR leagues.


 

2. Jaylen Wright, Tennessee



Bio: Jaylen Wright had a fairly quiet college career at the University of Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a good pro career. Several current running backs had average college production but became stars in the pros. Alvin Kamara failed to put up 1,000 scrimmage yards in his two seasons at the University of Tennessee and Josh Jacobs’ best college season was in 2018 when he only had 887 scrimmage yards. Jaylen Wright’s 2023 season was better than any season Kamara or Jacobs had in college. He put up 1,013 rushing yards and four touchdowns on only 137 carries (7.4 yards per carry) and added another 141 yards on 22 receptions. He has proven to be a capable pass catcher and has the potential to score whenever the ball is in his hands. You can very easily see his 4.38 speed when he is on the field since he routinely makes chunk plays and outruns defenders. Wright is a little thinner than most would like their primary ball carriers to be, making him less likely to handle a full workload and unable to push piles forward. The NFL is changing and values speed more than ever. Jaylen Wright has not only speed but the necessary skills and traits a running back must have to be successful in the NFL. He should be a great running back to have in PPR leagues since he is a good pass catcher and can gain a lot of yards on limited touches because of his speed and efficiency. He can be found in rounds 11-12 in redraft leagues and early to middle of round two in dynasty leagues.


Height: 5’10”


Weight: 210 lbs


Strengths:

-Track star speed

-Shifty and efficient with the ball in his hands 

-Big play threat

-Good receiver


Weaknesses:

-Small frame

-Not a pile mover

-Limited route tree


NFL Draft Projection: Round two


Fantasy: Wright is a big play waiting to happen. With his combination of pass-catching ability and speed, he seriously has the potential to be the next hot running back in the NFL. He probably won’t see the 20 carry mark often, but he’s the type of player fully capable of 100-plus yards and a touchdown on 12-15 touches. 


 

1. Jonathon Brooks, Texas



Bio: Jonathan Brooks is the “anti-Blake Corum.” He’s an athletic back with low college production. That’s what happens when you’re on the same team as both Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. Once Brooks finally got the keys to the Longhorns’ backfield, he balled out. He finished his junior season with 1,139 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 187 carries (6.1 yards per carry). He also added in 25 receptions for 286 receiving yards and one touchdown through the air. One thing that sticks out about Jonathan Brooks is his efficiency. Although he didn’t play much in 2021 or 2022, he’s never averaged under 6.1 yards per carry in a season. His efficiency through his three seasons shows his consistency as a ball carrier and his big season was further proof that he can be a primary back. Some people may look at his lone big season as a negative, but it should be seen in a more positive light as he doesn’t have as much “tread on his tires” as some of the other backs in this class. To put things into perspective, Brooks has a total of 238 carries in his three seasons at Texas whereas Blake Corum had 258 carries in the 2023 season alone. His one good season should be enough to have him drafted in the second round and as the first running back selected. With that being said, Brooks did suffer a torn ACL towards the end of the 2023 season and may not be ready when the 2024 season kicks off in a few months. I wouldn’t recommend drafting him in redraft leagues unless you have IR slots since he’d be clogging a roster spot, but he is a player you would want in the second half of the season as you push toward the playoffs. He’s currently being drafted in round 10 of redraft leagues and towards the upper half of the second round in dynasty leagues.


Height: 6’0”


Weight: 216 lbs


Strengths:

-Makes quick cuts 

-Falls forwards

-Adequate pass catcher 

-"Low miles”, only 238 carries in college

-Good size 


Weaknesses:

-Tore ACL in November of 2023

-Tries to turn given yards into “home runs” too often

-Not much film on him 


NFL Draft Projection: Round two


Fantasy: Brooks has all the tools to be a three-down back and fantasy asset. He is both a gifted runner and a threat in the passing game. His big play potential raises his ceiling and his floor is also fairly high because of his hands and route-running ability. While this running back class is one of the weaker ones in recent memory, Jonathan Brooks is still a quality back who will produce as long as he stays healthy. 


Thank you for taking the time to check out my content! Follow me on Twitter @aidenhauser for all things fantasy football!


 

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