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Rookie Running Backs with 2014 Fantasy Football Value


Fantasy Football Outlook of the 2014 Rookie Running Backs

 

Bishop Sankey, Titans

Bishop Sankey

Two years ago the college football world found out about a running back named Bishop Sankey after he recorded 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns. As an encore, Sankey exploded last year at Washington with 1,870 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns. While he may not be the most talented running back taken in the 2014 draft, Sankey fell into a very fortunate situation for his future fantasy owners. His competition for the starting job is basically non-existent thanks to the Titans cutting Chris Johnson and the recent injury to Shonn Greene. He should be the first rookie RB taken in redraft leagues, and a top 3 rookie pick in dynasty leagues.

2014: Starter

2015: Starter

 

Terrance West, Browns

Being from the FCS, not many football experts had Terrance West on their radar entering the 2013 college season. West ended his career at Towson with 802 carries for 4,854 yards and a whopping 84 touchdowns. West will compete with newly acquired Ben Tate for carries in 2014 for the Cleveland Browns. While Tate is set to be the starter, it should be noted that the often-injured Tate has never reached 200 carries in a single season. West should be a fantasy handcuff for Tate Owners in both redraft and dynasty leagues.

2014: Backup

2015: Backup

 

Devonta Freeman, Falcons

There are a large number of naysayers that are not convinced that Freeman can become a full-time starting RB in the NFL. I would beg to differ. While Freeman is just 5’8″and 206 pounds, he plays like a much bigger back. In fact, over 65% of Freeman’s carries last year actually came on inside runs. Another skill that will support Freeman’s NFL career is his pass-blocking. Freeman is arguably the best pass-blocking runner in this year’s class. The Falcon’s current starter, 31 year-old Steven Jackson, has only one year left on his contract. Look for Freeman to possibly take over the starting job by 2015.

2014: Backup

2015: Possible Starter

 

Jeremy Hill, Bengals

The Bengals choice of selecting Hill drew a few head scratches this past draft. While it can be safely assumed that the Green-Ellis era is now officially behind us, there remains the question of how the touches will be distributed between Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Bernard will be given every opportunity to be the lead back in the Bengals offense, but look for the splits to be in the 65-35 range. Hill should be a decent handcuff for Bernard owners.

2014: Backup

2015: Backup

 

Tre Mason, Rams

Mason is one of the most talented RBs in this year’s draft. However, he was not placed in an ideal situation. The Rams spent most of 2013 juggling RBs in their backfield. They tried it with Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Peed, Benny Cunningham, and Zac Stacy. Finally, it seemed as if they found their back when Stacy put together a few solid games towards the back-end of the season. Now with the addition of Mason, it will be exciting to see how this plays out. While Mason is a more complete RB than Stacy, he might be stuck in a running back by committee (RBBC) of sorts. Keep a close eye once preseason rolls around to see how the Rams are handling the crowded backfield. Mason should be a nice gamble in dynasty leagues.

2014: RBBC

2015: Possible Starter

 

Carlos Hyde, 49ers

Carlos Hyde San Francisco 49ers

Hyde is another rookie RB that will join a crowded backfield, this time in San Francisco. Frank Gore will be the starter in 2014, but at 31 years of age this could be his last season with the team. On top of that, the Niners also have Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore, who looks to be fully recovered from the tragic knee injury he suffered back in 2012. While it is possible Hyde becomes Gore’s unquestioned backup, there is no certainty it will happen. How the Niners determine their RB pecking order will depend on how these RBs perform in training camp and preseason.

2014: Backup

2015: Possible Starter

 

Andre Williams, Giants

Honestly, I don’t think anyone has any idea how the Giants RB situation will look like by Week 1. For now, Williams joins Rashad Jennings and David Wilson as the lead candidates for the starting spot. Based on talent alone, David Wilson (the 2012 first-round pick from Virginia Tech) would be the lead dog in carries for this team, but health and fumbling issues have him stuck in limbo. As for Rashad Jennings, the Giants signed him after his best NFL performance this past season in Oakland, but even those numbers were not very impressive (733 yards and 6 touchdowns). Williams isn’t an overly talented RB or the most fleet of foot either. Another issue that is associated with Williams is his struggle to catch balls out of the backfield. Having said all that, Williams did run for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns last year for Boston College. Some could argue that he’s just a late bloomer, but I remain skeptical and am far from impressed by his upside. Look for him to be part of a 3 headed rushing attack in 2014.

2014: RBBC

2015: Backup

 

Lache Seastrunk, Redskins

Seastrunk is the boom or bust RB of the 2014 draft. Some wondered why the Redskins would bother drafting another RB when they already have Alfred Morris who has averaged close to 1,450 yards and 10 touchdowns his first two years as a starter. The reality is that Morris isn’t anything special. He’s a slightly above average RB who took advantage of a good situation. Seastrunk on the other hand, has more explosive ability. His scouting report raves about how lightning quick and agile of a runner he is. He backed it up after running a 4.46 in the NFL combine. Seastrunk has one glaring weakness, his inability to catch the ball. He only has 9 career receptions, and none were this past season. Ironically, this happens to be Morris’ biggest flaw too. Look for the two of them to share time running the ball.

2014: RBBC

2015: RBBC