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Every Fantasy Football Running Back With a Potential Workhorse Role in 2024

Bijan Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

The term “workhorse running back” is nearly ancient history in today’s day and age. Committee backfields have become increasingly popular as the value of running backs as a whole has decreased. While deploying a committee is smart in real-life football to reduce wear and tear on the game’s most injury-prone position, they frustrate the life out of fantasy football managers.

“Committee backfield” is never a term that managers want to hear. Workhorse running backs hold significant fantasy value due to their consistent scoring, how easy they are to replace in the event of an injury (just handcuff the backup), and league-winning upside. There just aren’t many of them in today’s pass-heavy league.

Not all of these guys will end up being workhorses in 2024, but there is good reason to speculate that these 20 running backs could carry the load for their respective teams. Volume is king in fantasy, and these guys should see no shortage of it this season.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

James Conner is 29 years old, which is ancient in running back terms, and has missed a handful of games each of the past few seasons due to injuries. The Cardinals drafted Florida State’s Trey Benson in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft, making him the second running back off the board.

While Benson could mix in, Arizona has shown that it is committed to Conner as its running back over the past few seasons by giving him a workhorse workload when healthy. He’s been efficient and has not shown signs of slowing down just yet, so why stop feeding him?

 

Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

Bijan Robinson shocked the world by not receiving workhorse usage as a rookie despite being selected eighth overall and being touted as a generational running back prospect. Should the world have been that shocked given that Arthur Smith was Atlanta’s head coach?

With Smith now out and Raheem Morris in, Robinson’s workload should be on the rise. There have been rumors floating around that he will play a “CMC-type of role” for Atlanta in 2024, meaning Tyler Allgeier may return to true handcuff value.

 

Derrick Henry, Baltimore Ravens

King Henry has been a workhorse for six straight seasons. Now in Baltimore, he will make it seven. The Ravens only have injured Keaton Mitchell, Justice Hill, and Rasheen Ali behind Henry. He will get all of the work here and should see an uptick in touchdowns as well now that he’s in a more efficient offense.

 

D'Andre Swift, Chicago Bears

D'Andre Swift may be a surprising name on this list given that he’s never really reached workhorse status thus far in his career. His lone season in Philadelphia could be considered a workhorse season, as he carried the ball a career-high 229 times and caught 39 passes. Swift was paid this offseason, indicating that he will be used as a workhorse in Chicago’s offense this season. While Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson are still around, they can be viewed more as handcuffs rather than legitimate threats to Swift’s touches.

Josh Jacobs, Green Bay Packers

Green Bay did not hand Josh Jacobs a four-year contract worth $48 million to not run him into the ground. While Matt LaFleur has used multiple backs during his time in Green Bay, he has not had a back as complete as Jacobs on the roster. The 2022 rushing leader may see rookie MarShawn Lloyd and AJ Dillon spell him when he needs a break, but the bulk of the carries belongs to Jacobs.

 

Joe Mixon, Houston Texans

Joe Mixon has held workhorse status with Cincinnati since 2018. This season will be his first away from the Bengals, as he was traded to Houston this offseason. The Texans used Devin Singletary in a workhorse fashion down the back stretch of last season. Mixon will slot right into that role given that Houston did not make any other significant changes to its running back room.

 

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

Aside from injuries keeping Jonathan Taylor off the field, he has been a workhorse when available. There’s no question that he will fulfill that need again this year for Indianapolis, who did not address the running back position this offseason despite losing Zack Moss in free agency. It's wheels up again for Taylor.

 

Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars

There have been rumblings about decreasing Travis Etienne’s workload after a 325-touch season. However, Jacksonville did not make any significant changes to its running back room. Tank Bigsby and D'Ernest Johnson remain the primary backup options and both have proved to be steps down from Etienne. It should be another workhorse season in Jacksonville.

 

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

Isiah Pacheco averaged 23.3 touches per game over Kansas City’s playoff run in 2023. While Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon have eaten into Pacheco's touches over the years, McKinnon is no longer with the team and Edwards-Helaire was relegated to being a pure handcuff last season. Kansas City overhauled its receiver room, but the running back room looks the same. Pacheco will lead the way on the ground once again.

 

Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

One of the more surprising offseason moves was the Raiders letting Josh Jacobs walk and not bringing in a replacement. Zamir White will show us all this season why that was the case. The Georgia product showed us what he is capable of in a four-game stretch to finish last season, averaging 21 carries and 99.3 rushing yards per game in relief of Jacobs. Alexander Mattison and sixth-round rookie Dylan Laube are behind him on the depth chart and should not eat into his workload.

 

Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams

After the Rams drafted Blake Corum, a debate sparked up regarding the 2024 split for the backfield. That debate will only grow louder as we get closer to the season. Following Kyren Williams’ breakout 2023 season that saw him post 1,350 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in just 12 games, should we doubt that Sean McVay is not going to pound the ball with Williams until he’s winded or hurt?

McVay has shown that he likes to run the ball with a single back, but when Williams went down in 2023, the Rams struggled to replicate his production. Adding Corum changes that, but he is not likely anything more than a handcuff to Williams to open up the 2024 season.

 

Aaron Jones, Minnesota Vikings

Aaron Jones has teetered on bell-cow usage throughout his career in Green Bay. Now in Minnesota, Jones still has the opportunity to dominate touches in a backfield where he was signed to be the main back. Ty Chandler did look solid when he was given opportunities down the stretch in 2023, but he should start 2024 firmly behind the 29-year-old Jones.

 

Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots

Rhamondre Stevenson just inked a four-year, $36 million extension with New England. While Ezekiel Elliott cut into his workload a bit last season, Antonio Gibson should not do so in the same way. Gibson saw his workload significantly cut in Washington last season and has always dealt with fumbling issues. While Gibson could get some passing-down work and may see some time in the slot, Stevenson will be the lead back here in New England and should see close to the 279 touches he saw in 2022 if he remains healthy.

 

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Every year, we try to make the argument that Alvin Kamara is washed and going to lose touches, yet he remains a workhorse back. Sure, Kamara has become less efficient than he once was. The 28-year-old is still going to dominate touches in the New Orleans backfield. Jamaal Williams did not impact Kamara’s workload in 2023 and is another year older and Kendre Miller is more of a handcuff option than a direct threat.

 

Devin Singletary, New York Giants

Much like last season, Devin Singletary is positioned once again to be a workhorse running back by process of elimination. Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Eric Gray do not provide much of a threat, making Singletary a sneaky valuable pick at ADP after rushing for a career-high 898 yards and four touchdowns.

 

Breece Hall, New York Jets

Last year at this time, we were questioning whether Breece Hall or Dalvin Cook would lead the Jets backfield. That’s not a question anymore. Hall has proved to be one of the most electric playmakers in the league and he will receive workhorse usage in 2024 as a locked-in first-round fantasy pick.

 

Saquon Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles

Saquon Barkley's status as a workhorse back is not in jeopardy as he enters his first season in Philadelphia. Barkley will be running behind the best offensive line of his career and will receive a heavy workload with Kenneth Gainwell and Will Shipley behind him as pure handcuffs.

 

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

The workhorse of all workhorses, Christian McCaffrey is not picked first overall in fantasy drafts for no reason. The 28-year-old has shown no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

 

Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks

The 2023 selection of Zach Charbonnet in the second round did not hurt Kenneth Walker’s volume as many thought it could. Walker remains one of the NFL’s most electrifying runners and is again in line to receive over 200 carries as long as he remains healthy.

 

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rachaad White was a surprise workhorse in 2023, touching the ball 336 times and staying healthy while doing it. Tampa Bay's third-year running back should see similar volume in 2024, as the Buccaneers did not make any significant changes to the backfield. Fourth-rounder Bucky Irving may find a niche job as a pass-catching back, but White showed last season that he is versatile and can play on all three downs. Don’t expect Irving to knock White’s volume down much from where it was a season ago.



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