Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Rookie Roulette - Which First-Year RB is #1 in Rookie Drafts?


This year's rookie class didn't feature an undisputed 1.01 player like 2018 did with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who was a unique talent who led to people selling their entire dynasty teams and possibly their firstborn child to draft him. That paid off, but this year doesn't feature someone you should go all out for.

It does feature some good players, though, and three running backs who can make an argument for being the first back taken. If you are in the position to have one of the first picks in your dynasty league's rookie draft, you may be eyeing an RB, but which one?

Let's talk about Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, and David Montgomery and figure out who you should draft first.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

The Case For Josh Jacobs

Jacobs was the only running back drafted in the top-50, so it's pretty easy to just say "yes, Jacobs is the first running back you should take because of that fact" and move on, but things are more complicated than that, you know?

Oakland's a team in need of a running back after Marshawn Lynch's retirement, and while Jacobs doesn't have an extensive background as a workhorse back, he's shown flashes of being able to be a team's primary back.

Jacobs has great vision and an ability to quickly find and pick the right holes, and while his top-line speed isn't great (a 4.69 40-yard dash time puts him in the 29th percentile among running backs), he's got enough burst to get through those holes. Those speed concerns are going to likely be an issue, as Jacobs won't be breaking off many big gains, which means he'll need a good number of touches to produce, and we didn't really see in college if Jacobs could handle a heavy workload.

But while speed concerns hurt, Jacobs is a physical runner, which will help him in the red zone, and he's able to make positive things happen in space, which should allow him to be useful as a receiver as well. The Raiders do have a pretty good receiving back in Jalen Richard right now, but Richard is likely not in the team's long term plans.

 

The Case For Miles Sanders

Sanders finds himself in an Eagles backfield that is...maybe not the world's clearest backfield.

The Eagles brought in Jordan Howard this offseason, and Howard's the kind of bruising, downfield runner that a team like the Eagles could make good use of in the red zone. But Howard's also on the final year of his contract, so he's not going to stand in Sanders' way beyond this season.

The Eagles also have three backs on the roster who played a role on this team last season: Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood. None of the three were super impressive last year.

Clement's likely to occupy the biggest role this season, as a healthy Clement would likely see the bulk of the pass-catching opportunities on this team. Smallwood is a very good insurance policy, a guy who can make positive things happen on the ground and in the receiving game, and Adams is still a fairly raw project, and he basically fell out of the rotation by the playoffs. It's hard to see how he fits into things.

That leaves us with Sanders to discuss. He'll be a good change of pace option right away for the Eagles, but there are valid concerns about his vision and his ability to take on defenders that make you question if he can be a lead back. Hopefully, those are the kinds of issues that Sanders can improve on as he gets experience playing in the NFL.

Sanders can be an active part of the Eagles passing attack, though, and he's a solid pass blocker who has the ability to shift into the slot and serve as a receiving option. That should help him get on the field more.

 

The Case For David Montgomery

Montgomery will be Jordan Howard's replacement in Chicago, and while the team has Tarik Cohen to serve as their receiving back, Montgomery should end up seeing the bulk of the carries as head coach Matt Nagy will look for other ways to get Cohen involved.

Like the other backs from this class, Montgomery's not a speedster, but he makes up for that by being nearly impossible to tackle. Over the last two seasons, no back from this draft class forced more missed tackles, and that should make him a more dangerous threat in the open field than Howard was.

Montgomery is also a better receiver than Howard. I'm not sure how much that matters since Cohen will be the team's main receiving weapon from out of the backfield, but we did hear last year that the Bears wanted all their backs involved in the passing game, something that was limited by Howard just not being that good at receiving.

Basically, I see Montgomery as a potentially better version of Jordan Howard. He should get 200-ish touches this season, though we'll have to see if he gets the team's red zone work or if they trust Mike Davis to do that. But even if he loses work to Davis, Montgomery is set to be the team's lead back for at least the next few years.

 

And The Winner Is...

Josh JacobsWhile I like all three backs, Jacobs has the most upside of any of these and starts his career as the clear lead back on his team. A part of dynasty value that we sometimes forget about it immediate value, and Jacobs has more short term value while also possessing a lot of value down the line as well. Yes, the concerns about whether or not he can handle a full NFL workload are real, but the talent and the opportunity are there, and when I'm drafting for dynasty leagues, I value talent and opportunity a lot.

My bigger question is which guy I'd rank second. After a lot of thought, I'm going with David Montgomery. Sanders might very well have a longer career, but Montgomery gets to spend his rookie contract on a team that's built for a back like him to be successful, while Sanders is on an Eagles team that seems to forever be trapped in the world of running back committees.

More Dynasty League Strategy




More Recent Articles

 

Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More


Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More


Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More


Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More


Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More


The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More


Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More


Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More


Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More


Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More


Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More


Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More