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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Rookie Running Backs In The Best Fantasy Situations

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and now it's time to take a look at the new landscape of the league.

Today, I want to talk about rookie running backs and which ones ended up in potentially good fantasy situations, specifically in re-draft leagues. Who'll be able to make an impact on the field this year? Will we see a 2019 version of Saquon Barkley? (Spoiler: Probably not!)

Let's take a look at the four rookie running backs in the best situations in re-draft leagues next season.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

Note: This was written before news of Isaiah Crowell tearing his Achilles came out.

I love the situation Jacobs finds himself in, because the Raiders just had their top running back, Marshawn Lynch, retire, and Doug Martin isn't coming back, so the team went into this year's draft with a pretty good receiving back, Jalen Richard, and Isaiah Crowell, who the Raiders brought in this offseason to compete for the starting job. As misfortune would have it, he tore his Achilles just days after the NFL Draft and will miss the entire 2019 season.

Enter Jacobs, who was mocked to the Raiders in pretty much every mock draft out there because Jon Gruden needed a running back. Jacobs didn't carry a huge load at Alabama, but when he was on the field, he was productive, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and scoring 14 total touchdowns, but he touched the ball just 140 times over the course of the season, receiving 32 fewer touches than Damien Harris.

But Jacobs, if he stays healthy, should see a sizable workload for the Raiders. He's a smart back who has the vision and patience to find holes, and while he's likely to cede some passing game work to Richard and he isn't a huge speedster who can break off huge plays, Jacobs should be able to hit his holes and gain a solid chunk of yardage on a per play basis. And with Antonio Brown in Oakland, defenses won't be able to stack the box against the Raiders, which should open up some good space for Jacobs. I don't think he makes it into the RB1 discussion this year, but he can be a solid fantasy RB2 based on red zone opportunities alone.


Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

I don't know if the Eagles needed to pick a running back, but Sanders should be able to have a pretty good impact on this team. The Eagles brought in Jordan Howard earlier in the offseason, but we've seen over the last couple of years that Howard's a fairly limited back at this point, a guy who can pound the ball but is a nonentity in the passing game and doesn't have many chances to break off big plays. Despite going into the Draft with Howard essentially serving as the team's top back, there was always a chance that would change, even if the Eagles had depth at the position with Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood still under contract.

Sanders is capable of making serious plays in the run game and showed a lot of aptitude in the passing game at Penn State, but he also had a tendency to get bottled up at times. But he'll be running behind an offensive line that PFF ranked as the fifth-best last season, so Sanders should be able to hit some holes and accelerate to the next level even if questions remain about his vision at times. Howard should still be the team's goal-line and short yardage back, but Sanders basically cannibalizes a lot of the value of all the other backs on this team, and I expect him to be a solid player this year. I wouldn't quite put him in the RB2 discussion at this point, but he can be a solid RB3 with upside.


David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

To me, this deal signals one really important thing: that the Chicago Bears understand Tarik Cohen isn't an every-down back, and the trade of Jordan Howard was less about opening snaps up for Cohen and more about opening space up for a new lead back. I think Montgomery can be that lead back.

Montgomery isn't that much different than Jordan Howard in some ways. Both are slower backs and make sense as early down guys, but Montgomery should be more elusive in the open field. He's also a better receiver, though Cohen's presence means that Montgomery will likely not be asked to do much in the passing game, though he's a solid pass blocker, which can keep him on the field and allow him to be used on some delayed pass plays. Still, even without heavy involvement there, Montgomery feels like a more consistent version of Howard for this Bears team and he should be in line for a good amount of touches. He'll also be the team's primary red zone back, increasing his chances of finding the end zone and, thus, increasing his fantasy upside.


Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens

Even though the Ravens brought Mark Ingram in during the offseason, I think Hill's got a great shot to lead this backfield, or to at least be a poor man's Alvin Kamara to Mark Ingram's...well to his Mark Ingram.

Hill was one of my favorite running back prospects this year. He's got good speed -- his 40-yard dash ranks in the 93rd percentile of running backs -- and good athletic traits, with a 96th-percentile broad jump and a 93rd-percentile long jump. He's been used as a receiver out of the backfield with good results. He'll be able to change direction, and I expect he's capable of breaking off big plays.

And, maybe more important than any of these things, he's playing with Lamar Jackson. Having a quarterback who can run also opens up running lanes for the running back playing beside him, and with both of these guys in the backfield, Hill should find himself with plenty of openings. Gus Edwards found success last year with this team. Kenneth Dixon had some good moments near the end of the year. Neither of those guys have the kind of breakaway speed that Hill has. Neither does Mark Ingram; this Ravens offense really lacked having a fast guy beside Lamar Jackson, and with that speed guy here, I'm really excited to see how this offense looks.

More NFL Draft Coverage

More Recent Articles


Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Cooper Kupp

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More

The Tape Tells All - Christian Kirk Fantasy Analysis

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. This week, I'm looking at Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who broke out in Week 10, catching three touchdowns. Kirk seems to have... Read More

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Darius Slayton, Christian Kirk, Kareem Hunt

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More

FAAB Bidding - Week 11 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More

Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's crunch time, with precious few games left before the fantasy regular season ends. There aren't many new names emerging on the waiver wire at this juncture but the RB situations in Atlanta and Detroit bear watching, while the Jets passing game has shown signs of life. No, really. Each week, we will advise you... Read More

Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 11

Rotoballers, if you're not active on the waiver wire this time of year, there are only two reasonable explanations: 1) You're sitting at 3-7 (or worse) and don't find it enjoyable to play spoiler to your league mates, or 2) You're 8-2 (or better) and have nothing but matchup-proof studs on your starting lineup and... Read More

Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 11 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 11 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More

Week 11 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

It's Week 11, and we're getting closer and closer to the fantasy football playoffs. The consistent options are getting more and more clear, especially at the kicking position. We're also going to start dealing with everyone's favorite factor, which is inclement weather, especially up north. The margin for error in these weeks is slim, and... Read More

Week 10 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 10, Christian Kirk, Darius Slayton, Tyreek Hill, and Michael Thomas all had beatable cornerback matchups and finished as the top-four wide receivers in PPR scoring. At running back, Derrick Henry exploited a poor Chiefs run defense and rumbled for 188 yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 running back on the week. Ronald... Read More

The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 11)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 11

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered the planning process for Week 11. Some of you are in the favorable position of only needing slight modifications to rosters that are destined to enter the fantasy playoffs. But many of you are still searching for the most effective... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 11

Did you survive the terrible, no good, very bad six-team bye week? If so, welcome to the other side, when roster building gets slightly easier going forward. If not, I'm sorry, but you still have time to get things back on the right path. Let's talk about some wide receivers who might be able to... Read More

Week 11 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

If your fantasy football squad is still in the playoff hunt heading into Week 11, then congratulations on not being the Pat Shurmur or Freddie Kitchens of your league. Fantasy football players will have to live without New York’s Evan Engram, Green Bay’s Jimmy Graham and Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith as their teams are on bye.... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 11

We've got plenty to unpack at the quarterback position following an exciting Week 10. While no major injuries occurred in game, the revelation of Matthew Stafford's back injury was quite a surprise and left some owners scrambling just before lineups locked. So the year of the backup continued this week, as 16 of the 32... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 11 Lightning Round

With 10 weeks down and only a few more weeks of the fantasy regular season to go, your vision for the playoffs should be coming into focus. The Giants, Packers, Seahawks and Titans are on bye -- with the Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings in Week 12 to round out the weekly vacations. To help... Read More