Paths of Least Resistance: Rookie RBs with Immediate Fantasy Impact Potential
Some are more obvious choices than others, but each of these first year backs have fantasy relevance written all over them…
Breece Hall, Jets
This one is pretty obvious, as Hall is the “top” back in the draft, and he’s landed on a team with a young QB at the helm, a situation that begs for a run-heavy offense. Furthermore, the only serious competition with him on the depth chart, Michael Carter, is a complimentary back at heart, as much as we’d love to force him into the lead role. Hall’s prowess as a pass-catcher only further cements him as the top-dog in the Jets offense – He may rarely leave the field.
Tyler Allgeier, Falcons
Allgeier steps into an Atlanta backfield that is currently led by a 31 year-old wide receiver, who’s role there is more so one of necessity rather than a planned idea by the Falcons. Atlanta lacks WR depth and would be better served with Cordarrelle Patterson in a receiving role for the most part. Allgeier is a big banger who was drafted as a first 2-down back, and he’ll be used as such, if he can prove he belongs in the role. Mike Davis was released a couple of days ago, so we know the Falcons are serious about implementing Allgeier, who would only then be competing with 30 year-old Damien Williams for snaps behind Patterson. The road to fantasy relevance is short for Allgeier.
James Cook, Bills
The more I look at the situation, the more I see Cook as a perfect fit for the fast, pass-heavy Bills offense. The Bills phased Zack Moss out of the game-plan as the 2021 season wore on, leaving Devin Singletary to handle the bulk of touches to the extent that he was a true lead back by season’s end. Singletary lacks a receiving component though that Cook possesses in spades, and Cook can handle carries as well. Even if Cook turns into a 1B to Singletary’s 1A role, he’ll still be a significant fantasy producer in year one, especially in PPR leagues.
Keaontay Ingram, Cardinals
Ingram may seem like more of an afterthought, being taken in the 6th round of the draft, but he landed in an Arizona backfield that is leaner than it seems. Current workhorse, James Conner has NEVER played an entire season of football since he entered the league in 2017. His backup, Eno Benjamin, filled in sufficiently last season when both Conner and Chase Edmonds were injured late in the season, but Ingram is bigger, faster, and more athletic than Benjamin. Don’t be surprised if we see a lot of Ingram early and often in a Cardinals offense that will be without DeAndre Hopkins for the first 6 games.