Trashman’s Top 5 Rookie Running Back Landing Spots in Dynasty AND Redraft Formats
These aren’t necessarily the most talented rookies to enter the NFL this season (although some certainly are), but they do offer the best combination of short and long term fantasy potential in my eyes. They each stand to make an impact from day one of the 2018 NFL season.
Saquon Barkley to the Giants: Tell me something I don’t know, right? Yes, Barkley is the best talent we’ve seen at the running back position since we started evaluating rookies, and he landed on a team that has been begging and pleading for a full time ball carrier to emerge from its roster for some time. That being said, I have to make the mention for that 3% of the FFL public who are unaware, uncertain or have been in a coma for the past three months. Barkley will have an Ezekiel Elliott like inaugural season unless something catastrophic occurs.
Royce Freeman to the Broncos: Freeman wasn’t one of my favorite backs to enter the draft this year, but his success at the college level and his relatively high pick by the Broncos gives me optimism about his chances this season and beyond. There has been talk in Denver of a De’angelo Henderson come up and/or a Devontae Booker breakout, but we’ve already seen what Booker can and can’t do and Freeman has about 30 lbs on Henderson so the odds on favorite for workhorse back is Freeman – GM John Elway has intimated as much.
Derrius Guice to the Redskins: Few backs coming into the league this year have displayed the explosiveness and power that Guice did during his time at LSU. A bruiser in the mold of Marshawn Lynch, Guice should ascend to the top of the Washington depth chart with little effort. The always useful Chris Thompson will remain an integral part of the offense, but Guice shouldn’t encounter much competition from Rob Kelley or Samaje Perine, both of whom underwhelmed last season. We know Alex Smith isn’t going to throw the ball more than he absolutely has to, so expect a lot of involvement from Guice in his first year.
Ronald Jones to the Buccaneers: Word out of Tampa is that Jones and Peyton Barber will start the season out in a timeshare, which is a better position to be in than what most rookie backs will find themselves. Even that assumption is mostly conjecture though, and Jones could very well move past Barber with a strong preseason. I do like Barber, and he was solid when he got significant snaps last season, but Jones is the better big play guy. They might just form a 1A, 1B situation akin to what we’ve seen from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta. In any case, I find it hard to think of a scenario that doesn’t involve Jones playing a major role in the Tampa offense from here on out.
Rashaad Penny to the Seahawks: I considered putting Nyheim Hines in this spot, but I don’t know that I can put a sub 200 lb runner in an Indy offense that is a massive question mark right now over a big, fast back that Pete Carroll has twice asserted will be used as a three-down back in Seattle. Penny ticked every box, except for one, coming into the draft. That one negative is his pass protection, which as abysmal as it may seem, can be improved upon – and since when did Russell Wilson need pass protection anyway? Everybody loves Chris Carson, and he will still be involved to some extent, but the Seahawks seem adamant in giving Penny every opportunity to be their lead back.