Aug. 23, 2015
Ranking the Top 5 Rookie Running Backs in Fantasy Football
This year's draft class is packed full with talent. It's not hard to see as many as six of these runners become starting backs in the future. Assuming you're not playing in a dynasty league, you'll be more interested on how they can bolster your roster this upcoming season. This list will go in ascending order ending with who I think will make the biggest impact in the fantasy world this season.
5. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
While Coleman has been dealing with a hamstring injury, so has his competition for the starting job, Royce Freeman. Ultimately I wouldn't be surprised to see them start the season in a time-share. However Coleman is definitely the more talented runner amassing 2,056 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final season at Indiana. He has a great initial burst and explodes out of the backfield getting up to top speed quickly. Coleman also has decent hands, leading me to believe he can be a three-down back. Draft him knowing he'll put up bigger numbers as the season goes on.
4. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
Abdullah is quickly becoming one of my favorite rookies out of this draft class. Coaches are singing his praises with New York Jets coach Todd Bowles saying he's as quick as Barry Sanders. That's some pretty lofty praise, but it might not be all that off-base. The speedster from Nebraska hits the hole quickly and surprises defenders with his shiftiness. On top of all that, he has great hands and can be a valuable weapon in the passing attack. Abdullah is flying up draft boards so you may have to reach if you want him.
3. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
I almost put Yeldon at number four, but come the start of the regular season, Yeldon is going to be "the guy" in the Jaguar backfield. While he doesn't have exceptional power for his size, he makes up for it with surprising quickness. Has good eyes to find the right running lanes and can be a three-down back for the Jags. Ultimately this comes down to the fact that he hasn't faced very stiff competition for the starting gig, meaning he'll get the majority of touches. Draft him as a borderline running back two and a solid flex play.
2. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams
Gurley may end his career as the best running back from this draft class, but he must dispel injury concerns first. Gurley shows a great blend of speed and power when he runs creating great opportunities for himself. His only real competition is sophomore back Tre Mason, but that shouldn't be a very big concern. He can bounce off defenders at the second-level and is without a doubt a three-down guy. If you take Gurley, you may want to draft some depth behind him in case injuries flare up.
1. Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers handed over the keys to their backfield to Gordon when they took him with the 15th overall pick. Gordon is a strong runner who uses his quickness to cut to open running lanes. While he may not have blinding speed, he can accelerate quickly to run over tacklers. The only potential issue with Gordon is that he doesn't have the best hands, meaning that he may not be in the game on third-down. However, with a little work in the preseason, Gordon can easily improve his receiving skills. He's a good play as a running-back two and a borderline one.