A good young running back is like gold in Fantasy Football, since you don’t have to worry about too much mileage on their wheels or getting yanked for a younger player. Our Week 8 RB rankings are stocked with good first- and second-year running backs, and I thought I’d take this week to look at the rookie running backs for the second half of the season.
Young, talented running backs are sometimes leaned on a little more because they’re still fresh out of the box. However, some rookie running backs are liabilities in the passing game because they either have horrible hands or they can’t protect the quarterback with their pass blocking.
We might be seeing more of the latter happening this season, as this class of rookie running backs has had trouble getting going – especially from a Fantasy Football perspective.
Rookie RB Rankings Going Forward
While Bishop Sankey was expected to lead this class, it just hasn’t happened. Last season, we had the first NFL Draft to not have a running back drafted in the first round (which happened again this season). Yet, despite no RBs going in Round 1, Eddie Lacy, Zac Stacy Giovani Bernard and Le’Veon Bell all turned into top 10 Fantasy running backs heading into this season. Even Andre Ellington made enough noise as a rookie to become a top-20 RB in the 2014 preseason.
The hopes were that since the 2014 NFL Draft was equally quiet on the RB front, we’d have similar breakouts as last season – good rookie RBs getting opportunities. But it just didn’t happen in the first half the way we had hoped.
Here are my rookie RB rankings going forward!
- Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota : This isn’t necessarily praise on how great McKinnon is, as much as it is testament as to how bad the outlook is for first-year RBs. At least McKinnon has the best chance to get the most touches going forward.
- Bishop Sankey, Tennessee: Yes, he has been bad so far, and he apparently made some big mistakes in Week 7 that got him into Ken Whisenhunt’s doghouse. But what else does Tennessee really have at the position?
Whiz: Wish Bishop didn't go out of bounds late. #Titans
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 20, 2014
- Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati: He got shut down against the Colts, but so did all of the other Bengals players. Hill works the goal line, much to Bernard’s owners’ chagrin, and he has been good at it.
- Branden Oliver, San Diego: How can I have Oliver ranked so low? Well, considering he’ll lose his job as soon as Ryan Mathews (knee) is ready to play (Week 10?), it doesn’t seem right to rank him any higher. He is, however, the highest-scoring rookie RB in Fantasy so far. He’s actually 17th among all running backs.
- Tre Mason, St. Louis: If we had multiple games to go off of, I’d like rank Mason much higher, possibly even No. 1. But the Rams running backs situation has been crazy all season.
- Andre Williams, N.Y. Giants: Williams is similar to Oliver in that he’s starting in place of his team’s regular starter, Rashad Jennings, who happens to also be out with a sprained MCL.
- Carlos Hyde, San Francisco: I had such high hopes – especially after Week 1 when he had such a great burst. But lately, he has been tentative and unsure with his carries.
- Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland: Unfortunately, he’s battling another rookie running back for touches, behind starter Ben Tate. Crowell seems to offer the most versatility at the position, however.
- Terrance West, Cleveland: You could just as easily swap West for Crowell. Both of them need Tate to get injured again – which should happen again soon – then they’ll rocket up the rookie RB rankings.
- Devonta Freeman, Atlanta: What the heck happened here? He had great moves and cutting ability in the preseason, but he’s mired in an RBBC behind an offensive line that continues to get crushed by injuries.
- Storm Johnson, Jacksonville: Denard Robinson just took all the wind out of Storm’s sails, and the former Michigan quarterback looks to be the better play going forward over the average young running back (with a cool name) out of UCF.
- Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore: I had him pegged to take the starting running back gig once Ray Rice was suspended for the year, but Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce are ascending, while Taliaferro drops.
The SKYLLZONE Week 8 ADP shows fans are taking six running backs in the first 10 picks for this week’s matchups, with Matt Forte leading the pack, just like he did last week. DeMarco Murray sits second at the position, and overall, with Marshawn Lynch as the third running back (fifth overall). There are six running backs getting picked in the first round for this week’s Fan vs. Machine drafts.
Week 8 RB Rankings
These rankings are based on standard non-PPR Fantasy leagues with six points per touchdown.
Which running backs do you think we have too high or too low in our Week 8 RB Rankings? These articles are meant to help readers, so your comments give them an added perspective.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.