2015 Fantasy Football: Rookie Running Backs to Know
2014 was a year in which there was plenty of sizzle but hardly any steak when it came to rookie running backs. Names like Bishop Sankey and Terrance West were must have’s going into the draft. Then as the season wore on those high picks you invested in guys turned out to be busts. Others like Jeremy Hill and Tre Mason ended up being steals. To top it off, there were some useful names like Isaiah Crowell, Andre Williams and Brandon Oliver that ended up helping some off the waiver wire.
The 2015 class isn’t like the 2014 class. It’s better. It’s 2014 WR class better, and there is some potential for guys that you will wish you had come Week 17 and for years to come. I ranked these players based on their abilities and their situations.
5) T.J. Yeldon
This pick is more about job availability than anything else. Yeldon comes out of a big program at Alabama, but his final season was statistically disappointing in comparison to his first two. Don’t let that scare you, though; he’s a player.
Jacksonville is building their offense and Yeldon is the guy at running back. He’s not seen a lot of action during camp due to multiple injuries, but it sounds like more of a precaution. He’s worth grabbing when RB starts to thin out.
2014 @ Alabama
Rushing 194 Att 979 Yds 5.0 Avg 31 Long 11 TDs
Receiving 15 Rec 180 Yds 12. Avg 37 Long 1 TD
4) Tevin Coleman
Atlanta’s running game was terrible last season. Their 372 attempts ranked 27th in the league and their 1498 yards ranked them 24th. This season they’ll pair Tevin Coleman with Devonta Freeman in what looks like a time share situation to start the season. Coleman had a monster 2014 at Indiana, and while Freeman will get most of the work catching the ball, Coleman should end up being the primary runner.
A hamstring injury has limited him this preseason and Atlanta’s line isn’t great, but he’s a guy to watch.
2014 @ Indiana
Rushing 270 Att 2036 Yds 7.5 Avg 90 Long 15 TD
Receiving 25 Rec 141 Yds .6 Avg 44 Long 0 TD
3) Ameer Abdullah
I had a real tough time deciding between Coleman and Abdulah at 3/4, but Abdullah wins the spot. He’s on the small side at 5’9, but he’s a special back, and he’s had every opportunity to win the job in Detroit. Joique Bell has been on the PUP list, and while his second preseason game wasn’t as encouraging as his first, he still has the goods. He’s quick, can make people miss, and if the Detroit offensive line can rebound and Calvin Johnson stays healthy, he’s a guy that can do some damage.
2014 @ Nebraska
Rushing 264 Att 1611 Yds 6.1 Avg 57 Long 19 TDs
Receiving 22 Rec 269 Yds 12.2 Avg 58 Long 3 TDs
2) Melvin Gordon
Gordon could have been #1 on this list if he didn’t have guys that were going to steal touches. He has to compete with Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver. Honestly it won’t be much of a competition because Gordon is amazing. I wonder how long it will take before he gets the bulk of the work. Woodhead is what he is. He’s solid and useful for sure, but not a star. Oliver had a couple of weeks that were flashes last year, but he didn’t look like a star.
Gordon is a star. If I had to draft any of the guys in their backfield, this is the guy to get. By the way, his college numbers will look like a misprint, but they aren’t.
2014 @ Wisconsin
Rushing 343 Att 2587 Yds 7.5 Avg 88 Long 29 TDs
Receiving 19 Rec 153 Yds 8.1 Avg 35 Long 3 TDs
1) Todd Gurley
It’s hard to believe that a guy coming off a torn ACL and will miss a few games would top the list, but Gurley is the best of the bunch. If you are in a dynasty league, he should go the highest among the rookies for sure.
There isn’t one person that I could find in terms of scouts, NFL types, or fantasy experts that predicts anything but monster numbers from this guy for years to come. You may have to wait a little this year, but it sounds like it will be worth the wait.
2014 @ Georgia (6 games)
Rushing 123 Att 911 Yds 7.4 Avg 51 Long 9 TDs
Receiving 12 Rec 7 Yds 4.8 Avg 15 Long 0 TDs
Keep your eye on:
Javorias Allen will be in competition for a spot with the Ravens and may eventually get the job, but I’m not sold it will be right away.
Jay Ajayi with Miami almost made the list, but he’s an absolute lock to be a backup with Lamar Miller firmly entrenched as the starter. Also health issues have plagued him his entire career and a hamstring issue already has made him miss both preseason games.
Everybody is jumping on the Matt Jones bandwagon. Honestly it’s hard to find a seat anywhere. He’s looked good for sure, but people forget two major factors. Alfred Morris is still there and the Redskins still stink up front.