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In an effort to help dynasty fantasy football owners prepare for their rookie drafts, we’ve asked our writers to provide their rookie RB1 in rookie drafts.
Q: Who is your RB1 in dynasty rookies fantasy football drafts?
Jonathan Taylor (IND)
Jonathan Taylor had an extremely high grade throughout the pre-draft process for me. When you factor in this landing spot behind Indianapolis’ OL, he’s going to be a fantasy star. It’s merely a matter of preference for the 1.01 pick in dynasty rookie drafts between JT, D’Andre Swift, or Clyde Edwards-Helaire. My pick is Taylor.
– Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL)
It’s razor-thin between Jonathan Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and both are great assets to add to a dynasty team. Taylor has true bell-cow status in his future, with dynamism in both the ground game and as a pass-catcher. Edwards-Helaire gets the edge in landing spot, though Indianapolis is a friendly place for RBs. Being paired with Patrick Mahomes in a fantasy-friendly offense that will generate loads of touchdown opportunities will make CEH a fantasy darling even without being a true bell cow. When choosing between a truly exceptional prospect profile and a truly exceptional landing spot, always go with the player, as team context is more volatile. Two or three years from now, it’s possible that the Chiefs’ offense looks different, or that they continue with an aggravating committee. However, it’s highly unlikely that Taylor is anything less than great. With the 1.01 pick in rookie drafts, given that both players have similar ceilings, take the safer option. Taylor is the 1.01 in all formats, including Superflex leagues.
– Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL)
There are three things I love about Taylor that make him my favorite rookie running back in this draft class. First, he is going to a great situation playing with the Indianapolis Colts. They have one of the best offensive lines in the league and averaged a healthy 4.5 yards per rushing attempt last year. Second, he is one of the best athletes in this draft class; his SPARQ score was in the 90th percentile and second among all rookie running backs. His NFL Combine was also amazing. Taylor ran his 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, benched 225 pounds 17 times, and posted a 36″ vertical jump and 123″ broad jump. Third, he showed he can be a featured back by running the ball 926 times in three years at Wisconsin. He should have no problem handling 15 to 20 carries per game as a rookie. Taylor is not the perfect prospect, as he had some fumbling issues at Wisconsin and did not become a receiving threat until last year. Even last season, he was not a prolific receiver, recording just 26 receptions for 252 yards and five touchdowns. I like that he realized he needed to be a better receiver and worked on that part of his game, even though he was a star who ran for 2,194 yards in 2018. His work ethic is second to none, he has a chance to see the field early, and he can handle a heavy workload right out of the gate. Taylor’s positives far outweigh his negatives, and he should be fantasy-relevant immediately in 2020 with a chance to develop into a fantasy star by 2021.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
There will surely be a lot of pounding of the table for Clyde Edwards-Helaire over the coming months. The first back taken in the draft goes to the most explosive offense in the NFL. It’s a match made in heaven, right? Here’s the issue. Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs, who led a majority of games, ranked 27th with an average of under 24 carries per game. Jonathan Taylor, on the other hand, finds himself on a team that consistently looks to run before choosing to pass. If picking first overall, I am following the defined role in a high-volume offense, not the talent or the name.
– Ethan Summers (@AllSummersLong_)
Jonathan Taylor lands into a great situation with the Colts. He will be behind a terrific offensive line that was graded second-best in run blocking last season by Pro Football Focus. The 21-year-old RB ran for 6,174 yards (6.7 YPC) and 50 touchdowns in 41 career games for Wisconsin. Taylor will most likely split carries with Marlon Mack, and the two backs are viewed as a “one-one punch,” per Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. “They have some different running styles, but again they’re both complete backs,” Sirianni said. “I think that’s a fantastic problem to have, is to have two guys like that you can feed the football to. It’s only going to help our running game.” Taylor will split carries with Mack in the beginning, but look for him to eventually replace Mack as the primary bell-cow for a run-heavy offense. With the great situation, a top offensive line, and a high-volume offense, Taylor is my RB1 in dynasty rookie drafts.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Jonathan Taylor is my current rookie RB1. It is extremely close between Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but I like Taylor’s staying power a little bit more. I liken Taylor to a Nick Chubb type who may max out at around 50 receptions a season due to the presence of a receiving back. CEH can catch up to 100 balls in a workhorse role but is more likely to cede not only targets, but significant carries in a committee. I also view Taylor as the most depth-chart-proof running back in this class. Although I expect him to spend his career ceding targets to a receiving back, there are very few backs in any decade that offer more than he does as a pure runner. Edwards-Helaire is special in his own right, but a number of backs in the next few draft classes could force a 60/40 or 50/50 split if they landed on the Chiefs. Give me CEH for re-draft, but my heart is set on Taylor in dynasty.
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC)
I had Edwards-Helaire as my top running back in this year’s class due to the way he fits the NFL today. He’s a true three-down back who can catch 80-plus passes out of the backfield while running for 1,000-plus yards. Landing with the Chiefs was a dream scenario, especially in the first round. Over the last seven years, running backs who’ve been drafted in the first round have averaged 280.7 touches in year one. Seventy-five percent of them have finished as an RB2 or better. Don’t think this is Darwin Thompson all over again. He was a sixth-round pick last year, and those average just 29.8 touches in year one. This is Edwards-Helaire’s backfield after Andy Reid said he’s better than Brian Westbrook on film. You don’t take those players off the field very often. He’s worth a second-round pick in re-drafts and would be a steal in the third round.
– Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)
LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire could wind up being a unanimous answer to this question, as he is generally considered the 1.01 in rookie drafts this summer. Fantasy football success comes when talent meets opportunity. While CEH wasn’t generally considered the most talented running back in this year’s class, nobody can argue with the opportunity he is about to receive. For RBs, landing spot is of the utmost importance. Edwards-Helaire doesn’t have the strongest measurables, but he excels in changing direction and lateral agility. He caught 55 passes in college last year and always played out of the shotgun, which is a great fit with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. CEH is currently one of five backs on the Chiefs’ roster, but Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, and DeAndre Washington could all be gone as early as 2021.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)
Taylor is an exciting prospect in a very good situation, but I’m taking Edwards-Helaire because he presents more potential as a three-down back in what could be one of the NFL’s best offenses for years to come. Edwards-Helaire runs like a bowling ball between the tackles and caught 55 passes in LSU’s high-flying offense. If he can become a proven goal-line back at the next level, then his ceiling is incredibly high. It’s simple. I like the prospect and I love the fit. I’ll take my chances on CEH being Patrick Mahomes’ running mate for the next few years.
– Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato)
J.K. Dobbins (BAL)
Imagine if the Ravens took J.K. Dobbins instead of Patrick Queen with the No. 28 overall pick in the NFL Draft. We would be talking about Dobbins, not Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor, as the consensus RB1 in dynasty rookie drafts. He lands with a Baltimore team that had the most rushing yards (3,296) in NFL history last season. Make no mistake about it, Lamar Jackson’s rise to greatness in 2019 is the reason for that. His style of quarterback play in that offense allowed nine-year veteran Mark Ingram II to rush for over 1,000 yards for just the third time in his nine-year career. While Dobbins is likely to find himself in a complementary role in 2020, he’s set up to be the future of the backfield in Baltimore. Ingram is under contract for the next two seasons, but the Ravens can opt to let him go after this year. Gus Edwards is also set to become a free agent after this season. That leaves former fourth-round pick Justice Hill as Dobbins’ primary competition for touches over the next few seasons. I’ll take the guy that’s been deemed a “first-round talent” and a “three-down back” by Ravens GM Eric DeCosta. Not only is the opportunity ripe for Dobbins, but he’s also a perfect scheme fit for OC Greg Roman’s offense. The Ravens run the RPO better than any other team in the NFL, and they did it a lot last season, leading the league with 230 RPO rushing attempts. Last season at Ohio State, Dobbins saw 171 carries (57%) come from the RPO. With a PFF elusive rating of 92.1, he forced 73 missed tackles in 2019 and excelled on option plays with his patience, vision, and explosive burst at the point of attack. In order to be a three-down back in the NFL, you must be able to pass protect. Last season, Dobbins allowed only four pressures in 140 pass-protection reps, according to ESPN. He checks all the boxes physically, has familiarity with the RPO, and finds himself working with the most running-back friendly QB in the NFL. For those reasons, Dobbins is my RB1 in dynasty rookie drafts this season.
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)