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Top 10 NFL Free Agent Running Backs (2024 Fantasy Football)

Top 10 NFL Free Agent Running Backs (2024 Fantasy Football)

While multiple teams are still fighting for the right to be called Super Bowl champions, several teams have turned their attention to the offseason game planning. The 2024 NFL Draft is the highlight of the offseason. However, free agency plays a critical role in building Super Bowl contenders.

Let’s break down the top 10 upcoming free agent running backs and an early look at how fantasy players should view them for 2024 redraft leagues and dynasty leagues.

2024 NFL Free Agent Running Backs

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)

After playing the 2023 season on the franchise tag, Barkley is looking for a long-term deal from the Giants. Despite missing three games with a high ankle sprain and playing with three different quarterbacks, the former Penn State star was the RB16 heading into Week 18, averaging 13.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. While New York and Barkley had an ugly 2023 offseason, fantasy players shouldn’t be surprised to see him back with the team in 2024, either on the franchise tag again or with a long-term deal.

  • Early Redraft Outlook: Low-end RB1, barring he becomes part of a split backfield.
  • Offseason Dynasty Outlook: An RB2 that rebuilding teams should trade away in the offseason.

Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)

The 2023 season was one to forget for Jacobs and his fantasy players. He started the year slowly after skipping most of the offseason programming, totaling fewer than 9.6 half-point PPR fantasy points in his first three games. However, the star running back was outstanding until a quad injury derailed the last third of his season. Jacobs was the RB4 from Week 4 through Week 12, averaging 14.6 fantasy points per game. Las Vegas will likely let him walk this offseason, making him the top free-agent running back to hit the open market.

  • Early Redraft Outlook: Low-end RB1, depending on where he lands in the offseason.
  • Offseason Dynasty Outlook: High-end RB2 that contending teams should explore trading for.

D’Andre Swift (RB – PHI)

Swift was a polarizing player during the 2023 preseason. Many thought Kenneth Gainwell would be the lead back. Instead, Swift was the RB17, averaging 11.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game, accounting for nearly 70% of the backfield rushing attempts. If not for the fact that he consistently gets tackled at the one-yard line and sees Jalen Hurts get pushed into the end zone, Swift likely would have had his first double-digit rushing touchdown season in his career. Hopefully, he returns to Philadelphia, and the NFL bans the tush-push play.

  • Early Redraft Outlook: High-end RB2 if he’s back with the Eagles.
  • Offseason Dynasty Outlook: A potential sell candidate if he joins another team or the Eagles add a big-name complementary running back.

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Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)

Many had high hopes for Pollard in 2023 following his breakout season. Unfortunately, the star running back struggled in his first year as the starter. He was a late first or early second-round pick in most fantasy drafts. Yet, Pollard was only the RB18 entering Week 18, averaging 11.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game despite not missing any time because of an injury. After playing this season on the franchise tag, it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys re-sign Pollard or explore a cheaper option in the NFL Draft.

  • Early Redraft Outlook: Anywhere from a high-end RB2 to a mid-range RB3/flex, depending on where he signs.
  • Offseason Dynasty Outlook: A clear-cut sell candidate if you can get a first-round rookie pick for him.

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)

The former Alabama star was the RB8 entering Week 18, averaging 13.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. However, Henry has been wildly inconsistent. The running back has scored under 7.8 fantasy points in 37.5% of the games. By comparison, he averaged 18.7 fantasy points per game in the other 10 contests. Furthermore, his yards per rushing attempt average and yards after contact per attempt dropped by at least 11.8% from 2022 to 2023 (per Fantasy Points Data). Henry’s time in Tennessee is likely over, putting his future fantasy value up in the air.

  • Early Redraft Outlook: Mid-range RB2 as a ceiling to a matchup-based flex option, depending on if he is a starter or an NFL No. 2 running back.
  • Offseason Dynasty Outlook: A must-sell candidate to the league mate who values name over age and production.

Honorable Mentions

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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