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Top 7 Most Polarizing Running Backs to Draft (2024 Fantasy Football)

Top 7 Most Polarizing Running Backs to Draft (2024 Fantasy Football)

While the 2024 fantasy football redraft season is still months away, FantasyPros already has rankings up. One of FantasyPros’ awesome features is the standard deviation tool that gives fantasy players an idea of how much of a consensus there is among the experts regarding a certain player.

Today, I look at seven running backs with a higher standard deviation, examine the argument or reasoning behind the disagreement among the experts, and give my opinion on whether the player is ranked too high or too low in the rankings.

Most Polarizing Running Backs

David Montgomery (DET)

RB16 | 3.4 STD. DEV

Many were worried Montgomery would get phased out of the offense last season with Jahmyr Gibbs in town. Instead, the veteran was the RB13, averaging 14.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. While the rookie had more of a role in the second half this season, Montgomery still scored double-digit fantasy points in 85.7% of the games, including eight of the final nine regular season contests. Gibbs’ role will expand in 2024. Yet, the veteran should still get drafted as a top-15 running back, given Detroit’s run-heavy offense.

Joe Mixon (CIN)

RB19 | 4.3 STD. DEV

The veteran was the RB5 in 2023, averaging 14.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Mixon averaged under 4.2 yards per rushing attempt for the fifth consecutive year. The former Oklahoma star picked up his play in the second half, scoring 11.5 or more fantasy points in nine of the final 11 games. Hopefully, he returns next season as the featured guy. Yet, that is far from guaranteed. Fantasy players should consider Mixon a mid-range RB2 if the Bengals keep him and don’t add any meaningful competition.

Tyjae Spears (TEN)

RB23 | 3.8 STD. DEV

I am surprised that Spears doesn’t have a higher standard deviation. The second-year running back’s ranking will significantly increase or decrease depending on what the Titans do in the offseason. The former Tulane star ranked 10th in yards after contact per rushing attempt (2.92) among running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts as a rookie (per Fantasy Points Data). Hopefully, Tennessee doesn’t re-sign Derrick Henry and improves their offense line in the offseason. That would create the perfect situation for Spears to be a second-year breakout candidate.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Nick Chubb (CLE)

RB26 | 5.0 STD. DEV

Unfortunately, Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury in Week 2. The injury will reportedly cost him part of the 2024 season. While the star running back has bounced back from an awful knee injury in the past, that was in college. More importantly, he is already at the age where most running backs see a dip in production without adding a massive injury to the mix. Unless there are reports in August saying that Chubb will be ready for Week 1, he will be off my draft board.

Zamir White (LV)

RB32 | 5.7 STD. DEV

Reportedly, Las Vegas is open to keeping Josh Jacobs at the right price. That report has played a role in White’s high standard deviation number. White likely has a limited role in 2024 if the team re-signs Jacobs. However, he could have top-10 upside if the veteran leaves in free agency. White was the RB8, averaging 14.1 half-point PPR fantasy points per game during the four weeks as the starter last year. Head coach Antonio Pierce wants to run the ball, making his starting running back appealing to fantasy players.

Dameon Pierce (HOU)

RB50 | 6.2 STD. DEV

Pierce had high expectations in 2023 after an impressive rookie season. He was supposed to be the featured running back on a team that wanted to run the ball and limit how much the rookie quarterback had to throw. Instead, Pierce struggled and lost the starting role, while C.J. Stroud was one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. His yards per rushing attempt dropped from 4.3 as a rookie to 2.9 last year. I am 100% out on Pierce next year unless he gets traded in the offseason.

Keaton Mitchell (BAL)

RB53 | 8.4 STD. DEV

There is plenty to love about Mitchell. He averaged 8.4 yards per rushing attempt in limited work as a rookie. More importantly, the former East Carolina star is a home run hitter, posting the highest explosive run rate (14.9%) among running backs with at least 35 rushing attempts in 2023 (per Fantasy Points Data). Unfortunately, he tore his ACL late in the regular season and was an undrafted free-agent addition. If the Ravens add any meaningful competition this offseason, Mitchell is worth a late-round dart throw selection at best.

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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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