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2024 Dynasty Rookie Draft Primer: Running Back (Fantasy Football)

2024 Dynasty Rookie Draft Primer: Running Back (Fantasy Football)

It’s that time again. Dynasty rookie FEVER SZN is HERE! The NFL Draft will come and go before we know it, and rookie drafts will start flying daily. Before you dive head first into our Draft Simulator and run 3,000 rookie drafts in preparation, please read up on this talented prospect class as I roll through my quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end positional primers.

Motrin and Tylenol can’t quell this fever. The only medicine is more rookie mock drafts.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

2024 Rookie RB Primer

MarShawn Lloyd (GB)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 18 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 20th
    • Breakaway percentage: 3rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 4th
    • Yards per route run: 48th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 16th
    • Breakaway percentage: 18th
    • PFF elusive rating: 15th
    • Yards per route run: 41st
  • Career
    • Former 5 star recruit
    • Torn ACL in 2020
    • 7 fumbles across the last two seasons (225 carries)

Scouting report:

  • Lloyd runs like a Tasmanian devil. He has an every-down tenacity and a mean streak to him. He has the requisite functional strength and temperament to become a strong pass protector. He just needs to improve his pass-pro technique and gain consistency there. He’ll have one rep where he stands up a free rushing blitzer and then gets blown back on the next. The leg drive he exhibits on rushing plays combined with some strong reps in pass pro lead me to believe that if he gains more consistency in this area, he can develop into a trusted passing down back in the NFL.
  • Lloyd is a functional receiver. He was utilized mainly as a checkdown specialist. He did motion out to the occasional snap as an outside receiver, but rarely was he asked to run routes from this alignment. He did have the occasional stop or curl route. Lloyd does have soft hands, and he is a QB-friendly target adjusting to space when his quarterback is in scramble mode.
  • Lloyd is a scheme versatile rusher. He has the lateral agility, vision, and speed to operate in stretch zone as well as inside zone. Lloyd’s burst is above average but not elite, so you wouldn’t want him operating in a heavy outside zone scheme, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t have the speed to gain the edge.
  • He runs with a profound mean streak. Lloyd isn’t seeking out contact, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t drop the hammer when needed. Rarely does the first defender bring him down, and it’s nothing for him to body bag a corner with a stiff arm. Lloyd also has plenty of plays on film where he’s asked to create yards on his own. He has more than a handful of runs I watched on film where he had to reverse course when the gap was clogged and create a play on his own, and he did marvelously.
  • Lloyd is a more physical rusher than his size would lead many to believe. He has strong legs to finish runs well and push the pile. Lloyd can be a tone-setting back.

Player Comp: Tre Mason

Dynasty Outlook: Let me start this conversation by stating that this landing spot will make Lloyd a screaming value in dynasty rookie drafts. “Oh, but aren’t you worried about Josh Jacobs and his brand spanking new four-year and 48 million dollar deal?” Is it concerning? Sure. Is it frightening and a reason to fade, Lloyd? No. Lloyd is not my RB1 in this class anymore, but he has only fallen to RB2 in this class. Lloyd should be selected as an early second-round pick in rookie drafts in all formats. The fear of Jacobs is being overblown. First, let’s tackle this “monster” contract he received from Green Bay. This four-year deal is really just a puffed-up one-year deal. Green Bay can get out of his contract after the 2024 season if he doesn’t bounce back to his previous form. Now, they would incur a 9.3 million dead cap hit if they did, but in 2025, they have the 14th-most cap space. To put it kindly, Jacobs struggled mightily last year. Among 49 qualifying backs last season (per Fantasy Points Data), Jacobs ranked 41st in explosive run rate, 37th in missed tackles forced per attempt, and 44th in Yards after contact per attempt. A hopeful love letter detailing Jacobs’ bounce back should be written in pencil. LaFleur also, in the above video clip, was discussing Lloyd and alluding to his pass game upside, which he flashed consistently at the Senior Bowl. Lloyd should ascend to the RB2/1B role for Green Bay in short order, with the upside to take over fully in 2025.

 

Jaylen Wright (MIA)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 5th
    • Breakaway percentage: 11th
    • PFF elusive rating: 13th
    • Yards per route run: 35th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 26th
    • Breakaway percentage: 71st
    • PFF elusive rating: 48th
    • Yards per route run: N/A* (only two targets)

Scouting report:

  • Wright has “run away from you” type of speed. A downhill bowling ball that consistently looks like he has been shot out of a cannon. He pauses at the line as he surveys the scene and finds a crease. While that could appear to be indecision, I think it’s more of a watered-down version of Le’Veon Bell’s style. Wright has the immediate burst to more than makeup for the quick pause.
  • Wright pin balls off defenders in the second level. Once he gets to the second level of a defense, it’s usually game over. He offers more finishing power to his runs than maybe his stature would suggest. He consistently falls forward and earns every blade of grass.
  • Wright holds up well in pass pro. With a solid, strong base, he has no problem upending pass-rushing defenders. He had 59 pass-pro snaps last season and only allowed one QB hit and zero sacks. His skill in this area will allow him to earn more passing down reps than his route running chops would suggest.
  • He’s a check-down option only in the passing game. Wright has solid enough hands with an 88.2% catch rate and only two drops from his 34 collegiate targets.

Player Comp: J.K. Dobbins

Dynasty Outlook: Time for me to make my best Michael Scott impression…”NOOOOO! GAWD! NO! GAWD! PLEASE NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!” It’s not the fourth-round draft capital that has sent me into a screaming fit until my throat bleeds. It’s the landing spot. Landing in Miami (to put it mildly) is not ideal. Raheem Mostert will be the obvious favorite in 2024 to split work with De’Von Achane, and he could return for the 2025 season if he continues to defy Father Time. Last year, Mostert ranked sixth in explosive run rate, 11th in missed tackles, and fifth in Yards after contact per attempt (per Fantasy Points Data). Even if we erase Mostert from the equation, Wright will still have to contend with Achane, who led the league in nearly every explosive run metric in existence in his rookie campaign. With this saddening development, Wright will settle in a dice roll late second-round rookie draft pick. Could he outplay that ADP in the long run? Yep, it’s possible, but it’s far from a slam dunk now.

Jonathon Brooks (CAR)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 21st
    • Breakaway percentage: 42nd
    • PFF elusive rating: 9th
    • Yards per route run: 21st

Scouting report:

  • Workhorse back. In six of his ten full games played last season, he had at least 20 carries. Brooks has a muscular, thick frame to handle the 15-20 touches per game at the next level.
  • Brooks is a tough assignment for defenders. He combines fluid movements with strong contact balance and can get skinny through the hole. If it’s him versus one defender in the second level, he’s likely making that person miss. Shoestring tackles aren’t going to bring him down. He bounces off defenders and keeps his legs driving with the ability to pick up 5-10 yards after first contact religiously.
  • Brooks has the raw speed to hit dingers if he can get into the second level, but his second gear isn’t elite. His lateral movements at the line and in traffic are silky smooth, as he can teleport two feet sideways in a blink of an eye.
  • Brooks was only tasked with being a check-down option in the passing game in 2023. He has soft hands but does have the occasional concentration drop. He transitions well, though, from receiver to rusher. His footwork in space and vision in traffic allows him to turn dump-offs into nice gains.

Player Comp: Melvin Gordon

Dynasty Outlook: Brooks had the purest run out with landing spot and draft capital. Carolina invested a second-round pick in their future bellcow. I’m not saying that Brooks explodes out of the gate with every down usage, but he will ascend to that role if not by the end of the 2024 season, definitely in 2025. Last year in Tampa Bay, under his watchful eye as the offensive coordinator, Rachaad White ranked seventh among running backs in opportunity share (75.3%). In the previous season, when he was still with Seattle as the team’s quarterbacks coach, he watched from the sidelines as Kenneth Walker ranked 13th in opportunity share (65.3%). Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard are on the roster this season in Carolina to help the team ease Brooks in, but both players are likely out the door in 2025. Sanders can be cut with only a 2.9 million dead cap hit for the team to absorb. Hubbard is a free agent in 2025. Brooks should be gone no later than the 1.11 in any dynasty format. Everyone crapped on this running back class, but we are getting a bell cow out of it. Be happy. Rejoice.

 

Trey Benson (ARI)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 55th
    • Breakaway percentage: 10th
    • PFF elusive rating: 42nd
    • Yards per route run: 27th
  • 2021 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 6th
    • Breakaway percentage: 3rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 1st
    • Yards per route run: 1.15 (only 15 targets*)

Scouting report:

  • Benson wins with leg drive and build-up speed with home run ability (4.39 40-yard dash) once he gets into the second level of a defense. Benson’s burst is average overall, but he showed more juice immediately after the handoff in 2022 versus 2023. I expect his short area agility numbers to be ok but not amazing and his 10-yard split to be average.
  • Benson has no problem fighting for extra yards after first contact with his powerful legs. He can shed arm tackles with ease as he always keeps his legs churning. He’s a more linear runner with the ability to juke defenders in the second level once he’s built up some steam.
  • Benson can get in trouble behind the line of scrimmage when he’s forced to string multiple moves together to avoid defenders as his burst comes into question. Overall, he has decent vision and follows his blocks well, but Benson can hesitate at times when his gap is plugged, and he’s forced to run the quick math of other options around him. Benson is more willing to barrel forward and take what a defense gives him rather than try to bounce a run outside, even when bouncing the run is the best course of action. He’s a tough interior runner where his power shows up, but he’ll miss cutback opportunities in the second level.
  • Benson’s ability to handle a heavy workload should be questioned despite his size. His frame would suggest that he should be able to, but he hasn’t had more than 156 carries over the last two seasons and logged only one game in that period with at least 20 carries.
  • Benson is a screen or chip and check-down option only in the passing game. He was tasked with the occasional angle route, but overall, he’s a functional but not outstanding receiving threat.

Player Comp: Ryan Mathews

Dynasty Outlook: Benson led the third-round charge for running backs as he was the second selection in the round and the second running back selected in the NFL Draft behind only Jonathon Brooks. Benson will ascend to the RB2 spot on many boards for this class. He is my RB3 in this class. Here’s why. James Conner should be a free agent after this season, but it’s not a lock that the team won’t retain his services after this year. Also, even when (if) Conner departs, Benson will still have to deal with the mobility of his quarterback. Could he be the RB2 of this class if Josh Jacobs remains in Green Bay? Yep. That’s why I won’t push back with anyone who declares him as the clear RB2 of this class. Benson is in the late first-round/early second-round conversation for dynasty rookie drafts.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Blake Corum (LAR)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 151st
    • Breakaway percentage: 104th
    • PFF elusive rating: 152nd
    • Yards per route run: 0.87 (only 18 targets*)
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 50th
    • Breakaway percentage: 50th
    • PFF elusive rating: 40th
    • Yards per route run: 0.59 (only 11 targets*)
  • 2021 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 24th
    • Breakaway percentage: 21st
    • PFF elusive rating: 7th
    • Yards per route run: 70th

Scouting report:

  • Corum’s 2021 film and, to an extent, his 2022 film are worlds different than his 2023 game film. In his second season at Michigan, he was an explosive runner with juice for days. A downhill pinball that excelled with vision, strong leg drive, decisiveness, and creativity in the second level. Corum’s burst was solid, and he displayed the ability to jump cut at will, create broken tackles, and change the angles for incoming defenders. While his long speed has never been fantastic (numerous runs where he was caught from behind), his immediate burst and vision would propel him into the second level in the blink of an eye.
  • This all takes us to 2023 when it has been rumored that he had dealt with injuries for much of the season. The decisiveness, immediate downhill running style, strong vision, and patience allowing his blocks to set up in front of him were all there. The problem is that his burst was compromised, and on many runs, he was simply getting what was blocked. Corum didn’t display the nibbles of a decent second gear that he had in 2021-2022. He still maximized his abilities with good footwork and vision, but the ability to create extra yards on his own was absent. In nine of his 15 games played in 2023, Corum failed to generate more than two missed tackles forced or at least 2.4 Yards after contact per attempt. If he can regain more of his former burst, Corum could handle the early down role for a committee backfield in the NFL.
  • Corum is a functional checkdown option in the passing game only. He should garner some passing down snaps in the NFL based on his pass-blocking ability, not so much his route-running chops. Corum didn’t allow any sacks at Michigan while giving up only three hurries in 111 pass-blocking snaps.

Player Comp: Frank Gore

Dynasty Outlook: Corum arrives in Los Angeles, where he’ll split early down work with Kyren Williams. Corum’s third-round draft capital and a depth chart that only has Ronnie Rivers and Zach Evans sitting behind Williams should ensure his immediate installment as the RB2 for the Rams. The big worry for anyone rostering Wiliams is, “How much will Corum eat into Williams’ work?” Well, we’ll see how much of that pie Corum can spoon onto his plate, but I think Williams will retain a large portion of his early down role and nearly all of the pass game work. Last year, Williams was immensely effective as a rusher. Among 49 qualifying backs, he ranked 26th in explosive run rate, 18th in missed tackles forced per attempt, and 20th in Yards after contact per attempt (per Fantasy Points Data). Corum could turn into a thorn in his side, but I think Williams retains at least 60-65% of the work with plenty of upside for 70%-plus. Williams isn’t a free agent until 2026, so Corum will have to bide his time before possibly taking over. This outlook dims the hope beacon for Corum stans without even mentioning his injury history and his declining efficiency metrics over the last three years of his collegiate career. The Corum conversation for Dynasty GMs begins in the late second round of rookie drafts and continues into the early/mid-third round.

Isaac Guerendo (SF)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 14th
    • Breakaway percentage: 18th
    • PFF elusive rating: 40th
    • Yards per route run: 10th

Scouting report:

  • An upright rusher, Guerendo is a linear runner with an average burst and home run speed. If he gets into the open field, he can take it to the house. His pad level can get him into trouble at the point of contact. He’s not a pile pushing back despite his size because of his pad level. He can get lit up at the point of contact and carries near the goal line. If he can tweak his running style, he could unlock more power to finish his runs.
  • With his upright running style, he isn’t the most fluid mover laterally. He will deploy the occasional jump cut, but his lateral skills are more limited. He should be deployed in a gap-heavy scheme, and just ask him to hit the hole and get downhill.
  • With limited playing time until 2023, towards the end of the 2023 season, Guerendo started playing with more confidence. Instead of blindly following his blocks into clogged running lanes, he began to free-lance some and utilize his speed to his advantage. He started bouncing the occasional run outside and utilizing his 4.3 wheels.
  • Guerendo was a reliable check-down option in college, securing 87.5% of his targets. He displays soft hands and adjusts to throws outside his frame easily. He will likely never be a top-shelf route runner because of his tight hips, but there’s more pass-game upside here than we have seen so far. His size/speed combination plays better as a receiver in space. Once he gets going, he can be tough to corral.

Player Comp: Rachaad White without the route running chops

Dynasty Outlook: The 49ers selected the 6’0”, 220lb back with 4.3 speed in the fourth round of this year’s draft. It’s a yearly tradition for the 49ers to take a back on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. This one makes a ton of sense for their zone run scheme while also factoring in that Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason are both free agents after this season. Guerendo could be the primary backup to Christian McCaffrey as soon as 2025, while also mentioning that McCaffrey will be a free agent in 2026. Guerendo’s per-carry efficiency and pass-game upside are quite interesting, and with a landing spot that has sneaky upside like this, he is a perfect third-round dice roll in rookie drafts.

Tyrone Tracy (NYG)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 4th
    • Breakaway percentage: 17th
    • PFF elusive rating: 5th
    • Yards per route run: 56th

Scouting report:

  • Tracy started his collegiate career as a wide receiver at Iowa for four years before making the transition to running back. 
  • He looks like a player still in the earlier phases of transitioning to running back. Tracy is an upright runner who has a thinner lower half and runs like a wide receiver. He struggles to change direction in close quarters at times and has vision lapses. Tracy needs to deploy jump cuts and work on his footwork in tight spaces. He is a linear runner, which likely won’t change, but he will utilize choppy steps to move horizontally at times instead of deploying a jump cut. This is evident early in his runs when he’s searching for a crease and daylight more than in the second level. 
  • Tracy needs to press the line at times more in his runs before exploding laterally. He did improve some with this as the season wore on with more reps, but it still crops up from time to time. He also needs to be more decisive when reading the play design. The indecision at the line at times that he crushes his momentum. Tracy has average burst and speed, which is more the build-up variety, so he needs to be quick with his read of the play and trust what his eyes are seeing. 
  • Tracy’s wide receiver background wasn’t utilized creatively at all at Purdue. He had only 18 snaps in the slot or out wide in 2023. He was a check-down guy only. I’ll be curious if an NFL team will look to expand his pass game usage at the next level. 

Player Comp: Antonio Gibson-lite

Dynasty Outlook: Tracy’s NFL career could be much better than his collegiate one when it’s all said and done. Last year’s tackle-breaking metrics should raise your eyebrows, especially for a player still acclimating to the position. Purdue offered him the most vanilla offensive role possible in the passing game with his receiver background. I expect the Giants to rectify that when he does garner snaps. Tracy only has to unseat Eric Gray to earn the RB2 role for the Giants. Gray didn’t do anything to wow the team last year with his 2.8 yards per carry and 1.53 Yards after contact per attempt (per Fantasy Points Data). Devin Singletary looks to be the team’s starting back for at least the next two seasons, but if he misses any time, Tracy easily offers a possible three-down skill set where he could step in as the do-it-all guy. Tracy is in the late third-round rookie draft conversation, but he could also easily slip to the fourth round, depending on your scoring format. He’s an interesting player that could turn out to be a steal at that cost.

Bucky Irving (TB)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 17th
    • Breakaway percentage: 62nd
    • PFF elusive rating: 8th
    • Yards per route run: 48th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 9th
    • Breakaway percentage: 65th
    • PFF elusive rating: 5th
    • Yards per route run: 16th

Scouting report:

  • Irving gets up to top speed quickly, as exhibited in his 90th percentile 10-yard split. He’s more quick than fast. He doesn’t have “run away from you” long speed, which also shows up in his 4.55 40-yard dash (68th percentile).
  • Once Irving gets into the second level of a defense, he can do damage. With a head of steam, he can break arm tackles, and defenders can slide off him at times. He has issues breaking tackles immediately if contacted in the backfield or in the hole.
  • His lateral agility is a plus, as he displays smooth footwork moving horizontally. However, he does have choppy steps when asked to change direction or string multiple moves in the open field together. He can get himself into trouble in the open field when he should be hitting the accelerator, but instead, he slows up to vary his pace or tries to juke a defender.
  • Irving is just a check-down option in the passing game. He was a screen and swing pass target at Oregon. Irving would line up on the perimeter and then be motioned toward the quarterback, and as soon as the ball is snapped, he would speed horizontally to receive an elongated handoff.

Player Comp: Justin Forsett

Dynasty Outlook: Irving becomes a Tampa Bay Buccaneer with mildly surprising fourth-round draft capital, considering his meh-level athletic testing (2.22 RAS). Irving should face some resistance from Chase Edmonds to become the direct backup to the team’s workhorse in Rachaad White. Irving makes the most sense for teams that are already rostering White and want to roster his handcuff, but he’s also taxi squad viable in every format and worth a pick in the fourth round of your dynasty rookie drafts.

Braelon Allen (NYJ)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 29th
    • Breakaway percentage: 54th
    • PFF elusive rating: 49th
    • Yards per route run: 92nd
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 100th
    • Breakaway percentage: 52nd
    • PFF elusive rating: 91st
    • Yards per route run: 0.85 (only 18 targets*)
  • 2021 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 4th
    • Breakaway percentage: 16th
    • PFF elusive rating: 26th
    • Yards per route run: 0.59 (only 12 targets*)

Scouting report:

  • Allen likely slots in as the early down thunder component to a committee. Allen is a volume-compiling grinding thumper back. Allen has a strong leg drive and can lower his shoulder and maul a defender. Once he gets a head of steam, defenders have to wrap him well, or they slide off him like water.
  • He’ll be at his best in the NFL in a gap/power run game scheme. The aim should be to get Allen moving downhill immediately. Once Allen is into the second level of a defense, his combination of power and nimble feet really plays up. He has impressive footwork and lateral agility for his size to compensate for an average burst.
  • Allen can churn out chunk plays with his lateral agility and power, but you won’t see many home runs in the NFL as his long speed isn’t there. Allen has decent bend, but don’t expect him to change directions once he’s moving downhill wildly. Once this train gets rolling, he can bend onto a side track, but you won’t see acrobatic start/stop theatrics.
  • Allen is a functional pass catcher. He was utilized on check-downs and pop passes in college, so I don’t expect him to develop into a priority pass game weapon in the NFL.

Player Comp: Peyton Hillis

Dynasty Outlook: The Jets love spending Day 3 picks on backup running backs. They did it last year with Israel Abanikanda (fifth round), and they did so again this year twice. Allen was the first of this year’s crop, followed by Isaiah Davis. Allen will compete for the RB2 job in camp with Abanikanda and Davis but don’t expect much work this year for whoever wins that job. Breece Hall is the team’s bellcow, and with a full offseason to strengthen his knee, he could shoulder an even heavier load in 2024. Allen is in a large bucket of fourth-round dart throw backs that you can pick their name out of a hat. He makes the most sense for teams with Hall rostered. I was lower on his prospect profile than most and will be taking shots on other players in those later rounds of rookie drafts.

Isaiah Davis (NYJ)

Stats:

  • 2023 (among all FBS/FCS RBs, minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 35th
    • Breakaway percentage: 112th
    • PFF elusive rating: 17th
    • Yards per route run: 102nd
  • 2022 (among all FBS/FCS RBs, minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 46th
    • Breakaway percentage: 161st
    • PFF elusive rating: 50th
    • Yards per route run: 133rd

Scouting report:

  • Churns yards out like butter. His legs are always moving. He’s a high-energy spark plug locomotive that teammates will feed off. He is always falling forward for a few extra yards, thanks to a neverending leg drive or a well-timed spin move after first contact.
  • Davis has good patience at the attack point. He’ll follow his blocks toward daylight but also isn’t afraid to bounce a run outside if the lane is clogged. He has good vision with interior runs and the lateral agility to weave through the noise.
  • Davis has a stiff arm that can send defenders into the afterlife. He can also shimmy and shake defenders in the second level, making people miss in a phone booth. He doesn’t have field flipping type of explosiveness, but he does well with the juice he has.

Player Comp: Kenyan Drake

Dynasty Outlook: Davis arrives in the Big Apple via the fifth round of the NFL Draft. This wasn’t the landing spot you wanted if you believed in Davis’s talent. He’s the possible RB4 on the depth chart buried by one of the few true young bell cows in the NFL. Davis is now only a fifth-round rookie draft pick, waiver wire add, or taxi squad fodder. It’s possible that he could ascend to the RB2 spot on the depth chart, but that’s the best-case scenario currently.

Kimani Vidal (LAC)

Stats:

  • 2023 (all FBS/FCS RBs minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 51st
    • Breakaway percentage: 73rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 21st
    • Yards per route run: 143rd
  • 2022 (all FBS/FCS RBs minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 106th
    • Breakaway percentage: 171st
    • PFF elusive rating: 84th
    • Yards per route run: 174th
  • Career

Scouting report: 

  • Downhill pinball. Vidal will ricochet off incoming defenders and produce hard-fought yards with a nasty stiff arm and solid footwork. Give him a runway, and he’ll chew up chunk yardage.
  • Vidal has enough juice to bounce a run outside when needed, but he’s at his best when he builds up some steam and penetrates the second level of the defense. Vidal isn’t a home run hitter, though. His 35.2% breakaway percentage in college tells the tale. Vidal is built to churn out 5-15-yard runs with frequency. He has only an average burst and lacks a second gear to run away from defenders in the open field. Vidal is caught behind religiously.
  • He’s a volume rusher who’s proven he can hold up to the workload, with at least 231 carries in each of the last two seasons and at least 23 carries in 57% of his games in his final collegiate season.

Player Comp: Devin Singletary

Dynasty Outlook: The small school volume back sadly fell all the way to the sixth round of the NFL Draft, but he landed in one of the juiciest spots available to a rookie running back. J.K. Dobbins was brought in with a one-year deal with no guaranteed money on it. Gus Edwards got a three-year pact that essentially is a one-year contract, as the team could move on from him after 2024 with a little penalty if they wanted to. Vidal has proven his ability to handle the load in college and could easily do so again in the NFL. Vidal will drop into the third round of every rookie draft. If you want heavy exposure to him in dynasty (you should), it won’t be hard. If you can get into the early/middle of the third round of rookie drafts, you should be able to acquire his services for your dynasty team.

2024 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Kit

Daijun Edwards (PIT)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 100th
    • Breakaway percentage: 57th
    • PFF elusive rating: 78th
    • Yards per route run: 61st
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 19 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 87th
    • Breakaway percentage: 60th
    • PFF elusive rating: 69th
    • Yards per route run: 82nd

Scouting report:

  • Edwards has an average burst that is made less effective by his indecision at the line. Edwards would be better served to get the train rolling with conviction early, but he shimmies at the line with footwork that’s better served in the open field.
  • Edwards is a tough runner who can get “the dirty yards.” His lively feet can be an asset moving forward, as they serve him well when necessary, getting skinny at the line.
  • At this stage, he is a check-down option only. Edwards was passable, leaking out of the backfield or running the occasional stop route.

Player Comp: Charcandrick West

Dynasty Outlook: Edwards signed a UDFA deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the top end of their running back depth chart cemented, I’ll be leaving Edwards on the waiver wire in Dynasty.

Ray Davis (BUF)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 27th
    • Breakaway percentage: 34th
    • PFF elusive rating: 54th
    • Yards per route run: 39th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 76th
    • Breakaway percentage: 83rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 73rd
    • Yards per route run: 89th
  • Career
    • 5th year Sr. Temple from 2019-2020, Vanderbilt 2021-2022, Kentucky 2023

Scouting report:

  • Downhill but upright runner. He is at his best when he gets a head of steam. Can get tripped up by shoestring tackles. His running style is more shifty than powerful.
  • Get him in a gap/power run game. He has the necessary agility to operate with inside zone as well. Davis will follow his blocks patiently, but he lacks the necessary burst to gain the edge in the stretch zone. Davis did flash an improved burst in 2023 compared to his 2019 film. This difference is even palatable as his breakaway percentage by 10.7% from 2022 to 2023.
  • Davis is a proven volume rusher with at least 22 carries in 25% of his collegiate games. He likely slots in as an early down committee option in the NFL.
  • He’s nothing more than a check-down option in the passing game. Davis will leak out of the backfield and secure the occasional dump-off. His pass pro is suspect. Davis usually just attempts to chip at oncoming rushers. Unless his technique improves, he won’t be a trusted passing-down option.

Player Comp: Thomas Rawls

Dynasty Outlook: Davis heads to the snowy northeast to join the Buffalo Bills via the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Davis should already be considered the favorite for the RB2 job with the Bills. James Cook will still lead this backfield and likely gobble up most (possibly all) of the passing game work. Davis has a three-down skillset, but his pass-game chops are on the same level as Cook’s. Expect him to ease the early down load for Cook with the upside to cut into his red zone volume some, but be mindful that the inside the five-yard line pie is smaller in Buffalo compared to some other teams, with Josh Allen always getting a decent share of the work. Davis should be selected in the third round of your dynasty rookie drafts.

Cody Schrader (SF)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 95th
    • Breakaway percentage: 86th
    • PFF elusive rating: 106th
    • Yards per route run: 95th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 103rd
    • Breakaway percentage: 114th
    • PFF elusive rating: 125th
    • Yards per route run: 106th

Scouting report:

  • Schrader’s vision allows him to be scheme versatile. He quickly diagnoses lanes with inside zone runs and is adept at operating on stretch zone plays. Schrader’s lateral agility is underrated, which also plays into his prowess for outside zone. His burst is only adequate at best, though, which could limit his ability in the pros. To operate in the outside zone in the NFL, he’ll need a very good offensive line, but he could have success with inside zone thanks to his vision and his tendency to get downhill immediately on those plays. Schrader compensates for lacking special burst by maximizing each run, thanks to his vision.
  • He has average burst and speed at the collegiate level, but Schrader will have issues in the NFL. Schrader has a mild second gear, but he lacks “shot out of a cannon” or “run away from you speed” which leads to plenty of runs where he’s caught from behind. This will only be more exacerbated against NFL talent. He’s very dependent upon his offensive line. He’ll get what’s blocked but not a ton after that, and he cannot create a ton of yards for himself.
  • While not an imposing tackle breaker, Schrader can shed arm tackles or defenders that come at him high. He does so with adequate to good leg drive. Schrader will flash the occasional spin move when a defender hits him high or a stiff arm, but neither are go-to weapons in his tackle-breaking arsenal. There are plenty of reps where defenders square him up, though, and blow him out of his cleats.
  • Schrader has soft hands and displays some skills as a receiver. This is the untapped area of his game that could be expanded upon in the NFL. He wasn’t utilized creatively in college, with only check-downs and the occasional wheel route, but he has the foot skills to believe that he could possibly develop into a receiving weapon in the NFL. His pass protection abilities or struggles in this area could limit his usage on passing downs, though. Schrader has plenty of reps on tape where he squares up defenders and gets blown back. He is also not a max-effort guy with some reps where he merely attempts to chip a defender, which does nothing to impede the rusher’s path to the quarterback.
  • Schrader should find a home on an NFL roster/practice squad as a dependable player who will get every blade of grass that’s blocked for him. His vision and solid overall game make him a dependable guy that coaches will love.

Player Comp: Jalen Richard

Dynasty Outlook: Schrader signed a UDFA contract with the 49ers. He’ll attempt to work his way up a crowded running back depth chart. If your rookie draft extends to five rounds, Schrader could be in consideration, but he’ll be a waiver wire pickup/taxi squad stash in most formats. Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason are free agents after this season, so as early as 2025, Schrader could be competing with Isaac Guerendo for the backup role behind Christian McCaffrey.

Dylan Laube (LVR)

Stats:

  • 2023 (all FBS/FCS RBs minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 237th
    • Breakaway percentage: 150th
    • PFF elusive rating: 188th
    • Yards per route run: 11th
  • 2022 ( all FBS/FCS RBs minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 205th
    • Breakaway percentage: 87th
    • PFF elusive rating: 108th
    • Yards per route run: 53rd
  • Career
    • 197 collegiate targets
    • 1,654 receiving yards with 1.81 YPRR

Scouting report:

  • Laube has average burst. He’s more quick than fast, but he gets up to top speed in a hurry. His quick feet and short-area agility are his strong suits as he is a one-speed runner. Solid jump cut and change of direction in the open field without losing much steam, but he gets caught from behind far too often.
  • His pass game usage will be his calling card in the NFL. In two of the last three seasons, he has had 14.1% and 16.8% snap rates in the slot/out wide. He ran a variety of routes in college to the occasional wheel to check downs and lined up outside and was even asked to run go routes.
  • Laube is a solid pass protector and should be able to carve out the passing-down role in a committee. He squares up defenders nicely and anchors well in pass pro. His leg strength shows up more here than it does when he is utilized as a rusher.

Player Comp: Duke Johnson

Dynasty Outlook: Laube was drafted in round six of the NFL Draft as the Raiders’ new RB4 on the depth chart and understudy to Ameer Abdullah as a passing-down complement to the ground game. Laube’s receiving chops have been well-documented. His tackle-breaking metrics are snooze-worthy at best, but with his receiving skills, he’s worth stashing on a taxi squad for at least a year.

Audric Estime (DEN)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 8th
    • Breakaway percentage: 38th
    • PFF elusive rating: 15th
    • Yards per route run: 1.30 (*only 17 targets)
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 30th
    • Breakaway percentage: 107th
    • PFF elusive rating: 41st
    • Yards per route run: 1.04 (only 9 targets*)

Scouting report:

  • Compact, thick build. Estime will be the early down grinder portion of a committee in the NFL. With only 26 targets in three seasons at Notre Dame, he won’t be an integral part of any NFL passing attack. 
  • Estime has decent lateral agility and can move horizontally as he scans for a hole to burst through the line. His vision is okay, but he can be caught hesitating at the line at times, which can be a coffin nail with his average (at best) burst. 
  • His leg drive is one of his best attributes, as he can power through arm tackles and churn out yards in the interior. Overall, he is a linear/upright runner who struggles with change of direction in a phone booth with choppy steps. His speed is the build-up variety. 

Player Comp: Julius Chestnut

Dynasty Outlook: Estime was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. With Javonte Williams in the final year of his rookie deal, Estime has become an interesting player to draft in the fourth round of a rookie draft. It’s not hard to envision Estime taking over the early taking over ground and pound downs next year, with Jaleel McLaughlin handling the passing downs. He could be especially valuable next year in formats that give a little boost to carries.

Blake Watson (DEN)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 34th
    • Breakaway percentage: 23rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 31st
    • Yards per route run: 20th
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 4th
    • Breakaway percentage: 33rd
    • PFF elusive rating: 4th
    • Yards per route run: 48th

Scouting report:

  • Watson has better leg drive and contact balance than you’d expect from a back with his frame. He flashes good finishing ability at the end of his runs as he pinballs off defenders in the second level. He’s a tough rusher on the interior. Watson can be tough to bring down as he slips arm tackles and defenders approaching him high. 
  • Watson has only average (at best) initial burst. He’s at his best, operating with one cut. His start/stop ability isn’t fantastic, and he can get himself into trouble when stringing multiple moves together early in runs. 
  • His vision overall is good. Watson will hesitate at the line at times, but it’s not a consistent enough theme to be overly worried about it at the next level. His ability to set up defenders at the second level is fun. He follows his blocks well and can weave through traffic. 
  • Watson was utilized mainly on swing passes and dump-offs in college. He was deployed some in the slot or out wide while running outs and curls. His start/stop ability and short area agility will limit his ceiling in this aspect, but he does display in a small sample some underrated route running chops. 
  • Watson needs to continue to hone his pass-pro technique. He’s mainly been used as a back to chip incoming defenders before he goes out for a route. Watson can hold his own in a pinch but don’t expect him to knock any pass rushers back with ferocious power. 
  • Watson is still learning the running back position. He began his collegiate career as a wide receiver and transitioned to running back in 2019 while at Old Dominion. 

Player Comp: Justice Hill

Dynasty Outlook: Watson went undrafted, but he signed a UDFA deal with the Denver Broncos. Watson is a talented back and is a nearly free bet or hedge against not only Javonte Wiliams but Audric Estime. Watson is a low-cost taxi squad flier that could pay dividends.

Will Shipley (PHI)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 111th
    • Breakaway percentage: 92nd
    • PFF elusive rating: 118th
    • Yards per route run: 
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 47th
    • Breakaway percentage: 89th
    • PFF elusive rating: 67th
    • Yards per route run: 

Scouting report:

  • Shipley’s film reminds me of Cody Schrader at times. They are stylistically different players, but both maximize their touches. Shipley’s quick processing, lateral agility, and vision allow him to create both as a rusher and receiver. These elements will endear him to NFL coaching staff. Shipley is a decisive runner who makes the most of his physical gifts. He can set up defenders in the second level with a fantastic feel for pressing the line and cutting back in a blink. 
  • Shipley’s raw physical traits limit his ability to churn out yards. He has average burst, below-average leg drive, and ok but not exceptional long speed. Runs that would be dingers by other running backs with electric wheels are decent chunk plays for Shipley. He likely won’t be the short-yardage option for an NFL team, as he gets blown back on some interior runs and isn’t a pile pusher. 
  • He is a swing pass merchant. Shipley caught his share of check-downs and swing passes in college, but he didn’t exhibit upper-level route running or creative usage in the passing game. His short area skills do offer hope that he can access another level in the passing game if his usage in an aerial attack is expanded at the next level. 

Player Comp: Travis Homer

Dynasty Outlook: Shipley’s fourth-round NFL Draft capital was interesting, but the wind immediately knocked out of his sails, and once you see his landing spot, it was the Philadelphia Eagles. Barkley has a brand new three-year deal with Philly that should bury Shipley if Barkley can stay healthy. Shipley is worth a late third-round/early fourth-round dynasty rookie draft selection, especially if you have Barkley on your roster.

Kendall Milton (PHI)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 13th
    • Breakaway percentage: 21st
    • PFF elusive rating: 43rd
    • Yards per route run: 0.28 (*only four targets)
  • Career 3.88 Yards after contact per attempt
  • Only 13 career collegiate targets over four seasons

Scouting report:

  • Milton is a downhill, one-speed thumper. He’s a one-cut rusher who gets up to top speed quickly (86th percentile 10-yard split). Milton lacks a home run gear, though, as he’ll get caught from behind on long runs. Many of his 20-30-yard runs would be house calls for other running backs, but defenders are able to gain ground on him in the open field. 
  • Milton is an upright runner who can be cut down near the line of scrimmage if defenders hit him with a decent wrap. He can break some tackles in the second level, though, with a decent leg drive and a well-timed jump cut or stiff arm. 
  • Milton won’t be a pass-game weapon at the next level. He only garnered 13 targets in college, but he was a capable pass catcher when called upon, as he secured 84.6% of those targets. Milton can be a safe check-down option, but don’t expect him to evolve into more than that. He is a strong pass protector though, so he could surprise with the number of passing downs he plays. Milton can anchor his area and has plenty of strong reps on film where he stands up free rushers. He logged a 73.1 pass-blocking grade in his final season with zero sacks or hurries with his 26 pass-blocking snaps. 

Player Comp: Roschon Johnson with less pass-game utility

Dynasty Outlook: The former bulldog has become an Eagle. Milton went undrafted and signed a contract with Philadelphia. With his SEC pedigree and eye-opening tackle-breaking metrics, Milton is worth stashing on a taxi squad. In most leagues, he’ll go undrafted and can be added via the waiver wire after your rookie draft.

Jawhar Jordan (HOU)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 86th
    • Breakaway percentage: 31st
    • PFF elusive rating: 102nd
    • Yards per route run:  32nd
  • 2022 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 57th
    • Breakaway percentage: 17th
    • PFF elusive rating: 64th
    • Yards per route run: 0.77* (only 11 targets)

Scouting report: 

  • Solid initial burst. Jordan gets up to top speed in a hurry. Get Jordan behind a solid offensive line with a stretch zone scheme and he could make some noise. Easy speed to consistently gain the edge. No hesitancy in getting downhill. Decisive linear runner. A future 49er or Dolphin.
  • Thin lower half. Not a pile mover. Upright rusher that lives and dies with his quickness and speed. Jordan’s speed is how he wins, but it’s not an elite trump card that will allow him to outrun corners at the next level.

Player Comp: Akeem Hunt

Dynasty Outlook: Jordan was selected by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Before seeing substantial workloads in his final two years at Louisville, Jordan served as an explosive kick returner (28.3 collegiate kick return average). As the new RB4 on the Houston depth chart, his most significant contributions will be as a kick returner. Unless there’s a depth chart shakeup, I’ll be avoiding Jordan in rookie drafts.

Rasheen Ali (BAL)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 141st
    • Breakaway percentage: 20th
    • PFF elusive rating: 148th
    • Yards per route run: 82nd

*limited to three games in 2022*

  • 2021 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 48th
    • Breakaway percentage: 58th
    • PFF elusive rating: 58th
    • Yards per route run: 63rd

Scouting report:

  • Average burst. Ali hesitates at the line at times, looking for a crease, but he doesn’t have the extra zip to explode through the hole. He has solid feet and fluid change of direction but lacks the juice to drop it into second gear and fire into the second level of a defense.
  • Ali runs with a high pad level, which makes him an easy wrap-up at times. He does have a tenacious leg drive, which allows him to fight for extra yards.

Player Comp: Shaun Draughn

Dynasty Outlook: Ali was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He could serve as the team’s RB3 until Keaton Mitchell is 100%. Ali’s analytical profile is lackluster, which has me avoiding him in dynasty rookie drafts. If you want to add him to your taxi squad, though, I get it.

Emani Bailey (KC)

Stats:

  • 2023 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 41st
    • Breakaway percentage: 40th
    • PFF elusive rating: 24th
    • Yards per route run: 96th
  • 2021 (minimum 100 carries, 20 targets)
    • Yards after contact per attempt: 85th
    • Breakaway percentage: 106th
    • PFF elusive rating: 70th
    • Yards per route run: 1.70* (only 16 targets*)

Scouting report: 

  • Bailey runs like a mini Isiah Pacheco. He runs like an over-caffeinated hedgehog. Max effort at all times. Bailey wins with straight-line speed and operates best with inside zone or gap runs that allow him clear lane options and the ability to get upfield immediately.
  • His feet can get choppy at the line at times. His burst is adequate. Bailey’s low center of gravity, combined with his constantly churning legs, allows him to break arm tackles, but he’ll never be confused as a pile pusher.
  • He has soft hands but a limited catch radius due to his size. He is serviceable as a receiver but will likely never be his main calling card.

Player Comp: Kerwynn Williams

Dynasty Outlook: Bailey’s landing spot (Kansas City Chiefs) as a UDFA will intrigue some Dynasty GMs, but he’s buried behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, La’Mical Perine, and Keaontay Ingram. Bailey is more likely to be this year’s Deneric Prince than become a player with even short-term staying power on your dynasty roster.


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