For fantasy purposes, no other prospects enter the league with as much fanfare as running backs, as they are the most ready-made to make immediate contributions for our fantasy squads.
We’re all in search of the next best thing at running back. We also love something new.
If you paid attention last year, you’ll know the importance that rookie running backs have, as Doug Martin, Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris all burst on the scene and were major fantasy contributors. As a result, all three of them are almost universally ranked among the top-10 running backs in the game and will surely be drafted within the first two rounds in fantasy drafts.
The following running backs should be in high demand come draft day this summer, but they'll have trouble coming close to having the impact that last year’s class had. That should not take way from the fact that the six players mentioned here (ranking down from No. 6 to No. 1) should contribute for fantasy purposes this coming season. Far from it.
So when preparing to draft this summer, definitely keep these guys in mind, as they can be legitimate difference-makers.
Quickly working his way up draft boards is UCLA’s Jonathan Franklin.
Franklin improved a great deal while in college and had a stellar combine with a solid 4.49 40-yard dash time. It is that growth and natural skills that will make scouts and GMs drool over the potential Franklin has.
It may take him some time to develop and realize his full potential, but the upside with Franklin is tremendous, and he is worthy of a late-round flier.
Highly regarded for years, Montee Ball is finally set to make his mark in the NFL next year.
Powerfully built at 5’11”, 214 pounds, Ball is a load to handle in the backfield. While not the fastest, Ball is a great north-south runner who has a nose for the end zone—as an FBS record 79 touchdowns can attest.
Ball should be drafted in the second or third round of the NFL draft. As a result, he should have a shot at getting a good number of carries for the team that drafts him.
Fantasy players should target Ball in the middle to late rounds of fantasy drafts. If nothing else, Ball would make for a great goal-line back,
While not the most polished running back entering the draft, Randle possesses a ton of upside.
With a skill set that includes great speed and a high motor, it may only be a matter of time before Randle erupts. He should be a magnificent playmaker for the team that drafts him.
Don’t be afraid to spend a mid- to late-round pick on Randle.
After an impressive pro day, Andre Ellington is now sky-rocketing up draft boards.
While there remain some concerns over his hamstring injury, Ellington should be fine by the time training camp opens. Ellington is a great home-run threat every time he touches the ball, and some team will undoubtedly fall in love with him on draft day.
Ellington is definitely worth a flier on draft day, as he should carve out a nice role for himself for the lucky team that drafts him.
Giovani Bernard is an accomplished running back with stats to back up his credentials (last year Bernard ran for 1,228 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns).
Most have Bernard penciled in as a late first-round/early second-round pick, and with many teams in need of a consistent, dependable running back, Bernard should have much appeal in fantasy drafts.
Most scouts and GMs agree that Eddie Lacy is the most ready-made back entering the draft, as he combines both strong physical attributes with above-average athleticism.
Coming from Alabama, Lacy has been groomed to make his mark in the NFL, while following in the footsteps of recent Crimson Tide running backs Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram. Lacy is known for hitting holes hard and with authority.
Plenty of teams could use Lacy’s services; expect him to get drafted by a team that could feature him right away. Lacy should be a running back to target in the third or fourth round next summer.