The NFL might treat their running backs worse than equipment people, but we wouldn't dare ignore this position in fantasy. Instead, we spend the bulk of our free time analyzing all the prospects right through the undrafted free agents.
Running backs are found in the late rounds—even impact fantasy ones—and we like a few names that flew off the board Saturday afternoon: namely, Devonta Freeman, Andre Williams and Lache Seastrunk.
Here is a complete look at the 2014 running back draft class:
Day 1 Running Backs Selected
None. This isn't 1989.
Day 2 Running Backs Selected
- Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans (2.54)
- Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (2.55)
- Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (2.57)
- Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.69)
Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (3.75)
- Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (3.94)
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (3.96)
Dri Archer, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.97)
Day 3 Running Backs Selected
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (4.103)
This destination doesn't give him great 2014 value, but it sure makes him a potential star in 2015 and beyond when Steven Jackson, who will be 31, retires or moves on. Freeman is a solid Jackson handcuff and a must-have in long-term keeper formats. He could emerge as a starter in 2015 and a fantasy star.
Andre Williams, New York Giants (4.113)
He is not a pass-catcher, but he is a durable workhorse back who could emerge as a starter in parts of this coming season. Rashad Jennings is the starter. David Wilson is the prodigy coming off a career-threatening neck injury, but the ball will eventually be in Williams' capable hands at some point. This was a great landing spot for the 2,000-yard rusher. Consider him a solid late-round handcuff.
Ka'Deem Carey, Chicago Bears (4.117)
He is an explosive back who will have to bide him time behind Matt Forte. There is little in the way of Ka'Deem Carey being the No. 1 handcuff for Forte in fantasy this coming season.
De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs (4.124)
The undersized back has game-changing speed, but he is a small Dexter McCluster-type who will never be a factor as a feature back. DAT will be better than McCluster for fantasy owners, because he's so quick and shifty, but that will take time to develop and they will have to scheme him touches.
James White, New England Patriots (4.130)
He is not your typical Wisconsin running back. They usually feature big feature backs. Perhaps that is why he was a timeshare guy.
He will be that, at best, this coming season for the Patriots. Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden are all ahead of him in the fantasy pecking order to start next season.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (4.138)
This is a big back who could develop for the Ravens, but Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and perhaps Justin Forsett will keep him from being a factor on draft day. Definitely watch him in long-term keeper formats, because the Ravens are a run-oriented franchise.
Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (6.181)
He was stuck behind better backs at LSU. He could emerge as Arian Foster's handcuff, though, particularly because Foster is older and injury prone and current backup Andre Brown has never stayed healthy for more than a few games at a time.
Lache Seastrunk, Washington Redskins (6.186)
This is an exciting talent in an unfortunate situation. He won't challenge Alfred Morris or even Roy Helu this season. Seastrunk has legit speed and long-term talent, but he's no better than a late-round handcuff right now.
Marion Grice, San Diego Chargers (6.201)
With Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown in the fold, Marion Grice is a mere roster-filler. He is not impressively fast or big, so ignore him in fantasy for now.
Tyler Gaffney, Carolina Panthers (6.204)
The Panthers are a run team with older veteran backs who are injury prone, but if Tyler Gaffney winds up getting carries for the Panthers, the season will be a disaster. You won't have to concern yourself with Gaffney in drafts unless training camp injuries hit.
FB Jay Prosch, Houston Texans (6.211)
Jay Prosch is arguably the best fullback in this draft, but his fantasy impact will be leading the way for the other Texans runners. He will merely be that guy who frustrates Foster owners with those pesky one-yard touchdown receptions out of nowhere.
Storm Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars (7.222)
This is one place a running back pick would prove intriguing—no one should be convinced Toby Gerhart is a feature back—but Storm Johnson just isn't an exciting enough talent to be considered anything more than a roster-filler initially.
FB Kiero Small, Seattle Seahawks (7.227)
The Seahawks have their backs, and Kiero Small will only play to lead the way as a blocking fullback. He can be ignored in fantasy.
FB Trey Millard, San Francisco 49ers (7.245)
The Seahawks did it, so the 49ers had to follow suit. They are similarly built on the running game. Trey Millard can be equally ignored in fantasy.