Predicting Success Among Rookie RB's in Fantasy Football

How can you tell if a player, specifically a RB, is going to be a success in year one in fantasy football? Is it overall talent? College productivity? Is it fit? Offensive line? Play calling? The answer is, yes.

But let’s further complicate it.

Over the last 4 seasons we have seen a host of rookie running backs finish inside the top 15 in fantasy football. Guys like Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, Saquan Barkley, Phillip Lindsay, Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, and on, and on.

In looking @ this year’s crop of backs, most notably: Clyde Edwards Hellaire, DeAndre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, and JK Dobbins. You know a couple of them are going to be great right out of the gate, and some will struggle. The puzzling thing for fantasy players is knowing which one will yield which result.

I have a simple formula I use that I’ll share with you. Some of which is subjective, some is not.

If you look at the names originally listed, and you look @ their productive first year. They all fit into one of two categories. A) Other worldly talent or B) Tremendous fit.

Example: Coming out of Penn State, there was little doubt that Saquan would be a great pro. He was drafted 2nd overall, had a great production profile in college, was built like an NFL player, and smashed every combine metric you could ask for. The guy was going to be successful wherever he played.

Then you have Alvin Kamara, a good talent, not elite coming out of Tennessee. He was widely overlooked going into the draft and especially by fantasy owners. But, there’s a lesson to be learned here. He was a PERFECT fit inside Sean Payton’s system, and his production, should have been less of a surprise to the fantasy community.

I believe, of the 5 rookie RB’s who will be taken first among the rookies in fantasy, none of them possess that other worldly talent. So it comes down to fit, find the fit you like the best, and there’s your answer.

Here’s how I have it ranked:


2.JK Dobbins

3.Jonathan Taylor

4.Cam Akers

5.DeAndre Swift

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