Dissecting the rookie RB's:
Leonard Fournette: He's the consensus #1 rookie this year, and for good reason. He was drafted 4th overall and the Jags are going to give him all the carries he can handle @ 6'0 240lbs. New head coach Doug Marrone knows that for Blake Bortles to succeed, a ball control offense is their only chance. Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon had their shot, and they failed. It's Fournette's show.
Dalvin Cook: Cook mysteriously slipped into the 2nd round of the NFL draft, however the Vikings did trade up to go get him so there's that. The word is, Cook slipped because of off the field concerns but I think it's more about him just not fitting that prototype of your typical NFL running back in size (6'0 209), speed (4.5 40"), and strength. Either way, I watched the guy plenty at FSU, he's damn good. We can't overlook the presence of former Raider (and Knight) Latavius Murray. Murray should still start the year as the starter and Cook will have to pry that job away from him.
Joe Mixon: Size, strength, speed..he checks all the boxes (6'1 227lbs w/ a 4.43 40"). If not for his off the field video drama, this is a guy that probably would've been the first running back taken in the NFL draft. He's beyond the prototype NFL running back: He's got the size and running style of LeVeon Bell, the speed of Jamaal Charles, and the hands of Danny Woodhead. He'll steal the starting job from the disappointing Jeremy Hill and the hobbled Gio Bernard. Hill will likely vulture touchdowns, so if you can get passed that and the morality of the whole thing, Mixon should go early and often.
Christian McCaffery: This is another guy drafted inside of the top 10 in the NFL draft, and what that does is tells me the kind of confidence the Panthers have in him. You don't draft someone in the top 10 if you don't expect him to contribute A LOT. He's got the skills to do it too, his hands are the best in the class, his juke move is the quickest and most impactful in the class as well, and what he can do in the open field is flat out special. He's got the speed, elusiveness, and catch rate to be a high end running back in fantasy football, but can he hold up? My only concern with him is size, he measures in at the same size as Reggie Bush when he came into the NFL. You could've said all the things about Bush that I just wrote about McCaffery when he was coming out of USC. Bush couldn't consistently stay on the field, and that was eventually his downfall. In short, seasonal leagues - don't worry about that factor. Dynasty - you may want to consider it.
I have them ranked; 1) Fournette 2) Mixon 3) McCaffery 4) Cook
Other running backs to pay attention to:
Samaje Perine- May be the starter for the Redskins sooner rather than later
Kareem Hunt- All he has to do is be better than Spencer Ware in KC.
Marlon Mack- Frank Gore can't do this forever, and Mack was a stud at USF.
Alvin Kamara- He's already the best receiving back in New Orleans.
Joe Williams- Carlos Hyde has yet to live up to the hype, plus Williams is a Shanahan guy, they can't wait to get him in the lineup.
D'Onta Foreman- Can you say touchdown vulture? Lamar Miller owners beware.
Jamaal Williams- Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Williams became the running downs back for the Packers. He's a bruiser.
Jeremy McNichols- They really like him in Tampa Bay and Doug Martin is suspended the first 3 games of the NFL season, this spells instant opportunity.
James Connor- He's Le'Veon Bell's handcuff, that distinction always has value.