A good running back can either make or break your team; however, it is unfortunately the hardest position to pick. Over the past few years, fantasy football has changed drastically. Previously, the soundest choice was to pick a running back with your first overall pick in the draft and they would carry your team. This is no longer the case. For the last couple years, fantasy running backs have been hard to pick, mainly because of consistent injuries and inconsistent play. Running backs are often the most injured players on the team, and they also are the most common players to have a mix of good and bad seasons. Due to this, many have moved away from taking running backs in the first round; and instead, opting for a wide receiver or quarterback. Because of this, it makes sense to consider sleeper running backs instead, especially in the RB2 or flex role, and pick up a rookie player that no one else will consider. Let’s take a look at the top 5 rookie fantasy running backs.
Bishop Sankey – The Tennessee Titans
There is a lot of signs that are pointing towards RB Sankey bring the starting RB in Tennessee. After years of relying on the play of RB Chris Johnson, the Titans have finally moved on. After looking for a new RB, the team decided to sign both RB Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey. Last season, Sankey had over 1800 total yards, and he is a touchdown machine. Aside from this, the Titans are also rumored to be parting ways with Greene soon, leaving ample room for Sankey. Consider him the starter in Tennessee.
Andre Williams, New York Giants
Last season, the run game of the Giants was the least of their worries; however, it was still a major issue. After injuries to several of their running backs, the Giants failed in the running game. They are hoping that rookie RB Andre Williams can turn it around. While at Boston College, Williams ran for an amazing 2177 yards, and was stellar on the goal line. As a bigger RB, he might not be their starter, but he could very easily be their goal line pounder.
Carlos Hyde – The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are a hybrid team that leans more on the run. Currently, Frank Gore is on the wrong side of 30 and his career is quickly diminishing. This combined with the fact that the backup running backs are very underwhelming leaves the door wide open for Hyde. His size and speed make him able to compete for goal line plays and backfield runs, and he should see some solid playing time next year.
Terrance West, Cleveland Browns
Sure, Ben Tate is a good receiver; however, he cannot carry a major running back workload. Next season, star WR Josh Gordon will be suspended for the year, leaving the Browns passing game to decrease. This will create an opening for running backs to step up, and on a team that encourages competition, West will surely get some touches.
Jeremy Hill – The Cincinnati Bengals
Last season, the goal line RB role was given to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. This will not be the case this year. So far, Hill has beat out BJGE in minicamp and will very likely get several touchdowns next season. Expect him to have solid numbers.
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