2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs

by Kacey Kasem
2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs

The 2024 fantasy football season is upon us, and fantasy managers are scouting the rookie running backs taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. A new crop of young running backs has entered managers' minds and those who draft soon will wonder who to take for their fantasy rosters. Plenty of playmakers and explosive players are at the position, but managers want to know who the best investment will be.

Jonathon Brooks was picked as the first running back off the draft board in the second round. This was the second-longest wait for a first running back in the common draft era. Brooks was the only running back selected in the second round. Only four running backs came off the board after Day 2 of the draft. Running backs had a long wait to hear their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft, but they hope to be selected early in fantasy football rookie drafts.

Taking a look at the first 12 rookie running backs drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft, we can see which players could turn into fantasy stars and which will be worth dropping soon. Make sure to check out the 2024 Dynasty Football Rookie Mock Draft to see where some of these players were selected by the Fantasy Six Pack staff.

2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs

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Jonathon Brooks, Carolina Panthers

Selected as the first running back in the 2024 NFL Draft (Round 2, Pick 46), the former Texas Longhorn saw his draft stock fall partially due to a torn ACL he sustained in November.

Former Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Texas looked to fill the void. Brooks stepped into the role and saw 1,139 yards and ten touchdowns in 11 games. Additionally, Brooks caught 25 balls for 286 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown.

Now Brooks finds himself on a team with Miles Sanders at running back, a player who underwhelmed for most of 2023. Quarterback Bryce Young is in a better situation now, with Brooks selected as a playmaker who can make Young's life easier. If Brooks can be the player he was pre-ACL injury, the Panthers have stud for years to come.

Trey Benson, Arizona Cardinals

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Benson was selected as the second rookie running back taken in the 2024 NFL Draft, taken in the third round with pick 66. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Benson, adding another weapon to go along with their first-round draft pick of Marvin Harrison Jr.

Quarterback Kyler Murray gets a new tool to use during games, as Benson is known for his speed and explosiveness. Benson's last season with the Seminoles was a career year, with 906 rushing yards and 14 scores.  He caught 20 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown last season as well.

One problem for Benson is the Cardinals' current lead back, James Conner, is in a contract year. Conner had 1,040 yards on the ground last season to pair with his seven receiving touchdowns. Conner does have a history of injury, and Benson's fantasy value would surely rise if Conner were to go down again. Rookie Benson is set up for success, but only time will tell if he takes over the RB1 slot on Arizona's roster.

Blake Corum, Los Angeles Rams

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The Los Angeles Rams chose Michigan running back Corum in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft with pick 83. The running back is known as a productive player, gaining plenty of third downs and looks in the end zone. Teams may have questioned Corum's athleticism and speed, and additionally, the torn meniscus in his left knee could have weighed on some minds.

Corum showed he was a powerhouse in 2023 while with the Wolverines. He rushed for 1,245 yards on 258 carries while posting 27 touchdowns. He additionally caught 16 passes for 117 yards and a score. The Rams already have breakout star Kyren Williams on the roster. The pick of Corum is yet another that makes the waters murky.

MarShawn Lloyd, Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers selected the USC running back in the third round of the draft, taking the rookie with the 88th overall pick. In his final season in college, Lloyd ran the ball 116 times for 820 yards and nine scores. He also caught 13 receptions for 232 yards. A knock on Lloyd before the 2024 NFL Draft was ball security, as he fumbled eight times in his 360 carries. He also needs to work on his vision when running the ball.

Lloyd is a player who can succeed in the NFL as a change-of-pace back. The Packers signed Josh Jacobs, former Las Vegas Raiders star, in free agency. His starting status isn't threatened by this pick, but AJ Dillon's value has dropped. This move is another move that makes the running back position hazy. The Packers brought Dillon back on a one-year deal, but we will have to see if the Packers decide to use him now that Lloyd is in town.

Jaylen Wright, Miami Dolphins

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The Miami Dolphins traded into pick 120 of the 2024 NFL Draft to take Tennessee running back Wright. The fourth-rounder tallied 137 carries for 1,013 yards on the ground last season to go along with four touchdowns. Wright had an impressive 7.4 yards per attempt in his final season with the Vols.

The Dolphins' backfield is currently crowded. Raheem Mostert, De'Von Achane, Salvon Ahmed, Chris Brooks, and Jeff Wilson Jr. are all on the team. Wright has little wear on his tread and can be a desirable running back in the league. Here's another murky situation with Wright joining the roster. Coach Mike McDaniels told reporters all players will benefit from the addition of Wright. We may have to wait a while to see if Wright pans out in the NFL.

Bucky Irving, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Oregon running back Irving in round four of the 2024 NFL Draft. The 125th overall draft pick might not look like the prototypical running back, measuring 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, but he was an efficient athlete over his collegiate career.

Last season, Irving rushed 186 times for 1,180 yards. He rushed for an impressive 11 touchdowns while scoring an additional two through the air. Irving caught 56 passes for 413 yards last season while posting 7.4 yards per catch.

Irving joins a roster containing Rachaad White, a runner who went for 990 yards on the ground last season. In 2023, White only ran the ball for 3.6 yards per carry. Irving looks to break off bigger runs, as he gained 6.3 yards per carry last season with the Ducks. He could be a rookie sleeper in 2024 drafts as he shapes himself into a reliable option for Baker Mayfield to get the ball.

Will Shipley, Philadelphia Eagles

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In the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected running back Shipley out of Clemson. Shipley was the head kick returner for Clemson, posting 904 return yards and 26.6 yards per return in his three years starting for the Tigers. On top of that, he put up 3,249 total yards of offense while taking the ball in for 34 total touchdowns.

The Eagles drafted a rookie runner whose maneuverability stood out. He's a slippery back who is efficient in the passing game. Saquon Barkley was signed by Philadelphia in free agency, so don't look for Shipley to be the Eagles' lead back. The Eagles should find a role for Shipley, but it might not be fantasy football relevant.

Ray Davis, Buffalo Bills

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Davis was selected as the eighth running back in the 2024 NFL Draft, taken by the Buffalo Bills with pick 128. The Kentucky running back ended his 2023 campaign with 21 total scores. He led the team in scoring and averaged an exciting 9.8 yards per reception.

The rookie speedster showed he was valuable in both the running and passing game, putting up over 1,000 rushing yards in both of his last two seasons. Over his three collegiate years, Davis only fumbled the football twice.

James Cook showed he could be the lead running back in Buffalo, and the Bills waited until the fourth round to pounce on Davis. This is another situation where time will only tell what Davis' fantasy value will be, but for now, he's not on radars. Cook should have the RB1 job locked up again in 2024.

Isaac Guerendo, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers traded up to the 129th pick overall to take Guerendo in the fourth round. The University of Louisville running back played in Wisconsin from 2018 to 2022. In his 2023 season with the Cardinals, Guerendo racked up 810 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. Guerendo also posted 234 receiving yards.

San Francisco has star running back Christian McCaffrey as their RB1, so Guerendo shouldn't see fantasy relevance. Being taken in the fourth round is never great for running back fantasy value, so don't look for Guerendo to do much on your roster.

Sione Vaki, Detroit Lions

Vaki is an interesting rookie as he has experience with both sides of the ball. The Utah athlete played both safety and running back in college, filling in as a runner due to injuries. Last year with the Utes, Vaki gained 317 yards on 42 carries and scored five times. The Detroit Lions moved up to draft Vaki in the fourth round with the 132nd overall pick.

With the one-two punch of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery at running back for the Lions, Vaki should not be fantasy-relevant. He still has a chance to be a star special teamer, something the Lions focused on in the draft.

Braelon Allen, New York Jets

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Allen was selected in the 2024 NFL Draft in the fourth round, with the overall 134 draft pick. More running backs were selected in the fourth round, and the New York Jets landed on Allen. The young running back was both a safety and a running back in high school.

His freshman year at Wisconsin saw the big man start at running back. In his first collegiate season, Allen scored 12 touchdowns and ran the ball for 1,268 yards on 186 carries.  Allen had 230 carries for 1,242 yards and 11 scores in 2022. In his final season with Wisconsin, Allen had 984 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, carrying the ball 181 times.

He has fumbling concerns, fumbling the ball nine times over his college career. With Breece Hall as the locked-in RB1 for the Jets, Allen doesn't provide fantasy value at the moment.

Audric Estimé, Denver Broncos

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Estimé was selected with the 147th overall pick in the fifth round. The Denver Broncos landed a runner who went for 1,341 yards and 18 scores for Notre Dame in 2023. Estimé is difficult to bring down, but he lacks pass-catching abilities of many of the rookies in the draft. Still, he is a player Denver felt compelled to take a shot on in the fifth round.

This is yet another murky running back situation as Javonte Williams is poised to be RB1 in Denver. Samaje Perine finds himself on the Broncos roster for another season. Running back Jaleel McLaughlin showed pop in his rookie season. Estimé could be a productive back in this league, but it may take time to find out.

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