2024 Fantasy Football Top 5 Rookie Running Back Rankings

by Corey Pieper
2024 Fantasy Football Top 5 Rookie Running Back Rankings

Below are my 2024 Fantasy Football Top 5 Rookie Running Back Rankings. With the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl and Super Bowl behind us and NFL Draft buzz heating up, these rankings are subject to change as we get closer to the 2024 NFL Draft and then again once we find out player's landing spots.

We have seen two drafts in the last 10 years where a running back wasn't selected in the first round. The 2022 draft saw no running backs go in the first round, but Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, and James Cook all went in the second round. All three of those backs have become premiere Fantasy options.

The 2014 draft didn't see a running back selected in the top 50 picks. Bishop Sankey, Jeremy Hill, and Carlos Hyde all were still drafted in the second round.

Speaking of which, check out our latest 2024 NFL Mock Draft and Big Board!

I believe there is a chance the 2024 draft is similar to the 2014 draft in that no running back goes in the top 50. It doesn't mean that there won't be running backs to know.

2024 Fantasy Football Top 5 Rookie Running Back Rankings

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No. 5: Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

Running backs aren't usually built like Braelon Allen. Wisconsin lists Allen at six foot two inches and 240 pounds! There are currently three running backs in the NFL above that weight-Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry, Green Bay Packers AJ Dillon, and Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris. He will also be one of the 10 youngest players in NFL history when he is drafted playing his entire rookie season as a 20-year-old. He uses his size to his advantage as he routinely runs through tackle attempts.

Allen has a wide range of outcomes in the NFL. Most likely next season, he'll be a rotational back who could dominate red zone carries for his team making him Fantasy viable as a backup selection.

Stat to Know: Allen has struggled with fumbling issues in college. In two of his three seasons, he fumbled four times.

No. 4: Blake Corum, Michigan

If Blake Corum hadn't injured his knee toward the end of the 2022 season, he likely would have entered last year's NFL draft. Instead, he came back to Michigan and put together another dominant season culminating in a National Championship victory. Corum is only five foot 8 inches tall, but densely built weighing in at 213 pounds. Michigan had a great offensive line which opened large holes for Corum to rush through, but he also has excellent contact balance. If he is drafted to be a primary ball carrier for an NFL team, he could be a fine Fantasy option already this season.

Stat to Know: Corum has a NCAA leading 45 rushing touchdowns over the last two years. He has scored at least one rushing touchdown in every game but one over the last two seasons.

No. 3: Bucky Irving, Oregon

Bucky Irving fits the modern NFL game to a tee. He is a running back who thrives on getting the ball in space. He is an explosive back whose shiftiness is frustrating to defenders. Defenders rarely if ever square him up for a solid hit.

He is also the best pass-catching option in this class. At Oregon, he was often motioned out wide or used as a slot receiver. He led all FBS running backs in targets and receptions showing the added value NFL teams can find with him. There is the potential for a Jahmyr Gibbs-like receiving impact as soon as this season, making him a name to know in your PPR leagues.

Stat to Know: Amongst running backs with at least 150 carries, Bucky Irving's 6.4 yards-per-carry were third in the nation.

No. 2: Trey Benson, Florida State

Trey Benson transferred to Florida State before the 2022 season. His new team allowed him to showcase his violent running style. When he sees a crease, he attacks that gap looking to get upfield in a hurry. Teams had better be prepared to gang tackle when it comes to Benson because he is not easy to bring down in one-on-one situations.

One of his biggest assets is his size at his speed. While he is a bigger back at 6 foot 1 inch and 223 pounds, it doesn't mean he is lacking breakaway speed. Benson is another back who has the pass-catching ability to contribute on all three downs. If he lands in a scheme that fits him, he could be a top-24 running back as soon as this season.

Stat to Know: Benson has had one game in his college career where he received 20 carries. In 26 games with Florida State, he only has 310 carries for an average of 11.9 per game.

No. 1: Jonathon Brooks, Texas

Stop me if you've heard this before. A Texas running back could very well go as the first running back in the NFL draft. Bijan Robinson just last season went with the 8th pick overall. Jonathon Brooks may have been a first-round selection, but then he tore his ACL in early November. It will prevent him from participating in any pre-draft workouts. When he was healthy, he showed that he could be a three-down back for an NFL team early in his career. It seems likely that he begins the season on the physically unable to perform list. With the injury, he can likely be avoided in redraft leagues but still should be the first running back off the board in dynasty drafts.

Stat to Know: Brooks rushed for 1,135 yards this season. 732 of those yards came after initial contact.

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