Rookie running backs have an enormous impact on fantasy football leagues each year. Last year Bijan Robinson finished as the RB8 and Jahmyr Gibbs finished as the RB9. De’Von Achane and Tyjae Spears were also impactful in fantasy leagues. Who are the rookie running backs we need to be familiar with for 2024?

In recent years, very few running backs play into their thirties and are recycled for newer, younger players. Only the elite running backs are making it to their second contract. This means that rookie running backs often find their way into playing time, and thus fantasy value. Even if guys don’t make an immediate impact, the violent nature of the position leads to many injuries, and the highly drafted players are likely to see the field.

In this article, I’ll look at each rookie running back selected in the top 125 picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. Remember: running backs don’t necessarily need draft capital to have value but it does help them earn playing time.

I’ll use RotoViz’s Prospect Box Score Scout to generate similar comparable players for each running back. If you don’t have a subscription to RotoViz, we highly recommend checking them out. There is no better evidence-based provider of fantasy football content.

Jonathon Brooks, Carolina Panthers

Like in the 2022 NFL Draft, no running back was selected in the first round of this year’s draft. Jonathan Brooks became the first running back selected at 46th overall.

Behind Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson at Texas, Brooks didn’t play much until his junior season. However, he was excellent as a junior, dominating backfield touches, and rushing for 6.1 yards per carry while excelling in the passing game. Unfortunately, he’s coming off a torn ACL late in the season.

Coming off the knee injury, Brooks didn’t perform the athletic drills. However, he weighed in at 216 lbs. and is just 20.8 years old.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100Jonathon Brooks46871.651139250.420.22216
99DAndre Swift3567.091.71218240.30.194.48212
98Javonte Williams3576.571.671140250.370.194.55212
95Derrius Guice5990.410.941251180.390.234.49224
94Doug Martin3170.021.371299280.390.184.46223
94Ben Tate5875.481.21362200.430.234.34220
86Kerryon Johnson4369.281.531391240.330.2213
80Eddie Lacy6172.791.061322220.340.194.55231
77Cam Akers5279.831.921144300.630.254.47217
75Felix Jones2277.841.031162160.310.224.44207
75Tank Bigsby8882.941.77970300.570.274.56210

Column Key

“Sim” refers to the sim score for how similar each comparable player is. “RuYPG” is the average per game for each rusher’s career. “Recs” is the per-game receptions for each player’s career. “RuYds” and “Rec” represent each player’s final season. “RuYMS” refers to the rushing yards market share. “TYms” refers to each player’s market share of total yards.

Brooks has some very productive comps in D’Andre Swift, Javonte Williams, Doug Martin, and Eddie Lacy. It’s an impressive list for a player who didn’t play much in his first two collegiate seasons and had the third cut short.

Brooks looks like one of the few potential workhorse backs in this class. Favorably, Panthers HC Dave Canales said he hopes to utilize Brooks’ versatility in the passing game this season. If he can come back healthy and explosive, Brooks should have a huge role.

Trey Benson, Arizona Cardinals

Benson was the second running back off the board, however, he was only selected in the third round. After a lightly used freshman season at Oregon, Benson transferred to Florida State. He was excellent, leading the team for both seasons but wasn’t receiving a dominant workload.

His light workload allowed him to generate excellent yards after contact and evasion numbers. He was also effective as a receiver in limited opportunities. Running a 4.39 forty at 216 lbs., Benson has explosive NFL athleticism.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100Trey Benson6668.461.18905200.420.194.39216
98Miles Sanders5351.4411271240.370.154.49211
96Ben Tate5875.481.21362200.430.234.34220
92Darrynton Evans9377.921.051479210.380.224.41203
91Kerryon Johnson4369.281.531391240.330.2213
87Kendre Miller7173.550.881399160.450.2215
86Javonte Williams3576.571.671140250.370.194.55212
86Anthony McFarland12471.651.04614170.370.234.44208
85Knile Davis9653.20.91377110.380.144.37227
84Derrius Guice5990.410.941251180.390.234.49224
83Bryce Love11278.761736200.430.23200

The Box Score Scout displays a lot of potential but it’s far from a consistent hit rate. He’ll need to be explosive because up to this point, he hasn’t profiled as a workhorse.

Blake Corum, Los Angeles Rams

After a season of Kyren Williams being featured as a workhorse, the Rams selected Blake Corum. After a lightly used freshman season, Corum broke out as a 21-year-old sophomore. He excelled with a dominant rushing workload in his final two seasons compiling 47 total touchdowns. The Wolverines didn’t pass a lot, but Corum had a decent target share.

Corum isn’t the biggest or fastest, but his 94th-percentile agility score is an encouraging sign of his ability to develop as a receiver.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100Blake Corum8382.821.241245160.460.234.53205
100Kendall Hunter11590.891.371548200.490.234.46199
100Michael Carter10777.341.861245250.420.24.5201
98Ameer Abdullah5488.231.41611220.490.274.6205
96Kendre Miller7173.550.881399160.450.2215
95Bilal Powell12661.531.181405180.40.194.51207
90Zac Stacy16069.841.021141100.50.254.55216
87Israel Abanikanda14372.571.271431120.50.2216
86Tyjae Spears8188.331.421581220.50.26201
85Darrynton Evans9377.921.051479210.380.224.41203
83Roy Helu Jr.10570.921.13124550.460.224.4219

There aren’t many hits on his best comparables, but there has been plenty of enthusiasm for these players. Corum is unlikely to surpass Williams, but injuries could create plenty of opportunities. GM Les Snead said the team doesn’t want to “totally run down” Williams this season. Williams will miss the Rams’ entire spring OTAs program as he deals with a foot issue. The Rams have asked Corum to develop a three-down skillset. At 5’9″ and 194 lbs, Kyren Williams is unfortunately a candidate to add to his already lengthy injury history in 2024. At his current ADP, he’s a potential fade.

MarShawn Lloyd, Green Bay Packers

The Packers selected MarShawn Lloyd with the 88th overall selection. Lloyd began his collegiate career at South Carolina before transferring to USC.

Lloyd led all college RBs with a 37% evasion rate while averaging 4.3 yards after contact per attempt. Also effective when used as a receiver, Lloyd can produce with the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, like Benson, he didn’t dominate touches. When you don’t truly dominate touches as a college player, it’s hard to be hopeful about becoming an NFL workhorse. His comps paint a picture of a committee back.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100MarShawn Lloyd8852.421.1820130.430.184.46220
98Knile Davis9653.20.91377110.380.144.37227
98DeeJay Dallas14449.260.9693140.350.174.58217
97Zamir White12255.220.4685690.30.144.4214
95Devonta Freeman10360.951.271016220.370.174.58206
94Tyrion Davis-Price9349.830.81003100.40.124.48211
93Matt Jones9555.040.73817110.350.184.61231
93Ryquell Armstead14061.130.63109880.380.164.45220
93Jonathan Williams15664.470.721190110.340.194.56220
90Damien Harris8757.980.98876220.320.164.57216
90Hassan Haskins13172.660.751327180.450.19228

Fortunately for his believers, Lloyd joined a backfield with two of the NFL’s least-efficient runners last season.

Jaylen Wright, Miami Dolphins

Jaylen Wright was selected by the perfect team; however, it would be much more exciting if the Dolphins didn’t already have De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert.

In 2023, Wright rushed for an eye-popping 7.4 yards per carry. His 98th percentile 40-time and 95th percentile burst score highlight elite athleticism. But his lack of usage at Tennessee is concerning for his potential touch allocation in an already crowded Miami backfield.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100Jaylen Wright12067.560.881013220.40.164.38210
97Zamir White12255.220.4685690.30.144.4214
97Darrynton Evans9377.921.051479210.380.224.41203
93Mike Weber21870.421.42954210.420.184.47211
93Israel Abanikanda14372.571.271431120.50.2216
90Anthony McFarland12471.651.04614170.370.234.44208
89Devonta Freeman10360.951.271016220.370.174.58206
89Kendre Miller7173.550.881399160.450.2215
89Elijah Mitchell19477.61.17878160.360.214.38201
88Tyrion Davis-Price9349.830.81003100.40.124.48211
87Miles Sanders5351.4411271240.370.154.49211

The favorable comps are those who caught passes – it would be helpful if Wright could expand on that role. He’ll likely step into an explosive albeit rotational role. If Achane or Mostert struggle with injury, Wright could step into a valuable role and needs to be on every owner’s radar.

Bucky Irving, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Irving was productive throughout his college career. During his final two seasons, he rushed for over 6 YPC in each season while catching an incredible 87 passes. Irving is arguably the most elusive runner in this class, posting at least a 34% evasion rate in back-to-back seasons. His production as a rusher and receiver is elite.

Unfortunately, he was selected as the sixth running back off the board because he’s small and tested poorly in athletic drills. At 192 lbs., Irving ran just a 4.55 forty – good for a 27th percentile speed score. In the leaping drills, he finished with an 8th percentile burst score.

SimPlayerDraftRuYPGRecsRuYdsRecRuYMSTymsFortyWT
100MarKeise Irving12577.032.51180560.440.224.55192
77Kyren Williams16485.963.12998420.580.284.65194
72Tyler Badie19659.332.741594540.380.214.45197
68Evan Hull17670.942.74913550.530.34.47209
67DeAndre Washington14372.572.641492410.530.194.49204
66Eno Benjamin22284.322.381083420.620.274.57207
59Trey Watts73.232.731329460.410.23
47Joe Mixon81.082.61274370.390.22
45Paul Perkins14989.442.051343300.550.254.54208
43Robbie Rouse94.842.241490630.580.26
43Clyde Edwards-Helaire3266.062.191414550.440.184.6207

Before Kyren Williams’ breakout last season, owners had real concerns about drafting small, unathletic backs. The fact that Irving’s top comparable player is Williams, at the very least allows the imagination to dream.

After being fed 272 carries last season, Rachaad White plodded his way to a mere 990 yards. In the modern NFL, 3.6 yards per carry isn’t going to cut it. The Buccaneers certainly hope Irving will add explosiveness to the rushing attack and is a fine flier towards the end of your 2024 fantasy drafts.