2017 NFL Draft Running Back Class Already One of Most Productive Groups Ever

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 8: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings points to the crowd after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The debate over which NFL Draft class has yielded the greatest collection of talent is one that has been argued for years. While it's hard to make a definitive case for an entire draft class across all positions, the 2017 NFL Draft's rookie class of running backs is quickly establishing itself as one of the best ever.

Between a total of 30 RBs selected in the 2017 NFL Draft and a handful of undrafted free agents, 13 of those players have already become household names.

Through Week 5 of this year, this class of backs currently accounts for the league's season leader in rushing yards in two of the three years since 2017. Kareem Hunt's 1,327 rushing yards took the crown in 2017 and Christian McCaffrey's 587 yards on the ground are atop the NFL heading into Week 6 of 2019.

Having already pocketed accolades such as Hunt's 2017 rushing title or Alvin Kamara's 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year award, this class of RBs has truly come into its own through the early goings of this season.

Beyond total rushing yards, the 2017 RB class currently accounts for the league's leaders in total rushing attempts (McCaffrey, 105), yards per carry (Matt Breida, 6.5), rushing yards per game (McCaffrey, 117.4), rushing touchdowns (Aaron Jones, eight) and yards from scrimmage (McCaffrey, 866).

This RB class also currently boasts seven of the NFL's top-12 leaders in rushing yards thus far.

2017 NFL Draft Fantasy Running Backs Stats

Among those 13 backs featured above, 10 have already made their way into the top-20 fantasy RBs by total points in standard scoring leagues through Week 5 of the 2019 season.

Those 10 RBs also include the top-four scoring options at the position heading into Week 6 of this season, with McCaffrey (128.6 points), Dalvin Cook (102.2), Jones (93.2) and Austin Ekeler (90.3) rounding out the top four.

Since 2017, at least two RBs from this class have finished in the top-four fantasy backs by year, with at least three RBs finishing in the top-10 fantasy backs by year. Last season saw five RBs from the 2017 class crack the top 10, with McCaffrey (No. 3), Alvin Kamara (No. 4), James Conner (No. 7), Hunt (No. 8) and Joe Mixon (No. 9) leading the charge.

This class has shined in fantasy's PPR scoring format as well, accounting for six of the current top-10 fantasy RBs and a combined 710.6 points through Week 5 this season.

This draft class of fantasy RBs' performance is, perhaps, even more impressive when considering Hunt, who finished as the No. 3 and No. 8 fantasy RB in standard leagues in 2017 and 2018, respectively, has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season.

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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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