Numbers Suggest You Shouldn't Bank on Rookie Running Backs in Fantasy Football

Max Staley
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys / Ronald Martinez

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After wildly successful seasons from Saquon Barkley and Phillip Lindsay, fantasy owners are likely trying to find the next superstar rookie RB. However, one stat shows that rookie running backs are far less reliable in fantasy football than you might think.

Only 42 of the 400 plus running backs drafted since 2000 have been top-24 fantasy options as rookies, which could put a damper on the fantasy projections for this year's crop of first-year RBs.

However, drafting a rookie RB who went in the first round of the NFL Draft seems to be a much safer investment. Since the 2016 NFL Draft, four of the six RBs drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft finished as top-24 options as rookies. All four also finished as Top-10 options.

Only Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny didn't make the top 24 as rookies after being drafted in the first round, but the New England Patriots' RB likely would've qualified had he not missed time due to injuries.

While the stats show that rookie running backs are a risky investment in fantasy, it seems like they are considerably more reliable if taken in the first round, which could bode well for Josh Jacobs' value this season.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.