Ranking the five best Fantasy Football landing spots for 2024 rookie running backs in the NFL Draft

usatsi rico dowdle cowboys

We had a lot of free agent movement at running back this offseason, which has reshaped the Fantasy landscape at the position. Baltimore (Derrick Henry), Philadelphia (Saquon Barkley), Green Bay (Josh Jacobs), Houston (Joe Mixon), Tennessee (Tony Pollard), Chicago (D’Andre Swift), Minnesota (Aaron Jones), Cincinnati (Zack Moss), Washington (Austin Ekeler), the Giants (Devin Singletary) and the Chargers (Gus Edwards) all got potential new starters.

And now we’ll see what happens with the upcoming NFL Draft. A few teams still have openings for starters or being significant contributors in a tandem, and hopefully the incoming rookies can fill the void.

Here are the five teams with the biggest need at running back heading into the NFL Draft when it comes to the best Fantasy destination.

1. Dallas Cowboys

With Tony Pollard gone, there are 252 carries and 55 receptions vacated from 2023. Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn currently sit atop the depth chart, and reports are the Cowboys would consider a reunion with former running back Ezekiel Elliott, who turns 29 in July and is a free agent. Whichever rookie running back lands in Dallas will likely be a potential No. 2 Fantasy option in all leagues, and this is easily the No. 1 landing spot for any rookie given the opening.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers under new coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman want to run the ball. And even with the addition of Edwards, who played for Roman in Baltimore, there is still room for another running back to get plenty of touches. Austin Ekeler and his 179 carries and 51 receptions from last year is gone, and a potential rookie could come in and easily supplant Edwards as the starter early in the season. A rookie here could be a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues.

3. New York Giants

The Giants added Devin Singletary to replace the departed Saquon Barkley (Philadelphia), but another running back could still come in and challenge Singletary for the starting job. Barkley had 247 carries and 41 receptions in 2023, and Singletary’s career-high in touches was the 246 (216 carries) he had last year in Houston. A rookie running back would probably work in tandem with Singletary, but the right talent could overtake Singletary for the starting job during the season.

4. Las Vegas Raiders

I actually don’t want a rookie running back to end up with the Raiders because I’d like to see what Zamir White could do as the starter. When Josh Jacobs (Green Bay) missed the final four games last season, White averaged 21 carries and 24.3 total touches, and he averaged 15.2 PPR points over that span. Coach Antonio Pierce wants to have a run-heavy offense, and White could still be successful with a rookie in tandem, which might be an upgrade over Alexander Mattison, who is the current backup.

5. Carolina Panthers

New coach Dave Canales might want a fresh start with his backfield, which currently features Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard. Sanders flopped as a free agent addition last year, and Hubbard isn’t a difference maker. Canales told me at the NFL league meetings that he’s “fired up” about his backfield, but the right rookie might change his mind. When I asked him what he’s looking for in his starting running back, he said, “Let’s see who wants it the most, right? Let’s see who’s hungry, runs angry. And that’ll be the person that gets the ball the most.” I wouldn’t rule out a new running back in Carolina this year.

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