Skip to main content

Every NFL draft brings excitement and anticipation, especially for fantasy football enthusiasts eager to identify the next breakout rookie running back. This year is no different, and without a consensus of top prospects, the debate is wide open. Here’s a breakdown of my top 10 rookie running backs, along with an intriguing sleeper to keep an eye on.



1. MarShawn Lloyd


Lloyd’s versatility makes him an intriguing prospect for both NFL teams and fantasy owners. With the ability to excel in both zone and gap schemes, Lloyd’s explosiveness, 29th in 15+ yard runs according to PFF, and home run potential, 4.46 40 yd dash, set him apart. While he may struggle with yards after contact,143rd ranked, his dynamic playmaking ability and three-down skill set make him a valuable asset. 


Keep an eye on Lloyd, especially if he lands in a favorable situation with an opportunity for early playing time. If he gets the draft capital in Day 2, Lloyd’s 3-down ability and speed/size combination could make him the most valuable dynasty asset of the running backs.


Player Comp: D’Andre Swift


2. Trey Benson


Benson’s impressive combine performance has elevated his draft stock (4.39 40-yd dash), making him a potential high-end target for fantasy owners.  With a solid size-speed combination and three-down capability, Benson has the tools to make an immediate impact in the NFL. While he may not be flashy, his consistency and reliability make him a valuable asset in dynasty leagues. 


One of the few golden potential running back landing spots is Dallas. A location where Benson’s name has been consistently linked. An opportunity like the Cowboys, void of a starting running back, will be a nitrous boost for any running back they select. Place a cherry on top if it’s a Benson type who has a workhorse build and skill. He would have 1st round rookie draft value.


Player Comp: Cam Akers


3. Blake Corum


Corum’s vision and effectiveness between the tackles make him an intriguing prospect for NFL teams. His size may be a concern in pass protection, along with not having been overly productive as a receiver (.87 YPRR). Though the run-heavy scheme in Michigan may not be a fair barometer of which to judge him. 


On the other hand, his ability to find running lanes and short-yardage prowess, 56 rushing touchdowns as a 3-year starter, make him unique to handle a strong workload.  Keep an eye on Corum, especially if he lands in a situation willing to ride a smaller back. 


Player Comp: Austin Ekeler as a rusher.


4. Jonathon Brooks


Brooks’ ACL injury may raise concerns about draft capital, but his balance, power, and solid vision make him worth considering amongst the top. He displayed an all-around 3-down skill set in Texas. With size that should indicate workhorse potential at the next level. 


While he may not possess breakaway speed, his ability to pick up tough yards, (33rd in YAC), and contribute as a pass-catcher, (31st in YPRR), could make him a valuable fantasy asset. His complete skill set is only matched by his ambidextrous scheme fit. In Texas, he was given a healthy balance of both gap and zone concepts.


 Assuming health, Brooks may have the highest floor of the class as he is least dependent on the system and role.


Player Comp: Discount version of Kareem Hunt


5. Braelon Allen


Allen’s power-running style and surprising agility make him an intriguing prospect despite his lack of combined testing. With the potential to handle a workhorse load, Allen’s fantasy upside is significant if he lands in a scheme that suits his strengths. 


The team fit will be crucial though. Since Allen has been unable to test in speed drills at both the combine and his pro day there is a lingering mystery surrounding him. We know he has the size, 6’1 235lb, and we know he has the power, 48th in YAC and 48th in missed tackles forced. What we need to know is if he has the explosiveness to be a legit potential starter at the next level. Beyond the questions of athleticism, Allen’s fantasy prospects are contingent on landing on a team that believes in power gap concept football. 


Player Comp: AJ Dillon


6. Ray Davis


Davis’ ability to do a bit of everything makes him an intriguing option for fantasy owners. With excellent vision and elusiveness, 26th in YAC, and 16 carries of 15+ yards, Davis has the potential to be a lead back in any scheme. Despite his small stature, Davis generated 51 missed tackles in 2023. His 1.28 YPRR, (yards per route run), supports his do-it-all analysis. 


 Having attended a non-football powerhouse school in Kentucky could affect his projected draft value. Which may limit his fantasy upside initially. Even so, Davis’ versatility and playmaking ability make him a sleeper worth considering.


Player Comp: Darrell Henderson 


7. Jaylen Wright


Wright’s elite speed, 4.39 40-yard dash, and pass protection skills make him a potentially valuable asset for NFL teams. His big-play ability, 21st in 15+ yard carries, and receiving skills, 1.32 YPRR, add to his fantasy value. 


 Wright does have limitations too. His tendency to run with an elevated pad level limits his power in short-yardage situations marked by only 4 rushing touchdowns in 2023. Wright is not built as a workhorse, likely limiting him as a timeshare back in the NFL. Creating a dependency on stellar efficiency to provide fantasy production. 


Player Comp: Raheem Mostert 


8. Dylan Luabe


Luabe’s effectiveness in the passing game, 5th in YPRR, makes him an intriguing sleeper for fantasy owners. His average prowess as a runner though may limit his overall opportunity early in his career. 


Luabe wasn’t competing against top-notch opponents while attending New Hampshire. So elite production becomes more necessary in evaluating his potential. After all, if he isn’t dominating lesser competition then he shouldn’t be expected to produce on the NFL level. He achieved an elite level of receiving production in 2023 with 88 targets, 68 receptions, and 708 yards. Undoubtedly the main reason Laube has secured a spot amongst the consensus sleepers of the class. 


The limitation resides in Laube the runner. He ranked 173rd in YAC, 212th in MTF, and 116th in carries of 15+ yards. Again versus lesser competition. His size and speed combination are just good enough at 5’10 206 lb and a 4.54 40-yard dash time, but nothing more than average. Laube’s ceiling will be limited to a PPR-only RB3 unless his rushing instincts improve. 


Player comp: James White


9. Will Shipley


Shipley’s well-rounded skill set may not jump off the tape, but his versatility could make him an intriguing depth asset for NFL teams. As for fantasy, while he doesn’t possess elite traits, his ability to contribute in multiple facets of the game adds value as a handcuff. 


Shipley’s production took a major dip, perhaps partially due to health, in 2023 from 2022. Regardless, the tape shows minimal improvement year over year in Shipley’s abilities. Suggesting a limited ceiling in his potential growth. 

The average production metrics further reinforce this analysis ranking 127th in YAC, 184th in MTF, 68th in carries of 15+ yards, and 97th in YPRR. 


Positive supporters of Shipley may refer to reports of an elite 4.39 unofficial consensus 40-yard dash on his pro day as proof he has explosive traits. However, that level of speed doesn’t translate on tape or in production for Shipley. 


Projects to be a quality backup with handcuff value.


Player Comp: Bishop Sankey


10. Audric Estime


Estime’s power-running style, 9th in YAC, and ability to break tackles, 17th in MTF, make him an intriguing sleeper for fantasy owners. While his lack of top-end speed, 4.71 40-yard dash, may limit his big-play ability, his size and power make him suited for heavy volume upside. 


The question that the NFL will answer during the draft is how much his combined testing matters versus the tape and production. Estime’s 4.71 40-yard dash didn’t prohibit him from ranking 7th in 15+ yard carries. His ability to finish runs strong once reaching the second level paved the way for his form of chunk gains. 


The issue of draft capital could reinstate Estime on the fantasy radar or completely sink his value altogether. Historically, running backs with speed times over the 4.7 mark don’t have NFL teams lining up to select them early. 


Player Comp: Slower version of Jordan Howard




In addition to the top prospects, there are a few sleepers in the 2024 rookie running back class who could exceed expectations and become valuable fantasy assets. Here’s a closer look at the under-the-radar players worth monitoring:


Tyrone Tracy Jr


Tracy’s transition from wide receiver to running back adds an intriguing dimension to his skill set. With his fluid athleticism and impressive combine numbers, 4.48 40-yard dash, and 40″ vertical, Tracy has the potential to carve out a niche as a passing-down back in the NFL. 


While his lack of experience at the position may be a concern, his natural abilities and versatility make him a sleeper worth keeping an eye on. If Tracy can continue to develop his fundamentals as a runner, he could surprise many fantasy owners with his playmaking ability.


Player Comp: Matt Brieda 


Isaiah Davis


Isaiah Davis embodies the definition of a physical runner, ranking among the top in yards after contact (8th), missed tackles forced (4th), and carries of 15+ yards (3rd). Despite not facing the toughest competition at South Dakota State, Davis’s NFL-ready body and power make him an intriguing prospect. While he may not be a home run threat, his 4.57 40-yard dash time suggests he has the speed to compete at the next level.


However, Davis’s limitations in the passing game and pass protection may hinder his early opportunities in the NFL. With stiff hips in his routes and room for improvement in his blocking, Davis may need time to develop before becoming a 3-down contributor. As a likely day 3 pick, Davis’s fantasy value may depend on landing in the right situation and seizing his opportunities when they arise.


Player Comp: Tyler Allgeier 


The 2024 rookie running back class offers a diverse range of talent and potential fantasy contributors. While some prospects may possess elite traits, others offer sleeper value with their versatility and skill sets. As the NFL draft approaches, keep an eye on these rookie running backs as they embark on their professional careers and potentially make a significant impact in fantasy football.

This article was written by Dan Mader @DanMaderFF. Come join Fantasy Football Advice Network for more content discussions.