2023 Fantasy Rookie RB Rankings
It felt like a strong running back class heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. After the draft, it very much doesn’t feel that way from a fantasy football perspective. It’s back up and timeshare galore! Is zero RB the way of the future? Without further ado, let’s get right to the 2023 fantasy rookie RB rankings!
10: Israel Abanikanda (Jets)
The Pittsburgh running back makes the list for the sole face that Breece Hall tore his ACL last year. Can Abanikanda work his way into the rotation? It’s going to be a tough ask. Especially with Michael Carter already on the roster. I like the talent here but there isn’t a ton of upside.
9: Eric Gray (Giants)
Get ready, it’s going to be the same trend for a while here. Yes, it’s another backup that has no real upside minus an injury or unexpected trade. I like Eric Gray but he’s the second option until Saquon Barkley is gone.
8: Kendre Miller (Saints)
We have no idea what’s going on with Alvin Kamara. Jamaal Williams was also signed this offseason. Miller has some talent but is a similar sort of player to Williams. Not sure there is anything here other than holding off for dynasty value.
7: Zach Charbonnet (Seahawks)
What a terrible landing spot for Zach Charbonnet. My fantasy draft is always the week of the NFL Draft and I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I had Kenneth Walker as my RB2. Now I have no idea what to do after Seattle spent a second round pick on the UCLA running back. It’s not like Seattle is a dominant team that’s going to have the lead 14 times out of the year. It’s two backs and it’s full time share. Good luck cause I’m out of advice for how to proceed.
6: Zach Evans (Rams)
Knucklehead but a talented knucklehead. Cam Akers is talented but has been on shaky ground before and is in the final year of his rookie deal. We’re also talking about a guy that had a higher recruiting ranking than Bijan Robinson.
The landing spot has potential too as long as Sean McVay sticks around. The only reason he’s not higher on the list is the fact that the Rams spent a 6th round pick on the guy. Makes him very cuttable if things go wrong.
5: Tyjae Spears (Titans)
I thought about having Tyjae Spears lower but Derrick Henry is aging. Henry will turn 30 during the midst of this season and Spears is a different sort of back. Maybe he carves out an Austin Ekeler sort of role and is able to catch passes? The Henry part stinks but maybe you can ride out the wave and find a gem on the back end of things.
4: Devon Achane (Dolphins)
Pathway toward playing time is tricky. Especially if Dalvin Cook becomes a member of the Dolphins. The Jeff Wilson / Raheem Mostert duo is effective but also have injury concerns. I think there is a Tony Pollard effect that’s going to happen here. Just a matter of when.
3: Tank Bigsby (Jaguars)
Travis Etienne doesn’t scare me at all. If anything, Etienne owners should be scared of Tank. This is your more talented version of James Robinson who will likely become a touchdown vulture on an offense that features Trevor Lawrence. Based on the landing spots of some of the other backs, Bigsby should be a priority in rookie drafts.
2: Jahmyr Gibbs (Lions)
Talent and opportunity creates fantasy success. The Lions wanted Jahmyr Gibbs so bad that they were willing to take him 6th overall and trade D’Andre Swift for pennies on the dollar. Safe to say Gibbs is going to get the ball. I’d imagine it’s similar to the Swift role from last year except for more opportunities in the passing game. David Montgomery lowkey stinks too. Gibbs is a clear RB2 for fantasy out of the rookies. Volume has everything to do with it.
1: Bijan Robinson (Falcons)
NFL Draft value and fantasy value are two different things. I wouldn’t have taken Bijan in the first round. For fantasy? Things set up nicely for Robinson. It’s a run first offense with a coach that’s going to ride his back early, often, and all the time.
During Week’s 6-7 for the Falcons, Marcus Mariota had a total of 27 passing attempts. This is a head coach that was the offensive coordinator for Derrick Henry. This is a back that can catch and will be involved in the passing game. The passing attempts aren’t going up with Desmond Ridder and the defense should be better than a year ago.
Real life… the pick is dumb as hell.
Fantasy football… Robinson has major value and total kills any value that Tyler Allgeier had.
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