Posted on: August 21, 2023, 08:07h.
Last updated on: August 21, 2023, 11:34h.
Bijan Robinson from the Atlanta Falcons and Jahmyr Gibbs from the Detroit Lions are among the top rookie running backs to keep an eye on for your upcoming NFL fantasy football draft.
Zach Charbonnet from the Seattle Seahawks, Kendre Miller from the New Orleans Saints, and Tank Bigsby from the Jacksonville Jaguars are also incoming rookie running backs who could make an impact this season.
If your fantasy football league is a dynasty or a keeper league, then rookie running backs provide extra long-term value. You’re not just drafting for this upcoming season, which means you should try to predict a player’s output over the next three to five seasons.
Don’t be afraid to take a flier on a rookie during the later rounds of your draft. Some other rookie running backs of note include Tyjae Spears (Tennessee Titans), Devon Achane (Miami Dolphins), DeWayne McBride (Minnesota Vikings), Evan Hull (Indianapolis Colts), Roschon Johnson (Chicago Bears), and Deuce Vaughn (Dallas Cowboys).
Bijan Robinson (Falcons)
The Atlanta Falcons selected Bijan Robinson with the #8 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the first running back selected in this year’s draft.
Robinson was a high school legend from Arizona, where he set state records with 7,036 rushing yards and 114 touchdowns.
Robinson was a unanimous All-American out of Texas who also won the Doak Walker Award. Last season with the Longhorns, Robinson rushed 288 times for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry, and his longest touchdown was a 78-yarder against UTSA. Robinson also added 19 receptions for 314 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
The Falcons have one of the strongest offensive lines in the NFL this upcoming season, which is why fantasy experts are extremely high on Robinson and second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Robinson is currently the fourth-highest running back ranked on Draft Sharks, and he’s ranked #4 on ESPN fantasy football PPR leagues. He’s also ranked #7 overall on ESPN for all fantasy players, which is an impressive feat for a rookie.
Robinson is the betting favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at +275 odds, according to a recent update by DraftKings.
Jahmyr Gibbs (Lions)
The Detroit Lions selected Gibbs with the #12 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gibbs and veteran David Montgomery will be an explosive tandem behind a strong offensive line in Detroit. Last season, running back Jamaal Williams rushed for 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns, thanks to the Lions’ stout O-line.
There are big expectations for the Lions this upcoming season, and Gibbs earned early praise from Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
Jahmyr really stood out to us and we saw weaponry,” said Campbell. “He reminded me a lot of Alvin Kamara, certainly, and Tiki Barber, in this kind of mold of backs that can do more than just carry the ball.”
Gibbs was a multisport high school star in Georgia, and he originally accepted a football scholarship at Georgia Tech. Although Georgia Tech wasn’t a good team, Gibbs stood out as a dual-threat running back who was also a dangerous kick returner.
After two seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Gibbs transferred to Alabama. In his first season with the Crimson Tide, Gibbs rushed 151 times for 926 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry. He also added 44 receptions for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
Charbonnet, Miller, and the Tank
The Seattle Seahawks selected Zach Charbonnet with the #52 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Charbonnet began his collegiate career at Michigan before transferring to UCLA. During his last two seasons with the Bruins, Charbonnet appeared in 22 games. He tallied 27 touchdowns and more than 3,000 combined yards from scrimmage.
Charbonnet is currently second on the Seahawks’ depth chart behind starting running back Kenneth Walker III.
The Saints are excited about Kendre Miller, a third-round draft pick out of TCU. Miller sustained a sprained knee in the first preseason game, and he’s expected to miss the remainder of the preseason. He’s third on the Saints’ depth chart behind a suspended Alvin Kamara and newly-signed Jamaal Williams.
When it comes to football names, how can you ignore Tank Bigsby? His real name is Cartavious. But “Tank” is one heck of a nickname that his own mother bestowed upon him.
“When I was younger, I played rec ball and my mom told me that I run the ball like a tank,” Bigsby told The Athletic. “I used to just hit people with my head, so she gave me the nickname ‘Tank’ and I’ve been called that ever since.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Bigsby with a third-round pick out of Auburn, where he started for three seasons. He was named the 2020 SEC Freshman of the Year when he averaged 6.0 yards per carry. He rushed for 1,099 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games during his sophomore season. Last season, he accumulated 1,150 total yards from scrimmage and scored 10 more touchdowns in just 12 games.
Bigsby begins this season behind Travis Etienne on the Jaguars depth chart.