As fantasy football owners we all know the importance of running backs to winning the league. No matter what the scoring system the running back becomes the most important and sought after piece of the team. Every year the fantasy owners are looking for the edge on the competition. Owners salivate at the thought of new talent at the running back position and look for the next great back to carry them to the title. One place I advise fantasy owners not to look early is to rookie running backs. Reggie Bush was drafted number 2 overall in the NFL draft last year and many fantasy owners sought Reggie Bush early in the fantasy drafts also. Bush had a great rookie year in the NFL, but for fantasy owners in most leagues he only scored enough points to make him the 17th best back.
Here are the top rookie backs from 2000-2006 using the following scoring system -- 1pt per 10 rush yards, 1pt per 10 receiving yards, 6pts per TD, and -2pts per fumble lost. The point value corresponds to what they would have scored their rookie year and the draft number is where they were drafted in the NFL draft.
Jamal Lewis (#5 overall) 198
Thomas Jones (#7 overall) 82.1
Ron Dayne (#11 overall) 106
Sean Alexander (#19 overall) 43.3
LT (#5 Overall) 210.3
Deuce McAlister (#23 overall) 37.7
Anthony Thomas (#38 overall) 178.1
Travis Henry (#58 overall) 110.8
William Green (#16 overall) 132
TJ Duckett (#18 Overall) 80.8
Deshaun Foster (#34 Overall) 75.6
Clinton Portis (#51 Overall) 283.2
No running back was even worth it.
Stephen Jackson (#24 Overall) 108.2
Kevin Jones (#30 Overall) 165.3
Tatum Bell (#41 Overall) 63.6
Julius Jones (#43 Overall) 128.8
Ronnie Brown (#2 Overall) 135.9
Cedric Benson (#4 Overall) 28.2
Cadillac Williams (#5 Overall) 145.9
JJ Arrington (#44 Overall) 60.9
Reggie Bush (#2 Overall)174.7
Lawrence Maroney (#21 Overall) 133.9
DeAngelo Williams (#27 Overall) 93.4
Joeseph Addai (#30 Overall) 184.6
MJD (#60 Overall) 210.7
The top Backs from last year in order and their points:
Stephen Jackson 325.4
Frank Gore 262
Willie Parker 257.6
Brian Westbrook 253.6
Tiki Braber 240.7
Rudi Johnson 211.3
Edgerrin James 185.6
Joeseph Addai 184.6
Ladell Betts 183.9
Deuce McAlister 183.5
Ahman Green 177.2
Travis Henry 174.9
Jamal Lewis 174.7
Reggie Bush 174.7
Thomas Jones 170.4
Corey Dillon 169.9
Fred Taylor 164.8
Chester Taylor 162.4
Warrick Dunn 161
Kevin Jones 158.9
Ronnie Brown 154.4
Julius Jones 144.6
Willis McGahee 136.6
M. Bell 131.5
Sean Alexander 130.4
T. Bell 116
Cedric Benson 106.1
Brandon Jacobs 95.4
Using this scoring only 7 rookie running backs in the past 6 years, with 3 of them being drafted last year, would have ended last season in the top 20 with their rookie season stats. When you look at the backs that have succeeded they were in a good situation and had were "The" back. To get a rookie running back going they need time just like any other player. Running back has the easiest transition from NCAA to NFL as far as fantasy scoring goes, but it still takes time. Looking at the top backs this year:
Adrian Peterson -- Great back, will have a great career, but right now he is in a committee and in an offense that does not stress running the ball.
Marshawn Lynch -- Good back, but in a bad spot. Willis McGahee couldn't even run for 1,000 yards behind that line and he will lose carries to Anthony Thomas.
Kenny Irons -- Chris Perry anyone? The Bengals have drafted another running back high that will sit behind Rudi Johnson.
Brandon Jackson -- Will be a part of a committee and not the most talented back out there.
Running backs are the big hitters in fantasy football and owners are always looking for the next stud back to burst onto the scene and carry them to a championship. Now I am not saying that rookie backs have no value, but too often people count on unproven rookie running backs to carry them to the championship. Do yourself a favor and let someone else in your league draft the overly hyped rookie.