2016 Running Back Draft Class’s Fantasy Value

Best Fantasy Rookie RB(s)

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliot 4th overall. Passing up on DB Jalen Ramsey amongst the many stud defensive players available. Why would the Cowboys make this pick? We all know running backs being drafted in the top 5 is a rarity in comparison to a decade ago.

Well, the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliot so Fantasy Friends will draft him in round 1. In hopes of Elliot producing Demarco Murray numbers like in 2014. Or maybe the Cowboys drafted him this high so Fantasy Friends reach in round 1. Possibly drafting Elliot above proven Fantasy studs like Jamal Charles, Matt Forte and the injury prone Le’Veon Bell? Multiple questions around how many touches Charles will get with Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware performing well in 2015. Will Matt Forte shows signs of age in 2016? Simply because the Chicago Bears went a different route in Jeremy Langford? Moon Man would think Forte gets 350+ touches with the current QB situation in New York. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick better for Matt Forte’s Fantasy Value? Moon Man thinks not. Le’Veon Bell is easily a Top Fantasy Running Back regardless of his injury history.  Still, there will be Fantasy Friends who draft for the Unknown potential in Ezekiel Elliot versus the injury riddled Best Fantasy RB in Bell? Remembering Demarco Murray’s stellar fantasy season behind the Cowboys huge offensive line strikes the Moon.

Moon Man does not ride in the same wagon for the time being. Moon Man thinks Le’Veon Bell at #1 overall is a reach. Injuries ruin Fantasy Seasons. Ezekiel Elliot in Round 1 is a reach too! Best value for Le’Veon Bell is in the wrap around part of the 1st round. While Elliot should be snagged in Round 2 as a reach.

If you are not willing to reach for a rookie in round 2 and skeptical of drafting one of the greatest fantasy players in Le’Veon BellMoon Man has ranked the best available Rookie Running Backs. Buuuutttt 1st! Let’s take a moment to revisit Le’Veon Bell’s statistics:


13 games played

  • 860 rushing yards.
  • 8 tds.
  • 3.5 ypc.
  • 45 receptions.
  • 399 yards.


16 games played (playoff injury)

  • 1,361 rushing yards.
  • 8 tds.
  • 4.7 ypc.
  • 83 receptions.
  • 854 yards.
  • 3 tds.


6 games played

  • 556 rushing yards.
  • 3 tds.
  • 4.9 ypc.
  • 24 receptions.
  • 136 yards.

Le’Veon Bell’s 2014 season was Fantasy Glory! Moon Man thinks Bell will fall in Fantasy Drafts as Wide Receivers continue to make their way into the 1st round. Megatron is retired for now? The justifiable #1 Fantasy Pick as a wideout could return to help a team in the Playoff hunt. Speaking of mutants. Josh Gordon could be reinstated come August. Whether Gordon plays for the Cleveland Browns or not. He has fantasy value. Now to the top rookie running backs.

Drafted 45th overall by the Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry will get touches. He is a mutant and will be paired with Demarco Murray. The “Thunder and Thunder” combination could produce two 1,000 yard backs. Moon Man thinks Derrick Henry will have at least 2 games where his low price tag produces a top scoring fantasy output. Henry is worth drafting.

Fellow Alabama running back Kenyan Drake was drafted 73rd overall by the Miami Dolphins. Bye Bye Lamar Miller and hello Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake combination. Drake’s versatility will balance Ajayi’s 1st and 2nd down power running style. Moon Man would not draft Drake, however his usage on offense should produce a few valuable games in DFS. The Dolphins offense is not stellar and Drake could become the eventual starter. Yea, the Dolphins offense isn’t stellar.

The Seattle Seahawks drafted 3 runnings backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. C.J. Prosise at 90th overall offers ppr value in the Seahawks offense. He is talented but Moon Man doesn’t see fantasy points. Thomas Rawls will be the opening day starter. The Seahawks drafted Alex Collins in the 5th round and Zac Brooks in the 7th to compete. Moon Man is rolling with Rawls.

Tyler Ervin will get special teams touches and be in the running back rotation in Houston. With Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes already on the roster. Moon Man will not be drafting Ervin. Tyler Ervin is quick and has excellent one cut and gone speed. The Texans could use him as a receiver if he excels in the pre-season games.

Kenneth Dixon was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 134th overall pick. Moon Man likes Kenneth Dixon and thinks Fantasy Friends should pick him. Javorius Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferra are not better options. Look for Dixon to compete with Justin Forsett.

Devontae Booker drafted 136th overall by the Denver Broncos. Gotta like Booker here. He should see targets and touches with Mark Sanchez slated to start. Game managing the offense while the Defense/Special Teams work on field position. C.J. Anderson has been inconsistent and Devontae Booker should beat out Ronnie Hillman for #2 on the RB depth chart. As a player, Moon Man likes Booker on the Broncos. As for Fantasy stats. Moon Man doesn’t like any Bronco’s offensive players.

DeAndre Washington was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 5th round. Washington is a strong back who can do it all. Moon Man expects Washington to receive 10-15 touches per game by mid season. Washington is a late round draft stash play on a good fantasy offense.

Paul Perkins was drafted by the New York Giants in the 5th round. The Giants have Rashad Jennings, Bobby Rainey and Shane Vereen on the roster. Paul Perkins has a realistic shot to beat these guys out or at least become the lead back. With Vereen playing 3rd downs. Perkins is worth drafting.

Jordan Howard went in the 5th round to the Chicago Bears. Howard is a big body back who lacks fantasy value. Jeremy Langford is the stud in Chicago with Ka’Deem Carey mixing in.

Drafted in the 5th round by the Philadelphia Eagles, Wendell Smallwood will fit nicely into Doug Pederson’s offense. Rotating with Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles. Moon Man doesn’t see fantasy value unless Matthews gets injured.

Jonathan Williams could be the steal of the draft. Now fully recovered from his foot injury. Williams is in a running back friendly offense. The Buffalo Bills are stacked at the running back position with Lesean McCoy, Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee. Jonathan Williams could be the starter for Buffalo come 2017. Moon Man will pass on drafting him in 2016.

The San Francisco 49ers drafted Florida’s Kelvin Taylor in the 6th round. Carlos Hyde was Fantasy Football’s week 1 story. While Shaun Draughn filled in nicely in the second half of 2015 and gave Fantasy Friends a couple low cost value plays in DFS. The 49ers offense was disastrous last year and drafting Kelvin Taylor is not recommended. Moon Man expects much of the same in 2016.

The Cowboys also drafted Darius Jackson in the 6th round. Imagine if Jackson outperforms Ezekiel Elliot? Elliot is a 3 down back and so is Jackson. No fantasy value here.

Dwayne Washington should be drafted in late rounds as a deep sleeper. With question marks surrounding the Detroit Lion’s running backs. Washington could see touches and make the best of it. His ability to break tackles and breakaway speed offer big play potential in fantasy football. Moon Man was disappointed in Ameer Abdullah last season. Stevan Ridley and Theo Riddick will be in the mix during training camp too.

Daniel Lasco was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in round 7. No fantasy value here. Moon Man thinks Lasco will steal a couple touchdowns during the regular season.

Keith Marshall was drafted by the potent offense of the Washington Redskins in round 7 and should be drafted as a sleeper in the late rounds. Marshall has the size, speed, agility and breaks tackles. The Redskins and Kirk Cousins run pass happy offense under Jay Gruden. Moon Man expects much of the same in 2016. Chris Thompson is used primarily as a receiving option. Pierre Thomas is a veteran who may not be in Washington when the season starts. Matt Jones will be entering his second season and showed signs of being a viable RB #2 in Fantasy. Moon Man is watching this competition closely. Keith Marshall offers a high fantasy ceiling with a low drafting position. 

Rookie(drafted) Running Back Rankings:

  1. Ezekiel Elliot
  2. Derrick Henry
  3. Keith Marshall
  4. Paul Perkins
  5. Kenneth Dixon
  6. C.J. Prosise
  7. Kenyan Drake
  8. Wendell Smallwood
  9. Dwayne Washington
  10. Kelvin Taylor


As Always,

(Teams Going Off + Thoughts Flexed In = Combination Lineups)

May the Fantasy Force be with you.

Follow us on twitter @FFPmoonman

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