I’ve covered the 2024 QBs and WRs already, and both classes look stacked. How does the RB group hold up? The mainstream consensus at the moment is there is no true 1st round talent at the position (ignoring the fact as they always do that no RB is worth a 1st round pick), but could there be useful fantasy options later on? Here I take a quick look at the consensus top 100 backs to see what the general landscape of the position looks like.

TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio St (Scouting Preview Grade: B)

I’ve previewed Henderson a couple of times over the past few years since a reader requested a look at him coming out of high school. Each time I’ve seen him work I keep coming back to the same assessment…he’s pretty good. Not a superstar McCaffrey-level back but very, very solid. Henderson is a patient runner but knows when to put his head down and get what’s there. He’s very shifty and hard to tackle one-on-one with plus hands. In the past, I would have said his size wasn’t ideal as I preferred my fantasy backs to be closer to 220lbs (because that’s what the NFL prioritized), but the rise of CMC, Ekeler, Aaron Jones, and even diminutive Achane has proven you don’t need to be big so long as you’re fast and can catch. Seems like a hard worker and a real down-to-earth kid. The only real knock against Henderson is health. He got shut down in 2022 for a torn ligament and some kind of fracture then lost a few games this year to a mystery injury. That’s holding back his stock a little and is a minor concern for the NFL. So long as he’s healthy though I have to imagine he’s easily the top back in this class.

NFL Comp: Aaron Jones

Raheim Sanders, Arkansas (Scouting Preview Grade: B-)

Big back around 220-225 lbs but an excellent athlete. Smooth and quick to change directions and accelerate, one of the most natural pure runners I’ve seen in recent years. When I say that, what I mean is he’s a natural athlete who knows how to move in space and make people miss, as opposed to a natural RB like, say, Jordan Howard, who overcomes his lack of athleticism by having excellent vision and knowing how to set up blocks. Sanders looks like he’s still learning the position but is such a fluid athlete he can overcome it. If his hands were better I’d say he was the obvious top back of this class. Much like Henderson, Sanders is being held back in the evaluations by a recent knee injury that has sidelined him for most of 2023. So long as that checks out he should be a 2nd round pick next spring.

NFL Comp: Rashaad Penny

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin (Scouting Preview Grade: C+)

A huge bruiser back at 6’2”/240-ish but moves quite well for his size. He’s no Raheim Sanders but he’s not a Benny Snell plodder either. Good vision, patient running, and very physical trucking defenders to finish runs. His hands are surprisingly good and he runs pretty good routes for a big man. The NFL should look into using him a little more in the passing game. Could be a very solid addition to a backfield and a surprisingly nice fantasy option in spurts.

NFL Comp: James Conner

Jonathon Brooks, Texas (Scouting Preview Grade: C)

If there’s going to be a surprise back who’s a better pro than a college player it’s going to be Brooks. I think even his team underrates him. He's average size, very patient and instinctive runner with excellent burst, above-average hands, stronger than you’d expect, just a good all-around back. He’s not a dynamic playmaker but he’ll be excellent as part of a rotation. I like him and, in my estimation, could rise further with more study.

NFL Comp: Ty Chandler

55% Discount – 1-year DFS Optimizer: Cutting edge features, multiple projections sources

Will Shipley, Clemson (Scouting Preview Grade: C-)

Compact jitterbug of a back with very good hands in the passing game. Shipley is an energetic runner and gives it all on every play whether that’s running the ball, catching, or even blocking. Doesn’t have much burst and has to work hard for his yards but could be used as a spot carrier and 3rd down back.

NFL Comp: Rex Burkhead

Blake Corum, Michigan (Scouting Preview Grade: D+)

Short, compact, bowling ball of a back with quick feet and more toughness than you would expect. Corum is not my kind of back but he does have some strengths to compensate for his lack of size and burst. He runs with good patience, vision, and energy and at the very least almost always nets positive yards. His lack of athleticism will hold him to being a bottom of the roster back at the next level or a standout on special teams. If he can develop his hands a little more he might be a nice 3rd down option. He could handle a few games as a spot starter with decent blocking.

NFL Comp: Clyde Edwards-Helaire with worse hands

Trey Benson, Florida St (Scouting Preview Grade: D+)

He's the consensus second-rated RB for the mainstream right now, but I don’t think that’s going to hold. However, Benson looks like an NFL back for sure. Good solid build at around 6’0”/215 or so with legitimate long speed. He’s a heck of an athlete. The trouble is that’s pretty much his only strength as a runner. If he gets a clear lane he’s gone but muck up the middle of the field and he can’t cut away from traffic. Below-average vision, agility, and hands is a deal-breaker for me. Probably a 4th round pick give or take but not one I’ll be investing in.

NFL Comp: Zamir White

Bucky Irving, Oregon (Scouting Preview Grade: D)

Purely a 3rd down back in the NFL. Irving is too small and not fast enough to be a main-carry RB. That’s not to say he’s without value. He could find a role in PPR fantasy leagues but he’s not going to be the next Ekeler or anything. He’s quick enough and good enough in the passing game to possibly carve out a role.

NFL Comp: Ito Smith