Last year my dynasty fantasy football team had the highest total fantasy points and went to the championship game. With that said, every year it seems like my RB corps is the weakest part of my team. I just can't seem to land that RB1 that delivers 20+ fantasy points every week.

But, you know what? I think every fantasy football manager feels the same way. Even if they have Christian McCaffrey or Kyren Williams, they aren't feeling secure with their RB position because aging and injuries make landing that RB1 a moving target.

Last year I got my "RB1" by a committee of RB2s, James Cook, Brian Robinson and Jerome Ford. I ended up getting an RB1 score 9 times over our 14-week regular season and had the 9th strongest RB corps in my league. The team that beat my team in the championship game had an even weaker RB corps than mine.

Though my RB corps is nothing to boast about, I acquired this RB corps very efficiently. An owner who had spent their 2020 1.03 (Cam Akers), 2022 1.01 (Bijan Robinson) and 2023 1.01 (Kenneth Walker III) picks on RBs had a worse performing RB corps than my team and came in last place again. I describe these results and how I was able to acquire my RBs very efficiently in my article, How I Got My RB1. My point here is, while of course I would like to have a stronger RB corps, I didn't overspend on RBs, and as a result my whole team was stronger. I am now going into our 2024 rookie draft with the following picks: 1.06, 1.09, 2.02, 2.04, 2.11, 3.02, 3.04, 3.07 and 3.12, and I want to use these picks as efficiently as I can, either to:

  • trade for future picks
  • trade for strategic players, or
  • make actual draft picks.

This article explores the performance of RBs relative to average fantasy football draft position (ADP) and to years of experience in the league and is meant to be a guide for making wise decisions for how to efficiently build a dynasty fantasy football RB corps. This year's article follows the same pattern as last year's article, How To Add An RB1 To Your FF Dynasty Team, providing updated information for 2024.

I covered QBs last week in my article, How To Add A QB1 To Your Dynasty Team - 2024, which also shows QB performance versus years in the league and ADP

Historical ADP Information

Based on historical ADP information, this is where running backs were drafted over the last nine years:

Over the last decade, 2017 stands out as producing the best crop of running backs by a mile with Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones, Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt. This wave of RBs has filled a big part of the fantasy football RB space from then until now. From 2014 through 2018, only Rasheem Mostert and Derrick Henry remain fantasy relevant going into 2024.  From the 2016 crop, only Saquon Barkley was fantasy relevant in 2023, and it remains to be seen if Nick Chubb can resume fantasy relevance in 2024.

How much do Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb have remaining in the tank? Who will establish themselves as the new RB1 staples going forward? And are RBs simply becoming less important to fantasy football teams as the dual-threat QB becomes more prevalent? These are some good questions to which I don't have answers.

What I do know is that Christian McCaffrey and company are going to come to the end of their NFL career sooner or later. They are declining assets, and other running backs will be called upon to fill their shoes. Except in dire need for what I refer to as "playoff boost" I am not interested in spending appreciating assets (draft picks) on depreciating assets. I want to use my picks efficiently to continue to improve my running-back-by-committee approach, and perhaps I will happen to land the next Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler or Aaron Jones in the process.

Maybe it's me, but I feel RBs are becoming a more uncertain position. The playbook seems to be changing and teams seem to be devaluing the stud RB back compared to the more flexible, more resilient and less costly RB-by-committee approach. We often hear the phrase that a coach is going with the "hot hand", affirming this more flexible RB-by-committee approach.

So let's dive into the statistics that can help us build our own flexible RB-by-committee, efficiently making our fantasy team RB corps strong as a position.

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Success Rate vs Years of Experience

The next step in my analysis is to see how these players panned-out since being drafted. If you read my QB analysis, you know I only valued top 12 QBs, assigning them a value of 1 if they were in the top 6, and a value of 0.5 if they ranked 7th to 12th. Since we must start two RBs in my league, I valued the top 24 RBs, accordingly:

  • Ranked 1-6: 1.00
  • Ranked 7-12: 0.75
  • Ranked 13-18: 0.50
  • Ranked 19-24: 0.25

Then I took the integral of their results and got this chart:

The last two rows show the success rate versus years of experience. Next I put this information into graphical form:

What stands out is the steep drop off between years 6 and 8. Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffery, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams, James Conner, Austin Ekeler and Aaron Jones where all fantasy relevant in their 6th year (2022). Of these nine, Fournette, Cook, Williams and Jones fell out of fantasy relevance in 2023. Derrick Henry and Raheem Mostert are the only RBs in NFL with longer careers than the remaining five (McCaffrey, Mixon, Kamara, Conner and Ekeler). Odds are that at least half of these will fall from fantasy relevance in 2024.

So immediately, I am asking the question, who are the under-the-radar sophomore RBs playing behind the 6+-year starting RBs of 2023? First, these are the 6+-year starting RBs going into 2024: James Conner, Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Mixon, Gus Edwards, Raheem Mostert, Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara, Devin Singletary, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Tony Pollard, and Austin Ekeler.

Behind these RBs are the following rookies and sophomores:

  • Trey Benson (R) behind James Conner
  • Rasheen Ali (R) behind Derrick Henry 
  • Deuce Vaughn (sophomore) behind Ezekiel Elliot
  • Kimani Vidal (R) behind Gus Edwards
  • De'Von Achane (sophomore) behind Raheem Mostert
  • Kendre Miller (sophomore) behind Alvin Kamara
  • Eric Gray (sophomore) and Tyrone Tracy (R) behind Devin Singletary
  • Will Shipley (R) behind Saquon Barkley
  • Isaac Guerendo (R) behind Christian McCaffrey
  • Tyjae Spears (sophomore) behind Tony Pollard
  • Chris Rodriguez (sophomore) behind Austin Ekeler

Also, Jonathon Brooks is already projected to take the lead back role for Carolina in 2024.

But let's focus in on the sophomores on the above list: Deuce Vaughn, De'Von Achane, Kendre Miller, Eric Grey, Tyjae Spears and Chris Rodriguez.

  • Vaughn Deuce rushed 23 times for 40 yards and no TDs. No thanks.
  • De'Von Achane rushed 103 times for 800 yards and 8 TDs. He was also fairly involved in the passing game, with 27 receptions for 197 yards and 3 TDs. Achane has become a hot fantasy football commodity and trading for him would be expensive.
  • Kendre Miller rushed 41 times for 156 yards and 1 TD. He also caught 10 passes for 117 yards. He is interesting to me if I can get him at the right price - but probably not.
  • Eric Grey rushed 17 times for 48 yards and no TDs and caught 6 passes for 22 yards. Singletary is only in his sixth year and rushed 151 times for 775 yards. I don't think Eric Grey is going to be filling Singletary's shoes in 2024.
  • Tyjae Spears rushed 100 times for 453 yards and 2 TDs and caught 52 passes for 385 yards and 1 TD. I think it will be difficult to pry Spears away from his current owner, but its worth a try if the price isn't too high.
  • Chris Rodriguez rushed 51 times for 247 yards and 2 TDs. He only has two receptions for 12 yards. If Rodriguez can get more involved in the passing game, he might become fantasy relevant RB and might be a decent trade target.

So my short list of sophomore RBs to target by trade if the price is right is Kendre Miller, Tyjae Spears and Chris Rodriguez.

Now let's get into this year's rookie draft.

Here is the break down of RB success rate by round:

  • 1st: 24.5%
  • 2nd 6.9%
  • 3rd 3.5%

With the QBs we found a 2nd band of success in the 2.07 to 3.03 range, and this is the reason for the color bands in the charts above - to break down the analysis into every 9 picks rather than each round. However, with RBs we don't really learn anything new from this:

  • 1-9: 25.1%
  • 10-18: 11.8%
  • 19-27: 4.0%
  • 28-36: 3.8%

The takeaway from this is simple. Generally we are making good assessments of RBs after the NFL draft, without them actually taking any snaps. With the QBs I attributed the 2nd band of success from 2.07 to 3.03 to discovering under-the-radar QB talent in the pre-season. Not so RBs.

Given that many more RBs are drafted than QBs in dynasty fantasy football, we have a decent data set, and we might get a better picture of the value of the top-6 picks by ADP. Here is a more granular breakdown of success rate versus ADP in the first round:

  • 1.01: 49.4%
  • 1.02: 45.6%
  • 1.03-1.06: 19.1%
  • 1.07-1.12: 14.9%

This chart below shows the success rate for the first 12 picks, and I let Excel add a logarithmic trend line so you can see a smooth curve:


Based on the statistics, it seems the most sure way to improve a dynasty fantasy team RB corps is to draft one with the 1.01 or 1.02 pick. However, that requires either coming in last place, or possibly paying a lot for that pick. Furthermore, this year is expected to be a very weak crop of RBs, with no RB worthy of the 1.01 or 1.02 pick. This takes that option completely off the table.

This year Jonathon Brooks and Trey Benson are the top two RBs with an ADP in the low 1st round. Given my desire to improve at RB if I can get either of them with my 1.09 pick, I will probably take them.

Will Shipley, Kimani Vidal and Isaac Guerendo have ADPs just below the 3rd round and might have landed in situations where they will have opportunity to prove themselves over the next year or two and help my team in 2025. I currently don't know much about them, but I will do my research. The success rate of drafting RBs at the bottom of the 3rd round is very low, but if they look intriguing maybe I will expend my 3.07 and/or 3.12 on one or two of them simply because of their situation. Though the success rate of drafting RBs in the 3rd round is low, there are plenty of examples of RBs that were off everyone's radar on draft day, and then became major dynasty fantasy football assets later on, such as Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones and Kyren Williams.

What I don't know right now is how my current RB corps is going to pan out in 2024. It wasn't great, but it was okay in 2023. If I can get the same or better performance from my young RB-by-committee in 2024, then I don't have a critical RB need. If by mid-season, I have a glaring need, I can spend some draft capital to make an aggressive move for a proven veteran. I will probably never spend two or more first round picks for a running back. I would rather get a fading veteran running back for a 2nd round pick from a team that missed the playoffs near the end of the season than pay top dollar for a proven 2nd or 3rd year RB1. 

If you found this article helpful, here are some other articles I have written that you might also find helpful:

Dynasty Draft Strategy: A Tale of Ten Trades

My Dynasty FF Team Needs An RB1

How to Win Your Dynasty League

Dynasty NFL: Who To Drop And How To Sell

Dynasty Rookie Draft Picks - Value Analysis