Rookie Running Back Outlook

Upon special request from the Fantasy Flukie himself, Kendall Hunter stands atop my rookie running back analysis as he joins the following rookies that have been widely overlooked but could easily find themselves on your fantasy rosters in due time. While these rooks may not the cream of the crop in the rookie pool, don’t shy away from them in deeper leagues as the season pushes on and injuries catch up to teams.

Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – Hunter, a Doak Walker award finalist in college, has an opportunity to win the #2 back behind Frank Gore, making him an intriguing option for fantasy owners.  In his first preseason game he had 7 carries for 29 yards, outperforming Anthony Dixon (7 carries for 16 yards).  Xavier Omon (5 carries for 24 yards to go along with a 12 yard reception) will also be in the mix for the backup job.  Of course his size, just 5’7” and around 200 pounds, could make it tough for him to account for oncoming blitzers.  That’s certainly going to make it tough for the 49ers to put much faith in him.  He exploded in Week 2, with 9 carries for 105 yards and 1 TD (including a 53 yard TD run).

 DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – The hype surrounding Felix Jones is growing by the day and with Tashard Choice and injury issues that kept Murray out of the majority of camp, it’s hard to imagine Murray making an early impact.  He could force his way into the mix by mid-year, but don’t put too much stock into him just yet. A huge playmaker at Oklahoma, Murray is a staple in the future plans of the Cowboys system.

Dion Lewis – Philadelphia Eagles – Lewis’ stock plummeted with the Ronnie’s Brown signing as he’ll find himself third on Philly roster.  If he is able to earn that role, he could get an opportunity to make some noise at some point in 2011.  Brown is now 29-years old, and with a history of missing games he could be a ticking time bomb as the primary backup.  That means whoever the Eagles carry as the next man on the depth chart is going to be worth monitoring.  Is it likely that he makes a major impact? Probably not, but may factor in the Eagles’ offense in the later weeks.

Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – Ridley’s fantasy potential has skyrocketed throughout the first couple preseason games with his monster production and the potential of a BenJarvus Green-Ellis regression. Ridley’s preseason performance could force the Patriots’ hand in the early weeks if the Law Firm can’t come through.  All Ridley has did in two preseason games is rush the ball 30 times for 148 yards and 2 TD while adding 10 receptions for 74 yards and a TD.  Preseason or not, those are impressive numbers.  With the Patriots propensity to spread the ball around and get everyone involved, you have to think that he is, at the least, forcing his way into the lineup for a handful of plays per game.  That alone is going to cut into Green-Ellis’ touches.  If he continues to produce, could he completely overtake Green-Ellis on the depth chart?  Who knows, but his performance has made him a name to watch and a potential target in the later rounds.

Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – Some analysts would say that Michael Turner is a significant injury risk, entering his 29-year old campaign.  That would instantly make Rodgers an option, but Im not buying into Turner’s body giving up on him. He doesn’t have the wear and tear of a normal back of his age, playing second fiddle to LaDanian Tomlinson for so many years.  Even if Turner was to go down, Rodgers will likely function as a change of pace back to Jason Snelling (as he will to Turner) instead of carrying the load.

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2 Responses to “Rookie Running Back Outlook”

  1. The Fantasy Flukie says:

    @TD – Yup, you are correct I love me some Kendall Hunter. He reminds me of a young MJD. Gore may be happy now that he got his big contract but he goes down every yr for a few games. When Gore goes down Hunter will have a chance to break and slash his way into relevance. However, Dixon must likely will still be used at Goaline without Gore, this will mitigate some of Hunters upside.

    Murray at Dallas is intriguing. F Jones has injury concerns. There is a good change Choice will get traded at some point this year. Jason Garrett HATES him. Murray may work himself into a useful fantasy back.

    Lewis is a waste and I wouldn’t carry him even in dynasty leagues.

    Ridley’s value is minimal, as you noted NE spreads the ball out tremendously well.

    Rodgers intrigues me….However, intrigue doesn’t translate into fantasy points

  2. […] Taylor DeChant and The Fantasy Flukie decided to do articles on rookie RBs and WRs, respectively, I thought it […]

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