With the NFL Season almost half over, I have to declare 2007 the worst seasons for rookie running backs ever. OK, maybe not ever, but I can't think of a season with fewer impact rookies at this point during the year.
For the past few years, fantasy owners have been treated to several solid rookie RB contributors. There were always big names coming out of the draft, but there were also lower-round picks that found their niche. Some of the names from the past:
- Joseph Addai, Mike Bell, Laurence Maroney, Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams, Jerious Norwood, Leon Washington
- Ronnie Brown, Marion Barber, Cadillac Williams, Frank Gore
- Kevin Jones, Julius Jones, Steven Jackson
This season, usable rookie running backs are few and far between. Sure, Adrian Peterson is a monster who is leading the NFL with 670 yards. After Mr. P there isn't much though, and quantity matters more than quality in this case.
Marshawn Lynch has 452 yards and 4 TDs which is nice, and 7th round draft pick DeShawn Wynn has 4 touchdowns but only 202 rushing yards, making him a risky start.
After that it really goes downhill. Brian Leonard (243 yds, 0 TD) looked ok on a terrible Rams team, but won't see much time with Jackson back. Denver's Selvin Young (139 yds, 0 TD) has only played in spots. There are only five rookies with more than 100 rushing yards total for the season. Right now, WR Calvin Johnson is a Top Ten rookie rusher.
Injuries or pot suspensions could always propel some unknown rookie in the limelight for a second-half fantasy run, but right now things look pretty bleak. After an amazing 2006 feast of rookie RBs, this season has become a year of famine. Here's to hoping that guys like Darren McFadden, Yvenson Bernard and Jonathan Stewart bring us better luck next season.