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2013 Rookie Analysis: Running Backs

Ready for some 2013 Fantasy Football Rookie Running Back Analysis? It’s never too early to start preparing for the 2013 fantasy football season, especially when it comes to the incoming rookie running back class.

The below analysis and rankings are based on a standard PPR scoring format, and clearly the landing spots for these incoming rookie rushers will determine a lot, so you can bet that we will have some updates to this content following the 2013 NFL Draft!

Sort by: QBs | RBs | WRs

Running Backs

1. Montee Ball – RB (Wisconsin)

Height: 5-10 | Weight: 214 | Forty: 4.66

2/25/13 Combine Update: While Montee Ball didn’t do anything during his combine workouts to elevate his draft status, he by no means hurt his draft value. Although, weighing in at 214 pounds, vs. the projected 210, was a huge plus in my eyes. While my predictions are at the mercy of NFL coaches, Ball remains my No. 1 ranked rookie runner from this 2013 class… Landing spots will determine everything with this 2013 NFL rookie running back class, so stay tuned!

2/15/13: It’s crazy how far this guy has fallen according to most fantasy experts and writers. I’ve seen Montee Ball ranked as low as 8-10 as far as rookie rushers go, and I rarely see him anywhere near No. 1… Ball really should have entered last year’s 2012 NFL Draft, as he now has grips of people doubting him entering 2013… I don’t doubt him, I can’t emphasize that enough, but if a majority of NFL coaches do, Ball could get passed over by good situations and end up getting stuck in an awful RBBC. Some call the rusher too small, but he is the same weight as Ray Rice, and he is actually an inch or two taller… I see elite talent in this kid, and if the youtube footage below doesn’t convince you that he has elite upside, how about 1,830 rushing yards and 22TDs in 2012, and of course his 1,923 rushing yards and 33TDs in 2011 (39 if you include his 6 receiving TDs.. yeah, that wasn’t a typo… 39!)… he even had 18 rushing scores in 2011. The dude can play, and he can score like no other runner in this draft. He also had five games last year with over 160 yards rushing.

Ball has that “it” factor, it’s just a matter of whether or not an NFL team drafts Ball to start, which is something we cannot control. I admit it, this is a bold ranking given the uncertainty surround his perceived stock/value, so know that, but also know that I see no other runner in this 2013 rookie running back class that can make a bigger fantasy slash than Ball.

2. Le’Veon Bell – RB (Michigan State)

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 230 | Forty: 4:60

2/25/13 Combine Update: Scouting incoming fantasy rookies is a process, and if you scout right, you’re going to

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  1. Ellington has really grown on me over the last couple of months. IMO, he’s the one RB in this class that can take it to the house on any given play… However, I still like Ball and Bernard’s overall rounded skills more.
    Stock up: Stacy – could have the quickest feet and change of direction of any RB in this class. Long speed is questionable. A solid 40 time at the combine will go a long way for Stacy.
    Stock down: Taylor – I’ve soured on him lately. Not very dynamic.
    Nice job!

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  2. Spot on with Randle’s analysis. I feel the same way… Has shown flashes but just doesn’t have that “it” factor. And for a “suppose” quick RB, he doesn’t make a ton of defenders miss.

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    • Didn’t know anything about Bell but he looks very impressive to me, Lattimore is my favorite RB in this draft class though, love this kids potential and hope he can stay relatively healthy. Elite upside imo and he is extremely motivated.

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      • Agreed on all counts, GreatProd! Keep it coming, buddy! We need more comments from you, you bring quality insight!

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  3. Knile Davis is a very interesting prospect. I’ve seen him compared to McFadden mainly (no not because of his constant injuries lol) because of his speed/power combo for his size. But that clip just makes me cringe when I see him constantly fumbling the football like that against college teams, imagine if it were the NFL.

    Leveon Bell. I really like his size and I can see why he is growing on you. Just by watching that clip he is starting to grow on me. I have never seen so many spin moves (take that Eddie Lacy) and people getting jumped over, he has the look of a possible feature back in the NFL

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  4. Smitty,

    I am intrigued by Michael Christine’s measurables from the combine. Other than his 40 time, the rest of his drills were # 1 or 2 except he only finished 4th on his bench at 27.

    Any sleeper indications?

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    • He is a sleeper for sure, he sleeps in for interviews :) His decision to sleep in will cost him a lot, and any landing spot he falls to will likely be one that has a long road to the starting line-up. Who knows, though, a team could see him as a late steal and draft him to start, you just never know, but sleeping in left a bad impression, with me too.

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  5. Just updated Lattimore’s write-up and rank, given the somewhat down news on Lattimore’s new availability projections.

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  6. This speed score thing got me curious so I did this for the backs in this draft and this is what they come out to be. With 100 being average there were only 6 backs that even had that. There are a bunch of guys between red flag (80) and average (100), including Montee Ball.

    124.48 – Knile Davis
    105.91 – Mike James
    103.56 – Christine Michael
    102.73 – Le’Veon Bell
    100.88 – Jonathan Franklin
    100.79 – Zac Stacy
    97.06 – Gillislee
    95.94 – Gio Bernard
    94.7 – McCalebb
    90.76 – Montee Ball
    88.78 – Joseph Randle
    88.12 – Andre Ellington (hurt himself though)
    84.63 – Jawan Jamison
    83.37 – Stepfan Taylor
    74.97 – Ray Graham

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    • Very solid work, jknighton. Davis really stands out, and will on our rankings if a team drafts him to start. He is No. 1 capable on our rookie list if he is inserted into the right environment, and one that believes in him right out of the gate. While I think this kind of info, when used in conjunction with other analysis (and gut instinct) is invaluable, let’s keep in mind that Broncos RB Mario Fannin is currently the all-time highest scorer on this Speed Score metric test. Again, I love pairing this with other scouting techniques, and it spells great upside for Davis. I also like Mike James as a deep sleeper, the kind that gets taken late and ends up earning a gig down the line. He’s no lock, but like I said, deep upside.

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  7. Love everything about Le’Veon Bell, except one nagging thing…has there ever been a RB his size (240 lbs and tall) excel from a fantasy perspective? I don’t think he’ll be able to keep his weight down to 230 like he did for the combine?

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    • Well, as you said, he is 230 pounds, not 240, so until then, I think he gets a pass. Even if he gains wait, when is the last time you saw a guy his size move like that, so I think he holds up. But, again, I think he stays closer to 230 than 240. Good point, though.

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  8. Airek, Steven Jackson is the example is think of when I look at a RB comparable to Le’Veon Bell’s size. He is 6’2″ 240 and a successful in the fantasy prospective.

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