Rookies that will have the biggest fantasy football impact: running backs

Rookies that will have the biggest fantasy football impact: Running backs

5/31/13 in NFL   |   droth   |   127 respect

Last year's rookie class was a fantasy football game changer.  Luck, Griffin, Wilson, Richardson, and Martin were all impact players and managers that took the right risks on those players were rewarded big time.

This year may not end up having as many fantasy studs, but it will certainly have a couple, and rolling the dice on them could lead to great production from late round picks.

Here's an early look at which incoming rookie running backs are most likely to have a real fantasy impact in 2013 and which ones to avoid.

May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 second round draft pick running back Le'Veon Bell (26) participates in drills during Steelers rookie mincamp and orientation at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsLe'Veon Bell - Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers finished 26th in the NFL last season in rushing yards and then spent their second round pick on Bell.  The bruising running back is a throwback to the Steelers of old and could give the running game a little more punch.  

Rashard Mendenhall is out but Bell still needs to earn playing time.  He'll have to beat out Jonathan Dwyer, who has a similar punishing style, but Bell is a better all around back that can catch balls out of the backfield and block, allowing him to play on third down.  If Bell can find the field, I think the Steelers will use him a lot to give a little more balance to a team that has become one dimensional in recent years.

Giovani Bernard - Cincinatti Bengals

In this draft, the Bengals showed that they are committed to Andy Dalton and tried their best to put weapons around him.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis will still be the primary ball carrier, but Bernard will be the lighting to Green-Ellis' thunder.  At 5'8", he fits the mold of the quick, pass catching back, a-la Darren Sproles.  

He may not rack up the fantasy points like Richardson and Martin did last year, but he should be good flex play, especially in PPR leagues.  Bernard doesn't have an especially high fantasy ceiling, but he has a defined role in the offense and has a clear path to playing time.

Jawan Jamison- Washington Redskins

If you don't know anything about this guy, all you need to know is that he was a late round selection by a team run by Mike Shanahan. Last year it was Alfred Morris and this year, Jamison will have a chance. Going into last season, no one knew who the Redskins go-to back would be, but Morris emerged out of the competition as the leader. I have no idea who is actually the better back, but Shanahan has had a lot of success with unknown running backs and no one will be surprised if Jamison ends up having the most productive season of any rookie back.

Montee Ball - Denver Broncos

Ball was one of, if not the best, running back in DI for the last two years and he's going to a good team.  He's behind Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, and Ronnie Hillman, but each of those guys produced when the had their chance last year and I expect Ball will do the same.  But unlike the others, he has the potential to become a reliable feature back.  And with Peyton Manning, the Broncos should get in scoring range a lot, which will give all of the Broncos runners more opportunities to score.
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5/31/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I love Stepfan Taylor. I do, however, think his biggest impact this season will be helping in the passing game, as he was, IMO, the best pass-blocking RB in the draft.