2017 Rookies: Running Backs

smitty fantasy football advice
Ok, it’s time to break down the 2017 Rookie Wide Receivers coming out of this 2017 NFL Draft Class! The running backs, quarterbacks and tight ends will soon follow, and note the Dynasty and Redraft Rankings have these players already slotted in! So check those out as well!

The Elite

1. Leonard Fournette RB | LSU

1. Leonard Fournette RB | LSU

Size: 6-1, 235 lbs
NFL Comparable: Adrian Peterson/Bo Jackson mix
Fantasy Upside: Top 1-5 overall fantasy player of the future
2/4/17: Leonard Fournette is a beast. Literally. He is 6-1, 235 pounds, and he attacks you, you don’t attack him. If you doubt that Leonard Fournette is uniquely-different than any rusher coming out of college since Adrian Peterson, you just aren’t watching the film. The guy launches out of the backfield from the moment the ball is snapped.. and he shoots through the line of scrimmage like no runner I’ve seen in decades. Some suggest we haven’t seen a runner with such a unique skill set since Bo Jackson — I agree. He is as talented as Peterson when you look at his style… really, the only downside, or risk, is his punishing running style, but worrying about injury down the road is pointless. Folks, if you don’t see a top 1-5RB of the future in this footage below, I urge you to watch the video again, and with an open mind. Without hesitation, I see a rusher that can get to his top gear by the time he reaches the line of scrimmage, and I see a runner that plays like both Derrick Henry (in the power department) and Adrian Peterson (when looking at power, speed, quickness and unique size/speed/build). Landing spot could determine a lot, sure, as it did with Ezekiel Elliott; but, I firmly believe that Fournette might very well have as good a season in 2017 as Zeke had as a rookie in 2016. This is, in my opinion, a top 1-5RB of the future… and, he could very well be that good during his rookie season. Yep, you heard me right. I am trying to own/get the 1.01 in every dynasty league I’m in. I want Fournette shares in every single one of my leagues.

2. Dalvin Cook RB | Florida State

2. Dalvin Cook RB | Florida State

Size: 5-11, 215 lbs
NFL Comparable: DeMarco Murray
Fantasy Upside: Top 8-15 overall fantasy player of the future.
2/4/17: Dalvin Cook is arguably a top 5-10 fantasy RB of the future if you ask me… yes, I just talked up Leonard Fournette as a top 1-5 fantasy RB of the future (and possibly even as a rookie); however, this rookie RB class is super-talented, and Cook, in the right landing spot, could easily be the 1.01 in tons of upcoming 2017 rookie-only fantasy drafts. This kid is elite. He has good hands, he runs and catches like DeMarco Murray, and he has a nose for the end zone like few running backs already in the NFL. In the right spot, this guy could be a 2,000-yard combine rusher/receiver, and he has double-digit TD potential if getting every-down work somewhere in the NFL. His stock is rising fast as we head near the middle of February, and this goes for both fantasy circles and NFL team circles, so the odds are good that an NFL team drafts him to be an immediate every-down rusher. Many here at SleeperU (get on the forums to discuss this) like Cook more than Fournette. This is a legit argument. Both have top 10RB appeal, and landing spot could push one in front of the other upside-wise. I love both runners, and I am trying to own/draft both onto the same dynasty roster in at least one of my dynasty leagues; however, if I had to say one runner will be the next Adrian Peterson and one will be the next DeMarco Murray, Fournette is the next AP and Cook is the next Murray, meaning I see both as top 1-10RBs of the now and future, with Fournette being Zeke Elliott good (for the now and future). Buckle-up, everyone, this draft class could be amazing when all is said and done!

The Rest: RBs 3-11

Alvin Kamara RB, Tennessee

Size: 5-10, 215 lbs
NFL Comparable: Arian Foster

2/4/17: Alvin Kamara is an awesome rusher. He is just stuck in a great draft class, which means his top 8-14 fantasy RB upside is going to get overlooked. Does he have upside for more? Sure, in the right situation. For now, though, we need to wait and see in regards to his landing spot and his combine times/numbers. If he climbs draft boards after workouts, we can start expecting a bit more. Talent-wise, though, I like the kid a lot, and he reminds me of an Arian Foster-type player, with good hands, shifty running, and strong, strong vision. In the right spot, he could break into top 10 fantasy RB production, but he needs a good landing spot. Consider this kid a strong top 3-5 overall rookie selection in upcoming 2017 fantasy football rookie-only drafts.
Youtube Footage: Video


Christian McCaffrey RB, Stanford (Brief write-up coming soon)
D Onta Foreman RB, Texas (Brief write-up coming soon)
Curtis Samuel RB/WR, Ohio State (Brief write-up coming soon)
Kareem Hunt RB, Toledo (Brief write-up coming soon)
Marlon Mack RB, South Florida (Brief write-up coming soon)
Joe Mixon RB, Oklahoma (Brief write-up coming soon)
Samaje Perine RB, Oklahoma (Brief write-up coming soon)
Wayne Gallman RB, Clemson (Brief write-up coming soon)


  1. Smitty on February 4, 2017 at 4:49 am


  2. CoolHand on February 4, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Here we go… the official start to the off-season with Smitty’s write up!! Let the rookie hype build! Nice work Smitty!

    • Smitty on February 4, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Yep, thanks! These RBs Are awesome!

  3. Swampies on February 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

    There were a lot of bad coverage against him but I did see that he runs with his feet underneath him at all times which makes him stronger at the point of attack. I like his speed and focus in getting to point A to point B too.

    • Smitty on February 4, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Which runner are you taking about?

      • Swampies on February 4, 2017 at 2:44 pm


        • Swampies on February 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm

          Sorry I was talking in code, wasn’t sure if names were allowed lol.

          • Smitty on February 5, 2017 at 12:31 am

            No worries. But, it’s fine, list names! I love both, so you aren’t going to have me disagreeing on talking up Cook 🙂

  4. Swampies on February 4, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I think #2 is even more valuable as a RB because of his catching abilties on the run and especially how he is very patient on allowing the block to develop too. The way he can change direction on a dime reminds me a little of Barry Sanders in how he makes guys unbalanced in a split second.

    • Smitty on February 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      He is near as good and situation could make him the back to own!

  5. Sean Connors on February 4, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I like both backs and can see the upside with cook especially if your picking late in a large draft
    Many big names will be gone by then I think.

    • Smitty on February 5, 2017 at 12:32 am

      Sean, you mean draft Cook later in a redraft draft? I think he and Fournette will be top 25 picks this year in redraft, and in dynasty much, much higher. In rookie drafts, they will both be 1.01 and 1.02. Most likely.

      • Sean Connors on February 7, 2017 at 9:36 am

        Early boards show fortunate at six already and cook about 20 so that’s quite good with the right draft pick both have great value

        • Smitty on February 9, 2017 at 1:50 am

          Yep. I expect landing spots to shuffle anything we see now all over. The Draft will determine a lot, but it sure is fun to rank them now.

  6. Sean Connors on February 4, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Small thing it says wr on the header !! Just a typo

    • Smitty on February 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      In the third expandable according thong? Fixed!!

  7. Sean Reiss on March 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    When can we expect more write ups now that the combine is over? Love some more inside depth Smitty!!

  8. mike harrington on May 27, 2017 at 1:00 am

    So with the draft long gone do any of these rankings change based on their landing spots?

    • Smitty on May 27, 2017 at 1:19 am

      They sure do, checkout the rookie rankings. They are updated daily. I also have a few rookie write ups in recent articles!

  9. Hawk12 on July 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    any more write ups coming? would love to hear you in depth thoughts on each RB in this class since they have landing spots and we’ve had some time to digest…

    • Smitty on July 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Sure thing, boss. I have recent rookie write ups all over, in the ADPs, the mock draft article, but i’ll create a fresh rookie write up only.

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