Rookie running backs made an impact in the fantasy game last season, none more so than New York Giants’ standout Saquon Barkley. Barkley was a no-brainer selection with the second-overall pick, and he did not disappoint, compiling over 2,000 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. However, he was not the only first-year player to shine in the NFL as Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and the Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb also starred for their teams as well on the fantasy scene.
Chubb has the best opportunity for greater success in his second season in the NFL for the Browns, who after years of dwelling in the lower realms of the AFC, now seem capable of making a charge to reach the post-season for the first time since the 2007 term. With Chubb and Baker Mayfield, Cleveland will be well placed in the NFL Picks to post a winning record for the first time in 12 years, highlighting the value of attaining quality through the Draft.
Although Mayfield played a significant role in the Browns’ success, Chubb helped ease the pressure on his quarterback and it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the NFL follows suit in selecting running backs in the 2019 Draft. Here are two players that could rise to the occasion in the next campaign and to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
Josh Jacobs (Alabama)
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Jacobs enters the 2019 Draft much like predecessors of the Crimson Tide, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. He runs through the hole hard and punishes defenders, breaking contact with ease. The 21-year-old fits the mould of a prototypical running back on first and second down, although he has not been overly effective catching the ball out of the backfield. That could affect his value moving forward in the 2019 Draft and beyond in fantasy football. Jacobs may be an option for teams in the first round, while one of the major draws of the running back is that he did endure the workload of his contemporaries during his college career. Jacobs recorded 251 carries during his three years in Alabama, therefore he should be fit and firing for his rookie term.
David Montgomery (Iowa State)
Damien Harris out of Alabama is considered to be the next best back behind Jacobs. However, Montgomery is also a player worthy of a pick inside the top 50 of the NFL Draft. He has a more versatile skill set, boasting the ability to run between the tackles and catching balls out of the backfield. Montgomery could have similarities to All-Pro David Johnson, who played in the same state as him during his college days. Both are not strictly two-down backs and are comfortable playing as receivers. His rate of catches declined last term, although he was more effective between the tackles. Montgomery has a knack for the endzone, scoring 26 touchdowns in three years, and that makes him a very intriguing option for NFL teams and fantasy owners next term.