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The excitement of the draft weekend has come and gone.  Now is the time to put in the hard work as your rookie fantasy drafts are upon us. My running back dynasty fantasy rankings get based on a two to three-year window, not their immediate impact.  Talent and situation get considered here.  This position, more than any other, is the most fluid and volatile on your fantasy teams. There are only a few good situations this season for teams that needed starters and/or had carries available.sankey

1. Bishop Sankey, Titans- The safest back in the draft landed in the most running back starved team.  Sankey will not overwhelm you with his athleticism, but he will be a safe 250 touch back.  He can pass block, catch the pigskin, and looks good near the goal line.  I consider him this year’s Zach Stacy aka solid and not exciting. He should be the first back chosen in your rookie drafts near the middle to end of the first round. His situation got a little better with the news that Shonn Greene just had knee surgery.

2. Devonta Freeman, Falcons- Sure some of you will think he is a slightly bigger version of Jacquizz Rodgers, but that isn’t the case.  Freeman can run inside and out equally well.  The young back has quick feet, runs well in space, catches the ball with ease, and can pass block.  Steven Jackson looked his age last season, draft his replacement before he fizzles out.  I suspect you will be able to draft him later than the next few guys on this list, probably in the middle of the second round.

3. Carlos Hyde, 49ers- Another running back gets drafted by San Francisco while Frank Gore is still on the team.  Could this time be different?  Hyde knows how to play with an ultra-athletic quarterback and he works well in space.  Hyde has good hands and can pass block.  This is a John Harbaugh kind of back.  Hyde will most likely go as the second runner of the board near the end of the first round or early second.

4.  Isaiah Crowell, Browns- From a troubled past into Northeast Ohio’s hearts could be the story of this runner.  I still like the back the Browns drafted, Terrence West, but Crowell is more talented and has more upside.  Crowell gets a strong offensive line to run behind and a nightmare for defenses to worry about in Johnny Football.  Don’t let him being an undrafted free agent get in the way of value.  Just like the Patriots selected both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in the same draft class, take the more talented rusher, not the guy drafted higher. Crowell should be available in the late second round of your rookie drafts.

5. Jeremy Hill, Bengals- It was disappointing to see him go to the Bengals.  This thick, powerful back is more talented than the runner he will get to replace in BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  The question will be usage as Gio Bernard is a very talented scat back.  I expect Hill to get goal line work and a short yardage/change of pace back.  The amount of touches or lack thereof is my biggest concern with him.  I imagine the name will get him drafted in the second round of rookie drafts.

6. Tre Mason, Rams- Good thing for him he gets reunited with his best offensive lineman from college, Greg Robinson.  Mason is a shifty back who struggles in pass protection and might have a serious wrist injury.  I suspect he will play behind Zach Stacy, but he is more dynamic as a receiver and in space.  Mason could get a decent sliver of playing time considering all the carries Stacy got last season. He should get selected in the second to third round of rookie drafts.

7. Storm Johnson, Jaguars- If you read my scouting report on Johnson, you can tell I like this slashing runner.  He is a different type of runner than the plodding Toby Gerhart and could be in a fight for more playing time quicker than most would think.  Johnson should be available early in the third round of rookie drafts as he appeared to be an afterthought to the Jags in the seventh round.

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