The season is finally upon us, fantasy lineups are being set, and the last days of drafting your hopeful Championship lineups are coming to an end. When was the last time we’ve had a batch of multiple hyped up running backs coming into the league with the majority of them being drafted within the top four rounds? Not often. This is no shot at the rookies, I’m 100% with them and found myself skipping over some known names in fantasy and taking the upside of these rookies before I even know what they’re capable of at a professional level. With that being said here are those the top five guys, plus a few more to keep an eye out on in the season.

Dalvin Cook

Cook may not be the most appealing name when compared to McCaffrey, Mixon or even Fournette but the 21- year old has nobody in front of him that’s threatening him for touches. Minnesota also improved their o-line, and although the rookie might come into the season with some red flags early on such as fumbling and drops, give him some time to get a feel for his new offense, and watch how explosive Cook can truly be.

Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette

This huge burly brawler should definitely make his case for ROY, but what worries not just fantasy owners but Jags fans is his lingering foot and ankle injuries. Jacksonville is following the Cowboys blueprint by drafting Fournette fourth overall, just as they did Zeke, but how much of a contributor can Fournette be right out of the gate is yet to be determined. Regardless the 22- year old was drafted within the first two rounds, so plug him in your lineups immediately, because even with an injured foot there’s no one on that depth chart that will threaten Fournette’s carries.

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Christian McCaffrey

Look at all you people who are semi-doubting the guy because of old man Jonathan Stewart, or Cam Newton being their goal line back. Do me a favor invite me to your league and don’t touch him because I am heavily invested and all-in on run CMC in his rookie season. I understand that he may not start the season as an every down back, but give time let’s say by week 2, McCaffrey should lead the Panthers in carries. Okay all jokes aside, but seriously Week 4 is the latest. The product out of Stanford has already proven that he could run between the lines, and his agility and elusiveness is hard to ignore by Ron Rivera and Cam Newton, especially if Cam looks to have a healthy season.

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Joe Mixon

Another guy that will be slept on early on for the fear of a Jeremy Hill and this messy backfield, but if any of those backs has the ability to secure a role I would say it’s Giovanni Bernard. As far as Cincinnati starting Hill over Mixon it tells me one thing…the club is not ready to compete against Pittsburgh for the division. Hill had one good half-year, and has not impressed anyone since. If anything he’s brought nothing but frustration and anxiety for fantasy owners and Bengals fans. Just like McCaffrey, Mixon might not be featured in a big role early on, but it’s just a matter of time before the rookie shows out on the field, and takes the reigns as Cincy’s lead back.

Kareem Hunt

Ever since Spencer Ware went down to a season ending knee injury, Hunt’s stock has sky rocketed and the situation he’s now in kind of puts him as a potential “bust” category according to some people, but not only do I think it’s unfair to place him in that pool, I’m simply not buying it. Obviously Charcandrick West is going to get his snaps, but a possible committee featuring CJ Spiller is comical–especially since the former first round pick was cut for the second time in a week. The monster out of Toledo is in the perfect situation under Andy Reid that just screams out every down back.

Update: Hunt torched the Patriots defense last night for 246 total scrimmage yards and three touchdowns.

Alvin Kamara

Kamara may be stuck behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on the depth chart but it doesn’t mean he won’t find a role in the offense. Kamara’s talent is simply too good to ignore– and not only is a good stash at the moment, but his value in PPR leagues provides more reward. I highly doubt anybody will be surprised if Kamara finishes off his rookie campaign on a high note.

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