Anyone who has played fantasy football knows that drafting rookies and expecting a fantasy impact in their first year is a hit or miss proposition. The 2008 season was no different than any other when it came to projecting which running backs would be the next big star.
Below are the top running backs drafted in 2008, with the round and overall position on where they were drafted. We rate each player with a grade based on their fantasy impact. The players are listed in the order of where they were picked in the NFL Draft.
Darren McFadden, Raiders: Drafted 1st round/4th overall
Whether it was a lingering toe injury or the dysfunctional Raiders offense, McFadden could never get on track and his first season was pretty much a disaster for him and anyone who drafted him expecting to get the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, not the Bears’ Adrian Peterson. If you’re in a keeper league, he’ll have some carryover value. If not, then this pick was a bust considering that he was drafted fairly high in most leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers: 1/13
He formed a dangerous duo with backfield mate DeAngelo Williams, rushing for 10 TDs and 835 yards. He showed that he will be a legit running back with a nose for the end zone for many years to come.
Felix Jones, Cowboys: 1/22
Despite having Marion Barber in front of him and getting the vast majority of touches, Jones displayed electrifying speed and game breaking ability. Unfortunately, his season was snuffed out with a hamstring and toe injuries after just six games. His 8.9 yard per carry average and 3 TDs gave fantasy owners a glimpse at his talent. His grade would have been higher if he had played more.
Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers: 1/23
Taken by Pittsburgh right after Jones, Mendenhall was believed to at least be the short yardage specialist and vulture some touchdowns from Willie Parker. He didn’t even get a chance to do that as he was placed on IR after four games and just 58 rushing yards.
Read the rest of the Rookie Running Back grades here: http://thefantasysportsforum.com/article.php?ID=506