We almost made it through the first round of the NFL Draft without a running back being taken. But when the Chiefs took Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd pick it broke the seal, and the league went crazy for the position on Day 2. Nine were selected in Rounds 2 and 3, with another four gone in Round 4.
This influx of new talent has a double-edged impact on Dynasty rankings. On one hand, we've got a half-dozen new backs littering the top 30 in the rankings. The flip side is that some veterans' value took a big hit. Marlon Mack, Kerryon Johnson and Damien Williams all saw their ranking fall. Even youngsters like Devin Singletary, Darrell Henderson, Justice Hill and Darwin Thompson weren't immune to the impact.
But enough with the negative, let's focus on the new blood. Here are my top six rookie backs with a short thought on their value in 2020 and beyond:
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire - The combination of skillset, system fit, and the Chiefs' incessant glowing over Edwards-Helaire pushed him ahead of Jonathan Taylor and into my top-10 Dynasty backs. He could deliver top-12 value as soon as 2020 and should have at least four seasons working in a Patrick Mahomes offense. The sky is the limit.
- Jonathan Taylor - Taylor is my favorite back in this class based on talent and is the second rookie to crack my top 12 in Dynasty without taking a snap. It could be crowded in Indianapolis in 2020 because I don't think Marlon Mack or Nyheim Hines are going anywhere. But starting in 2021 Taylor has legitimate top-five upside.
- D'Andre Swift - Swift is going to have a role immediately, but like at Georgia it probably won't be a feature role. I don't love the situation in year one but it's definitely better than what awaits J.K. Dobbins, and Swift has more receiving upside than Taylor in 2020. Longterm there's probably a coaching change on the horizon, but I'd bet on Swift's talent winning over the new regime. He's the third rookie in my Dynasty top 20 but he's just a flex for redraft purposes.
- J.K. Dobbins - Dobbins may have got the worst landing spot for 2020 and the best for the longterm. Barring an injury to Mark Ingram, I expect Dobbins will fill the Gus Edwards role in 2020, but Dobbins could have a feature role in the best running offense in football as soon as 2021. Dobbins is just outside my top-25 overall but he's more valuable than that to a team in a rebuild. In redraft, he's a bench back.
- Cam Akers - You could make the argument that Akers has the least competition to start right away. But he's also not as talented as the three backs above him, so I'm not sure if his odds are better or worse to start. I project Akers to be about 20% better than Dobbins as a rookie, but he doesn't have nearly as much upside, so he's a spot behind Dobbins in the Dynasty rankings.
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn - This is the guy no one expected to have in the top 30 of any rankings. Like Akers, he has an excellent opportunity due to the talent of the backs currently on the roster. I would expect Ronald Jones starts Week 1, but Vaughn could easily take this job and may already be better than Jones as a pass blocker. Of course, he's also older than Jones, so they have a very similar Dynasty value until someone wins this job.
Here are the rest of my updated post-draft Dynasty running backs: