With the 2023 NFL Draft now in our rearview mirrors, we dynasty managers can focus on the road ahead as we prepare for the upcoming 2023 points-scoring season.
For those who fancy ourselves contenders in our leagues, it might mean making moves where we sacrifice future capital to add points to our 2023 lineups. For others, moving on from aging assets to acquire vital draft picks to rebuild for the future might make more sense.
Regardless of where our dynasty squads are in readiness, looking at this newly NFL-certified 2023 rookie class with the necessary context to make smart decisions regarding the future is vital.
Would Devon Achane have been a Top 5 RB if he were part of the 2022 class instead?
If I trade away Breece Hall for the 1.05 in my 2023 rookie draft, will I be able to draft a comparable talent at RB?
I’m considering punting on RB in my 2023 rookie draft, but does 2024 offer similar quality and depth as this year’s class?
In addition to answering the questions above, combining 2022, 2023, and 2024 classes and ranking the prospects together aims to provide dynasty managers with the context above as they propose and ponder trades and make moves towards advancing their project onward.
It’s not a perfect science, of course. In some respects, we are comparing apples to oranges when we’re ranking established NFL players against players who have just been drafted. And then we also add 2024 prospects who haven’t even started their final college football season yet. But despite that subjectivity and murkiness, having even an elementary understanding of how last year and next year fit into the big picture along with the present day, dynasty managers can use that data to make the best possible decisions for themselves and their teams.
Let us now take a look at our ’22-’24 Combine Class Dynasty Rankings at RB:
1. Bijan Robinson – Falcons (2023)
No surprise here at the top of our Combined Class Dynasty Rankings. Devy and dynasty managers have been waiting for Bijan for years now. He’s finally an NFL player and lands in a great situation with Arthur Smith and the run-heavy Falcons. Robinson will be the obvious focal point of that offense right away. Drake London and Kyle Pitts should provide enough ancillary weaponry to keep defenses from stacking the box too often. For more on Bijan, check out his rookie profile here.
2. Breece Hall – Jets (2022)
Even coming off a torn ACL, Hall ranked second overall in these Combined Class Dynasty Rankings. Hall is helped by the fact that his tear was relatively clean, unlike someone like Javonte Williams. Once healthy, he will return to an offense with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback. The combination of Hall’s talent and the Jets’ much-improved situation from a year ago is a big reason why he is second on this list.
3. Jahmyr Gibbs – Lions (2023)
The Lions shocked the dynasty world when they selected Gibbs 12th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Most of us expected a late first round, if not sometime in Round 2, for Gibbs. With that sort of draft capital, dynasty managers are almost forced now to include Gibbs among the elite RBs in dynasty. He is electric with the ball. He can run routes and create separation without the ball. Detroit is going to be very fun on offense this year. The presence of David Montgomery looms, but there should be more than enough work to go around.
4. TreVeyon Henderson – Ohio State (2024)
Henderson has lost much of his luster in devy leagues due to a disappointing 2022 season. Henderson played just eight games last year, amassing 571 rushing yards on 107 carries. And according to Henderson, much of that production came while he was playing through a foot injury for much of the season. Officially back and healthy in 2023, Henderson will look to bounce back and re-establish his NFL prospects. As raw talents, I’ll take Henderson over, who I have ranked at No. 5.
5. Raheim Sanders – Arkansas (2024)
Our second 2024 prospect comes in fifth in our Combined Class Dynasty Rankings. Sanders profiles as someone who might step into clear volume from Day 1. We won’t know if that is meant to become reality until the 2024 NFL Draft. Sanders has the talent and age to justify this top-five ranking. He is being touted as the RB1 in 2024 by many analysts. I still have Henderson as my 2024 RB1, but a lot can change as the 2023 CFB season progresses.
6. Trey Benson – Florida State (2024)
Don’t look now, but Benson is the third 2024 RB in my top seven Combined Class Dynasty Rankings! As we mentioned, with more teams going to two-back systems, betting on these 2024 backs is tempting. We all thought the likes of Kamara, Henry, Cook, and Mixon would give way to the plethora of RB talent in the 2023 class, but perhaps we were a year too early. There might be more “starting” RB jobs open heading into 2024. Benson himself is a favorite of mine. Perhaps being in the top six is a little too rich, but he’s got the eye-popping explosiveness and cutting ability to become a star.
7. Zach Charbonnet – Seahawks (2023)
Charbonnet had all but achieved consensus RB3 status before the 2023 NFL Draft. His dynasty stock took a huge tumble when the Seahawks selected him 52nd overall. The narrative is that Charbonnet and Kenneth (Kenny? Ken?) Walker will cannibalize each other’s volume and production, tanking their dynasty values. While this might be true, I still believe in Charbonnet’s well-rounded skill set over the long haul. He can do several things at a much higher level than Walker.
8. Braelon Allen – Wisconsin (2024)
When those unfamiliar with Allen’s game see that he weighs nearly 240 pounds, they think short-yardage tank. Sure, Allen can move a pile, but he’s also an asset as a receiver and laterally nimble for a big man. Allen finds himself in the top ten in our Combined Class Dynasty Rankings. Another thing to like about Allen is his age. He was born in January of 2004, so he will be just 20 years old when he takes an NFL field as a rookie. The upside with this kid is immense.
9. Dameon Pierce – Texans (2022)
Even if it’s not time for me to eat crow on Pierce, I am willing to preheat the oven at least. Pierce was a massive winner following free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. Only Devin Singletary stands in the way of elite volume for Pierce this season. Houston is not done with their rebuild, but they’ve behaved in a way that suggests they will give Pierce a chance to maintain a significant role for another couple of seasons.
10. Kenneth Walker – Seahawks (2022)
A month ago, Walker would have been squarely in the top three or four in these Combined Class Dynasty Rankings. He falls to No. 10 for me. It has more to do with how highly I think of Charbonnet, and perhaps that is unfair to Walker. Walker is a talented football carrier, but Charbonnet clears him in those all-important passing situations. It will be fascinating to see how these two backs split the workload in 2023.
11. Kendre Miller – Saints (2023)
It feels like I’m higher than the consensus on Miller. I will admit his situation has a lot to do with it. I did, however, have Miller ranked pre-draft in a large tier of landing-spot/draft-capital-dependent 2023 RBs. Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams are both entering their Age-28 seasons. Miller’s third-round draft capital is key. It is telling that the Saints took him that early with so many other needs. Miller runs violently at times, racking up impressive yards-after-contact numbers in college. That style should lead to a healthy early-down role, at the very least, early in his career.
12. Roschon Johnson – Bears (2023)
I am a self-proclaimed “Roschon truther.” Johnson backed up Bijan Robinson at Texas and parlayed that into a fourth-round selection by the Chicago Bears. Johnson is a bigger back, well-suited for a hefty workload, especially as the weather and playing surface devolve in the winter months. The murkiness of the backfield, including Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman, keeps Johnson ranked outside the top ten for now. He has an upside if he can establish himself in training camp and preseason.
13. Devon Achane – Dolphins (2023)
For as long as they exist on this planet, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson will have significant roles in either Mike McDaniel’s or Kyle Shanahan’s offenses. Achane got good draft capital and obviously can be an electric talent with the ball in his hands. However, anyone who thinks Achane has a path to bellcow volume just because he fits nicely in Miami’s scheme has not been paying attention. Achane will be used in various ways and likely will be a great real-life addition for the Dolphins. I believe he is destined to lack the consistent volume to escape the “boom or bust” label regarding his week-to-week fantasy production.
14. Donovan Edwards – Michigan (2024)
Edwards’ teammate Blake Corum probably gets a little more of the fanfare right now, but I think Edwards is way more suited to have NFL success. His vision and instincts are NFL-caliber. He’s an outstanding, maybe not freakish, athlete who can get to the edge and make plays with the ball in his hands. Edwards is also a capable blocker, so third-down work is in play at the next level. A lot will depend on how he plays in 2023, but I like his NFL future.
15. James Cook – Bills (2022)
Despite the hype, we haven’t seen it with our eyes with Cook yet. He’s only topped double-digit (PPR) fantasy points four times all season as a rookie. On ten separate occasions, he saw zero or only one target in the passing game. With Singletary gone now, theoretically, Cook may see more work, but now he has Damien Harris to contend with. I certainly think Cook is the running back to own in Buffalo, but temper your expectations because Harris will be plenty involved.
16. Tank Bigsby – Jaguars (2023)
Bigsby landed in Jacksonville behind Etienne, but many people think the two backs complement each other very well. I like Bigsby as a between-the-tackles runner. It’s not just his size and strength to move the pile. Bigsby also has very good vision, anticipation, and a knack for effectively gaining what’s blocked rather than losing a ton of yardage trying to play hero ball. He and Etienne will form a perfect thunder/lightning duo in Duvall.
17. Rachaad White – Buccaneers (2022)
We all rolled our eyes at White a few months ago when he publicly proclaimed himself “the guy” in Tampa Bay after Leonard Fournette was not brought back in free agency. Bijan, or one of the other hyped rookies, would surely join White in the Tampa RB room. But then… it never happened. The dust from the 2023 NFL Draft settled, and White found himself at the top of the depth chart. Only Chase Edmonds and Ke’Shawn Vaughn stand in his way. Ultimately, Tampa might be a potential summertime landing spot for any currently unemployed veteran RBs, but for now, White is the guy. He could secure a long-term job with a great 2023. Otherwise, Tampa seems like a potential 2024 early-round RB landing spot.
18. Will Shipley – Clemson (2024)
Shipley was a highly-touted recruit out of North Carolina. He was a five-star recruit and the No. 2 overall recruit in the nation, according to 247. At Clemson, he has amassed over 2,200 scrimmage yards and 26 touchdowns in just 24 games. He’s also caught 54 passes, which bodes well for his usefulness in the NFL as a pass-catcher. Shipley can be a sudden athlete with the ball, but a smallish frame and lack of impressive play strength might pigeonhole him as a change-of-pace type back at the next level. Still, his instincts and knack for setting up defenders should earn him a significant role in the league.
19. Isaiah Pacheco – Chiefs (2022)
Pacheco was another huge winner of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Chiefs did not add anything in the draft. They will bring back Jerrick McKinnon, but he and Pacheco had pretty defined roles by the end of 2022 and into the postseason. Pacheco will likely reprise his early-down role this year. And in the Kansas City Chiefs offense led by Jackson Mahomes’ brother, Pacheco should have a solid floor for those dynasty managers who need consistent points from the RB2 or Flex spots. Pacheco would be higher on this list if his draft capital inspired more dynasty confidence beyond 2023.
20. Tyjae Spears – Titans (2023)
I prefer my dynasty running backs to have both ACL’s, but the situation he finds himself in Tennessee — with Derrick Henry approaching his 30th birthday — is intriguing.
- MarShawn Lloyd – South Carolina (2024)
- Blake Corum – Michigan (2024)
- Brian Robinson – Commanders (2022)
- Miyan Williams – Ohio State (2024)
- Chase Brown – Bengals (2023)
- Tyler Algeier – Falcons (2022)
- Zach Evans – Rams (2023)
- Pierre Strong – Patriots (2022)
- Eric Gray – Giants (2023)
- Sean Tucker – Buccaneers (2023)
Edited by the Author: Removed Travis Etienne from this list because he was in the 2021 class. Apologies.
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