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2024 Dynasty Football: Rookie Running Back Sleepers

Many dynasty GMs are excited about Jonathon Brooks‘s opportunity to take over the Carolina backfield from Chuba Hubbard, and Trey Benson has garnered some hype with the potential to usurp the 29-year-old James Conner in Arizona. There’s even been some buzz around Kimani Vidal playing alongside Gus Edwards in Los Angeles thanks to Fantasy Life’s Ian Hartitz, and many are projecting Ray Davis for an immediate role alongside James Cook in Buffalo.

Overall, the 2024 draft class doesn’t have any superstars at running back like it does at wide receiver. Still, there are a few rookie sleepers with incredibly high fantasy ceilings. And the best thing is that they’ll only cost a third-round rookie pick to draft or acquire via trade in most cases. Here are a few rookie sleepers to target at running back who could return far more production than expected, even in Year 1.

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2024 Rookie Sleepers: Running Back

Jaylen Wright – Miami Dolphins

At this point, the Dolphins might as well just sign the entire U.S. Olympic track team and call it a day. Jaylen Wright adds even more speed to an already-lightning fast Miami roster, having ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. However, the rookie is more than just speed. Wright was also a physical runner at Tennessee and capable in both pass-catching and pass protection, making him a versatile addition to the Dolphins’ backfield.

At a glance, Miami seems to have a crowded depth chart at running back, but Raheem Mostert is on just a one-year, $4 million extension. Wright could become the 1B or even 1A alongside De’Von Achane in 2025. The rookie also could see more immediate opportunity this coming season, as Mostert is 32 years old with an extensive injury history, and Achane is a smaller back who already missed some time as a rookie last year. It’s not crazy to think that Wright could be a potential league-winner in 2024 as one of the top rookie sleepers at running back. He’s generally available in the late second round of rookie drafts with comparable trade value.

Isaac Guerendo – San Francisco 49ers

Isaac Guerendo is a size-speed freak, having ran a 4.33 40-yard dash even at 221 lbs. Various injuries limited his playing time at Wisconsin, but Guerendo displayed a well-rounded skill set when he finally had a healthy season at Louisville last year. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry as a patient runner, broke some big plays with his speed, and powered in 11 touchdowns as a powerful runner in goal-line situations.

As with Wright above, it’s easy to take a quick look at the 49ers’ depth chart and see Christian McCaffrey as the clear lead back with Eli Mitchell and Jordan Mason as capable backups. But while McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in the league, he’ll also be 28 years old this season, a dreaded age cliff for the position. Mitchell and Mason’s contracts are both up after 2024 as well, and neither back has the full skillset or size to really take on McCaffrey’s full role. However, Guerendo could be a workhorse if McCaffrey were to miss time in 2024, and he could be the clear backup or even 1B to an aging McCaffrey in 2025.

Rasheen Ali – Baltimore Ravens

It might be a blessing in disguise for savvy dynasty GMs that Rasheen Ali suffered a ruptured bicep during the Senior Bowl in January. As a result, he was unable to do any athletic testing at the NFL Combine or Marshall’s pro day, but Ali’s athleticism is apparent from his film. He’s a decisive runner with excellent acceleration that allows him to break big plays, and Ali is also a capable receiver out of the backfield, having logged a college target share in the 81st percentile.

Rasheen Ali

Of course, the newly-signed Derrick Henry projects to see the bulk of the work in Baltimore’s backfield in 2024, but Ali has an opportunity to slot into the role that Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell operated in last year alongside Gus Edwards. Henry can be a receiver, but the Ravens often utilized their complementary back on passing downs in 2023, and Ali could be the perfect “lightning” to Henry’s “thunder”. Hill is a solid but unspectacular contributor, and while Mitchell flashed last season as a rookie, he’s rehabbing from a torn ACL and a former undrafted free agent with little job security. Ali is one of the cheapest rookie sleepers at running back despite having one of the best landing spots in an efficient Ravens offense.

Dylan Laube – Las Vegas Raiders

While Dylan Laube is an afterthought for many dynasty GMs after poor athletic testing at the NFL Combine, his receiving skills should keep him on the radar. Laube excelled as a mismatch in the passing game at New Hampshire, as he’s an agile back in space who can force missed tackles and create yards after the catch. While he may not offer spectacular production on the ground, he’s a patient runner who figures to be capable in a change-of-pace role.

That’s exactly what he could step into in Las Vegas as a complementary piece to Zamir White in the Raiders’ backfield. Although White is an adequate pass-catcher, he’s better suited for the early-down role as a powerful runner. And while the Raiders retained Alexander Mattison, he’s on just a small one-year, $2 million contract. Laube could see snaps as soon as Week 1 and be fantasy-relevant in a pass-catching role. Although the rookie is unlikely to be a league-winner, he can be a usable RB3 or flex. Plus, Laube is practically free to acquire in most dynasty leagues for a fourth-round rookie pick, making him one of the cheapest rookie sleepers right now.

For more fantasy football and NFL content, follow me on Twitter @FFA_Meng.

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