Seriously Way Too Early 2024 Fantasy Football Rankings

Jan 3rd 2024

Hayden Winks

The only thing nerdier than reading a 2024 Fantasy Football Rankings column on January 3rd, 2024 is being the one who wrote it. But if this is what you sickos want, then we're going to cook something up. Of course, there aren't 2024 best ball drafts in the Underdog Fantasy lobby right now, we don't have any free agency insight yet, and we don't have a full list of NFL Draft declares (definitely the weakest part of my rankings fwiw). So if you're going to seriously complain about anything here, look inward. With that in mind, let's have some fun and start the discussion.

Way Too Early 2024 Fantasy Football Rankings

"2023 Finish" is based on my fantasy points over replacement per game using Underdog Fantasy's half PPR scoring. The entire list and methodology can be found here. I also have an offseason contracts primer here.

  1. Christian McCaffrey

  2. CeeDee Lamb - In his All Pro level breakout season, Lamb only trailed CMC, Kyren Williams, and Tyreek Hill in fantasy points over replacement per game. With Dak Prescott in his prime, healthy, and under contract, Lamb has the best environment for production amongst the fantasy elites. More importantly, Lamb is really damn good.

  3. Justin Jefferson - He had 170 routes with Kirk Cousins late in 2023. Jefferson averaged 2.9 yards on them, which would've only trailed Tyreek Hill, Nico Collins, and Brandon Aiyuk. Even if free agent Kirk Cousins isn't re-signed, missing significant time coming off a torn achilles, or isn't the same in general, Jefferson is such a monster that he'll still be an elite fantasy option. If Cousins is the same, Jefferson has a chance for 1.01 status.

  4. Breece Hall - Despite coming off a torn ACL, Hall led all RBs in PFF receiving grade (88.1), receptions (76), and receiving yards (591). At 6'1"/220 in a balanced offense without many other playmakers, Hall is now a rare breed in terms of projected volume. The "legendary season" potential is in sight because he's also good (and getting better). Hall wasn't as elusive last season due to his rehab but that should regress with a normal offseason incoming. Hall also wasn't as efficient because the OL sustained an outlier level of injuries but that should get addressed via the draft. Just picture this: Hall averaged 5.3 yards per carry when there wasn't a blown run block (8th best) but averaged just 0.2 yards per carry with a blown block (34th) per Sports Info Solutions. All we need is for the Jets to be normal (impossible).

  5. Bijan Robinson - It was a struggle to get to even 39th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game as a rookie, but things look more promising in year two. The Falcons OL should largely return, this time with a better QB and maybe a better play caller. Even if the scheme isn't a major upgrade from Arthur Smith, the new play caller will very likely use Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson less often. Bijan is very elusive and has Pro Bowl burst, if he can improve on his current weaknesses this offseason. Bijan was 39th out of 43 qualifiers in success rate on short-yardage runs and 21st in yards after contact on carries without a blown block, per Sports Info Solutions.

  6. Tyreek Hill - He heads into his age-30 season coming off a career-high 3.7 yards per route run, one of if not the highest of all time. Tyreek has finished 3rd and 8th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game since joining Mike McDaniel. That's the starting point of his projection, but it's worthing discussing what changes the Dolphins make after another disappointing December and January. Tua Tagovailoa has splits in weather, on the road, against opponents they've already faced, and simply late in the season. The concern would be if this very unique offense becomes more figured out in year three, assuming there isn't a sudden QB change. 2024 is the last year with guaranteed money on Tyreek's contract. It's now or never for Miami.

  7. Ja’Marr Chase - In games with Joe Burrow, Chase averaged 15.8 half PPR points per game in 2021, 16.4 in 2022, and 16.3 in 2023. That's consistent WR1 production when things are going as they should, though it hasn't quite reached the levels that Lamb (19.7 in 2023), Jefferson (17.9 in 2022), Hill (19.8 in 2023), or even St. Brown (17.0 in 2023) have reached.

  8. Amon-Ra St. Brown

  9. Puka Nacua - As a 5th rounder, Nacua went toe-to-toe with C.J. Stroud for Rookie of the Year honors after breaking a ton of rookie records, including receptions (105), receiving yards (1,486), 100+ yard games (8), and single-game playoff receiving yards (181). His 2.75 yards per route run were only matched by Odell Beckham's rookie season. On tape, Nacua is a modern unicorn. His physicality is elite after the catch and more importantly an ideal fit for Matthew Stafford's elite ability to throw over the middle and to the backside. But don't sell him short as big plodder. There were 12 WRs with over 5.9 yards after the catch, but only Nacua also had more than 8 contested catches ... and he had 15 of them per PFF. Every bit of this season seems sticky, so hopefully our league mates don't respect his true greatness. Nacua was 14th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game, not including his record-breaking 9-181-1 Wild Card performance.

  10. Kyren Williams - He ran away with the Rams' job because he's trusted in pass protection and can run duo effectively. Those traits aren't flashy, but they're valuable to Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford. That's likely all we need to run it back. Kyren had 16+ half PPR points in 9-of-13 healthy games, leading to a 2nd overall finish in fantasy points over replacement per game. The downside cases are his 5'9"/194 size, former 5th-round draft capital, and his big-play negatives (3 fumbles and 5 drops). McVay can live with those mistakes if Kyren can repeat as the RB7 in yards after contact per carry again.

  11. Jahmyr Gibbs

  12. Jonathan Taylor - This isn't how #math works, but if we took the top weekly score between Taylor and Zack Moss last season, that Colts starter would've averaged 16.2 half PPR points. Only CMC, Kyren Williams, and Raheem Mostert averaged more at the position. Indianapolis has found a stud in HC Shane Steichen and they may have a stud QB in waiting to take the offense to another level. Taylor also could get back to his hold self after disappointing 2022 and 2023 seasons while playing through ankle injuries. As a reminder, Taylor had a 15+ yard carry on 7% of his runs back in 2021. That's been down at 3.5% ever since.

  13. A.J. Brown - His yards after the catch regressed by 1.8 per catch and his TDs dropped by 4, but Brown swapped in outlier efficiency for more overall volume thanks to the Eagles' awful defense. Both avenues work for fantasy purposes. He finished 13th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game in 2023 after being 18th in 2022. Very much in the prime of his career, as is Jalen Hurts, Brown is as safe as they come, especially if Philly addresses their play calling against the blitz.

  14. Nico Collins - Two WRs had a better PFF grade than Collins - Tyreek and Aiyuk. The former Round 3 draft capital and the slow start to his NFL career make this aggressive ranking risky, but Collins is very real to me. He's massive (6'4"/215) yet only trailed Rashee Rice in yards after the catch because he has real burst and broke 21 tackles (!!!) on 86 catches, by far the best rate among WRs. Equally important, Collins operates deep over the middle with a super star QB that targets that area of the field at outlier levels with OC Bobby Slowic operating in a valuable 2-WR route combination play-action system. Collins was half PPR's 20th overall player, not including Week 18's 9-195-1 and the Wild Card's 6-96-1 receiving lines.

  15. Garrett Wilson - Among WRs with an average depth of target under 11.0 yards downfield, Wilson's 78% catchable ball rate was the lowest in the NFL per Sports Info Solutions. In other words, Wilson was hurt by bad QB more than any WR last season. Good news: Aaron Rodgers should be back with a healthier offensive line. Better QB play is simply all Wilson needs to be a fantasy WR1. He was 4th in targets last season and has a fantastic overall skillset, somewhat similar to Stefan Diggs.

  16. Saquon Barkley - He's already heading into his age-27 after being repeatedly wasted with the Giants. New York could apply the $12M franchise tag on Barkley again but it's slightly more expensive this time around and it didn't move the needle last season. The hope is Barkley hits true free agency for the first time in his career and he can land in a positive environment (perhaps DeMeco Ryans and Bobby Slowic want to find their version of the Niners' CMC). If so, Barkley still has enough left in the tank to be an elite fantasy player. He's finished 26th and 10th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game since his injury. I've split the difference here.

  17. Marvin Harrison - The Ohio State super star has "generational prospect" potential pending NFL Combine results. He averaged 101 total yards in his 25 games as a true sophomore and true junior, and Harrison stands at 6'3"/205. That's notably larger than his Hall of Fame father. Current projections have his most likely landing spots with the Cardinals (4th overall pick), Patriots (3rd), or Chargers (5th), so 2-of-3 are really strong landing spots.

  18. D.J. Moore - Consider this a starting point because the Bears have multiple things to address, starting with OC and QB. Chicago will likely find an upgrade at play caller before likely drafting Caleb Williams 1st overall. Williams spreads the ball around more than Justin Fields does, but Williams is a better overall player with more accuracy in my opinion. You can watch Caleb's best plays here. If things even out, Moore was 16th in fantasy points over replacement per game in 2023. It'll be hard to replicate his 5 TDs of over 20 yards.

  19. Josh Allen

  20. Isiah Pacheco

  21. Deebo Samuel

  22. Malik Nabers

  23. Rashee Rice

  24. Brandon Aiyuk

  25. Chris Olave

  26. De’Von Achane - His 5'9"/188 stature will always scare me, especially after missing time with various ailments on tackles as a rookie, but Achane is a match made in heaven with Mike McDaniel. He had 21+ half PPR points in 5-of-10 healthy games as a best ball stud. In fact, Achane was 5th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game using Underdog Fantasy scoring. Raheem Mostert, who finished 6th overall in the same metric, is under contract for his age-32 season. Hopefully another member isn't introduced to the backfield. That's certainly possible after the Dolphins' RBs ranked 29th in yards after contact per carry on short-yardage plays per Sports Info Solutions.

  27. Mike Evans

  28. Stefon Diggs

  29. Jalen Hurts - The Eagles desperately missed ex-OC Shane Steichen who had the Colts playing very well in 2023, particularly with answers against the blitz where he ranked 26th out of 29 QBs in EPA per dropback against 6+ pass rushers and he faced it at the highest rate in the NFL by far, per Sports Info Solutions. Until Hurts can navigate that tendency, he's stuck as a Tier 2-3 QB in real life and he'll have to find answers without future Hall of Fame C Jason Kelce next time around. The good news is he should be healthier next year (his scrambling averaged a full yard less per carry in 2023), and he has his top-3 pass catchers under contract. Hurts has been the 38th and 11th overall fantasy player since the A.J. Brown trade.

  30. Davante Adams - A quarterback upgrade is in order but will be hard to find. Justin Fields, Russell Wilson, or a non-elite rookie prospect will move the needle only so much, even if Adams clearly has some juice going into his age-31 season after ranking 33rd overall in fantasy points over replacement last year. Perhaps two causes for concern are his missed tackles per catch was cut in half and his PFF grade (79.1) was the lowest it's been since 2016. By the way, an Adams trade is possible but would be very unfriendly to the Raiders' salary cap.

  31. DK Metcalf

  32. Michael Pittman - He's technically a free agent, but with the franchise tag available, Pittman is extremely likely back with the Colts after finishing as the 42nd overall player in half PPR per game scoring. We learned that HC Shane Steichen has the juice as a play caller, including a No. 3 ranking in plays per minute. In terms of per dropback numbers including accuracy, Gardner Minshew and Anthony Richardson were nearly identical, but there's room for upside now with Richardson heading into year two attached to Steichen. Pittman's consistency isn't going anywhere because of an elite level of first-read targets in the Colts' RPO offense.

  33. Tank Dell - Attached to future MVP candidate C.J. Stroud for their entire rookie contracts, Dell has obvious paths to mega seasons after breaking out immediately. He played 8 games with 60% snaps. He averaged 16.2 half PPR points with at least 14.7 in 6-of-8, leading to a 22nd overall per-game finish. Whew. His speed and route creativity are beautifully aligned with Stroud's downfield aggressiveness and truly elite accuracy. The things we are sweating at this point are Dell's return from a fractured fibula, play-caller Bobby Slowic's head coach candidacy, and the Texans' roster flexibility with the potential to add more weapons.

  34. Keenan Allen - With the Chargers retooling, the 32-year-old will at least be mentioned in trade scenarios after last season's 2.4 yards per route run average. It's more likely that Mike Williams is gone with a potential pass-catching replacement coming in Round 1 or Round 2, but this price includes a fair adjustment for the dangerous age cliff. Allen was 7th overall in 2023 after ranking 31st overall with Big Mike alongside him in 2022.

  35. Travis Etienne - There's a disconnect between his previous fantasy value and how the Jaguars may want to utilize him moving forward. Etienne has finished 11th and 48th overall fantasy points over replacement per game as Trevor Lawrence's compliment, but the Jaguars missed the playoffs partially because of their ground game. They were 29th in rushing EPA per carry and 24th in short-yardage success rate. Rookie Tank Bigsby wasn't able to earn the power role but do the Jaguars try to upgrade the power rushing spot again? It's possible after Etienne led the NFL in power runs (143 attempts with the next closest RB at 118), but he was 32nd out of 38 qualifiers in success rate (35%) on them. In the meantime, Etienne's explosive plays are ideal for the best ball format.

  36. Rachaad White

  37. James Cook

  38. Sam LaPorta

  39. Drake London

  40. DeVonta Smith

  41. Amari Cooper - Still somehow underrated, Cooper has finished 27th and 33rd overall in fantasy points over replacement per game. Unfortunately, he's been at his best without Deshaun Watson, who very likely returns to the starting lineup given his guaranteed $64M cap hit for the next 3 seasons. Cooper has averaged 17.4 half PPR points in 5 games with Joe Flacco, 13.6 in 11 games with Jacoby Brissett, and 12.1 in 11 games with Deshaun. Can Kevin Stefanski get Deshaun to play in his style offense? That's the ultimate Round 3-4 question, particularly in Cooper's age-30 season.

  42. Tee Higgins

  43. Jaylen Waddle

  44. Cooper Kupp

  45. Lamar Jackson

  46. Patrick Mahomes

  47. Mark Andrews

  48. Derrick Henry - I think the 29-year-old free agent still has some juice. On his carries without a block block per Sports Info Solutions, Henry was 2nd in yards after contract per carry out of 41 qualifiers. On plays with a blown block, he was 11th. He'll spend free agency looking for playoff contenders with RB openings, like the Ravens, Cowboys, Eagles, Texans, Chargers, and others. Henry has been the 23rd and 4th overall fantasy player in his most recent seasons.

Intros To The Rest Of The 2024 Rookie Class

QB Caleb Williams - It's extremely rare to find his combination of scrambling and arm talent. He can throw it 65 yards in the air with his feet set but maybe more impressive is his arm strength on the run. Stylistically, Williams does play like Mahomes. The difference Williams is more prone to the negative play, whether that's an in-pocket fumble or just a classic sack. I'll be surprised if he's not the first overall pick, particularly to the Bears. To me, he's a better prospect than Trevor Lawrence.

QB Drake Maye - He ideal size, athletic ability, and arm strength. The Josh Allen comparisons are rich, but it's stylistically accurate. He scrambles for first downs at elite rates and can be featured with designed runs in short yardage. That's probably his best trait right now. That said, Maye was shockingly inaccurate at times and generally underwhelmed in 2023 with a very mediocre supporting cast. He can make all types of throws, just without consistency right now and without the rare arm strength that Allen or Justin Herbert have. Some grooming is necessary but the development is worth tapping into.

QB Jayden Daniels - The rushing juice is insane, if not all time in terms of production. He's a tier below Lamar Jackson in raw speed and ability to dodge massive hits, but Daniels instantly is a fantasy football cheat code when he wins a starting job. Daniels threw a ton of slot fades to elite talent at LSU, racking up historic EPA totals during his Heisman campaign. The caveat is he did so as an older prospect and he didn't stick in the pocket like some other mobile quarterbacks in recent classes. Daniels likely lands in the 2nd to 12th overall range in the NFL Draft.

QB J.J. McCarthy - Michigan won a ton of games despite many pass attempts. In general, that's a bad sign for McCarthy but Michigan's rushing offense and defense were very good! When McCarthy was asked to make a play, he often did, including on third down throws and as a scrambler. He's a very good athlete with a variety of designed rushing attempts and plenty of throws on the run. He also had to go under center, run play action, and throw over the middle, which the Shanahan tree types will certainly be attracted to. Where he lacks sauce is with his pure arm strength. He can whip throws in but doesn't have the strength to put any loft on intermediate and deep passes. If that improves (he was only 20 years old with room on his frame to put on weight), I can see things really clicking. Don't be surprised if he's a top-20 overall pick.

TE Brock Bowers - Possibly a top-5 overall selection, Bowers has rare size, athleticism, and production out of Georgia. The offense made him the focal point, particularly in the screen game and out in the flats where his rare yards after the catch ability shines. He can break tackles and straight up avoid them altogether. Bowers is physical for a player with his finesse, meaning he'll play on almost all downs. There is 100-catch season potential as OC's will manufacture easy receptions to take advantage of his agility and speed. While both are phenomenal prospects, Bowers and Kyle Pitts basically don't play the same position. Pitts was a downfield target. Bowers, underneath and over the middle.

TE Ja'Tavion Sanders - A traditional inline TE out of Texans, Sanders made some wow catches in contested situations primarily from a one-point stance. He ran most of his routes up the seam or on crossers, rather than being utilized in the screen game or out in the flats. He has big-play athleticism after the catch once his speed is built up. Sanders is a bit raw in general but had two very productive seasons before declaring early. He seems like a 2nd rounder and rookie starter.

WR Malik Nabers - Outrageously explosive. I have him as a top-5 overall prospect, easily. Nabers can also run real intermediate routes, including against press man coverage. While not quite as big as A.J. Brown, Nabers still offers the bounce off of tackles while running after the catch. He'll be a WR1 from Day 1.

WR Rome Odunze - A highly productive outside WR from Washington, who has the size and athletic profile of a top target in the NFL. Odunze is very tough, making him a menace at the catch point in contested situations (75% in 2023 per PFF). He won repeatedly on slot fades and with double moves from the perimeter to set up jump balls. He didn't look like an elite speedster and was quite reliant on these jump balls to create splash plays, so a DeAndre Hopkins upside comp is appropriate. The senior year declare combined with his regressable contested catch rate are reasons for some pause. He'll be a top-16 pick most likely, perhaps as high as 6th overall to the Giants.

WR Brian Thomas Jr. - He's a vertical WR with more size (6'4"/215) than most of this profile. Don't be surprised if he's one of the best athletes at the NFL Combine and falls into the late Round 1 range that could tie him to the likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Trevor Lawrence. Thomas had some nice yards after catch reps underneath and even had some nice bend on intermediate routes at times. That's exciting.

WR Ladd McConkey - He's not a slot WR. He constantly won on the perimeter, on intermediate and deep routes, and played with a lot of physicality for Georgia. The injuries could hold him out of Round 1, but McConkey does everything that a 80-reception WR in the NFL does. His yards after catch on screens caught defenders by surprise (sneaky athlete alert) and he does win on double moves, posts, and go balls with admirable speed. I'm a fan on initial watch, as is ESPN's Field Yates who called him a Round 1 player.

WR Troy Franklin - The speed is real. The lack of size is also real. Franklin is taller than Tank Dell and maybe doesn't have the lateral ability of the rookie star, but I'd like Franklin in that Tank Dell role; Play action deep shots using go balls, posts, and deep crossers to utilize his difference-making athletic ability. Hopefully he lands with a QB that can throw downfield because he's a Better In Best Ball candidate. Like others of the mold, Franklin had some untimely drops (10% per PFF).

WR Roman Wilson - A true slot receiver, I wouldn't be surprised if Wilson goes earlier than expected despite a mediocre statistical profile in Michigan's run-first offense. Wilson is tough and athletic enough to be used in many ways, including with pre-snap in motion. At a far less clip, Wilson was used in Amon-Ra St. Brown ways at a very similar size profile. Hopefully he goes to an offensive coordinator that can use him like a chess piece. He's simply a good player. 78% of his catchable targets went for first downs in 2023. That's spicy.

WR Keon Coleman - It was a collegiate career filled with what ifs and poor QB play, but Coleman at least has the size and big catch ability to suggest there's an upside to chase. Coleman wins on jump fades, double moves, and in contested catch situations. He just didn't showcase the rest of the route tree during his time at Michigan State and Florida State. If he's better than expected on slants and digs, then we have a George Pickens type of player (though I thought Pickens had more straight line speed). His 1.7 yards per route run and 7% first down per route rate suggest the odds are slightly against him.

WR Ja'Lynn Polk - The sidekick to Odunze at Washington, Polk also won with physicality and solid route running. He didn't show an elite trait but can do a variety of things on the perimeter, including win on some jump balls and back shoulders. Polk is a Josh Palmer type in Round 2.

WR Jermaine Burton - There's speed to work with here. At Alabama, Burton worked as an outside deep threat (20.2 aDOT) featuring on go balls, posts, and sometimes on back shoulder fades. For a pure speedster, Burton has some lower-half size, allowing him to play through some contact. There weren't many YAC opportunities in the offense (few screens and accurate over-the-middle targets), but there's a chance there's more on the table in a more pass-heavy offense. He's a sleeper to me with a perfect drop rate in 2023 and a personality edge to him.

WR Adonai Mitchell - He was able to do a lot of different things at Texas, including an enormous compilation of double moves. Mitchell slipped at the top of his routes more than we'd like, but he at least is a fairly physical player with quality ball tracking. He has a first gear, not a second. In general, there wasn't a standout trait I could point to, but Mitchell is a classic X receiver prospect with physicality. He had a below-average 1.7 yards per route run and 9% first down per route rate.

WR Xavier Worthy - He's small and unfortunately plays like it (5-of-21 contested catches) whenever asked to run slants or other short-intermediate routes. Worthy made some plays on screens but didn't look like the rare athlete necessary to overcome for his lack of size. He'll be loved by the analytics community for his age and production, however. I see him as a rotational deep threat in 3-WR sets.

WR Xavier Legette - A QB in high school, Legette wasn't a WR starter until his 5th season at South Carolina, though he at least was a prolific kick returner while developing. It's a losing strategy to bet on super late declares like Legette, but he at least has the juice and size on tape. Legette was a yards after catch stud, was able to win on jump balls, and even flashed with some route running intermediate, particularly on digs and and curls. The Senior Bowl and NFL Combine will be big for him as he continues to climb draft boards. I liked his tape more than I did with Terrace Marshall, Jonathan Mingo, Cedric Tillman, and other Round 2 types. The ceiling is intriguing, but he really needs to work on his ball tracking ability.

WR Ricky Pearsall - He's an inside or outside undersized receiver that's truly silky smooth as a route runner. Pearsall can beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage and can work downfield because his tempo toys with defenders. There's just enough burst to have a chance at the next level, but the margins are thin because of his small frame. There's a chance a full-time pivot to the slot is on the table.

WR Malachi Corley - The Deebo Samuel comparisons are real rich to me. Corley faced weak competition and ran a bunch of Mickey Mouse routes (5.5 aDOT), featuring whip routes, screens, and double moves. There are few NFL reps on his tape and I didn't see the Deebo yards after catch ability despite a few highlight truck sticks. I'd be surprised if he was a full-time player as a rookie, especially considering he was in the slot on 86% of his routes.

WR Devontez Walker - He's an Alec Pierce type who can primarily play on a straight line only. I was underwhelmed on my first watch of his because of his lack of bend and tendency to play into contact at the catch point. Walker had an absurd 18.2 aDOT, probably because he can't run underneath routes at a high level.

WR Tahj Washington - He's a vertical slot option out of USC with quality speed but a complete lack of size. Washington was stuffed in the screen game on occasion and likely can't be a full-time player in the NFL. He can be a nice rotational big play threat in 3-WR sets. He's limited in nature, even if he has the speed and reliable hands to be in the mix.

WR Brenden Rice - Yes, he's the son of Jerry Rice. No, he doesn't have the juice like him. Brenden invites contact because of a lack of separation due to below-average speed. He does have a nice catch radius with plenty of size. He's just not a separator.

RB Jonathan Brooks - He's a potential bellcow back with the straight-line explosiveness, soft hands, and pass protection ability to be a high snap player. Brooks had multiple big runs thanks to his impressive cutback vision and quality long speed. He's an upright runner who can stride out but can also be chopped down. His lateral ability and pad level are his biggest knocks, assuming his torn ACL rehab continues to look okay; Shrine Bowl director of football ops Eric Galko believes Brooks will be ready in time for his rookie season. He was used in the flats as a receiver with multiple one-handed grabs and can stay on the field in passing situations because of his very strong pass protection. Brooks can key onto blitzers and stick his shoulder in there. He could slide into Round 3 because of injury, but Brooks is a classic Round 2 RB prospect.

RB Trey Benson - He's built like an NFL running back with a massive lower half that generates a ton of burst for a 223-pounder. Benson didn't get the complete bellcow workload at Florida State, but he impressed whenever given opportunities. He had multiple 50 yard scores, some on runs to the perimeter, some on runs up the middle, and some in the screen game. Benson has more power (and power run experience) than most big play RBs, giving him plenty of NFL upside. He was a liability in pass protection because of his blitz diagnosing and he had a few careless drops out in the route, but Benson, an early declare, is worth developing after averaging 6.1 YPC in the Power 5.

RB Braelon Allen - Drafting young, early declares (and Wisconsin RBs) has been a winning strategy, and Allen checks those boxes. He was an absolute workhorse in different styled offenses. His 238-pound frame suggests he's a downhill-only rusher, which he was before 2023, but Allen was put in shotgun on 99% of his junior season carries, many of which were pointed to the perimeter. Allen has fantastic vision and power. He has just enough burst to get to the 2nd level, though he doesn't quite have the Derrick Henry long speed. Allen caught 28 passes but almost all were quick throws to the flats or tiny flicks within the backfield. It's not his strength. His biggest weakness (by far) is his pass protection. I truly couldn't believe how bad he was at it for a player of his size. Allen resembles A.J. Dillon in some ways, though I think Allen runs harder with better vision.

RB Marshawn Lloyd - Playing at both the fake (South Carolina) and real (Southern California) USCs, Lloyd operated as a violent downhill rusher in a primarily gap system out of shotgun. He can be patient, then burst up field before finishing runs with plenty of power. His size and speed are impressive, as his sweet cutting ability. He can get in trouble in two ways that'll require development to fix: fumbles and bouncing runs outside. Lloyd is a big play merchant in good and bad ways. He's inexperienced in pass protection with the size to hold up when asked to stay in, but Lloyd is probably destined for an early down role in the NFL. With better poise, Lloyd has starter ability.

RB Audric Estime - Power. He had a lot of experience running under center at Notre Dame, and his skill set certainly matches it. Estime is a no non-sense player who finishes runs with a low pad level. After staying patient early on, he can maneuver in tight spaces with some high knees and bounce off contact with nice balance, making him a fine short-yardage option. There just might not be enough juice, open-space agility, or pass-game involvement to be more than that. The good news is power runs are swinging back in favor in the NFL (see: Kyren Williams).

RB Bucky Irving - We have another addition to Short King SZN, but Oregon did use him on power runs as their lead back. He has a versatile profile because he ran with a little more pop than what his size would indicate. Irving's value likely lies in the pass game, however, where he ran real routes and has the shiftiness to beat second level defenders in open space. In fact, he led college football RBs in receptions, though he is a near zero in pass protection due to a lack of mass. Tyjae Spears is a reasonable starting point for comps.

RB Ray Davis - He played at three programs (Temple, Vanderbilt, Kentucky), allowing him to establish a well-rounded skillset. Davis has a stocky, low-centered build that creates a powerful, downhill running style. He's not overly shifty, but he's a reliable runner who can hold his own on passing downs (33 super senior receptions). There wasn't a standout trait on my first watch.

Blake Corum - He benefited from a very strong scheme and offensive line at Michigan, scoring 27 touchdowns as a senior after a knee injury late in his junior season. Corum's long speed concerns didn't hold him back as a short-yardage runner with a very low pad level (5'8"/213). He's not going to break many tackles in the open field and can't break off the long run often, but he has the requisite vision to be a downhill compliment as long as his injury scans are clean.