2023 Top 12 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs

2023 Top 12 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs

Fantasy Football

2023 Top 12 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Running Backs


Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is right around the corner which means dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts will be as well. TWSN will have you covered the whole way through with analysis of the prospects we’re most and least excited about in the 2023 class. Below are my 12 favorite fantasy football running backs in this year’s NFL Draft. This is one of the deepest classes in recent memory and should give some much needed young talent to the aging dynasty running back landscape.


1- Bijan Robinson – Texas

In the last 10 years, the only running back prospects better than Bijan Robinson were Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. Similar to them, he will enter the NFL as my dynasty RB1, regardless of the landing spot. Robinson has very few holes in his game, and tested in the 80th-percentile or above in every drill he participated in at the NFL Combine. Although he didn’t post a ton of receiving production in college, he’s a terrific pass catcher as well. The only small critique I have is his vision. Robinson can be indecisive at times, which causes him to get tackled near the line of scrimmage. 


2- Jahmyr Gibbs – Alabama

Jahmyr Gibbs is another strong pass catcher and is one of the fastest running backs in this class with a 4.36 40-yard dash. Although he didn’t receive a large rushing workload most of his career, that changed in the second half of 2022. There is concern about his size though, at 5’9, 199 pounds. Opportunity is the biggest driver of fantasy value for a running back. Players with similar size profiles have failed to get consistent volume in the past. He does have elite PPR upside; however, he will have to maximize his opportunities.


3- Zach Charbonnet – UCLA

Zach Charbonnet is one of the safest prospects in this class, with elite college production and an above-average athletic profile. He has ideal size, unlike many of the running backs in this class and should be ready to carry a large workload. Additionally, Charbonnet should have three-down upside, given he recorded 37 receptions for 321 yards as a junior. Although he lacks top-end speed and elusiveness, he should receive day two draft capital and has the experience to be a lead back right away. 


4- Israel Abanikanda – Pittsburgh

One of my favorite running backs in the 2023 rookie class, Israel Abanikanda is oozing with upside and is extremely athletic. He recently recorded a 40-yard dash at his Pittsburgh Pro-Day between 4.27-4.32. Unlike Devon Achane or Jahmyr Gibbs too, he also boasts a strong frame to go along with his speed. Abanikanda has the vision to find an opening quickly and is explosive in open space. He isn’t a strong pass catcher yet, but he is one of the youngest prospects in this class and has all the tools to develop in this area. 

5- Kendre Miller – TCU

Kendre Miller is one of the best pure rushers in this class, with 1,399 rushing yards this past season. He is extremely agile and has elite contact balance, running in between the tackles. The biggest concern regarding Miller’s profile is the knee injury that has prevented him from participating in athletic testing this offseason. We have seen this tank a prospect’s draft stock in the past, and he would fall in these rankings with day three draft capital. Regardless, he is another young running back with a strong combination of size and athleticism who could carry a large workload in the NFL. 


6- Roschon Johnson – Texas

Roshchon Johnson has had the misfortune of playing behind Bijan Robinson for the last three years at Texas and has never gotten a chance to show his full potential. Regardless, he is a jack of all trades with solid burst, vision, and tackle-breaking ability. Although Johnson didn’t produce significant receiving numbers in college, he is a great pass blocker, which should open doors. With his size, this is another back with three-down upside, although it’s uncertain how the NFL feels about him at this point. Johnson is a fantasy analyst darling whose spot in these rankings will be dependent on day two draft capital.


7- Devon Achane – Texas A&M

There isn’t a player in this class that is more fun to watch on film than Devon Achane. A former track star, he recorded a 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and is simply electric. Similar to Gibbs, he does have size concerns though, standing just 5’9, 188 pounds. A prospect’s play on the field is most important; however, history shows there aren’t many fantasy relevant players of his size. Nonetheless, Achane runs differently and is surprisingly productive in-between the tackles. He will be landing spot dependent and must excel in a 10-15 touch per game role.


8- Tank Bigsby – Auburn

Tank Bigsby was expected to be one of the first running backs selected in this draft class for a long time. However, after a fantastic rookie season, he never took that next step. The offense was a disaster these last few seasons at Auburn though, and the offensive line wasn’t very good. Bigsby isn’t a burner, but is extremely physically and tough to bring down. Although he does have some pass catching experience in college, Bigsby doesn’t project to be a significant contributor in this area at the NFL level.


9- Zach Evans – Ole Miss

While Zach Evans did transfer away from TCU, it wasn’t necessarily to get away from Kendre Miller. Before struggling with injuries midway through the 2021 season, he actually appeared to take the lead role. Regardless, Evans subsequently transferred to Mississippi State the following year where he once again took a back seat role to Quinshon Judkins. Despite that, he was extremely productive, totaling over 1,000 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. Evans boasts solid agility too and is capable of breaking big plays despite average numbers at the NFL Combine.


10- Sean Tucker – Syracuse

Sean Tucker is another player who hasn’t tested in athletic drills this offseason due to an undisclosed injury. This uncertainty is why he is lower in my rankings despite a prolific college profile. He is a good athlete though on tape, and is coming off a two-year stretch at Syracuse where he accumulated 2,556 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Despite 56 receptions and 509 receiving yards over that span, he isn’t a particularly great route runner and is a very poor pass blocker. I will be paying close attention to his draft capital, as he is a player who could swing into the top five of these rankings with day two draft capital.


11- Tyjae Spears – Tulane

Tyjae Spears had a terrific final season at Tulane, accumulating over 1,800 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns. This included eight straight 100-yard rushing performances to finish his career. Despite these accolades, Spears was being overlooked until he blew fantasy analysts away at the Senior Bowl. He does have an injury history though and isn’t a particularly strong pass catcher despite solid receiving numbers in college. Given his slighter frame. Spears isn’t likely to hear his name called until day three of the draft this month. 


12- Chase Brown – Illinois

An extremely productive player at Illinois, Chase Brown has plummeted in dynasty fantasy football rookie rankings this off-season after a disastrous Senior Bowl week. Fumbling and blocking issues were prevalent, and he isn’t likely to hear his name called early in the draft as a result. Nonetheless, Brown finished 2022 with nearly 1,900 all-purpose yards and is a terrific athlete (4.43 40-yard dash). He is a strong route runner as well and has the potential to be a workhorse in the NFL. The floor is bottomless though, if he can’t solve his fumbling issues.


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