2024 Fantasy Football: Najee Harris, Zamir White, Gus Edwards Shine as NFL Draft RB Winners

2024 fantasy football RB winners of the NFL Draft.
These running backs could be low-cost league winners in 2024.

The volatility of the running back position is at an all-time high during the NFL Draft. Teams can find contract-controlled backs at a reduced price and dramatically change their backfield landscape over the course of a weekend. However, not every team decides to take a running back, and they decide to beef up their offensive line or add outside weapons to open up the run game.

Looking toward the 2024 fantasy football season, a crop of veteran backs got either a boost in positional confidence to avoid early-round competition or a surrounding talent upgrade to boost the run game.

MINIMAL POSITION COMPETITION

ZAMIR WHITE, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

While the Raiders don’t seem to have a great idea where their team is in the AFC West, Zamir White has established himself as the surefire leadback. Josh Jacobs left for Green Bay in free agency after holding down the position since 2019. Alexander Mattison signed with Las Vegas in the spring and should get touches, but he proved he’s not a lead back. Plus, the team only added pass-catching back Dylan Laube in the draft, who should not steal many carries from White.

Meanwhile, with Jacobs sidelined for the last four games of 2023, White averaged 114.3 yards from scrimmage in those contests. The total 2023 numbers aren’t eye-popping (104 carries for 451 yards and one score, 15 receptions for 98 yards), but the lack of draft capital used should point to White clearing 200 touches in 2024.

On day two, the team added top run-blocking guard Jackson Powers-Johnson to improve the offensive line. PFF ranked JPJ as the draft class’ No. 2 overall run-blocking interior lineman.

DEVIN SINGLETARY, NEW YORK GIANTS

Devin Singletary had quite a revitalization in Houston in 2023, with a career-high in carries (216) and rushing yards (898). He also added 193 yards through the air on 30 catches. These numbers aren’t earth-shattering, but it’s impressive behind the fact that he wasn’t the true leadback until Week 8.

Singletary signed a lucrative deal in New York to replace some of the production Saquon Barkley left behind. This three-year deal with a max payout of $19.5 million, paired with the fifth-round selection of Purdue RB Tyrone Tracy, proves significant trust in Singletary for at least the 2024 season.

The Giants hope that adding Malik Nabers and an improved defense will improve the team, benefiting only the veteran Singletary.

ISIAH PACHECO, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The defending champion Chiefs struck gold in the seventh round of the 2022 Draft with Isiah Pacheco and haven’t looked back regarding their RB room. Pacheco finished as a top-15 PPR back last season, even while missing three games. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back on a one-year deal but bears no threat to unseat Pacheco.

In the 2024 Draft, the Chiefs added a significant playmaker in WR Xavier Worthy, as well as a trio of offensive linemen headlined by OT Kingsley Suamataia. Worthy adds the much-needed vertical threat of pairing with Rashee Rice, Travis Kelce, and fellow newcomer Hollywood Brown. With an already great pass block win rate (1st in each of last two seasons), Kansas City has taken their already lethal offense and opened opportunities to make it even more balanced and explosive on the perimeter.

SURROUNDING TALENT BOOST

NAJEE HARRIS, PITTSBURGH STEELERS

This is not a sexy pick, I know. In 2023, Najee Harris seemed to lose his grip on the RB1 position in Pittsburgh to Jaylen Warren before scoring four of his eight touchdowns in the final three games.

New OC Arthur Smith, equally unsexy, has a dark cloud over him following three straight 7-10 finishes as HC of the Falcons. However, he has been a part of some bruising rushing attacks. The Titans averaged 153.5 YPG in his first two seasons in Tennessee, and he took the 2022 Falcons to 3rd in the league in rushing yards after a 31st overall finish the year before.

The Steelers have been lauded as draft winners last week, led by ferocious linemen Troy Fautanu, Zach Frazier, and Mason McCormick. They also selected Michigan’s Roman Wilson, one of the better-blocking wideouts.

Paired with an upgrade at quarterback by either Russell Wilson or Justin Fields, we should see Harris eclipse 250 touches easily and put his best foot forward in a contract year.

GUS EDWARDS, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

As a free agency signing part of the massive overhaul of the Chargers’ offense, Gus Edwards looks poised to benefit the most from HC Jim Harbaugh’s arrival. Following his signing, GM Joe Hortiz praised the veteran as the Chargers “bell cow.” The back should see a significant portion of goal-line carries and early down work.

Harbaugh has also been vocal about his intentions with this team. “I know the question is going to come up, ‘What about a weapon?’ Offensive linemen, we look at as weapons,” he said. “That group, when we talk about attacking on offense, the offensive line is the tip of the spear.”

No. 5 overall pick Joe Alt is the building block for this approach, lending credence to both Harbaugh’s and Horitz’s claims about the state of the offense. If the first-year head coach can create a Michigan-esque rushing attack in LA, Gus Edwards should be a high-value late-round addition come this fall. The team only added Troy RB Kimani Vidal in the sixth round to a running back room featuring Edwards, the oft-injured JK Dobbins, and Isaiah Spiller.

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