The 5 Best Rookie Running Back Seasons Over the Last Decade

Which running backs had the best rookie performances in the past 10 seasons according to advanced analytics?

Ten years ago, I was gearing up for a fantasy football draft, prepared to take a running back in the first two rounds. I planned on targeting running backs Tiki Barber and Willis McGahee in the first two rounds, and even Chester Taylor if he was there in Round 3. This sounds silly, right? For those of you who started fantasy football in recent years, running backs used to rule the draft.

On average, 11 of the top 12 picks in 2006 were running backs, according to My Fantasy League draft data. It got so crazy that players such as Lamont Jordan were drafted ahead of Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Marvin Harrison.

The fantasy football landscape sure has changed drastically over the past decade.

That doesn't mean that running backs are no longer vital to success. Over the past 10 years, there have even been some rookie running backs who were vital to fantasy football championship runs. I decided to take a look at some of the best using advanced analytics.

So, according to Total Net Expected Points (NEP), which combines a player's performance as a runner and a receiver and indicates how many points they added to their team, which five rookie running backs had the best debuts?