Looking at Rookie RB

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by Eric Stashin
We are two weeks into the season and we have four rookie RB’s who have gotten off to very good starts.  Despite it being very early, they are all on pace to reach 1,000 yards this season.  Let’s take a look at their performances and the chances of them continuing their torrid pace:

  • Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – Through the first two games of the season, he has carried the ball 46 times for 215 yards and 1 TD.  Add in 6 catches for 39 yards and it really has been a nice start to his NFL career.   While the Bears have some other backs who could cut into his carries in Kevin Jones and Adrian Peterson, the way he has started it appears highly unlikely that they are going to slow him down.  He was a gamble prior to the season, but thus far he appears to be a great one.  I don’t expect him to rush for 100 yards every week, but a 1,200 yard season certainly would appear to be realistic.
  • Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – He got all the hype of the rookie running backs, and thus far it appears to be completely justified.  He’s carried the ball just 30 times thus far for 210 yards and 1 TD.  That’s an average of 7.0 yards/carry, buoyed by 4 runs of 20 yards or more, which actually is the most in the NFL.  He went early in many drafts as people hoped to be cashing in on the next Adrian Peterson, and not only is he going to be given the opportunity, but he may actually be able to accomplish it.  Of course, the two fumbles are a cause for concern, but when you are eating up yards at this type of clip, it’s something that can be overlooked for now.  I would be shocked if he isn’t the rookie rushing leader within weeks, and certainly at the end of the season.  Use him in all formats.
  • Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – He’s gotten off to a great start, rushing for 202 yards on 34 carries.  With LenDale White on the roster though, I just don’t see him being more then a part-time back, and one that certainly will lose vulture TD’s.  As it is, White as 2 TD this season, with Johnson not yet finding the end zone on the ground.  That’s a trend that certainly should continue this season, limiting Johnson’s value moving forward.  He is a good back, and certainly a useful one, but I wouldn’t be looking towards him to be your top back week in and week out.  The loss of potential TD’s is the major cause for concern.  He could make up for it by making plays in the passing game, as he does have 5 catches for 46 yards and 1 TD, but that’s just not something I’m willing to count on.  He’s worth owning, for sure, but I wouldn’t be depending on him as one of your main backs.
  • Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – He is barely projected out to reach 1,000 yards this season, with 130 on 24 carries over the first 2 weeks of the year.  Honestly, I would be shocked if he did finish the year eclipsing 1,000 yards, with DeAngelo Williams (29 carries for 117 yards) there to share carries with him.  The difference between he and Johnson is that he is the one scoring the TD’s, with 2 already this season, with Williams not yet finding the end zone.  If that is going to continue, I would see him as having more value then Johnson moving forward, even though he is going to probably rush for a few less yards.

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