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2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football: Rookie Running Back Prospects You're Too Low On

Maryland running back Roman Hemby
Maryland Terrapins running back Roman Hemby (24) runs by Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Kobe King (41) to score a second half touchdown at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we covered three 2024 running back prospects with optimistic outlooks. This week, we'll examine more of this year's running back prospects on whom the data and metrics make me feel similarly. Just a note: The 2024 running back prospects may not match up to the high-end group from the past two seasons.

Using a similar formula, the top-scoring running back in the 2024 class from my spreadsheet would be RB16 Frank Gore Jr. in between Tyrion Davis-Price and Ty Chandler. That doesn't mean we should overlook the 2024 class; instead, we could find hidden gems and undervalued options.

Like other data inputs and filters, we can use this information as a starting point to dive deeper into each player's profile. With that, we'll point out the pros and cons of four potentially undervalued running back prospects based on the metrics.

4 Undervalued RB Prospects

USC running back MarShawn Lloyd
USC Trojans running back MarShawn Lloyd (0) runs during the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports)

MarShawn Lloyd, RB, USC

From a production standpoint, MarShawn Lloyd's 17 percent running back dominator doesn't stand out. Lloyd transferred to USC from South Carolina and produced better numbers as a rusher as the lead running back for the Trojans. Unfortunately, Lloyd hardly factored into the passing game with a 5.4 percent receiving yardage market share (2023) after an 8.0 percent one in 2022.

Where we start to drool over Lloyd comes via his elite rushing advanced metrics — he had 4.2 yards after contact per attempt (No. 3) and a 37.1 percent broken plus missed tackle rate (No. 2 among 200 qualified college running backs). Not surprisingly, in the 2024 class, Lloyd ranked first in yards after contact and second in the rate of broken plus missed tackles. When we see elite numbers like that, it typically indicates the player is explosive, which can be seen on film, too. 

Way Too Early 2024 Outlook

If Lloyd had a heavier workload, it would be reasonable to expect his yards after contact and broken/missed tackle numbers to dip. However, he posted elite-level rates of broken and missed tackles. Since 2016, only Devin Singletary (42.2 percent), Kareem Hunt (41.2 percent), Malcolm Perry (39.8 percent), David Montgomery (39.5 percent), James Butler (36.5 percent) and Terion Stewart (50.8 percent) had a higher broken plus missed tackle rate in a collegiate season. 

Singletary and Montgomery ranked in the top 10 in broken plus missed tackle rate twice among all running backs since 2016, as seen above. Though Lloyd didn't have Singletary's workload, there's some of Singletary's shiftiness and elusiveness in Lloyd's profile. Lloyd projects to be a Day 3 selection, with some mock drafts having him going on Day 2.

It wouldn't surprise me if Lloyd's draft stock continued to rise. 

Georgia running back Kendall Milton
Georgia Bulldogs running back Kendall Milton (2) rushes the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half in the 2023 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)

Kendall Milton, RB, Georgia

The trend of productive NFL running backs coming out of Georgia looks to continue with Kendall Milton. Since 2010, there have been five running backs from Georgia in the top 75 draft picks, including Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, James Cook, Todd Gurley and D'Andre Swift. Only Zamir White went outside the top 75 picks as a former Bulldog. 

We shouldn't overreact to Milton's collegiate production because the Bulldogs use multiple running backs in their system. As a junior, Milton shared the backfield with Kenny McIntosh and Daijun Edwards. Then Milton saw his production improve as a senior while sharing the touches with Edwards. 

Where Milton pops is in his ridiculous rushing advanced metrics. Among all college running backs, Milton ranks tied for 14th in broken plus missed tackle rate at 28.1 percent, as seen below.

Milton also ranks tied for sixth in yards after contact per attempt, with only 11.6 percent of his rushes going for zero or fewer yards (No. 23). That all indicates Milton fights for yards after contact while breaking and evading tackles, which typically translates to the NFL. A few notable NFL running backs who posted similar YAC/Att and broken plus missed tackle rates in college include Bijan Robinson (twice), Keaton Mitchell, Kenneth Walker III, Zach Charbonnet, Breece Hall, Kyren Williams and Brian Robinson. 

Way Too Early 2024 Outlook

In the Orange Bowl, Milton flashed explosiveness with nine carries for 104 rushing yards and two scores. He's an efficient rusher who scores touchdowns. That's evident in his 9.7 percent rushing touchdown share as a junior, with 34.5 percent of the team's rushing scores as a senior.

Though Milton doesn't pop off the page in the rushing market share numbers, he showed near-elite advanced metrics. The early mock drafts have Milton as a Day 3 selection, but expect his draft stock to rise as we head toward the NFL Draft, especially because he likely smashes the workout metrics at the NFL Combine. 

Maryland logo Roman Hemby, RB, Maryland

As a sophomore, Roman Hemby had 188 carries, 989 rushing yards and 10 rushing scores. Hemby's production fell as a junior: 142 rushes, 680 yards and four rushing touchdowns. As a junior in 2023, Hembry averaged 3.4 yards after contact per attempt (No. 34) with an average broken plus missed tackle rate of 17.6 percent (No. 107). 

Though Hemby's rushing metrics don't wow us, he pops as a receiver. Hemby posted a 9.0 percent receiving yard market share in 2022, improving to 9.6 percent in 2023. The table below shows the running back leaders sorted by targets among the college running backs in 2023.

His receiving market share trails Blake Watson, Re'Mahn Davis and Frank Gore Jr. in the 2024 running back class. Hemby garnered a 28 percent target per route run (No. 38) with an efficient 1.99 yards per route run (No. 36 out of 200 qualified running backs). The receiving skills alone should allow Hemby to have a chance to make an impact in the NFL in a pass-catching role.

Way Too Early 2024 Outlook

The concerns for Hemby revolve around the struggles as a rusher, especially his ability to create positive yardage sometimes. That's evident in his 18.3 percent stuff rate (No. 121 out of 200 qualified running backs), meaning 18.3 percent of his carries went for zero or fewer yards.

Those numbers are partially team-context-related because Hemby averaged a low 1.31 yards before contact per attempt, ranking 174th out of 200 qualified rushers. Hemby's optimistic outlook comes as a receiver, but he also has the size and potential athleticism profile to be an early-down rusher.

>>WATCH: Senior Bowl Preview

Kentucky running back Re'Mahn Davis
Kentucky Wildcats running back Re'Mahn Davis (1) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers in the fourth quarter during the Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Re'Mahn Davis, RB, Kentucky

Before diving into the juicy underlying metrics for Re'Mahn Davis, it's important to note his age: 24.1 years. Among draft-eligible running backs we have birthdates for, Davis is the second-oldest player behind Jawhar Jordan Jr. (Louisville). Since 2010, we've had seven running backs entering their rookie season at 24 years old and averaging five fantasy points per game in Year 1. 

The table above shows those players and the receivers meeting the age threshold, including Ty Chandler as the most recent relevant option. Cooper Kupp is an elite outlier at the receiver position. It's also clear that these older running backs typically receive Day 3 draft capital, so that Davis might be fighting an uphill battle.

Davis played for three colleges — Temple, Vanderbilt and Kentucky — during five collegiate seasons. Given the weaker team contexts, he posted high running back dominator (RB Dom) ratings. In his fifth collegiate season, Davis led the 2024 running back prospect class in RB Dom and ranked second in receiving yardage market share. Though RB Dom includes the receiving numbers, it shows Davis can produce as a rusher and receiver. 

The visual above shows the leaders sorted by RB Dom plus receiving yardage market share. Besides Davis dominating from a market share standpoint, his advanced rushing metrics stand out. Among all college running backs with 50 carries, Davis ranked 44th in broken plus missed tackle rate and 34th in yards after contact per attempt out of 200 qualified players. 

Among the 2024 running back prospect leaders in broken plus missed tackle rate, Davis ranks 10th behind several notable names, including Jonathon Brooks, Gore and Trey Benson. Though Davis posted a high receiving yardage market share, it's a mixed bag on a per-route basis. Davis earned 19.6 percent targets per route run (No. 133) with an above-average yards per route run at 1.64 (No. 64). 

Way Too Early 2024 Outlook

Davis has projected draft capital in the fourth round, aligning with his juicy production and underlying metrics. Besides age, Davis checks several boxes that provide reasons for optimism heading into the Senior Bowl. He'll be a player to keep tabs on during the Senior Bowl, like several other undervalued players in the 2024 class.

At best, Davis possesses some Zack Moss or Montgomery in his profile: running backs who fight for yards after contact while evading and breaking would-be tacklers. Those would be solid outcomes for Davis at the pro level.