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Fantasy Football RB Breakouts for 2024

Identifying breakouts for Fantasy Football before the season can pave the path to winning your Fantasy Football leagues. Targeting players set to explode for Fantasy Football in your Redraft drafts, or trading for these players in Dynasty Leagues can give you the edge to bring home a championship. If you know me as a content creator, you know my intention (and original brand) has always been to help you “Play 2 Win”. That is the goal of this article – to help you win by outlining my favorite Fantasy Football breakouts for 2024.

Most Fantasy Football terms are defined differently, so I need to clarify what I mean by a breakout. Your definition, my definition, and the definition of countless others for a Fantasy Football “breakout” may have some similarities but also can be looked at completely differently at the same time. I define a breakout as – a player who can take a substantial leap in Fantasy Football production or a player who can have an immediate Fantasy Football scoring impact who in either case is a major positional advantage in lineups for a given year. 

A running back example from last year could be Travis Etienne Jr. who averaged the 7th most Fantasy PPG (points per game) for the running back position at 16.6 after ranking 23rd as a rookie the year prior with 12.1. Another example could be Jahmyr Gibbs, who made a massive impact in his first NFL season by averaging the 8th most Fantasy PPG (16.1) for the running back position. In one case you had a player taking a leap forward in Fantasy production, while the other player instantly had a Fantasy impact. In both examples, these players were extremely valuable, difference-makers for their positions and advantages to have in lineups.

The running backs listed below are all breakout candidates for 2024 that you will want to roster for Fantasy Football this season. The combination of perceived skill set, situation, data, opportunity, and other factors support my take on these specific players. Embrace big seasons to come from these guys.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Fantasy Football Running Back Breakouts for 2024

Bijan Robinson, Falcons RB

The Falcons selected Bijan Robinson out of Texas with the eighth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, with many deeming Bijan a “generational” running back. Robinson totaled 4,215 scrimmage yards and 41 touchdowns as a “do-it-all” running back in college. The excitement for Robinson in the NFL was very real, and Fantasy Football managers were doing everything in their power to grab Robinson in their rookie drafts as well as reach for him in redraft drafts.

Robinson finished his rookie season with the Falcons totaling 976 rushing yards (#15), 58 receptions (#6), 487 receiving yards (#4), eight touchdowns, and 14.5 Fantasy PPG (#17). Not a bad rookie campaign, but it likely did not live up to the first-year expectations. A lot of frustration came from the usage of Robinson, and other star players on the roster, by former Head Coach Arthur Smith.

Robinson’s opportunity share ranked 31st for the position at 52.5%, with sophomore teammate Tyler Allgeier holding a 36.6% opportunity share himself. Despite the lack of a true workhorse role, Bijan flashed his dual-threat upside and playmaking ability by running the most routes, earning the third most targets (86), creating the fifth most yards (1,041), evading the seventh most tackles (63) and finishing the with ninth-most yards per touch (5.4) for the position. We saw the Bijan Robinson we all wanted in flashes, but those flashes made it evident he was who we thought he was.

This off-season there have been a few green flags for Bijan Robinson. The first was the firing of Arthur Smith, who we all perceived as someone who held this offense back. The second green flag was Atlanta signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million dollar deal. Cousins has finished seven seasons with over 4,000 passing yards and three seasons with 30+ touchdowns thrown.

Cousins is a massive upgrade over the former starter Desmond Ridder. Some may not see it as a positive, but the Falcons selecting gunslinger Michael Penix Jr. in this year’s NFL Draft with the eighth overall pick was insulation to the quarterback position for Kirk Cousins who is 35 and coming off of a major injury. Being able to have a balanced offense and having competent quarterback play means a more balanced focused of the defense on the Falcons offense. Bijan Robinson has also hinted at a usage change that would make him utilized similar to Christian McCaffrey for the 49ers, which is what we all dream of.

We all believe in Bijan Robinson’s talent, but now we can count on his situation and opportunity to be better in 2024. This Atlanta offense not only featuring Robinson and Cousins but also former first-rounders Drake London (WR) and Kyle Pitts (TE) is going to turn heads this season. If Robinson is indeed utilized like the workhorse he always profiled to be, we are looking at an easy candidate to finish as the RB1 overall for Fantasy Football in 2024. Embrace the Bijan breakout.

D’Andre Swift, Bears RB

Originally selected by the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft via the second round, Swift will suit up for his third team in Chicago for 2024. Swift finished three seasons with the Lions ranging from 521-617 rushing yards, 46-62 receptions, 357-452 receiving yards, and 7-10 touchdowns while playing in under 15 games in each of those seasons.

Last season, Swift joined his hometown team with the Philadelphia Eagles where he finished the season with a career-high 1,049 rushing yards. Swift played the most games of his career in 2023 at 16, and while we did not see the typical receiving numbers we did in Detroit, he did prove he could hit that 1,000-yard mark on the ground. True dual-threat running back.

I have always been a big believer in D’Andre Swift’s talent, and he has flashed in so many different ways throughout his career but just has not put all of these flashes together. The rushing upside was evident this past season finishing with the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL, he also has finished five games with 130+ rushing yards across the last three seasons and averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2022. 62 receptions and 452 receiving yards back in 2021 both ranked top five for the position, showing the upside as a pass-catcher. In 2021, Swift finished 5th for the position in yards created, showing his playmaking abilities. The qualities we look for in a running back have come in waves with D’Andre Swift, and in 2024 they can all come together.

For Fantasy Football, the overall Fantasy finishes may not have been amazing due to games missed by Swift in PPG has finished:

  • 15th in 2020 (14.6 PPG)
  • 8th in 2021 (16.1 PPG)
  • 15th in 2022 (13.7 PPG)
  • 24th in 2023 (12.5 PPG)

A move to Chicago was great this off-season for Swift, not just as a biased Bears fan but as they are one of the fastest-growing offenses in the NFL. Swift was signed to a three-year, $24.5 million dollar deal by Chicago. Caleb Williams was selected by the Bears as the first overall draft pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Caleb Williams is a player I recently wrote about as someone who can be an immediate breakout as well, who had an amazing production profile in college as a coined “generational” talent. The trio of DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, and first-round rookie Rome Odunze are arguably the best trio of wide receivers in the NFL. Cole Kmet has been a productive and competent tight end. The other running backs in Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson are quality depth pieces but not guys who should steal too much work. Swift is in the perfect environment to be the feature back in a great offense that will draw tons of attention from their playmakers through the air. All of the great things we have see from D’Andre Swift will come together as one in 2024.

Quick Fire RB Breakout Candidates

  • Javonte Williams, Broncos RB
    • 903 rushing yards, 40 receptions, and seven total touchdowns as a rookie in 2021. Four weeks finishing as a Top 10 Fantasy running back. Three weeks over 20 Fantasy Points. Playerprofiler ranked Williams #6 in evaded tackles and #6 in yards created. 21 Fantasy PPG ranked 22nd for the position.
    • 2022 tore his ACL. 2023 was a recovery season but Williams still flashed with three games of 79-85 yards rushing along with 47 receptions and four Top 12 Fantasy finishes
    • In 2024, Williams will be another season away from that ACL injury. Williams is built like an every-down running back who evades tackles, breaks tackles and is part of the passing game plenty. Audric Estime (rookie) and Jaleel Mclaughlin are solid compliments but Javonte should be one of the main features of an offense that may lean on him at times due to projected struggles

  • Tyjae Spears, Titans RB
      • Finished his rookie season in 2023 with 152 touches, and a 52.9% snap share even with Derrick Henry playing a full season. 52 receptions ranked #9, 385 receiving yards ranked #11, and 5.5 yards per touch ranked #6 for the position.
      • Derrick Henry in Baltimore and Tony Pollard now a Titan means a big opportunity for Spears in 2024, competing with a much lesser running back for the lead role in Tennessee.

  • Zack Moss, Bengals RB
    • Following a career-high season in rushing yards (794), receptions (27), total touchdowns (seven) and Fantasy PPG (12.1) Moss lands in Cincinnati. Joe Mixon is now a Texan, leaving Chase Brown as the only true competition in the Bengals’ backfield.
    • Moss steps into one of the better offenses in the NFL, that features the trio of Joe BurrowJa’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Guaranteed volume in a great offense should mean the most Fantasy significance Moss has ever been attached to
  • Devin Singletary, Giants RB
    • Following a career-high season in rushing yards with 899 in Houston, Singletary lands in New York on a Giants roster that features Eric Gray, Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Jashuan Corbin. AKA – Singletary is in one of, if not the worst backfields in the NFL so he is guaranteed touches.
    • Singletary has always found a way to touch the ball and find periodic success through his career in both Buffalo and Houston. The Giants may struggle, which could cap Singletary’s production and rushing volume, but when you are guaranteed significant touches this can translate to being very Fantasy useful. Singletary’s career-high in Fantasy PPG is 12.3 back in 2019, but only through 12 games.

  • De’Von Achane, Dolphins RB
    • On a PPG basis, Achane exploded as a rookie in 2023 averaging 17.3 which ranked 5th for the position. Achane finished first for running backs in yards per touch (7.7), first in breakaway run rate (12.6%), and fourth in yards created per touch (4.62). 800 yards on just 103 attempts meant averaging an insane 7.8 yards per carry, and 11 touchdowns in 11 games played is unbelievable efficiency.
    • 2023 was a major year for Fantasy, but I do not believe we can call it a breakout due to only 11 games played. If Achane can beat out Raheem Mostert and rookie Jaylen Wright for the bulk of work, we could see a major Fantasy breakout pending he can stay healthy for the year (knock on wood).

  • Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks RB
    • KWIII has produced 1,051 and 905 rushing yards in his first two seasons, scoring nine touchdowns in each of those years. In 2022 KWIII finished #10 in evaded tackles, and #3 in breakaway runs as a rookie. In 2023, KWIII finished #3 in evaded tackles and #15 in breakaway runs. These metrics in back-to-back seasons make it clear Walker is a solid runner of the football.
    • KWIII has finished outside the Top 15 in Fantasy PPG in the last two seasons. If KWIII clicks well with the new coaching staff and holds off Zach Charbonnet he could see a jump in Fantasy production if he takes a step forward in his game. The Seahawks are an offense that could be solid or terrible in 2024, so this can be a factor as well. Most of us acknowledge the talent of Walker, it is just a matter of earning that consistent volume and producing the stats that will make him a Top 12 Fantasy running back, which is in his possible outcomes for 2024

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