By Austin Brack
Welcome to the Dynasty Scouting Notebook. This will be a monthly series where we take a look at the landscape of current NFL prospects in college football.
These reports will not be limited to any certain type of information. It could be anything from player analysis, news or even a mock draft. I am thinking I will most likely include my updated class rankings each edition as well.
Keep in mind that I am by no means an NFL scout. What I am, however, is a dude that likes to watch the cut ups of future NFL players and try to form my own opinions.
My goal is to make this appealing to all fantasy players. Dynasty players looking for players to watch and for redraft players looking to get an early look at some incoming rookies.
For the inaugural week, I think it would be good to take a quick run through of some of the running backs that are eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. Given how important the position is in most leagues, it makes sense to do as much research as possible.
We have seen how players like David Johnson, Le'veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot and others can swing games on a week to week basis. In dynasty, wide receivers build playoff contenders, but you need elite running back play to win titles.
If investing early draft capital into this position, it is more important to make sure you hit than if you were drafting a wide receiver. Wide receivers tend to hold value longer than running backs as dynasty players and NFL teams tend to be a bit more patient to let wide receivers develop.
Enough rambling, I’d like to think that us fantasy players are well aware at this point that running backs are important, so let’s get to it.
We will take a look at these draft eligible running backs in this week's “First and 10”, which will be a staple in these articles, consisting of 10 thoughts about the landscape of dynasty prospects.
First and 10
- Saquon Barkley headlines this year's class. Remember the name because you are looking at a player that will have his name mentioned with the other elite running backs of the NFL sooner rather than later. Barkley is a physical specimen and he pairs that with impeccable vision between the tackles and soft hands in the passing game. Do not overthink this one, just enjoy this year and pick him first in your 2018 Dynasty Rookie drafts.
- 1B to Barkley’s 1A is Derrius Guice, another electric running back from LSU. He filled in for Fournette and many LSU fans will be quick to tell you that he was better than his top-five pick teammate.
- Both Barkley and Guice should continue the string of running backs taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. They are both backs that excel in all aspects of the game, which will keep them on the field during their rookie years.
- Bo Scarbrough from Alabama has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but if he can stay healthy he has a realistic shot at making a heisman run given the situation. In my opinion, he has a chance to be looked upon higher as an NFL prospect than Derrick Henry if things fall right this year.
- Ronald Jones from USC has received Jamaal Charles comparisons and that is something that always gets my attention. Upon watching, there is some work to be done, specifically with his pass blocking. He is an exciting player nonetheless.
- Speaking of pass blocking, this feels like a good time to reiterate how important it is for rookie running backs to hold their own in that area if they want to see the field. It takes a special rookie talent to overcome deficiencies in pass blocking and ball security. Keep this in mind when selecting rookie runners in your 2017 Redraft Leagues.
- Speaking of that, I want to temper expectations for a player that has been picking up steam of late, Dalvin Cook. I love the talent, but he was not a player that excelled in protection or ball security while at Florida State.
- Back to 2018 Running Back prospects and one of my personal draft crushes heading into the year, Akrum Wadley from Iowa. He has a case when deciding who is the most elusive running back in the nation and is primed to take on a bigger role this year.
- Keep an eye out to see if Nick Chubb can regain his pre-injury form from 2014. He was once considered an equal prospect to Leonard Fournette
- Kalen Ballage from Arizona State, Myles Gaskin from Washington and Royce Freeman from Oregon are other running backs that I can picture being dynasty first round picks. Make sure to tune in if you see their respected teams playing.
Your week one college football dynasty viewing schedule. (All times are Central Time)
Thursday, August 31st. 6:30 PM. Watch James Washington of Oklahoma St take on Tulsa. James Washington is currently my top ranked wide receiver in the 2018 class.
Friday, September 1st. 7:00 PM. Check out Washington vs Rutgers. Washington is loaded with skill position prospects. RB Lavon Coleman, RB Myles Gaskin and WR Dante Pettis are just a few to watch.
Saturday, September 2nd. 11:00 AM. Penn State vs Akron. Familiarize yourself with previously mentioned Saquon Barkley as he begins his junior year.
Saturday, September 2nd. 4:30 PM. USC vs Western Michigan. This probably will not be a close game, but it will be fun to watch Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones and the rest of the USC offense sling it around. Darnold is considered by many to be the next great QB prospect.
Florida State running backs Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick vs Alabama’s front seven. Saturday, September 2nd. 7:00 PM.
It will be interesting to see how Florida State’s running back situation unfolds during the year. Cam Akers is the top freshman running back in the nation coming into the year but is not currently listed as the starter. If Akers is able to ball out in reserve duty versus the wall that is Alabama’s defense, it could set the tone for an outstanding freshman year.
Saturday, September 2nd. 9:30 PM. Washington St vs Montana State. If you are a west coaster or a night owl, stay up to watch Washington State’s quarterback Luke Falk toss it around. You will not be bored.
Finally, my updated top 10 dynasty rookies for the 2018 draft…
- Saquon Barkley - RB - Penn State
- Derrius Guice - RB - LSU
- James Washington - WR - Oklahoma State
- Courtland Sutton - WR - SMU
- Bo Scarbrough - RB - Alabama
- Kalen Ballage - RB - Arizona St
- Christian Kirk - WR - Texas A&M
- Calvin Ridley - WR - Alabama
- Ronald Jones - RB - USC
- Nick Chubb - RB - Georgia