2016 Outlook: A complementary back throughout his career, Powell was on the fantasy radar in 2012 and 2013 but took a back seat to Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory in 2014. With Johnson out of the picture last season, Powell's playing time rebounded, and his efficiency was the best of his career. That helped Powell to a top-14 finish in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs at the position. Now behind Matt Forte on the depth chart, Powell figures to struggle for touches out of the gate, but he'll be in position for a prime role should the overworked 30-year-old go down with an injury. Powell is a worthwhile late-round target.
2016 Outlook: If you need another example of how well lead backs do in Andy Reid's offense, look to the West. After Jamaal Charles tore his ACL in Week 5, West morphed from an unknown reserve to a fantasy star. After a quiet first NFL start in Week 6, West finished among the top seven RBs in each of his next three outings. West's efficiency (4.0 ypc, including 1.6 after contact) wasn't special, but he rushed for 634 yards and scored five total TDs. West will be worth adding if Charles goes down again, but in that scenario, he's likely to share carries with Spencer Ware.
2016 Outlook: Operating as the thunder to Duke Johnson's lightning in Cleveland last season, Crowell racked up 888 yards and five touchdowns on 204 touches. He averaged a substandard 3.8 yards per carry and failed to impress after contact. Crowell has posted a total of four top-10 weeks during his two seasons. At only 23 years old, he is the favorite to handle early-down and goal-line duties in Hue Jackson's run-first scheme, so he's worth a flier, as there's still a chance he takes a step forward. But the better bet is that he continues to play second fiddle to Johnson.
2016 Outlook: Booker will be an ideal backup to C.J. Anderson as a rookie and is a potential three-down back in the future. He is effective running downhill at 5-10, 208 pounds, is comfortable catching passes out of the backfield and is a quality pass blocker. Booker lacks top-end speed and explosion, as only 34 percent of his runs went for at least 5 yards during his final season at Utah. He might not play much early, but he's an Anderson injury away from a significant role in Denver's run-heavy offense. Stash him on your bench.
2016 Outlook: Prosise is considered raw, having played only one season at running back while at Notre Dame. Of course, his previous experience as a wide receiver speaks to his pass-catching ability, making him a strong complement to early-down back thomas Rawls. The third-round pick is 6 feet, 220 pounds and blazed a 4.48 40-yard dash. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry last year, and an impressive 24 percent of his attempts went for 10 yards or more. Prosise needs to clean up his fumbles and pass blocking, but he's an intriguing handcuff who also has some stand-alone PPR value as a rookie.
2016 Outlook: Drake was the third running back selected in April's draft, which was somewhat of a surprise. Although he figures to begin his career as a complement to Jay Ajayi as a receiving specialist, the Alabama product has the size (6 feet, 210 pounds), speed (4.45 40-yard dash) and elusiveness to potentially develop into an every-down back. At the very least, he should be a solid handcuff, and since he'll play a role similar to that of Charles Sims in Tampa Bay, he should also be considered a flex option in PPR leagues.
2016 Outlook: One of the game's best-ever passing-down specialists, Sproles has been on the field for roughly a third of his team's offensive snaps during five of the past seven seasons. Last season he ranked fourth among RBs in targets and sixth in receptions but only 14th in receiving yards. He can expect similar usage this year, despite the Eagles' coaching change. Sproles doesn't carry the ball a lot, and for good reason--he averaged just 3.8 yards per rush last season despite often running against nickel and dime defenses. At 33, Sproles has a low ceiling, but he could catch 50 passes.
2016 Outlook: With many starters going down with injuries and others ineffective, 2015 was a good year for handcuff RBs. Adrian Peterson was one of only a few starters who held up for the entire season, however, which didn't allow the talented McKinnon to emerge until late in the season. Amid a small sample of work, the 2014 third-round pick impressed, averaging 5.2 ypc (fourth best) and scoring three TDs. McKinnon will start 2016 behind the 31-year-old Peterson, who just completed the sixth 300-plus-touch season of his career. McKinnon is one injury away from RB1 consideration and among the most interesting handcuffs in fantasy.
2016 Outlook: The Giants nabbed the 5-11, 210-pound scat back in the fifth round of the draft. Although Perkins might not have the size or strength needed for an every-down role at the NFL level, he showed impressive elusiveness at UCLA. According to Pro Football Focus, he forced 73 missed tackles as a rusher last season, which trailed only Derrick Henry among FBS backs. Rashad Jennings is 31 and has trouble staying healthy, so Perkins could end up starting a few games as a rookie.
2016 Outlook: He was initially ticketed strictly for change-of-pace work, but Starks' 2015 role grew significantly once it became apparent that Eddie Lacy couldn't carry the load. Starks ran the ball 148 times and averaged a solid 4.1 ypc, and he also finished among the top 18 RBs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs. Starks was an unreliable fantasy source, though, as he spread a trio of top-10 weeks over the entire season and managed only one additional top-20 week. Green Bay will put Lacy in position to reclaim feature-back duties, but it's no certainty that he will. This makes Starks a fine late-round flier.
2016 Outlook: Houston was eyeing a versatile complement to Lamar Miller when it selected Ervin in the fourth round of April's draft. Although he is tough and aggressive, Ervin doesn't have the size to hold up as an every-down back; at 192 pounds, he's the lightest of all RBs who were drafted this year. On the plus side, he is one of the better, more experienced pass-catching backs among this year's rookies: His 45 receptions at San Jose State in 2015 led all drafted RBs. Ervin is also a good returner and flashed his athleticism with strong performances in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump at the combine. He's a fine handcuff to Miller.
2016 Outlook: Marshall fell to the seventh round of April's draft, but Washington's poor depth at running back behind Matt Jones (who struggled as a rookie) makes him fantasy-relevant. A combine standout, Marshall ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.31) and posted the most reps on the bench press (25) among RBs. He was a five-star prospect out of high school but carries a major injury red flag after a torn ACL derailed most of his final three seasons at Georgia. Given his physical tools, though, Marshall should be on your radar in the later rounds.
2016 Outlook: Washington will be one of the shortest players in the league. But don't let that 5-7 frame distract you from his impressive strength (24 bench-press reps, second among RBs at the combine) and quickness (4.20 short shuttle, the fastest). Washington was a quality rusher at Texas Tech and especially dangerous as a receiver: He racked up 1,877 yards and 16 touchdowns on 274 touches last season. Expect him to play a significant role for the Raiders as a rookie. At the very least, he will complement Latavius Murray.
2016 Outlook: After four seasons as the passing-down specialist in New England, Vereen signed with the Giants and assumed the same role. He performed admirably even though there wasn't a significant amount of fantasy value for him to accrue. He didn't run the ball much but averaged a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. He was busy in passing situations, though, as New York called pass on 84 percent of his 400 snaps. Vereen finished among the top six backs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He will have a similar job in 2016 and is worth flex consideration in PPR leagues.
2016 Outlook: Stats aren't all that matter in football, but it's hard to argue with the numbers Smallwood produced at West Virginia. Last year he averaged 6.4 yards per carry (second best among drafted RBs), recorded a first down on 32 percent of his runs (second) and managed 5 or more yards on 51 percent of his carries (first). Smallwood is a bit lean at 5-11, 201 pounds, which hasn't allowed him to run with much power or pass-block with much success. But he is the next man up in the event of a Ryan Mathews injury in Philadelphia and is worth stashing on your bench.