6 RB2s who can make the leap to RB1 [2024]

Finding value in draft picks is what assembling a fantasy football team is all about. Here are 6 RB2s who could become RB1s in 2024.

Finding value in draft picks (or auction signings) is what assembling a fantasy football team is all about. You want to get the best return on investment or bang for your buck possible.

Which means rather than trying to draft (or sign) players at their ceilings, you could look for the undervalued players who have the capability to outplay their going rate.

Here are 6 running backs currently projected as RB2s who have the ability to finish the season as RB1s.

Fair warning: these aren’t actually predictions. I’m not expecting many of these players to actually finish as RB1s, they just have a pathway to do so.

Derrick Henry, RB/Baltimore Ravens

Depending on which rankings you use, you might see Henry as a low-end RB1. But he is on the outside of the Top 10 in quite a few rankings and this is where value creeps in. All this guy has ever done is churn out monster production for years. And now he goes to a run-centric offense and we suddenly expect him to fade? No, the single greatest factor working against him is his age, and people are terrified of age 30 running backs. Don’t be. Let him slide to his ADP and snatch him up as a value pick. You can use the “if he stays healthy” caveat on every player.

Alvin Kamara, RB/New Orleans Saints

Kamara is another back who is aging and is now on an offense that looks less than explosive. But he finished as a low-end RB1 last year while missing three games. I think he still has a lot left in the tank, particularly in the area where he’s always excelled: as a pass catcher. He’s been bumped down in projections and rankings due to other young risers, but I’m not going to hesitate to smash the button when I’m on the clock and need an RB2 with high upside.

James Cook, RB/Buffalo Bills

Here’s the first back on the list who I don’t expect to finish as an RB1 and actually feel he’s a little overrated this year. However, I cannot deny that he has the pathway to that type of finish if all goes well. He’s the clear cut starter in an offense that lost a lot of weapons this offseason. He’s going to be relied upon in both the run game and the passing attack. The team drafted an older rookie running back in Ray Davis who is built for goal line and short yardage duties. Plus, Josh Allen is a touchdown vulture himself. Therefore, if Cook is stifled in the red zone and is primarily used between the 20s, he has no shot at RB1 status. But if they give him his looks in the red zone, there is a pathway to success given his total usage.

Aaron Jones, RB/Minnesota Vikings

Aaron Jones’ best years are behind him. And there’s a world that exists where Jones simply was the beneficiary of playing with a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and in a great system in Green Bay. It’s quite possible that not only is Jones washed and has no shot at a RB1 finish, but he might finish as an RB3 or lower. Still, the path to success comes from a poor quarterback outlook in which tossing to the running back instead of pushing the ball downfield remains the most likely outcome. The two questions are can he stay healthy and will he get enough work in the run game to complement his pass-catching chops?

Joe Mixon, RB/Houston Texans

Mixon was a mid-RB1 last season with the Bengals. He left this offseason to join the Houston Texans, a good offense with an excellent young quarterback and a defense that will get them the ball back regularly. And so Mixon being ranked as an RB2 makes sense how? Mixon is going to receive a heavy workload and be an integral part of the Texans’ offense and there’s not much short of injury that will keep him from pushing for an RB1 territory finish.

D’Andre Swift, RB/Chicago Bears

Swift finds himself on his third team in his short career but this could be one of his best landing spots yet. The Bears like to run the ball and have every interest in continuing to pound the rock. But the thing the Bears like about Swift is his ability in the passing game. And when paired with young rookie gunslinger Caleb Williams, Swift could get a heavy dose of action in this offense, particularly early as Williams and the rest of the Bears work to figure out the new offensive system. Don’t overbuy him, but if he falls to his ADP, you’re going to get great value here.