Top Breakout Running Backs To Target in 2024 Fantasy Football Drafts

Dec 17, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back De'Von Achane (28) walks off
Dec 17, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back De'Von Achane (28) walks off / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Breakouts: Quarterbacks | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends

Running backs used to be the lifeblood of fantasy football, but committees and a higher injury rate have caused the position to take a hit in terms of value. With that said, it’s still a position of importance, especially with the decrease in true featured backs. So, the ability to identify potential breakouts is vital.

Don’t believe me?

Just ask anyone who landed Raheem Mostert or Jahmyr Gibbs last season.

With that in mind, here are five breakout running backs to target somewhere in the early to middle rounds who could have career-best seasons in 2024.

1. De’Vone Achane, Miami Dolphins

Some would argue that Achane broke out last season, but I don’t think he even came close to his fantasy ceiling. After all, he finished just 24th in points among running backs. His points-per-game average was 17.3 in his 11 games, so the talented Achane seems destined to make a much bigger impact in Year 2. He’ll be picked in one of the first three rounds of most fantasy re-drafts.

2. James Cook, Buffalo Bills

Cook was pretty good last season, finishing as the RB12 in PPR leagues. However, his 13.7 fantasy point-per-game average was barely in the top 20 among running backs. I think he can do better in 2024? Why? Well, when OC Joe Brady took over the Bills offense last season, Cook averaged 19.6 touches and 16.4 PPR points. Those totals, over a full year, would be a real breakout.

3. Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks

Walker has had a nice start to his NFL career, but I still see room for growth from a fantasy perspective. He’s finished RB18 and RB19 in his first two NFL seasons, but he’s not pushed for top-12 status. At least, not yet. Walker, who still averaged nearly 17 touches per game last season even with Zach Charbonnet in the mix, should fly high in the new offense of coordinator Ryan Grubb.

4. Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

White will finally get his shot to shine, as he’ll be the featured back in Las Vegas for the first time in his career. We got a taste of what he could do late last year, as White ranked ninth in points among runners over the final four weeks. In that time, he averaged 23.3 touches and 15.2 points. The Raiders did add Alexander Mattison in the offseason, but I still see White leading this backfield in 2024.

5. Zack Moss, Cincinnati Bengals

Moss is in the best spot he’s ever been in to produce consistent numbers, as he’ll be the new featured back in a high-octane Bengals offense. He showed his skills last season, ranking third in PPR points among runners from Weeks 2-6 before Jonathan Taylor re-claimed a prominent role in Indianapolis. At the high end of his projections, Moss could push into the top 12 among backs this season.

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Michael Fabiano


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Formerly of CBS Sports, NFL Network and SirusXM, Michael was the first fantasy analyst to appear on one of the four major TV networks. His work can now be found on SI, Westwood One Radio and the Bleav Podcast Network.