Whether it’s been Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Matt Forte or Steve Slaton, rookie running backs have always been valuable commodities in fantasy football. This season, Ryan Mathews has been crowned as the top rookie to target on draft day.
But Jahvid Best is a close second.
The California product has already locked up the top spot on the Lions depth chart and will be a major part of the team’s offense, according to the Grand Rapids Free Press.
He even has a chance to be a true featured back.
Coach Jim Schwartz is looking for Best to make the same sort of impact as Chris Johnson, who has emerged as the top player in fantasy football.
C.J. wasn’t seen as someone that could handle a full workload coming out of college, but he’s proven that to be false.
At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Best will need to prove that he’s durable enough to be the unquestioned first option for Schwartz. He did miss several games in his final collegiate season due to neck and head injuries, and durability has been a bit of a concern.
The Lions hope Best doesn’t become another Kevin Jones, who started his tenure with the team well but saw his NFL career sputter due to multiple ailments. Time will tell what sort of impact he can make at the pro level, but the upside with Best is apparent.
He’s an explosive playmaker who can score anytime he touches the football, and Schwartz is going to give him every chance to be his main man out of the backfield. In an age when most teams use committees, that alone is enough to make Best worth an early-round look in drafts.