Running backs do not generally have the NFL Draft cache that they once did. That’s largely because teams can find productive running backs in the later rounds, and that is what the Los Angeles Rams have done.
Second-year back Kyren Williams, a fifth-round draft pick in 2022, burst onto the scene this season after seeing limited time as a rookie last season. In 2023, he was one of the most value-driven running backs in the NFL. But how does he rate overall?
To get that information, BetCalifornia.com, your source for California sports betting updates, used ProFootballReference.com for the salary cap hit and yards (rushing and receiving only) of every NFL running back in the 2023-24 NFL regular season. We then calculated dollars per yard for each player in the league to determine the 10 most value-driven RBs this season. Salary and yards were included for all teams that the player was on this season.
Best Value Running Backs In NFL
Kyren Williams Emerges In 2023
Even if the Golden State had legal, regulated California sportsbook apps, you would not find these numbers there; this chart was prepared for BetCalifornia.com.
According to our research, the Rams got more value out of Williams than any other running back delivered to his team in the 2023-24 season. And that was after the former Notre Dame standout missed four weeks midseason with an ankle injury.
Williams, 23, had his first career 100-yard rushing game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4 this season, gaining 103 yards on 25 carries. He then ran for a career-high 158 yards on 20 carries in a Week 6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but Williams was injured in that game and didn’t return for a month.
The Rams lost three of four games without Williams. But when he returned, he got hot again, and the team surged along with him. The running back averaged 115 yards per game rushing in a six-game span, a stretch in which Los Angeles went 5-1 and clinched a wild-card spot in the playoffs (Williams, along with many Rams starters, sat out the meaningless Week 18 game against San Francisco).
Williams wound up third in the league with 1,144 yards rushing, behind only San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey (1,459 yards) and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry (1,167). The Rams rusher also proved to be a weapon in the passing game, with 41 receptions for 282 yards and three TDs on the season.
Rams Had Best Value RB In NFL
All of that made Williams the best value for the money in the league among running backs, according to ProFootball-reference.com.
As a low-round draft pick on his rookie contract, Williams is a bargain for the Rams; his salary cap hit this season was just $947,601. When you divide that number by his 1,350 combined rushing and receiving yards, that works out to $702 per yard. That topped our list of most value-driven running backs this season, edging out second-place Rachaad White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($757 per yard) and third-place Isiah Pacheco of the Kansas City Chiefs ($758).
As for the Rams’ NFC West rivals, check out our San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl odds as they prepare to host Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Detroit Lions.