Rookie running backs tend to get taken early in fantasy drafts; arguably too early. But when Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice (pictured) and maybe Ronald Jones or Sony Michel get taken early in drafts this summer, it will be harder than usual to argue against those selections. Rookies are having a fantasy impact more than usual of late.

A year ago, six rookie running backs -- Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Jamaal Williams and Joe Mixon -- finished in the top 40 among fantasy running backs (1 point for every 10 rushing or receiving yards, 6 points for touchdowns). It's the fifth straight years at least five rookies have ranked in the top 40. You have to go back to 2011, in fact, for a year when fewer than four rookies ranked in the top 40. That was the last year that didn't produce at least one top-10 rookie running back; most of the years had two or more.

All top-40 rookie running backs since 2011, by year with their statistics that season, are shown below. Note that nine rookies cracked the top 40 in 2015 -- that's nearly 25 percent.

2017Kareem Hunt, K.C.1327455178211244.23
2017Alvin Kamara, N.O.728826155414241.44
2017Leonard Fournette, Jac.1040302134210194.28
2017Christian McCaffrey, Car.43565110867150.616
2017Jamaal Williams, G.B.5562628186117.829
2017Joe Mixon, Cin.6262879134115.332
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.1631363199416295.42
2016Jordan Howard, Chi.131329816117203.19
2016Robert Kelley, Wash.704827867120.626
2016Devontae Booker, Den.6122658775117.727
2016Derrick Henry, Tenn.490137627592.740
2015Todd Gurley, St.L.1106188129410189.45
2015David Johnson, Ariz.581457103813181.87
2015Jeremy Langford, Chi.5372798167125.624
2015Thomas Rawls, Sea.830769065120.626
2015T.J. Yeldon, Jac.74027910193119.928
2015Karlos Williams, Buff.517966139115.331
2015Javorius Allen, Balt.5143538673104.736
2015Matt Jones, Wash.4903047944103.437
2015Duke Johnson, Clev.3795349132103.338
2014Jeremy Hill, Cin.112421513399187.910
2014Andre Williams, NYG7211308517127.121
2014Tre Mason, St.L.7651489135121.325
2014Isaiah Crowell, Clev.607876948117.428
2014Branden Oliver, S.D.5822718534109.331
2014Terrance West, Clev.673647375103.733
2014Alfred Blue, Hou.528113641488.138
2013Eddie Lacy, G.B.1178257143511209.57
2013LeVeon Bell, Pitt.86039912598173.915
2013Giovani Bernard, Cin.69551412098168.917
2013Zac Stacy, St.L.97314111148159.418
2013Andre Ellington, Ariz.65237110234126.325
2012Doug Martin, T.B.1454472192612264.63
2012Alfred Morris, Wash.161377169013247.05
2012Trent Richardson, Clev.950367131712203.710
2012Vick Ballard, Ind.8141529663114.627
2011DeMarco Murray, Dall.89718310802120.030
2011Roy Helu, Wash.64037910193119.931

--Andy Richardson