2022 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Back


Via: Sportingnews.com


Continuing with the stream of Fantasy Football content on The Sports Branch, today we'll take a look at my Running Back rankings for Point-Per-Reception (PPR) fantasy leagues. Stay tuned for more rankings, as my Wide Receiver and Tight End rankings will be coming soon.


 

1. Christian McCaffery (CAR, 13)

Most will roll their eyes at seeing McCaffery at number one after back-to-back injury-plagued seasons; however, it’s impossible to argue against McCaffery’s fantasy potential when healthy. Furthermore, McCaffery’s role in the offense will remain solidified for the season, along with his heavy workload. With new Quarterback Baker Mayfield in town as well, CMC’s receiving numbers should see an increase. The one big ‘if’ with McCaffery is of course his injury history. But if he stays healthy, he could be in store for another season similar to when he broke out in 2019.

2. Jonathan Taylor (IND, 14)

3. Austin Ekeler (LAC, 8)

4. Dalvin Cook (MIN, 7)

5. Najee Harris (PI.T, 9)

6. Alvin Kamara (NO, 14)

Earlier in the offseason, I felt like the best option would be to avoid Alvin Kamara; as there was concern about him possibly being suspended. However, recent reports have suggested that it seems unlikely that Kamara will receive a suspension during the 2022 season, as the legal process is still ongoing. There is a high chance, however, that he will receive some sort of suspension in 2023. Kamara finished last season as the RB8 in PPR leagues although only appearing in thirteen games. After recording his first season with over two hundred carries, Kamara should remain the lead back in the Saints’ rushing offense. There’s potential for the Tennessee product’s receiving numbers to improve too, as Quarterback Jameis Winston will return after suffering a season-ending injury last year. In his six games with Winston in 2021, Kamara ranked seventh in targets and sixth in total receiving yards amongst all running backs (FantasyPros).

7. Derrick Henry (TEN, 6)

8. Joe Mixon (CIN, 10)

9. D’Andre Swift (DET, 6)

10. Aaron Jones (GB, 14)

Aaron Jones is known for being stuck in a “handcuff” in the backfield with Green Bay teammate, AJ Dillon. Yet, his receiving upside lands him just on the edge of my top ten for PPR leagues. With former teammate DaVante Adams now playing with the Raiders, there will be more opportunities for Jones in the passing game, as Aaron Rodgers is likely to be more reliant upon Jones. There are concerns for Jones’ production in Green Bay’s rushing attack, as he continues to see his carries decline in place of AJ Dillon. To add to that, Jones scored only four touchdowns on the ground last year; his lowest since his rookie year. Jones will likely have to amass an incredible receiving output this year to be worth his current draft price. But with uncertainty around the Packers’ receiving unit, Jones could have another record-setting season in the receiving categories.

11. Leonard Fournette (TB, 11)

12. Saquon Barkley (NYG, 9)

13. James Conner (ARI, 13)

14. Javonte Williams (DEN, 9)

15. Nick Chubb (CLE, 9)

16. Cam Akers (LAR, 7)

17. Travis Etienne (JAX, 11)

Etienne missed his entire rookie season after suffering a foot injury during training camp in 2021, but could see 2022 as the year he takes over the backfield. After James Robsinson suffered an Achilles injury last season and the Jaguars’ multiple coaching changes; all signs point to Etienne as the lead back. Etienne will be reunited with his teammate from his Clemson days, Quarterback Trevor Lawrence. If the Jags plan to use the tandem of Lawrence and Etienne similarly to Clemson, Etienne will be a must-have player in 2022. In his senior year for the Tigers, Etienne totaled sixteen touchdowns, over five hundred yards receiving, and just over nine hundred yards rushing. James Robinson is expected to be fully cleared by week one, though he is expected to be eased back into any role he has in the offense. Protecting Etienne’s touches for the beginning of the season.

18. Ezekiel Elliot (DAL, 9)

19. David Montgomery (CHI, 14)

20. Breece Hall (NJY, 10)

Hall was selected early in the second round of the 2022 draft out of Iowa State, and headlines this rookie class in terms of fantasy football. Hall should receive most of the work for the Jets’ backfield, although 2021 fourth-round pick Michael Carter remains just behind Hall on the depth chart. Hall will be a worthy investment in 2022, as he put his versatility as a runner and receiver in his time at Iowa State, which suggests he’ll be used similarly in New York. To make an even stronger case for Hall; a rookie running back has finished in the top ten, in nine of the last ten years, and has finished top six in four of the last five years. Although this doesn’t ensure Hall’s success, I would say as of now, Hall has the best chance of continuing these trends.

21. Elijah Mitchell (SF, 9)

22. Josh Jacobs (LV, 6)

23. J.K. Dobbins (BAL, 10)

24. AJ Dillon (GB, 14)

25. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, 8)

26. Chase Edmonds (MIA, 11)

27. Tony Pollard (DAL, 9)

Pollard is coming off a career-high in carries and targets from 2021, even with Ezekiel Elliot appearing in all seventeen games. With Pollard continuing to see an expanded role in the offense, and the fact that he’ll be seeing reps as a slot receiver this season, he should continue to produce career highs in the receiving department. With the Cowboys dealing with numerous injuries at receiver, Pollard should see heavy usage early in the season. Pollard finished as the RB28 last year, while Elliot finished as the RB7.

28. Devin Singletary (BUF, 7)

29. Damien Harris (NE, 10)

30. Miles Sanders (PHI, 7)

31. Antonio Gibson (WSH, 14)

32. Kareem Hunt (CLE, 9)

33. Rashaad Penny (SEA, 11)

34. Rhamondre Stevenson (NE, 10)

35. Dameon Pierce (HOU, 6)

36. Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL, 14)

Nobody expected a career-altering season from Patterson in 2021, but he showed how explosive he can be when having a key role in the offense. From weeks one to fourteen, Patterson was the RB7 averaging over fifteen points per game (FantasyPros). Unfortunately, many factors could hinder Patterson’s numbers in 2022. First, the Falcons' Quarterback play will be very different from a year ago, with Matt Ryan no longer under center. Patterson also received fewer touches and reps as the season came to an end, causing four straight weeks of less than ten points. With the Falcons bringing in multiple new backs as well, it looks like Patterson is set for a smaller role this season.

37. Melvin Gordon III (DEN, 9)

38. James Cook (BUF, 7)

39. Ken Walker III (SEA, 11)

40. Michael Carter (NYJ, 10)

41. James Robinson (JAX, 11)

42. Brian Robinson Jr. (WSH, 14)

43. Kenneth Gainwell (PHI, 7)

44. Nyheim Hines (IND, 14)

45. Jamal Williams (DET, 6)

46. Darrell Henderson (LAR, 7)

47. Alexander Mattison (MIN, 7)

48. J.D. McKissic (WSH, 14)

49. Khalil Herbert (CHI, 14)

50. Raheem Mostert (MIA, 11)



*All stats were received from ESPN Stats & Info. Department and FantasyPros.com

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