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HomeSportsFantasy Football Running Back preview: Projections, sleepers, busts, breakouts, Zero-RB targets and...

Fantasy Football Running Back preview: Projections, sleepers, busts, breakouts, Zero-RB targets and more

The way you view the working again place in 2022 has to do with the way you view upside, ground, and damage danger. That dialogue begins at choose 1.01.

Jonathan Taylor led all working backs in Fantasy factors in 2021 and continues to be simply 23 years previous. So it is smart why he is the consensus No. 1 general choose. Simply do not take consensus to imply undisputed. As a result of there are not less than two backs with a declare to extra upside. 

For one factor, Derrick Henry outscored Taylor by 1.6 FPPG final 12 months. And Christian McCaffrey averaged six extra Fantasy factors per recreation from 2019-20 than Henry did in 2021. In actual fact, Taylor’s 2021 ranks 12 amongst working backs within the final 5 years. That being stated, Henry will flip 29 earlier than Taylor turns 24, and McCaffrey has solely performed 10 video games up to now two seasons mixed. It is not exhausting to craft an argument towards both. However you could be clear that whenever you do, you make a ground argument, not an upside argument. And upside is what wins Fantasy Football leagues.

The reality is, we simply aren’t superb at assessing how seemingly an damage is to occur. Some say it is extra seemingly for guys who had a ton of touches final 12 months, others will say the blokes who bought damage in prior years are the backs to draw back from. I say, at finest it must be used as a tiebreaker, and in most cases, you would be higher off ignoring it. 

So I’ve Henry and McCaffrey forward of Taylor proper? Form of. McCaffrey does mission for extra PPR Fantasy factors within the projections beneath, and I rank him increased in full PPR. The important thing for me in deciding between the 2 is the kind of league I am in. In bigger tournaments or high-stakes leagues, I want McCaffrey. He is on my Scott Fish Bowl roster and he is the precise choose when you’re swinging massive. I would use the identical technique in a house league, assuming extra and check out tougher than a lot of the groups in your leagues. However in a normal 12-team league the place six groups make the playoffs and most everyone seems to be aggressive, I perceive the perceived security of Taylor if somebody desires to take him No. 1. 

Operating again draft technique

When you get previous 1.01, the dialogue stays the identical, simply with totally different gamers. How scared are you of Dalvin Cook’s damage historical past? Do you shoot for the moon with younger potential stars J.K. Dobbins, Travis Etienne, and Cam Akers as they work their method again from main accidents? Will Kyle Shanahan lastly stick to one working again? Will Josh McDaniels let his function again catch passes?

My basic positional technique is fairly agnostic. I’ve seven backs in my first spherical and 15 within the first two. I really feel safer after I draft a working again within the first two rounds, however I will not draw back from a begin that features a combo like Justin Jefferson and Mark Andrews. If I have never taken a again within the first two rounds, that may most likely change in Spherical 3, as a result of David Montgomery is sort of at all times there. If he isn’t, we could also be going Zero-RB.

There are many mid-range backs who’re interesting this 12 months, which actually places the lifeless zone to the check. If you find yourself drafting backs in Rounds 4-6, make them younger backs, ideally with pass-catching chops and three-down upside. 

Miles Sanders and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are potential starters who fall previous Spherical 6 in some drafts; scoop them up in the event that they do. After that time, you need to be pondering nearly totally of potential upside. You want an elevator pitch as to how a again turns into a top-12 possibility or you could strongly take into account taking them off your draft board. As for backups, bear in mind it is extra seemingly for a again behind a mediocre starter to return revenue than one behind a first-round choose, even when that sounds counterintuitive. 

Now let’s get into the sleepers, breakouts, and busts on the place:

Projections powered by

Projections powered by

Projections powered by

Numbers to know

4.5 — Ezekiel Elliot has averaged 4.5 yards per contact for the reason that begin of the 2020 season. Tony Pollard has averaged 5.7 in the identical stretch.
67James Cook caught 67 passes in his 4 years at Georgia. He’ll cap Devin Singletary’s upside if he earns a task.
134Rashaad Penny averaged 134 speeding yards per recreation in his ultimate 5 video games of 2021. He has league-winning upside if he can keep wholesome.
0 — Miles Sanders didn’t rating a speeding landing final 12 months even though the Eagles led the NFL with 25 speeding touchdowns.
26Aaron Jones noticed 26 targets in 4 video games with out Davante Adams in 2019. He is a darkish horse to steer working backs in catches this 12 months.
27 — Present Giants working backs not named Saquon Barkley mixed for 27 carries within the NFL final 12 months.
18.3Cardinals working backs have averaged 18.3 touchdowns per 12 months over the previous three seasons.
309 — The Texans have 309 working again alternatives to exchange from final 12 months, the second-most within the league.
146Falcons working backs led the NFL with 146 targets final 12 months.

Zero-RB targets

I am going to replace this record as ADP solidifies, however for now, there isn’t a scarcity of working backs out there if you wish to deal with quarterback and cross catchers within the first five-plus rounds. I attempted to incorporate a very good mixture of ground and upside guys as a result of I wish to have some pass-catching backs to start out whereas I watch for the backups to realize jobs. For this model, I am utilizing FantasyPros PPR ADP. For essentially the most half, the advised spherical is a spherical sooner than the participant is definitely being drafted. You possibly can’t be too cute getting your guys at working again when you punt on the early rounds.

Spherical 6Dameon Pierce, A.J. Dillon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Spherical 7 – Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders, Antonio Gibson
Spherical 8Rhamondre Stevenson, James Robinson
Spherical 9Kenneth Walker, Michael Carter
Spherical 10Alexander Mattison, Nyheim Hines, Darrell Henderson, Tyler Allgeier
Spherical 11Isiah Pacheco, Raheem Mostert, Mark Ingram
Spherical 12 or laterKhalil Herbert, Jamaal Williams

Handcuff rankings

Under are the highest 10 PPR handcuffs to draft on Draft Day. Clearly, Kareem Hunt is way more than a handcuff, however the purpose he is on this record, and somebody like Giovani Bernard just isn’t, is the truth that Hunt might be a league-winner within the occasion Nick Chubb will get damage. Bernard’s position would not seemingly change. So, whereas Hunt is usually a flex in a PPR league even with out an damage, he is additionally probably the greatest handcuffs. I do not historically draft handcuffs to my starters, however I do not thoughts taking another person’s. Additionally, when you’re in a non-PPR league, guys like Trey Sermon, A.J. Dillon, and Gus Edwards deserve a lift.

1. A.J. Dillon
2. Kareem Hunt
3. Tony Pollard
4. Michael Carter
5. Melvin Gordon
6. Rhamondre Stevenson
7. Darrell Henderson
8. Mark Ingram
9. Alexander Mattison
10. Khalil Herbert



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