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7 Best Ball RB Risers & Fallers (2022 Fantasy Football)

Mar 31, 2022


 
With all the big free-agency dominoes now fallen over and the NFL Draft coming up in a month, now is a great time to start looking at who is rising up and falling down the best ball rankings. In today’s article, our featured experts will put the running back position under the microscope. Together, our analysts shed light on which RBs have seen their draft stock go up and down the most in best-ball formats and why. Also, be on the lookout for some interesting conflicting takes on Rashaad Penny.

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Q1. Which RB has risen up your best ball rankings the most and by how much?

Leonard Fournette (TB) 
“Fournette impressed the Buccaneers’ front office – and a certain No. 12 quarterback – enough to earn a fat three-year deal with Tampa Bay worth up to $24 million. There’s zero doubt with his past performance and contract that he will be the entrenched clear-cut starter for the Bucs, and that’s exactly the desired outcome for fantasy football. Fournette ranked fifth in fantasy points and fourth in expected fantasy points per game before his Week 15 injury, leading all running backs in receptions (62). Upon his return to the lineup for the Buccaneers’ playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Fournette reclaimed bell-cow duties, playing 86% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps to go with 22 touches for 107 yards from scrimmage. With an all-encompassing skill set at just 27 years old, Fournette possesses easy top-10 running back fantasy appeal. He slides inside my early 2022 running back rankings at RB9 up from RB26 because a fantasy RB1 is exactly what he has been in the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers offense.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Leonard Fournette was just an RB3 for me in early March, with Tom Brady retiring and Fournette heading for free agency, but then Brady un-retired and Fournette re-upped with the Bucs. Fournette is now my RB12. The 44-year-old Brady did NOT want to get hit last season, so Fournette drew a bevy of check-down targets and finished RB7 in 0.5 PPR scoring. The Buccaneers’ offense is probably going to operate in a similar fashion this year with Brady back at the controls, so another RB1 season is a plausible outcome for Fournette.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Rashaad Penny (SEA) 
“With Rashaad Penny returning to Seattle on a one-year deal and health reports on Chris Carson up in the air, Penny has risen in my rankings up to RB30. He will reprise his role as Pete Carroll’s hammer if Carson cannot go or is a limited player this season. After Week 12 last season, he averaged 125.7 total yards per game, blowing the doors off fantasy scoring as the RB5 in fantasy points per game. Outside of Carson, Penny only has to contend with DeeJay Dallas, Darwin Thompson, Travis Homer, and Josh Johnson for work. The sky is the limit if he returns to his stretch run workload.”
Derek Brown (FantasyPros)

James Conner (ARI) 
“James Connor has shot up about 10 spots in my best ball rankings. The main reason was the three-year deal he signed with the Cardinals, and they still haven’t brought in any threats to compete. Connor was a beast last season when he was thrown into the main workhorse role. The Cardinals favored Connor in the red zone with 41 carries, leading to double-digit touchdowns. I’d expect a similar situation in 2022 as long as he can stay healthy.”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

Ronald Jones (KC) 
“Ronald Jones is the trendy answer here and that’s because it is the correct one. RoJo had a solid 2020 season in Tampa once given the chance to be the primary ball-carrier by rushing for nearly 1,000 yards. Ball security issues landed him in Bruce Arians’ doghouse and he never got out once Leonard Fournette took over. The Chiefs signed him for a reason — they realize Clyde Edwards-Helaire is not the answer after seeing how effective guys like Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon can be in that offense. CEH will still play on third downs, and despite the Tyreek Hill trade, this is still a pass-first offense, but Jones has 10+ TD upside and those big gains and blowup games will pay off in best ball without the headache of worrying about his down weeks.”
Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Q2. Which RB has fallen in your best ball rankings the most and by how much?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) 
“It’s another nail in the coffin for Clyde Edwards-Helaire entering the 2022 season. No, Ronald Jones isn’t swinging the hammer. If anything, Edwards-Helaire has dug his own grave. Over his final five regular-season games, he averaged a paltry 10.8 rushing attempts and 3.9 yards per carry, logging less than 50% of the snaps in three contests. It’s difficult to trust him as anything more than a low-end RB3 (at best) or dart throw RB4.”
Derek Brown (FantasyPros)

“My biggest faller has to be Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has fallen about eight spots for me. I don’t expect CEH to handle the workload and be the main back in the red zone with the addition of Ronald Jones. While he may see the passing role in the offense, it seems unclear whether the Chiefs trust him. CEH has as many receptions in two years as he did in his final year at LSU. At best, he is likely an RB3 if he can stay healthy for the season.”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

Devin Singletary (BUF) 
“Devin Singletary narrowly escaped disaster after it looked like he lost the pass-catching role in the Bills’ offense to J.D. McKissic. However, he is not out of the woods quite yet, as the team instead added Duke Johnson Jr. to the backfield after the failed attempt at McKissic. Buffalo’s front office clearly has its eyes set on adding a premier pass-catcher since the start of the offseason. This even dates back to last year when they were rumored to be in the market for Travis Etienne Jr. The fact that they are sniffing around for other running backs constantly despite having Singletary on the roster suggests that his last season surge — the RB3 over the last six weeks — might not be sustainable. I’ve lowered Singletary outside my top-34 running backs from low-end RB2 status for fear that the Buffalo backfield is yet to be completed.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Antonio Gibson (WAS) 
“Gibson became a low-end RB1 for me when it looked as if target poacher J.D. McKissic was going to sign with the Bills in free agency. Alas, McKissic did an about-face and re-signed with Washington, which makes Gibson a mid-range RB2. Gibson deserves more targets. He’s a former college receiver who averaged 19.3 yards per catch and had eight TD catches in his final season at Memphis. But Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner seems wedded to the status quo with McKissic as his designated passing-down back, leaving Gibson as an early-down back only.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Rashaad Penny (SEA)
“If Rashaad Penny had signed anywhere else, he could have been considered a great draft value once you get past the RB dead zone. It turns out he’s staying in Seattle where he’ll once again split touches with Chris Carson, except this time without their star quarterback to keep defenses honest. The team is in full rebuild mode, so it will be hard to see them scoring many points. The argument that they’ll run the ball a ton to protect whoever is at QB, presumably a rookie draft pick, makes no difference because the efficiency and scoring opportunities will counteract the proposed jump in volume.”
Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)


Thanks to the experts for sharing their advice! For more of their insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites.


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