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Derek Brown’s Dynasty Deep Dive: Running Backs (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
May 26, 2022

With rookie drafts wrapping up for many leagues, it’s now time to fill out the back end of your dynasty roster with some waiver wire fliers. Popular rookie undrafted free agents and late-round draft selections like Isaih Pacheco (RB – KC), Keaontay Ingram (RB – ARI), Snoop Conner (RB – JAC), Abram Smith (RB – NO) and Ty Chandler (RB – MIN) have crept up inside the top-50 rookie ADP (per DLF) or have generated enough buzz that they likely won’t make it to the waiver wire. That’s ok, as I’m offering you a smattering of rushers that also offer upside should injuries arise in 2022. Grab your darts, and let’s see if we can hit a bullseye for the 2022 fantasy football season.

Derrick Gore (RB – KC)

Derrick Gore is a free money investment into the backfield of one of the NFL’s best offenses. With only Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC) and Ronald Jones (RB – KC) above him, not much has to go wrong for Gore to see the field. Last year in limited duty, he played extremely well, ranking 17th in yards after contact per attempt (minimum 50 rushing attempts, per PFF). He’s shown the same slipperiness in limited preseason action across multiple seasons, with 3.87 yards after contact per attempt (over 30 carries, per PFF).

Craig Reynolds (RB- DET)

Craig Reynolds is in a similar boat as Gore, as he’s third on the Lions’ depth chart behind only D’Andre Swift (RB – DET) and Jamaal Williams (RB – DET). Reynolds has also balled out when given opportunities. Last season among running backs with 50 or more carries, he ranked third in yards after contact per attempt (per PFF). He also forced a whopping 12 missed tackles on 55 rushing attempts, which handily trumps Swift and Williams’ tackle-breaking abilities. In the two games he saw 12 or more snaps, he rolled up 195 rushing yards on 37 carries (5.27 yards per carry).

Rico Dowdle (RB – DAL)

Another bronze medal depth chart running back who is sitting behind Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL) and Tony Pollard (RB – DAL). I’ve been a long-time Rico Dowdle truther, who was overlooked by the NFL Draft community and landed in Dallas. Dowdle was hurt last season (hip fracture), so this is assuming he’s back to full health. If so, I’m buying back in on the talent. Dowdle rolled up 3.64 yards after contact per attempt in last year’s preseason action (per PFF), utilizing his 90th-percentile burst score.

Jashaun Corbin (RB – NYG)

Jashaun Corbin lands on a depth chart with ample opportunity to climb into the primary backup role behind Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG). Despite flopping in his combine testing outside of a 61st-percentile agility score, Corbin ranked second in yards after contact per attempt last year among all collegiate rushers with 100 or more carries (per PFF). His 18% slot or outside snap rate and 10.9% target share in his final season at Florida State offer hope he can be a versatile weapon in the passing game as well.

Mataeo Durant (RB – PIT)/Jaylen Warren (RB – PIT)

Benny Snell (RB – PIT) and the misfit collection of mangled running backs behind Najee Harris (RB – PIT) should pose little threat for one (or both) of these rushers from climbing the depth chart. Mataeo Durant and his 4.48 speed, 75th-percentile burst score and 76th-percentile college dominator would be an instant upgrade over that group.

If it’s not Durant, it could be Jaylen Warren, an underrated workhorse last year at Oklahoma State. Warren racked up 281 touches, turning them into 1,441 total yards. Last season, he was second among all FBS rushers in missed tackles forced while also drawing a 7.6% target share (per PFF).

Other names to consider adding in dynasty leagues:

Darrynton Evans (RB – CHI)/Trestan Ebner (RB – CHI)

Yes, I’m sneaking in a truther pick here, so you’ll have to excuse me for shining some love on my own bias. This isn’t Khalil Herbert (RB –  CHI) shade, as he played extremely well last year when thrust into the lead role. Darrynton Evans is also a talented back in his own right. Evans has rarely seen the field since being selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, but the 87th-percentile speed and 83rd-percentile burst score are still present. Evans may beat him out in camp with a new regime without ties to Herbert. Evans is a hand-in-glove fit for the rumored move to outside zone rushing the team is deploying.

If it’s not Evans who could steal the backup role, it could be Trestan Ebner. Ebner standing at 5-11, 209 lbs has lead back size to go along with 4.43 speed and an 89th-percentile speed score. Ebner is also an ace in the passing game, collecting a 7.2% or higher target share in each of his last four seasons and 20 or more receptions in every year at Baylor.

Kylin Hill (RB – GB)

Kylin Hill played well last preseason after landing on the roster as a seventh-round selection by the Packers. Hill could be an automatic factor in the passing game if Aaron Jones (RB – GB) or A.J. Dillon (RB – GB) are sidelined. Hill posted a 7.3% or higher target share at Mississippi State in two of his final three seasons. He also backed that up in the preseason last year with 1.67 yards per route run and displaying some early down prowess, ranking 14th in missed tackles forced.

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