4 Running Backs to Avoid at ADP (2022 Fantasy Football)
While it’s always important to identify the next big sleeper and breakout candidates, it’s equally important to avoid those fantasy football draft-day landmines. You know what I’m talking about. Those picks that torpedo your draft and have you behind the eight ball before the season begins. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Andrew Erickson and Derek Brown have shared their early players to avoid based on their average draft position (ADP).
Javonte Williams (RB – DEN): RB8
Running back Melvin Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos, ultimately halting the Javonte Williams 2022 breakout season. The idea of Williams playing a three-down role was salivating, but Gordon’s return should not be overlooked after a seriously underrated 2021 campaign.
MG3’s return definitely hurts Williams’ top-tier fantasy ceiling. He’s going to split work with another capable back in Gordon which is exactly what new head coach Nathaniel Hackett desires and spoke on at the NFL owners’ meeting in March.
However, keep in mind that Williams finished 13th in touches last season (246, 14.6 per game) and would be the favorite to take another step forward in the passing game – Aaron Jones-esque – after finishing as one of two rookie RBs inside the top-15 in route participation in 2021: Najee Harris (first) and Javonte Williams (13th).
– Andrew Erickson
Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS): RB12
Antonio Gibson has been a solid option over the last two seasons as the RB16 and RB17 in fantasy points per game. He also ranked tenth in yards per route run, fifth in evaded tackles, and 14th in juke rate. He was tied for seventh in carries inside the five-yard line and eighth in weighted opportunities. We already know the pass game usage is capped with J.D. McKissic resigned, but now the goalline could be in jeopardy with Brian Robinson on the depth chart. The team has talked about lightening Gibson’s load, so the threat of Robinson is real, especially if Gibson keeps putting the ball on the turf. Since 2020 he’s tied with Ezekiel Elliott for the most fumbles (six) in the NFL among running backs.
– Derek Brown
Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF): RB21
Elijah Mitchell ran away with the job last season en route to finishing as the RB14 in fantasy points per game. He was third in opportunity share, but his underlying rushing metrics were a lackluster ball of meh. He was 36th in juke rate, 30th in breakaway run rate, and 34th in yards created per touch. With his 7.0% target share and 25th ranking in route participation, he doesn’t have the pass game usage to save him if the rushing volume and efficiency aren’t there. It’s still possible that the 49ers roll it back in 2022 with him as the primary rusher, though, as long as he doesn’t face plant in camp.
– Derek Brown
Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL): RB18
Ezekiel Elliott is coming off a down season where some of this could be related to the fact he dealt with a partially torn PCL for much of the season (since Week 4). The spliced-up workload and his declining effectiveness could result from the injury or his advancing age and the toll that the NFL has taken on him. Elliott has amassed 1,938 touches (22 per game) over his six-year career, never handling less than 268 touches in any season. Elliott should be viewed as an RB2 in many formats that could slowly dissolve into a high-end RB3 if Tony Pollard gets more run in 2022.
– Derek Brown
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
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