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5 Running Backs to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 24, 2022
Derrick Henry

Our analysts are here to share a few of the running backs they are avoiding this fantasy football draft season. And be sure to check out their full list of players to avoid as part of our 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

5 Fantasy Football Running Backs to Avoid

Derrick Henry (TEN)
ECR RB4 | ADP RB3

It doesn’t feel great to fade a 6-3, 247-pound force of nature who’s averaged 115.5 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns a game over the last three seasons. But time isn’t kind to running backs, and Henry is entering his age-28 season. Maybe Henry is such a remarkable physical specimen that he’ll defy the age curve. However, we know that betting on running backs in their late 20s is generally imprudent.

Henry is coming off a significant foot injury, and he has a lot of mileage on the odometer. Henry has 1,664 career touches (playoffs included), with 65.1% of those touches coming in the last three years. That’s a risky profile for a player who’s typically a top-five draft pick.

– Pat Fitzmaurice

Alvin Kamara (NO)
ECR RB10 | ADP RB10

The same approach I took on Ezekiel Elliott last year I’m applying to Alvin Kamara this year. Five years is a really good run for an NFL RB. Year six, that’s where things can start to come apart at the seams. The wear and tear of the league could set in quickly. No one wanted to listen to me last year about Zeke, but hopefully, I have your ear now. Kamara’s PPR appeal dropped dramatically from 80+ receptions per season since he came into the league to 47 in 13 games last year. He saw a career-high in carries (240, but his YPC fell from 5.0 to 3.7 year over the year). Drew Brees is long gone and so is Sean Payton. This offense could look nothing like the one that made Kamara a fantasy stud.

– Joe Pisapia

Josh Jacobs (LV)
ECR RB22 | ADP RB19

Josh Jacobs is coming off a season where he gobbled up volume that powered him to an RB13 fantasy points per game finish. Unfortunately, Jacobs did very little with the touches he amassed last season. He was ninth in opportunity share and weighted opportunity while ranking 11th in carries and ninth in targets among running backs. In addition, Jacobs was wretchedly inefficient, ranking 40th in fantasy points per opportunity, 36th in breakaway run rate and 34th in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF).

Jacobs could lose work on the ground to Kenyan Drake and Zamir White this season if he continues his three yards and cloud of dust ways. This pass game usage is assuredly going down with Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah on the roster. Last year Bolden ranked fourth in yards per route run, and Abdullah was 15th (minimum 20 targets, per PFF). Unless Jacobs falls past RB24 (he won’t), I’m avoiding him this year.

– Derek Brown

J.K. Dobbins (BAL)
ECR RB21 | ADP RB21

Running backs tied to a mobile quarterback are often short-changed when it comes to the passing game. For as well as J.K. Dobbins performed in fantasy football from Weeks 11-17 in full PPR (RB11) during the 2020 season, guess who outscored him… J.D. McKissic. That’s because McKissic caught 37 passes versus Dobbins’ three.

Guys like Derrick Henry can overcome the lack of receiving work because they are entrenched bellcows, but that’s not the case with Dobbins in Baltimore with Gus Edwards also in the mix. Dobbins only slightly out-touched Edwards 86-74 down the stretch in 2020.

It would be pure ignorance to assume that Dobbins will take over the backfield coming off an injury, considering Edwards has been excellent with every opportunity he has received.

Dobbins also ran extremely hot when it came to scoring touchdowns, scoring at least one TD in every game from Week 11 on. His nine total rushing TDs ranked 12th in the league and nearly doubled his expected output (5.5, 30th) — the sixth-highest difference at the position.

Drafters have to understand that to invest in Dobbins as a late third-rounder or fourth-rounder (RB22, 45th overall ADP), he needs to run hot in the TD category coming off the season-ending ACL injury. They also should expect zero-to-little pass-game work with Jackson’s tendency to not check down along with the additions of two receiving backs, veteran Mike Davis and rookie Tyler Badie.

– Andrew Erickson

Antonio Gibson (WAS)
ECR RB19 | ADP RB13

Despite opening his career with back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns from scrimmage, Gibson carries significant downside in 2022. He possesses a true three-down skill set, but the Commanders seem more desirous than ever to limit Gibson’s workload after he played last year with an assortment of lower-body injuries (hip, turf toe, shin). Even though they had Jaret Patterson, Wendell Smallwood, and Jonathan Williams on the roster, the Commanders went out of their way this offseason to re-sign J.D. McKissic (who had already agreed to a deal with the Bills) and to invest a top-100 pick into Brian Robinson (who was drafted “at least a full round” early, per ESPN’s Matt Miller). With McKissic stealing targets and Robinson challenging for goal-line touches, short-yardage work, and rotational series, Gibson could turn into a low-ceiling, low-floor between-the-20s committee back.

– Matthew Freedman

FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

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