5 Running Backs to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)
Our analysts are here to share a few of the running backs they are targeting 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.
- Matthew Freedman’s Players to Target
- Derek Brown’s Players to Target
- Andrew Erickson’s Players to Target
- Pat Fitzmaurice’s Players to Target
- Joe Pisapia’s Players to Target
Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.
5 Fantasy Football Running Backs to Target
Breece Hall (NYJ)
ECR RB20 | ADP RB27
A prospect who checks this many boxes shouldn’t be available in the fourth round. Hall has good size, he had a terrific three-year run at Iowa State, he put on a show at the combine with his freaky speed and athleticism, and he catches passes. Hall is at least as good a prospect as Najee Harris was and will have a better offensive line in front of him this year. It’s quite possible that a year from now, Hall will be a consensus first-round fantasy pick and we’ll be trying to remember why his ADP was so low in 2021.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
AJ Dillon (GB)
ECR RB25 | ADP RB26
Aaron Jones has had an excellent three-year window but has shown some signs of breaking down a bit. A.J. Dillon has power, speed and ability to catch the football. Dillon’s efficiency grade from PFF since entering the league is 90.1. and there aren’t many guys around RB25 who have a path to an RB1 finish. Dillon has that in this depleted Packers offense this season, especially if Jones (entering his sixth year in the league) misses time.
– Joe Pisapia
Saquon Barkley (NYG)
ECR RB14 | ADP RB13
Saquon Barkley is poised for a renaissance season. Last year, Barkley struggled with play-calling buffoonery, lingering injuries and a swiss cheese offensive line. He ranked 38th in yards after contact per attempt, which is a far cry from his sixth and ninth finishes in this metric in 2018 and 2019 (minimum 100 carries, per PFF). Brian Daboll and the new coaching staff have already promised a return to a zone rushing scheme for Barkley, with the front office putting the pieces in place to succeed.
Last season Barkley’s zone run percentage dipped to 50%, a steep decline from the 62.1% he saw in 2018-2019 (per PFF). The additions of Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski were masterstrokes. Feliciano was the 13th-highest-graded run-blocking guard in 2020 and ninth-best in zone run blocking per PFF (minimum 100 run-blocking snaps). Glowinski was the 18th-best zone blocking guard last season. Also, add in Evan Neal, and we have the makings of a line that will exceed their 31st ranking in adjusted line yards last season (per Football Outsiders). Barkley is primed to smash.
– Derek Brown
Leonard Fournette (TB)
ECR RB11 | ADP RB15
It’s been a long journey for Leonard Fournette from his last days as “Fat Lenny” with the Jacksonville Jaguars to earning the moniker “Lombardi Lenny” due to his brilliant play for Tampa Bay the last year and a half.
He impressed the Buccaneers’ front office — and a certain No. 12 quarterback — enough to earn a three-year deal with his old team worth $21 million (up to $24 million with incentives). There’s zero doubt with his 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 bellcow 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 as RB8 because a fantasy RB1 is exactly what he has been in a Tom Brady-led offense. Their offense throws more than anyone else in the league, ensuring Fournette continues to rep a high target share. His six targets per game last season tied D’Andre Swift for the most in the NFL.
– Andrew Erickson
Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL)
ECR RB36 | ADP RB42
Patterson is already 31 years old, but he has relatively little wear on his body, given that last year was his first with 100-plus carries. As a Deebo Samuel-esque “wide back” hybrid, Patterson amassed 1,166 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2022. This year he has a decent chance to replicate his usage of 153 carries and 69 targets given that the Falcons will be without RB Mike Davis (release) and WRs Calvin Ridley (suspension) and Russell Gage (free agency). As intriguing as fifth-round RB Tyler Allgeier might be, he’s unlikely to push Patterson off the field, and first-round WR Drake London probably won’t claim all 146 targets vacated by Ridley and Gage.
– Matthew Freedman
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.