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Contract Year Player Outlook: Damien Harris (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 30, 2022
Damien Harris

We recently look at the impact contract status has on fantasy football performance. Focusing specifically on players entering the final year of their rookie contracts, Sam Ryner put together key general takeaways and also players impacted entering the 2022 fantasy football season. Let’s take a deeper dive on one of those players, Damien Harris.

Other Contract Year Player Outlooks:

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

RB contract-season fantasy performance data (2017-21; PPR scoring)

  • 46.7% produced a PPG at least one point above their career average.
  • 42.6% produced a PPG at least one point below their career average.
  • 11.1% produced a PPG within one point of their career average.
  • 33.3% had the best season-end rank of their rookie contract.
  • 31.1% had the worst season-end rank of their rookie contract.

Fun Fact: 70% of UDFA RBs who were identified as fantasy-relevant had their best season-end rank in their career during their contract season.

What this means: The RB position is similar to the QB position in that there isn’t much of a difference in the percentage of players who improved versus players who saw a dip in their PPG during the final year of their rookie contract. It’s also similar in that the top RBs are usually signed to contract extensions before playing in the final year of their rookie contract. Since 2017, the following players signed contract extensions before playing in the final season of their rookie contract: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and Ezekiel Elliott. Of the RBs currently ranked as RB1s according to FantasyPros’ expert consensus rankings in PPR formats, only Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, and Aaron Jones have played in the final season of their rookie contracts. 75% of the players ranked as RB1s are either still playing on their rookie contract or received a contract extension before their rookie contract expired. The overall takeaway for the RB position is that contract seasons haven’t been strongly correlated to positive or negative player performance relative to their career average PPG.

Damien Harris 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook

Damien Harris‘ ADP has dropped nearly a full round since the NFL draft took place and it’s unwarranted. All the Patriots did was draft two Day 3 running backs who will most likely be red-shirted their first seasons.

Harris should be the bellcow back for the Patriots in the final year of his contract as has been the case for many New England backs playing on expiring contracts. And should he see a heavy workload, there’s going to be fantasy points to come by.

In 2021, Harris finished 2nd in carries inside the 10-yd line, second to only Jonathan Taylor. The former Alabama back also led all running backs during the 2021 regular season in fantasy points per snap.

As PFF’s highest-graded running back (91.8) over the past two seasons, Harris needs to be held in extremely high regard. With one more year on his rookie deal, New England has all the incentive to ride Harris for the entire 2022 season.

Although there is some risk that he will be used in a 50/50 split with second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson (93) and Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games. In the six games they played together, Stevenson slightly edged out Harris in expected fantasy points per game (9.3 vs 8.9).
– Andrew Erickson

8 Contract Situations to Monitor This Offseason >>

2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

 

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