Contract Year Player Outlook: Miles Sanders (2022 Fantasy Football)
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, Miles Sanders.
Other Contract Year Player Outlooks:
- Diontae Johnson
- Daniel Jones
- Dawson Knox
- Hunter Renfrow
- Irv Smith Jr.
- Mecole Hardman
- Tony Pollard
- Terry McLaurin
- Alexander Mattison
- DK Metcalf
- Deebo Samuel
- Devin Singletary
- Josh Jacobs
- Darrell Henderson
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.
Miles Sanders 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
Miles Sanders opened the year playing 60-83% of snaps in the first six games but only averaging 9.5 rushing attempts per game. He did see 3.8 targets per game. He then sustained an ankle injury that landed him on the injured reserve. When he returned from the ankle injury, he was the Eagles’ clear lead back (Weeks 11-15), averaging 16.8 carries per game, although his pass game usage dried up (1.8 targets per game). Despite seeing 23 touches inside the 20, he failed to get into the endzone in 2021. While Sanders will see touchdown regression this season, he will still have to deal with Jalen Hurts near the goal line and the looming specters of Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell. He could return RB2 production this season, but there’s the risk with his injury history and how high-value touches could be divided up in 2022.
– Derek Brown
2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
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