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Hero RB Strategy & Targets: Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Najee Harris (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 27, 2022

 

For any redraft strategy, a manager must maintain “fluid rigidity.” Yes, it’s an oxymoron. However, it still makes sense because you must be rigid with only selecting the running backs who can anchor the RB1 spot while maintaining flexibility within the first two rounds to avoid missing elite receivers. Hero RB is receiver-centric. The goal is to roster as many top receivers as possible along with a top running back.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Since the age of running backs really isn’t a factor in redraft, more of them are viable to be your Hero RB. Jonathan Taylor is the alpha and omega, stunning the world if he is not the 1.01 in any 1QB league. Following him are many viable heroes to anchor your roster as an RB1.

Here are the ones I trust when employing the Hero RB strategy.

Borderline: Javonte Williams, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, James Conner, Antonio Gibson

Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)

After playing just a 70% snap share once in 2020, Jonathan Taylor surpassed that number in nine contests in 2021, including eight weeks during the team’s last eight games. Taylor also led the NFL in red-zone touches (92), which was not that surprising considering he ranked fifth in that category as a rookie.

That elite goal-line usage helped separate Taylor from the pack as the bonafide No. 1 running back in fantasy football. No player came close to sniffing his amount of volume near paydirt. Taylor’s 42 carries inside the 10-yard line were 12 more than the next-closest back (Damien Harris, 30).

Pairing Taylor’s elite red-zone usage with his ascending role as a receiver – 11th in routes run and sixth in route participation in 2021 – makes him worthy of the 1.01 pick across all fantasy formats. No quarterback targeted running backs more than new Colts quarterback Matt Ryan did in 2021 – 8.6 targets per game.
Andrew Erickson

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)

We all know the deal with CMC. When healthy, he’s easily the best player in all of fantasy football. He played in four games in 2021 with at least a 50% snap share and his PPR fantasy finishes were RB1, RB3, RB4 and RB3. McCaffrey averaged 26 fantasy points per game. Considering the extent of CMC’s injuries have not resulted in major surgeries or completely torn ligaments, I like him bouncing back to form in 2022. I like that the Panthers are already putting him in preseason bubble wrap to make sure he’s full-go for Week 1. Four of the Panthers’ 5 wins last season came when CMC was active and playing.
Andrew Erickson

Najee Harris (RB – PIT)

If there is any running back that could potentially de-throne Derrick Henry as the poster child for the “volume is king” mantra, it’s Najee Harris. The Steelers rookie running back managed a league-leading 381 touches in 2021, and finished as the RB4 in half-point scoring as a result.

The volume he is going to see in 2022 will ensure he is one of the safest running backs available in fantasy football.

Still, the issue with Harris pertains to his true upside potential in a potentially capped offense led by a rookie quarterback. An immobile Ben Roethlisberger was a check-down target machine to Harris in 2021 which may not be the case in 2022.

And despite all of his total raw touches, Harris only saw 37 touches (22nd) in the red zone and scored six red-zone touchdowns.
Andrew Erickson


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