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Late-Round Targets on Good Offenses: Running Backs (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 25, 2022
James Cook

Recently, Andrew Erickson looked at the benefits of targeting players on good offenses. This can help your fantasy draft strategy. Let’s take a look at a few late-round running backs on good offenses to target.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Ronald Jones (RB – KC)
The Kansas City Chiefs signed running back Ronald Jones to a one-year deal to help bolster their running back room behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The former Buccaneer took a major step backward in 2021, being regulated to strict backup duties after losing out on the starting gig in Tampa Bay to Leonard Fournette. And even when loaded to take on the bell-cow role with Fournette sidelined during the end of the season, RoJo failed to fire.

He earned 20 carries in Week 16 versus the Panthers but totaled just 65 yards. The plodding runner also finished 51st out of 64 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt (2.5).

Jones is a one-dimensional grinder back, whose fantasy value will be super reliant on carry volume, offensive line play, and overall offensive efficiency.

That in itself means he will have fantasy appeal as a late-round running back in redraft if he can carve out a role on early-down and/or at the goal-line in a high-powered Chiefs offense.

Jerick McKinnon (RB – KC)
Kansas City re-signed Jerick McKinnon to a one-year deal, adding him to a backfield alongside Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones, and Derrick Gore.

It’d be easy to brush off the McKinnon signing based on the mid-June timing, had he not fully taken over the backfield during KC’s playoff run in 2021. In fact, from Week 18 through the first 3 rounds of the playoffs, McKinnon averaged 14.3 fantasy points (PPR) and over four receptions per game. When CEH returned from injury in the Divisional Round, McKinnon doubled his touches (30 vs 15).

With an established pass-catching background and obvious trust from the coaching staff to let him loose during the postseason, McKinnon should be considered with a late-round pick across all fantasy formats.

As for Edwards-Helaire, it further creates doubt about his pass-catching role in the Chiefs’ offense. His 0.73 yards per route run ranked 64th out of 68 qualifying running backs in 2021. The mark was also significantly worse than his teammates Darrel Williams (1.28) and McKinnon (1.15).

Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
Tony Pollard is coming off a career-high in rushing attempts (130) and targets (46). Pollard was one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL. Last season he was fourth in yards after contact per attempt behind only Rashaad Penny, Nick Chubb, and Jonathan Taylor (minimum 100 carries, per PFF). He was also first in yards per route run at the position. Pollard offers stand-alone RB3 production as he was the RB30 in fantasy points per game last season. If anything happens to Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard has league-winning upside.

Rachaad White (RB – TB)
Rookie RB Rachaad White looks just like Leonard Fournette‘s backup at the moment. But there’s an outcome where he delivers massive upside should Lenny go down with an injury or revert back to Fat Lenny.

White has shades of David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell in his style of play, which clearly didn’t go unnoticed by the new senior football consultant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians.

The Arizona State product ranked first in his class in receiving yards, No. 1 in yards per route run (2.24) and second in receptions (43).

His 16% target share is absolutely bonkers for a running back at the college level, and it did wonders to generate his third-round draft capital.

The same sentiment can be made for White’s 31% dominator rating and 3.33 offensive yards per snap over the past two seasons. Both would have ranked in the top three in last year’s class.

His yards per snap and PFF receiving grade also both rank first among the class. White’s career receiving grade was superior to anybody from last year’s class as well.

After a strong showing at Senior Bowl week – PFF’s highest-graded rusher (74.9) – and at the NFL combine – and NFL Combine performance – 38-inch vertical jump (86th percentile), 125-inch broad jump (87th percentile) – White has league-winning potential if given the opportunity in the Buccaneers offense.

Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
Buffalo invested second-round draft capital into a rookie James Cook this offseason, but that’s no reason to totally write off last year’s starting tailback Devin Singletary. The fourth-year back was unleashed down the stretch for the Bills, finishing as the RB3 in PPR scoring over the final six weeks of the season – 17 fantasy points per game. He gained the coaching staff’s trust by earning 54-plus snaps to close out the season, the highest snap number Singletary saw all season dating back to Week 1.

Buffalo also didn’t let off the Motor Singletary when the team hit the playoffs, with the RB1 averaging nearly 20 fantasy points per game from the Wild Card Round through the Divisional Round.

With a proven track record and two years of bell-cow back usage in spurts, don’t be surprised when PFF’s fourth-ranked running back in rushes of 15-plus yards and seventh-ranked player in forced missed tackles in 2021 is the highly sought-after RB breakout that emerges from a high-octane ambiguous backfield.

James Cook (RB – BUF)
Rookie running back James Cook has immediate sleeper fantasy appeal across all PPR formats based on his second-round draft capital, pass-catching prowess, explosiveness and offensive situation. The 5-foot-11, 199-pound running back has more than enough heft to manage a decent workload, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. The 5-foot-7, 203-pound Devin Singletary was the RB3 over the last six weeks of the regular season when the Bills entrenched him as the featured guy. Cook with an ECR of RB44 seems priced closer to their floor than his ceiling considering Round 2 running backs have finished as top-36 running backs more than half the time (55%) since 2013.

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