5 Running Backs to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)
Our analysts are here to share a few of the running backs they are avoiding 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 Avoid
- Derek Brown’s Players to Avoid
- Andrew Erickson’s Players to Avoid
- Pat Fitzmaurice’s Players to Avoid
- Joe Pisapia’s Players to Avoid
Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.
5 Fantasy Football Running Backs to Avoid
Damien Harris (NE)
ECR RB27 | ADP RB25
We know that TD regression is going to knock on Damien’s door after he punched in 15 touchdowns last season on 202 carries. Harris is also one-dimensional, with only 23 receptions over the last two seasons.
The Patriots are notorious among fantasy managers for the unpredictable deployment of their running backs, and Harris has plenty of company in the New England RB room. Rhamondre Stevenson found himself in the doghouse early last year after coughing up a fumble in his first NFL game, but Stevenson worked his way back into Bill Belichick’s good graces and had 132 carries over his last 11 regular-season games. Belichick typically doesn’t show a lot of faith in rookie running backs — Harris himself was a healthy scratch in 13 games as a rookie — so it’s possible we see Stevenson play an even bigger role this year. The Patriots also drafted RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, and James White is coming back after missing most of 2021 with a foot injury.
With such a crowded house, I’m not interested in Harris at his fifth-round ADP.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC)
ECR RB28 | ADP RB26
When you have four running backs, you really have none. The problem with the Chiefs is they don’t have a “commitment” to running the football to begin with, and now CEH has Ronald Jones II, Jerick McKinnon and Derrick Gore to compete with for carries. It’s still possible that CEH is the best of this group and wins out the lion’s share, but is that lion’s share worthy of a top-60 ADP? I don’t think so. The Chiefs ranked 20th in rush attempts last year and 23rd in 2020. Too many options, too many outcomes and not enough upside for the investment cost in my opinion.
– Joe Pisapia
Antonio Gibson (WAS)
ECR RB19 | ADP RB15
Antonio Gibson is on shaky ground with J.D. McKissic and Brian Robinson flanking him and threatening his workload. Gibson finished last season 15th in opportunity share, fourth in red-zone touches, and 27th in routes run. All of those categories could see a downtick in 2022 with McKissic impeding on his pass game usage and Robinson eating into the goal-line work. Gibson will still be drafted as a top 20 option in many formats. That’s absolutely too high considering the risk and capped upside surrounding Gibson. I’ll bypass him in drafts for wide receivers in the same range and take the ADP discount on later running backs who also find themselves in ambiguous backfields.
– Derek Brown
Elijah Mitchell (SF)
ECR RB22 | ADP RB21
The 49ers added a physical running back in Tyrion Davis-Price in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, creating some doubt about how the backfield will be deployed come September. It doesn’t help Elijah Mitchell‘s case either that he struggled with durability during his rookie season.
Undersized backs in the 49ers’ offense constantly get banged up. 80% of Mitchell’s rushing yards came after contact in 2021, so it was not surprising to see him miss six games with the impact his body took. Adding Davis-Price as a bulldozer back figures to lighten Mitchell’s workload, which could hurt his fantasy numbers in the long run.
There’s also the curious case of Kyle Shanahan’s rotating running back room that fantasy drafters can never seem to crack. Since the 2018 season, the first 49ers running back drafted in fantasy football based on ADP has never been the one you wanted to draft first by season’s end.
Case in point, Raheem Mostert was the first guy drafted these past two seasons, when Mitchell/Wilson were better fantasy assets. The same story played out the two years prior with Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. Mostert and Matt Breida were the SF RBs to own based on how the season played out.
2021: Raheem Mostert drafted RB1. Elijah Mitchell RB1.
2020: Raheem Mostert drafted RB1. Jeff Wilson Jr. RB1.
2019: Tevin Coleman drafted RB1, Matt Breida drafted RB2. Raheem Mostert RB1.
2018: Jerick McKinnon drafted RB1, Alfred Morris drafted RB2. Matt Breida RB1.
2017: Carlos Hyde drafted RB1. Hyde RB1.
Accompanied by a so-so role as a receiver that likely won’t improve with a mobile quarterback under center, there are much better bets at wide receiver in the same draft range that Mitchell is being taken.
As a sixth-round pick in 2021, the 49ers have no obligation to feature Mitchell despite his tremendous production in Year 1. It’s not fair, but that’s life in the NFL.
– Andrew Erickson
Chase Edmonds (MIA)
ECR RB31 | ADP RB37
Over the past four years, Edmonds has failed to beat out a past-his-prime David Johnson, a retread Kenyan Drake, and an oft-injured James Conner. Each season, it looks like it’s gonna be Edmonds SZN — and then it isn’t. The Dolphins presumably brought him in to be their lead back, but they also signed Raheem Mostert and then Sony Michel.
To new Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel — Kyle Shanahan’s former run game coordinator (2017-20) and offensive coordinator (2021) — running backs might be fungible assets, which makes Edmonds a risky investment.
– Matthew Freedman
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
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