4 Running Backs to Avoid at ADP (2022 Fantasy Football)
I live a sedentary, gluttonous lifestyle. It isn’t a skill issue; I understand how to be healthier. It is a will issue. I enjoy 2 AM Taco Bell and binge-watching the World Series of Poker instead of drinking enough water and taking 20 minutes a day to go outside for a walk. I still feel more “in control” over the health of my fantasy football rosters. They don’t judge me at all, even though that’s all I do to them.
The 2022 season is nearly here, with draft season heating up to a steady simmer. Whether you are targeting the running back position early in your drafts or waiting until you’ve stocked up on receivers, the position is pivotal to the odds of winning a fantasy championship. It is just as important to draft the RBs who will stay healthy and produce as it is to avoid the ones who can singlehandedly ruin any prayer of a deep playoff run. Here are the RBs I will be avoiding (at their ADP) in my fantasy drafts this season.
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Nick Chubb (CLE): ADP RB8
As great at football as Nick Chubb is, he has not been a shining example of fantasy production compared to some of his peers. He, like Lamborghini, does not need to advertise. His reputation as an elite pure runner of the football should equate to more fantasy points but sadly doesn’t. The Browns have pigeon-holed Chubb into a role that has topped out at a paltry 36 receptions. That was even before the current Kevin Stefanski regime took over in 2020. Chubb has only 36 receptions in the last two seasons combined.
Nick Chubb is a top-10 RB in standard leagues. Unfortunately, the vast majority of fantasy leagues have made the switch to PPR. This makes Chubb’s RB10 ADP a monumental overpay since he has still not been a top-10 RB under Stefansky. This ADP range offers a litany of less-talented RBs who make up for it with much more significant roles in their team’s passing attack. I get through Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, Aaron Jones and Leonard Fournette before I am ready to draft Nick Chubb in 2022. By then, he’s long gone and I still don’t long for his presence on my team.
David Montgomery (CHI): ADP RB17
I like Monty quite a bit in 2022, but will likely not roster him on any of my redraft teams. Although he does figure to have a steadier role as a receiver than Chubb, he is also going to be mired in more of a committee than he was under Matt Nagy the last two years. Monty plummeted from RB4 in 2020 to RB19 last season. It could have been even worse if he didn’t score seven touchdowns. When Montgomery was out for four games with an injury, the late-round rookie they told him not to worry about was outstanding in his stead.
Khalil Herbert is the back I prefer in this offense (at cost). It would be ludicrous to draft Monty at his current ADP of RB17, especially on the heels of reports predicting a full-on running-back-by-committee from the Matt Eberflus regime. There is also concern that some of that crucial passing down work would be swiped by Trestan Ebner, an explosive rookie from Baylor. Monty’s bell cow days are behind him, so only grab him if he slides down the board a lot further.
Josh Jacobs (LV): ADP RB20
This one is a no-brainer. The new head coach for the Raiders is Josh McDaniels. In typical Patriots fashion, McDaniels is intent on rostering as many RBs as possible and cycling through them maniacally on a weekly basis. Jacobs has long been a consistent-yet-inefficient bell cow for Las Vegas but now finds himself as the “starter” hoping to maximize efficiency on a much smaller share of the offensive snaps. The 64 passing targets that Jacobs earned in 2021 will be a distant memory this season and his fantasy relevance will hinge on his nose for the end zone withstanding a reduction in snaps and touches.
Jacobs’ future with the Raiders is very uncertain, now that the franchise has declined his fifth-year option. They drafted a former 5-star football and track athlete from RB University in Zamir White and brought in a couple of solid satellite backs with Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden. Kenyan Drake is still on the roster as well. The Las Vegas offense will be very good in 2022, but it would take a wild turn of events for Josh Jacobs to pay off at his ADP of RB19.
Elijah Mitchell (SF): ADP RB21
I save myself a lot of stress in fantasy drafts by avoiding RBs from New England, Miami, and San Francisco. It’s a personal preference, but one that has paid dividends. The 49ers have an elite rushing offense. Elijah Mitchell is their best running back and will shoulder the majority of the workload. He rushed for over 100 yards in five games last season and scored six touchdowns in 11 games. Why wouldn’t I want to buy into that? There are two reasons: Shanahan will run him into the ground and discard him later, and they do not pass to their running backs often enough to justify ADP.
Mitchell only averaged 1.8 targets per game last season. If I’m drafting an RB in the fourth or fifth round, the last player I’m looking for is an undersized back who already got dinged up last season and doesn’t catch passes. I like Mitchell’s makeup as a starting tailback in the NFL when I flip on the TV on Sunday afternoons, but he is similar to Chubb in that his role kills any possibility of fantasy upside. The emergence of Trey Lance as the starting QB in San Francisco reduces my desire to roster Mitchell even further, as he will lose goal-line scoring opportunities. RB23 is way too rich for my blood. Give me a WR in that range 10 out of 10 times.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.