6 Mid-Round Running Backs to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)
Here are players going in the middle rounds that you should consider targeting this fantasy football draft season.
Mid-Round Draft Picks to Target
Rhamondre Stevenson experienced a very successful rookie season that should not be overlooked. After fully escaping the Bill Belichick doghouse in Week 9, Stevenson earned top grades across the board.
He was PFF’s third-highest graded running back (84.2). Stevenson also ranked 13th in rushing yards and in yards per route run (1.41). For fantasy, the rookie running back was the RB25 in total points scored, eight spots behind his backfield teammate Harris.
There’s a high ceiling for Stevenson, especially if you ask former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. The ESPN analyst went as far as saying that Stevenson “…will be one of the better, if not one of the top three, running backs in the league based on what I saw with his strength, explosion and catch-and-run ability.”
This past year Chase Edmonds was viewed as the Arizona starting running back alongside James Conner. He stood as the RB21 through the first six weeks prior to suffering an ankle injury. Edmonds ranked fourth in the NFL in receptions among running backs (four catches and five targets per game).
Edmonds won’t ever be a true three-down back due to durability concerns, as he missed seven games this past season. But used properly and kept healthy, there’s no denying Edmonds can be a viable fantasy option because of his receiving and explosiveness.
His spot-start usage/production in Weeks 16-17 without James Conner in the lineup – 23.9 expected fantasy points per game – showcases a running back who can deliver massive fantasy upside any given week.
In 14 career games when Edmonds has commanded at least 11 touches – his average fantasy finish is RB18 (PPR).
Edmonds should see plenty of work in a Dolphins backfield splitting snaps with Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert. Considering Gaskins’ fantasy spike weeks in 2021 all came from his receiving usage, Edmonds should find similar success in that role with Miami.
The late signing of running back Mostert and Michel might have some fantasy gamers soured on Edmonds. However, Edmonds was never going to see a full bell-cow workload. Losing out on some early-down carries to Mostert or Michel was to be expected. I’d still prefer Edmonds in fantasy due to the pass-catching and hope the other signings keeps his ADP at a value.
Kenneth Walker could also emerge from camp as the starter. Walker’s 99th percentile college dominator and 96th percentile speed score will be a welcome sight for Pete Carroll. We know the Seahawks want to establish the hell out of it with one of Drew Lock or Geno Smith looking like a possible Week 1 starter at quarterback. Since 2018 the Seahawks are third in neutral script rushing rate, so the volume will be there to support one elite-level back or tandem of backs with weekly RB2 or high RB3 potential.
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Gordon is bound to be written off by fantasy draft pundits this offseason due to his age, but he proved that he still has gas in the tank in 2021. The 29-year-old running back was efficient across the board, ranking eighth in both PFF rushing grade (83.4) and forced missed tackles (45) while compiling 231 touches (16th).
Nyheim Hines posted career-lows across the receiving board in 2021, but there’s hope that with a new quarterback under center that he can bounce back in 2022.
No passer targeted running backs more than new Colts quarterback Matt Ryan did in 2021 – 8.6 targets per game. Bodes well for Hines to provide more usable weeks like he did in 2020. That year, Hines finished as RB18 in PPR scoring.
The Atlanta Falcons’ fifth-round running back ranks 1st in rushing yards after contact (1,847), 2nd in rushing touchdowns (36) 3rd in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries over the past two seasons.
I believe he would have been taken by Atlanta in Round 4 if they had a pick available to them, so I don’t think it’s fair to view the RBs that went in Round 4 in a higher regard.
I also don’t think it’s outlandish to think that he’s already the best pure rusher among a backfield that consists of Cordarelle Patterson, Damien Williams and Qadree Ollison. He’s proven to be able to shoulder a massive workload as both a rusher and receiver, which is not true of any other back for the Dirty Birds.