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8 Best Ball League Winner Running Backs (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 16, 2022
D'Onta Foreman

Several factors go into building a winning best ball team. One of those factors is identifying which players will let your team down and bust. Another is knowing which players have league-winning upside, especially in the later rounds. Today, we’ll focus on the former and identify the top best ball league winners.

The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.

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James Cook (RB – BUF): ADP 107.8

Many are excited to see what Cook can do in the NFL. The former Georgia star running back was a mismatch nightmare in the passing game. Meanwhile, the Bills have tried to make Devin Singletary and Zack Moss work in the passing game but have failed. Buffalo targeted their running backs 14.9% of the time last year. Furthermore, the Bills let Cole Beasley go this offseason and could give Cook some snaps in the slot. Not only will Cook provide immediate value in the passing game, but he is an injury to Singletary away from an impactful workload on the ground too.

D’Onta Foreman (RB – CAR): ADP 199.3

Unfortunately, McCaffrey has played only 10 games the past two years because of injuries. While Davis and Chuba Hubbard failed to fill McCaffrey’s shoes, Foreman is a better handcuff. Last year, he averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt and 9.9 fantasy points per game, filling in for Derrick Henry. However, Foreman ended the year strong after becoming the lead guy after Henry’s injury. He averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game over the final five games of the year, scoring 13 or more fantasy points three times. If McCaffrey misses significant time again, Foreman will turn into a top-24 running back as his replacement.

Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI): ADP 161.6

Even though he was a sixth-round pick, Herbert was a productive fantasy player last year. He averaged 12.3 fantasy points per game in the four games David Montgomery missed. Furthermore, he was the RB16 during those four weeks. At the very least, Herbert is one of the top handcuffs in fantasy football. Yet, he could have more value this season. Chicago’s new offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, came from Green Bay. Last year, they used a two running back situation. Getsy could decide to use both Montgomery and Herbert this season as a 1-2 punch. Take a late-round chance on Herbert.

Nyheim Hines (RB – IND): ADP 137.1

The Colts had only one player with over 40 receptions last year. That player was Pittman with 88. Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton were the only other wide receivers on the team with more than 13 receptions last year. Pascal signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, while Hilton remains unsigned. Furthermore, the only addition the Colts made this year was using a second-round pick on Alec Pierce. The lack of new additions is good news for Hines. Last year he was second on the team with 40 receptions. Meanwhile, there has been plenty of hype surrounding Hines and a larger role this season. With Ryan’s lack of mobility, expect an increase in dump-off targets for Hines this year.

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Ronald Jones (RB – KC): ADP 123.1

While fantasy players need to avoid Edwards-Helaire at his current ADP, they should take a chance on Jones at his ADP. Last year Jones played only 19.2% of the snaps in Tampa Bay and wasn’t given a chance to produce for fantasy teams until Leonard Fournette suffered an injury. However, Jones scored 15.1 fantasy points and 0.69 fantasy points per touch in the one healthy game he played without Fournette last year. Meanwhile, Edwards-Helaire has struggled to stay healthy, missing 30.3% of the games in his career. The last time Jones played at least 40% of the snaps in a season, he was the RB16. If Edwards-Helaire misses significant time, Jones could end the year as a top-10 running back.

Cam Akers (RB – LAR): ADP 43.2

Last year was a lost season for Cam Akers. While it’s impressive that he returned only six months after suffering a torn Achilles, Akers wasn’t 100% during the playoffs. However, fantasy players should be encouraged by how Akers ended his rookie season. He averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game over his final five games in 2020. Akers then had 46 rushing attempts for 221 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 4.8 yards per rushing attempt in the Rams’ two playoff games that year. With Sony Michel in Miami and Darrell Henderson‘s injury history, Akers has no threat to his feature role this season. As a mid-to-late fourth-round pick, Akers will be the steal of the draft and a top-15 pick next year.

Sony Michel (RB – MIA): ADP 206.3

After three injury-filled years in New England, many thought Michel’s career was over. However, Michel averaged eight fantasy points per game last season but 13.9 fantasy points per game over the final six weeks of the year with the Los Angeles Rams. With Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers on the sidelines, Michel was the featured back, averaging 23.2 touches per game in those games. While a similar workload isn’t guaranteed in Miami, Michel has a shot at leading their backfield this season. Chase Edmonds has never been a full-time running back, while Raheem Mostert and Myles Gaskin could find themselves on the cutting block. Michel becomes a league winner for the price of next to nothing if he earns the starting role.

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE): ADP 114.3

Stevenson was the RB41 last season, averaging nine fantasy points per contest. Despite playing only 24.7% of the snaps, he scored 11.5 or more fantasy points in a third of his games. Stevenson averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and had a 3.4% touchdown rate on only 147 touches. More importantly, Stevenson averaged 15 rushing attempts for 68 rushing yards and 15 fantasy points per contest in the two games Damien Harris missed last year. Furthermore, there is a chance Stevenson replaces Harris as the lead back or earns more of a role on third down this season. If either happens or Harris misses time with an injury, Stevenson becomes a steal at his current ADP.

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