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8 Running Backs Busts (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 15, 2022
Ezekiel Elliott

Drafting a player early in your fantasy draft only to see them significantly underperform and tank your season is disheartening, to say the least. Our analysts have gone team by team to figure out which running backs have the best chance to bust in 2022. Here is their list of eight rushers who you should think twice about selecting on draft night.

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.


Damien Harris (NE)


Rhamondre Stevenson (93) and Damien Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games. In the six games they played together, Stevenson slightly edged out Harris in expected fantasy points per game (9.3 vs. 8.9). Harris’ overall production was heavily inflated by his 15 touchdowns, which were nearly six more than his expected output.

With a limited role as a receiver, Harris has a limited fantasy ceiling that is accompanied by a super shaky floor if he loses volume to other Patriots running backs or fails to score touchdowns at the same rate as last season.
– Andrew Erickson

Dameon Pierce (HOU)


Dameon Pierce is an intriguing RB prospect, but there seems to be a misconception about how wide his path to relevance is. Some people are drawn to Pierce because he only has to beat out Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack to ascend to the top of the depth chart, but the likeliest outcome is that the Texans go with a committee approach at RB. And even if Pierce becomes the lead back, he’ll be playing in a bad offense and facing a lot of negative game scripts. It’s hard to envision scenarios in which you’d enthusiastically insert him into your starting lineup.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Josh Jacobs (LV)


Josh Jacobs was a volume hog last year, ranking ninth in opportunity share and weighted opportunity, but that will be difficult to repeat in 2022. Jacobs’ ranking of RB22 in ECR is ambitious, considering he’ll be sitting on the sidelines on many passing downs. Brandon Bolden, Kenyan Drake, and Ameer Abdullah ranked fourth, sixth, and 15th in yards per route run last year among running backs (minimum 20 targets, per PFF). If any of these backs also eat into his red-zone work, he’s toast in 2022.
– Derek Brown

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)


Ezekiel Elliott averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game over the final eight weeks of the fantasy season. He scored six TDs. Tony Pollard averaged 10.5 fantasy points with just one touchdown scored. It’s so obvious Pollard is going to have a larger role — especially as a receiver — after finishing third in yards per route run over the final eight weeks. Zeke is just holding onto TD equity in a high-powered Cowboys offense, making him super dependent on surrounding circumstances. If he doesn’t score or the OL regresses, Elliott managers are in for a rude awakening.
– Andrew Erickson

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Antonio Gibson (WAS)


Antonio Gibson is facing a major uphill battle for maximum upside that he’s virtually hands-off in the first five rounds. He finished as a fantasy RB2 in just 53% of his games last season. Three of them came in games that J.D. McKissic missed last season. McKissic — keep in mind half-point scoring — finished as a fantasy RB2 in 45% of his 11 games played last season. With third-round rookie running back Brian Robinson added into the mix as a likely candidate to earn touches on early downs and at the goal line, the volume distribution in the Washington backfield is not favoring Gibson’s fantasy upside. Third-round running backs have earned 125 touches on average since 2013, making it unlikely AG is able to repeat his fourth-ranked 300-touch workload from a season ago.
– Andrew Erickson

David Montgomery (CHI)


David Montgomery is a serviceable RB, but Khalil Herbert passed the eye test more for me in 2021. Herbert was very solid when Monty was on the shelf last year. If the two ended up in a 60/40 split, even if Monty is the big spoon, it will cap what he can bring up in fantasy production.
– Joe Pisapia

Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL)


Cordarrelle Patterson is 31, which is ancient for a running back. The Falcons were concerned enough about his physical well-being after a career-high 205 touches last year that they let him skip spring workouts and OTAs. Patterson is unlikely to get another 154 carries after his rushing production completely cratered late in the season — he averaged 2.3 yards per carry over Atlanta’s last four games — and he’s unlikely to equal last year’s 52 catches now that the Falcons have added big-bodied rookie WR Drake London. Also, we can say with 99.9% certainty that the Falcons’ offense is going to be terrible. C-Patt is an easy pass in 2022 drafts.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Elijah Mitchell (SF)


Elijah Mitchell was third in opportunity share and 13th in carries last season. If Tyrion Davis-Price hits the ground running, Mitchell will see these numbers decline. This isn’t even baking in Trey Lance into the ground game, either. Mitchell was 31st in weighted opportunity and 41st in red-zone touches last season. He doesn’t have the touchdown equity in this offense to compensate for any lost volume if he’s going to meet expectations as the RB21 in ECR.
– Derek Brown


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.

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