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Consensus Running Back Sleepers (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 18, 2022
Rhamondre Stevenson

We polled over 75 fantasy football experts to get their top mid-to-late round sleepers ahead of the 2022 NFL season. Check out the top sleepers they’re targeting in fantasy football drafts.

Note: All ADP and ECR values are as of August 15

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Consensus Running Back Sleepers

Who is the player you expect to be this year’s biggest fantasy sleeper and why?

Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) 
“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 Damien 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.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Rhamondre Stevenson is currently the consensus RB36 and the 88th-ranked player overall in 0.5 PPR formats. While the Patriots backfield is normally a fantasy headache, Stevenson is the one to long for. Not only have we heard rumors of a potential trade of walk-year rusher Damien Harris, but Harris is a one-trick pony while Stevenson brings some pass-catching chops. His pass-catching upside is that much more valuable in the wake of James White’s retirement. Per PFF, Stevenson managed 1.54 yards per route run, good for eighth in that category amongst running backs. If Stevenson does, in fact, take over the coveted third-down role for the Pats, he is poised to outperform his ADP and pop as one of the best sleeper backs in 2022. I will also remain in on Stevenson if the earth stands still and the Pats retain Harris. Stevenson was more efficient than Harris on a per-touch basis last season and is poised to take a step forward in his second year as a pro.”
Anthony Cervino (FF Faceoff)

Rhamondre Stevenson will VASTLY outproduce his RB37 ADP this season. Over his final eight games of the 2021-22 season, the Oklahoma product totaled 532 rushing yards (4.9 Y/A) and four touchdowns, which put him on a per-17 game pace of 1,130 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. It’s tough trusting a Patriot running back playing under Bill Belichick in fantasy, but don’t pass on a potential weekly FLEX option with RB2 upside in round nine-plus!”
Jacob W. Dunne (Triple Play Fantasy)

“Rhamondre Stevenson climbed out of Bill Belichick’s doghouse to finish a promising rookie campaign with over 500 yards and 4.92 YPC in his last eight games. He’s set to make a significant leap in 2022, as it appears likely he will be more involved in the passing game given James White’s recent retirement announcement. If the Patriots end up trading away Damien Harris (rumors abound on that front), Stevenson could find himself in a position to be a legitimate bell cow running back. Even if he splits the work with Harris, Stevenson is far and away the best athlete in New England’s backfield, so he should have no trouble blowing past his consensus ninth-round ADP.”
Jason Kamlowsky (FantasyPros)

Dameon Pierce (HOU)
“Dameon Pierce had a limited college workload, totaling only two games last season at Florida with more than nine rushing attempts. Yet, he had 54 or more rushing yards in over half the games. More importantly, Pierce has shined during training camp and in the Texans’ first preseason game, totaling 49 yards on five rushing attempts (9.8 yards per attempt). Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are little threat to take the starting job from Pierce. Draft the fourth-round rookie now, as his ADP will only rise from here.”
Mike Fanelli (FantasyPros)

“Every so often we find a player whose output doesn’t seem to match the product. In Dameon Pierce’s case, that output is the lack of volume and usage. It makes you wonder if it was something with the player, the coaching, the personnel, or a little bit of everything. After all, if Pierce had a full workload of RB1 carries (250 seems fair), he would have finished his senior season somewhere around 1,400 rush yards, 30 TD, 40 receptions, 450 receiving yards, and we would be talking about a first-round NFL Draft pick like we did Najee Harris last year. Film + production clearly do not point to the player in this instance, but coaching and surrounding staff. Make no mistake, Dameon Pierce was clearly the lead RB for Florida. However, parts of Pitts, Toney, Jefferson and Emory Jones being almost a run first QB, led to this output. The depth of talent the Gators have had, and Dan Mullen never having been a coach who funnels carries to a workhorse RB, contributed to the lessened wear and tear on Pierce. It also lessened his exposure, which is good for us. We truly have a sleeper emerging.”
Andy Singleton (Expand The Boxscore)

Ken Walker III (SEA) 
“Ken Walker III averaged 136.3 rushing yards and 1.6 TDs a game at Michigan State last season, then ran a 4.38 at the Combine. And we think this remarkable prospect is going to be marginalized by the oft-injured Rashaad Penny, a first-round draft pick who was never able to overtake former seventh-round draft pick Chris Carson? Take advantage of the generous discount on Walker and buy him in the middle rounds.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

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Chase Edmonds (MIA) 
“Chase Edmonds is one of the guys I’m excited to watch this season, as he finally has a real opportunity as a featured back. Is the running back room crowded? Sure, but Edmonds is easily the highest paid guy in said room and probably possesses the best overall skill set. In four campaigns with the Cardinals, he averaged 5.8 yards on 333 carries and tallied 96 catches over his last 28 games. With an up-and-coming offense and an improved offensive line, RB2 status is absolutely achievable for Edmonds in his new attire.”
Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Brian Robinson Jr. (WAS) 
“Commanders HC Ron Rivera has basically been telling us to draft Robinson all offseason. He compared Brian Robinson/Antonio Gibson to the Jonathan Stewart/De’Angelo Williams committee backfields he had in Carolina and has talked up Robinson’s power-running ability. It’s been a rough month for Gibson, who missed time early in camp with a hamstring injury and then lost a fumble in the preseason opener. Robinson, meanwhile, tallied 41 yards and a score in his preseason debut. He’s at least a high-value handcuff to Gibson. But it’s looking more and more likely that Robinson will have standalone fantasy value.”
Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

Rashaad Penny (SEA) 
“The Seahawks’ starting running back, Rashaad Penny, has played in only 37 out of 65 regular season games, and only once has he played more than 10 games in a season. So Ken Walker should have opportunities to start at some point during the 2022 season. While not likely to be a huge threat in the passing game, Walker runs decisively and has electric, home run speed. The Seahawks’ offensive line will be better than the fantasy community anticipates, and Walker will be an RB2 for any games that he starts … which will likely be a handful.”
Neema Hodjat (Real GM)

Isiah Pacheco (KC) 
“Pacheco is big (215 pounds) and has burst (4.37 speed). Andy Reid prefers to use one RB in a bell cow role (see Brian Westbrook and Kareem Hunt). Clyde Edwards-Helaire is undersized for either a heavy workload or a short-yardage role. CEH has also had a difficult time staying healthy in the past, and if he goes down, things could get very interesting in Kansas City. If Pacheco gets an opportunity in the Chiefs’ high-octane offense, he’s a potential league winner. Ringo’s comp: a combination of former Bills RB Mike Gillislee and Jamaal Charles.”
Mark Ringo (Sleepers and Busts)

Running Backs

PLAYER TEAM VOTES ECR ADP
Rhamondre Stevenson NE 17 RB36 RB37
Dameon Pierce HOU 10 RB45 RB45
Chase Edmonds MIA 8 RB30 RB35
Tony Pollard DAL 6 RB32 RB32
Kenneth Gainwell PHI 5 RB46 RB51
Ken Walker III SEA 4 RB37 RB34
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 3 RB28 RB27
Khalil Herbert CHI 3 RB51 RB59

Running backs who received votes were: Melvin Gordon (2), Miles Sanders (2), Rashaad Penny (2), Darrel Williams (1), Nyheim Hines (1), Kareem Hunt (1), James Robinson (1), Rex Burkhead (1), Hassan Haskins (1), Tyler Allgeier (1), Raheem Mostert (1), D’Ernest Johnson (1), Devin Singletary (1), Isiah Pacheco (1), Brian Robinson (1), Mike Davis (1), Marlon Mack (1)

CTAs

Thank you to all the experts for naming their consensus sleepers. You can view each expert’s picks above and be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, please check out our latest podcast episode below.


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