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Matthew Freedman’s High-Risk Running Backs to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)

Freedman's High-Risk RBs to Avoid

Running back is arguably the most important position in fantasy football to get right, and that’s why it’s a position you shouldn’t be gambling on in the early rounds of your fantasy football drafts. Sure, every pick comes with some level of risk, but there are times and places to roll the dice on running backs. The first few rounds are not on that list.

See below for the high-risk running backs Matthew Freedman is avoiding in fantasy football drafts this season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Javonte Williams (DEN)
ADP: 16 | Freedman: 26

If not for Melvin Gordon, I’d have Williams in Round 1, but the veteran is still there, and he’s still a productive player: 1,200 yards and 11 TDs per year over the past half decade, 1,100 yards and 10 TDs per year over the past two seasons. That production isn’t going to disappear entirely. We should assume that Williams will play as the lead back ahead of Gordon, but Gordon still has the upside for 200 carries and 40 targets, even if Williams stays healthy the entire season, and with Russell Wilson at QB, the Broncos might have more of a pass-heavy offense, so Williams might not have the usage people expect regardless of Gordon.

I think he should go in Round 3: He has a decent floor, but his ceiling is capped. I’d prefer Aaron Jones (20) and Saquon Barkley (20).

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
ADP: 31 | Freedman: 42

Elliott has had back-to-back subpar seasons (for him), and he’ll be 27 years old when the season starts. Tony Pollard is an elite handcuff who will continue to see regular action in a change-of-pace role, and he could see more usage in the receiving game without WRs Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson. 2016 was a LONG time ago. Low floors are sometimes harder to see than low ceilings, but a lack of upside can be a sign of hidden downside, and I think that’s the case with Zeke. He looks like a high-floor/low-ceiling play. It’s easy to assume that Zeke will get his 250-300 touches, get goal-line carries, but won’t be all that efficient with them. It’s easy to project Zeke for a high-floor, low-ceiling outcome. But that’s the projection, that doesn’t take randomness into account, and the older and more inefficient a guy is the likelier he is to fall prey to chaos. What makes Zeke so risky is that he has a very limited ceiling at his ADP.

He’s a value-seeking RB2 who’s OK in Round 4, not Round 3. I’d prefer James Conner (33), maybe even Breece Hall (46).

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