RB - ATL
Cordarrelle Patterson enters his age 31 season, coming off a career year as the RB16 in fantasy points per game. After beginning the season in a hybrid role, the team moved him to more of a traditional running back role as the season rolled along. In Weeks 1-10, Patterson played running back on 56.2% of his snaps and outside or in the slot on 37.7% of his snaps. He was a running back for 69.9% of his snaps for the rest of the season, with only 29.5% of his playing time coming as a receiver. Patterson flourished in his swiss army knife role as the RB10 through the first ten weeks before fading as the RB31 over his final seven games. The receiving game is where Patterson needs to be utilized to hit a ceiling. Last year, he was incredibly effective, ranking behind only Christian McCaffrey in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF). With age, role, and increased target competition factoring into his 2022 outlook, Patterson is best viewed as an RB3/RB4 with upside.
Nobody saw the Cordarelle Patterson ninth-year breakout coming. Unless, of course, you foresaw ex-Chicago Bears passing game coordinator Dave Ragone coming in as the Atlanta Falcons' new offensive coordinator just to install Patterson in a hybrid RB/WR role.
From Weeks 1-14, fantasy football's RB7 - 15.8 fantasy points per game - was a revelation and a player who changed the tide of leagues as a waiver-wire acquisition.
Patterson's only issue is that he stumbled across the fantasy football finish line, failing to eclipse more than nine fantasy points or 30 rushing yards in his last four games. The team also used him more in a committee alongside Mike Davis.
Nonetheless, the more bizarre part is that Patterson took a backseat in the receiving game despite his wide receiver background, totaling just seven targets in his final four games after averaging nearly five targets per game. Patterson's 25% target rate per route ranked No. 1 among all running backs.
Still, even with the poor end to the season, Patterson's best case in free agency was always returning to the Falcons. He is such a specialized talent who needs to be used in a particular manner, which was executed to near perfection under Arthur Smith's tutelage.
With an overall lack of general playmakers after losing Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage, C-Patt should see a competent role in the Falcons offense. Whether it be as a receiver or rusher (or both), he's a solid bet to lead the backfield with lackluster RB talent on the team vying for touches and targets.
With Patterson's range of outcomes so wide for fantasy football, he should remain a draft target if his ADP stays in the later rounds. His RB30 ADP on early best-ball is a solid value.
But I'd be hard-pressed to admit that the Marcus Mariota signing is not ideal for Patterson's fantasy value. Rushing quarterbacks tend to check the ball down less frequently making it less likely Patterson sees less of a consistent target share.
In Mariota's last stint with the Titans, RBs totaled 4.6 targets per game (17.7% target share). Last year that number was at 8.2 targets per game (26.7% target share).
8/1: Role is likely to be decreased, which may allow CPatt to get back to his play-making ways. Think he's being slept on -- it would be best to get him out of that early-grinder role
Another year older and more competition added as well as a QB who is less likely to check down. At this cost Patterson still offers great some safety in PPR leagues. Watch out for Tyler Allgeier though...
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