5 Running Back Fades For The 2022 Fantasy Football Season
If I haven’t said this enough I’ll still be saying it forever as long as I play fantasy football. The running back position is the shallowest to draft from. There’s no way around it. The talent pool is deep enough that you can get some substantial talent out of the fantasy draft with a few surprise waiver wire additions during the season. Before we get to the season and deal with waivers, there are a few guys who I’ve been looking at over the course of the offseason that I just don’t want any parts of this fantasy season.
While you might disagree with some of the names that I have on my list, that’s alright. I mean, if we agreed on everything how fun would that be?
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (FFCalculator ADP: 5.10)
Miles Sanders was decent last season with what he was allowed to for the Eagles on the ground. Despite being in the best rushing attack overall last season, Miles Sanders only had a bit role from a fantasy perspective. The Eagles’ run game was the best scoring attack on the ground but Miles Sanders was unable to score even one touchdown despite having 20 red-zone attempts last season. Sanders only averaged 9.8 fantasy points per game and while he did finish second on the team in rushing yards behind quarterback Jalen Hurts, Sanders was only given 11 carries a game on average during the regular season.
With the backfield looking to be a committee in 2022 with Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell returning as well as Jalen Hurts rushing ability being a focal point for the Eagles’ ground attack, Miles Sanders may be on the short end of the stick, sharing the rock in that backfield.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (FFCalculator ADP: 5.04)
This one really stings because I was excited when the Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire. We’ve seen backs have some success in their rather pass-heavy system like Kareem Hunt and Damien Williams. However, for one reason or another, Clyde Edwards-Hilaire just hasn’t been able to sustain any type of fantasy relevancy inside one of the best offenses in football. Over the last two seasons, CEH has finished outside the top 20 at the position, landing at the RB22 and RB44 in 2020 and 2021. He averaged nearly 12 fantasy points per game but also dealt with injuries that forced him to miss time last year.
This time around things won’t be easier for him despite Tyreek Hill being traded to Miami and leaving behind a huge target share. Not only did the Chiefs add a bunch of new faces at the receiver position with Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Juju Smith-Schuster coming onboard, and Skyy Moore being drafted during the 2022 NFL Draft but they also added Ronald Jones and brought back Jerick Mckinnon. Both of those backs can threaten CEH’s role for red-zone and pass-catching work. For these reasons, I have to pivot elsewhere for a running back.
Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders (FFCalculator ADP: 3.10)
I was a bit hopeful after Gibson finished the RB10 last season but it just doesn’t seem that head coach Ron Rivera is going to hand over the reins to Gibson and let him be the complete feature back there. Gibson was already capped as it is with fellow Commanders running back J.D. Mckissic. Between both backs, they split passing duties down the middle with Mckissic just edging out Gibson 53 to 52 in targets. That’s a 9.8% target share for Mckissic and a 9.7% target share for Gibson. Now Gibson could lose red-zone work with the Commanders drafting big back Brian Robinson this offseason.
With Ron Rivera stating this offseason that they want to run a committee system similar to what he had during his run with the Carolina Panthers with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Gibson’s third-round ADP is just too high for a back that could be splitting work with two other guys on the roster. If I were to target anyone, it may be Brian Robinson with his opportunity to score touchdowns for the Commanders this year at a much cheaper draft price than Gibson.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (FFCalculator ADP: 4.06)
Josh Jacobs is the guy on this list that I have the most difficulty passing on for the most part. Jacobs is entering the final year of his rookie deal and the Raiders didn’t activate his fifth-year option. On top of that, the Raiders seemingly drafted his potential replacement in rookie running back Zamir White. Kenyan Drake, the Raiders’ pass-catching back is still around in the system and new head coach Josh McDaniels also brought back Patriots favorite Brandon Bolden to add to the mix. Jacobs did finish just outside the top 10 last season as the RB12 in PPR averaging 15.1 fantasy points per game but Jacobs lost a chunk of rushing attempts from his career high 273 attempts in 2020 falling to 217 last year.
With Jacobs not getting a contract extension and the drafting of Zamir White the writing seems to be on the wall for the Raiders’ running back this season. I’d be on the lookout to snag Zamir White off waivers if and when the Raiders decide that it’s time to make the switch during the season should Jacobs underwhelm or get injured. There are other running backs I like more in that range like Cam Akers (also 4.06) or Travis Etienne (4.09) with Doug Pederson calling the shots down in Jacksonville this season.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (FFCalculator ADP: 7.05)
I know the Bills have said all the right things in regards to Devin Singletary this offseason but my “Spidey-sense” is still going off when it comes to drafting Singletary. I have seen some around the fantasy community target Singletary in part of a “zero RB” strategy and that’s fine. Grabbing him around the seventh round isn’t a bad idea in that regard. However, if you plan on reaching for Singletary sooner, I wouldn’t slam down on that draft button just yet. Singletary was decently involved in the Bills passing attack, slicing out an 8% target share (50 targets) during the 2021 season in which he turned that into 228 receiving yards and a touchdown. Fellow running back Zach Moss was no real threat to steal receiving work from Singeltary either, receiving just 32 targets out of the Bills backfield.
This is where James Cook comes in. Cook averaged 10.5 y/r during his senior year at Georgia and averaged 6.4 y/a. While Moss may not be a threat to either back, Cook can certainly make his case for both receiving work and rushing attempts if he can prove himself in camp. Should Cook do just that, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see Cook eventually take over the Bills’ backfield as the lead rusher. I think the Bills have been looking for that “bell-cow” type back for some time and haven’t really found that guy currently on their roster until James Cook was drafted. Devin Singeltary is also in a contract year so he certainly has more to prove but I’m looking for Cook to slide into the top roll sometime this season. The Bills didn’t use a second-round pick on him for no reason.