2022 Fantasy Football Running Back Committees

by Michael Tomlin
2023 Fantasy Football: Ten Safest Players to Draft

I am not breaking news or anything, but there are not many three-down, workhorse running backs anymore. With that said, the 2022 Fantasy Football Running Back committees are even more vital to understand for this year.

The term “2022 running back committees” can even be construed in various ways. It is a lot like “sleeper” or “breakout,” and everyone has their own parameters.

For the purposes of the 2022 running back committees, I am going to say that any backfield with multiple running backs currently being ranked/drafted within 35 spots of each other at the position.

For example, David Montgomery is currently ranked by Fantasy Pros Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) as the RB18. Khalil Herbert is the next running back from the Bears ranked and he is RB53. So, I would not consider this one of the 2022 committee backfields.

With this standard, the workhorse backs are: Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift, Leonard Fournette, James Conner, Saquon Barkley, David Montgomery, Elijah Mitchell, Josh Jacobs, and Alvin Kamara, pending his suspension possibility.

All of the information for the 2022 committee backfields is up to date from Fantasy Pros on July 10th.

2022 Fantasy Football Running Back Committees

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All rankings in parenthesis are the ECR ranking.

The Two-Fantasy-Starter Backfields

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Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones (RB11) and A.J. Dillon (RB26)

With the trading away of Davante Adams, I thin Aaron Jones might lead the Packers in targets. Because of all the receiving work he is going to do, I would imagine A.J. Dillon will get a heavier split of the rushing attempts, especially at the goal line and be Flex-worthy.

Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb (RB8) and Kareem Hunt (RB29)

Hunt’s current ranking confounds me. Hunt was RB20 in PPR Fantasy Points per game. Hunt’s 17-game pace since he has been in Cleveland is 1,152 total yards, 52 catches and 10 touchdowns. That’s 227.2 PPR Fantasy Points which would have been RB12 last season. With the uncertainty at quarterback, there will be even more opportunities for both backs and both we will Top-24 guys.

The “Are We Sure We Know the Split” Group

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Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB16) and Tony Pollard (RB34)

Everyone in the Fantasy Football community has this trendy take that Tony Pollard is a better football player than Ezekiel Elliott. I am here to tell all of you Pollard believers that you are wrong. Zeke played the majority of last season with a torn PCL and still finished as RB7. Before his injury he was on pace for almost 1,500 rushing yards and 17 total touchdowns. He is not going anywhere.

Pollard will have some value though. He will be used in the slot more and will still be relied on to give Zeke a breather. With that said, I would argue this is closer to a workhorse backfield than a committee. Zeke also gives you the best ability possible for a running back: availability. He always plays.

Denver Broncos: Javonte Williams (RB10) and Melvin Gordon III (RB33)

This one blows my mind too. Everyone is always enamored with the shiny new toy, and wants to be “first” on talking up a player. Gordon had more rushing attempts per game than Williams and outscored him per game in Fantasy Points. There is a new coaching staff that chose to bring him back, while they inherited Williams.

This might be the closest thing to a 50/50 split of all the 2022 committee backfields. Because of that, I will not have much of Williams at that price point, but will have a large amount of Gordon on my teams at his cost.

The Recently Drafted Rookie Tier

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Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny (RB30) and Ken Walker (RB32)

In the earliest drafts Walker was actually going ahead of Penny. That has since changed, but they are only a few picks apart usually. So which guy is the one to own in Seattle?

Can I say neither? With Drew Lock as the presumptive starter, I am not too excited about getting any piece of the Seattle offense. Penny has shown flashes of brilliance (1,275-yard pace last season) but simply cannot stay on the field (missed 28 games over his four-year career) and does not catch the ball (23 total catches in 37 games).

I would imagine this is close to a 50/50 split as well, with it being more of Penny gets a big workload until he gets hurt. I would much rather have Hunt and Gordon going at the same time than these two.

New York Jets: Breece Hall (RB20) and Michael Carter (RB39)

Hall was taken in the second round of the NFL Draft as the first running back off the board…. A year after Carter was taken as the fifth running back off the board in 2021. The Jets seem to be just loading up on offensive weapons to surround Zach Wilson. I think this might end up being a “hot hand” situation, a dreadfully bad thing for Fantasy Football managers.

Hall is the shiny new rookie so he is getting over-ranked/drafted. People are acting like Michael Carter is no good, when in the stretch that he really took over last season before getting hurt he averaged 19.7 Fantasy Points per game. This will be another 2022 backfield committee that I will end up with only the cheaper option.

Buffalo Bills: Devin Singletary (RB31), James Cook (RB41), and Zack Moss (RB72)

This entire backfield is limited in Fantasy Football because of Josh Allen’s penchant for rushing touchdowns. It feels like Moss is just the odd man out with a split between Singletary and Cook.

I’m honestly shocked Cook is below Singletary. I figured most people would like the rookie more, but people are respecting that Singletary had 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns last season. I see this committee shaping up as a 60/40 split with Singletary getting the 60% the first half of the season, but Cook could take it over in the second half. It is a decent pair to draft both and platoon.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Travis Etienne (RB24) and James Robinson (RB43)

Etienne is effectively a rookie after missing the entire 2021 season. I get it, he has the pedigree. They invested a lot of draft capital in him, he was a superstar in college, and he is playing with his college quarterback. I just don’t see him leading this team in carries.

With Etienne’s skillset (85 catches, 1,020 yards, six touchdowns receiving his last two years at Clemson) he will be used more like Deebo Samuel. I think Robinson will still dominate the early-down carries and goal-line work. In full PPR, I would not mind having both guys on my roster though, because Etienne could lead the team in catches while Robinson gets 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns.

Houston Texans: Dameon Pierce (RB51), Marlon Mack (RB54), and Rex Burkhead (RB76)

I honestly cannot remember a year where a team did not have a single running back ranked inside the top 50 at the position. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2022 Houston Texans!

This might be the muddiest of the 2022 backfield committees on arguably the worst offense. But at the same time, there are not really “bad” picks in the teen rounds. Pierce is definitely someone worth a late-round pick.

Atlanta Falcons: Cordarrelle Patterson (RB36), Tyler Allgeier (RB57), and Damien Williams (RB71)

It is pretty rare for a player to finish as RB9 but his team drafts a running back along with signing a Super Bowl-hero running back. Reports are coming out that Patterson will see a reduced workload this year, opening the door for the other backs to get more carries.

So RB9 is probably out of the question, but I think Patterson will easily be an RB3 making his pricepoint pretty strong. Allgeier is a pretty big question mark and Damien Williams was not the same guy last season that he was in that playoff run of 2019.

Clearly Defined Roles… We Think

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New England Patriots: Damien Harris (RB25), Rhamondre Stevenson (RB37), and James White (RB61)

If all three of these guys are healthy, Harris should get the lead role with Stevenson sharing carries with him. White will be the sole pass catcher of the group.

And I’m still holding on to my James White stock. He may be 30 years old now, but he simply does not have a lot of tread on his tires (just 700 career regular season touches). Last year he had some personal, off-the-field issues that slowed him down and 2020 was just a disaster at quarterback in New England.

But before that he was coming off of 159 catches over the previous two seasons. At their current price points, White is my choice to roster out of this group.

Los Angeles Rams: Cam Akers (RB17) and Darrell Henderson (RB42)

Fun fact: if you add up the production of the starting running back for the Rams each week in 2021 then that player would have had 1,505 total yards with 40 catches and 11 touchdowns. That would have been RB6 in half-PPR.

However, I do not think Akers will get as much of a touch-share. I think last year was the effect of all the injuries the Rams’ backs sustained.

I’m guessing this will be closer to 2020, when the RB1 in Los Angeles had about 49% of the rushes and yards while the RB2 had around 35%.

Baltimore Ravens: J.K. Dobbins (RB22) and Gus Edwards (RB45)

This is an almost carbon-copy of the Rams’ backfield. You have a presumed starter as the breakout candidate coming off an injury with the backup who has filled in admirably.

The main problem with this pair is they might both me on the PUP list to start camp. Everyone thinks that running backs can be Adrian Peterson nine months post ACL tears. That is simply not the case. I think Saquon Barkley was a prime example of that last year.

So, I would hesitate on this pair at their current ranking and ADP. I guess Edwards is still a value, but I want to see Dobbins in action before using a fourth- or fifth-round pick on him.

Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders (RB27), Kenneth Gainwell (RB49), and Boston Scott (RB60)

I put this group in since the ECR fits the criteria I laid out. However, I think Miles Sanders will be closer to a workhorse back.

If you take out the two games that he left early with injury along with the weird Dallas game where they were blown off the field and he had just two carries, Sanders was on pace for 1,500 total yards and 40 catches.

Sanders still averaged 5.5 yards per carry and is due some serious touchdown regression after not spiking the ball off of 163 touches last season.

Gainwell and Scott will have roles and will be valuable should Sanders get hurt. But I am focused on the ceiling of a Top-10 running back in the seventh round.

Washington Commanders: Antonio Gibson (RB19) and J.D. McKissic (RB52)

Antonio Gibson had the quietest 1,000-yard, RB10 season last year. I mean he out-performed his ADP but people are acting like he busted. He did all of this despite having horrific quarterback play.

The quarterback position was upgraded with a guy who knows something about helping a running back succeed in Fantasy Football. Now you are getting Gibson at a discount.

McKissic is definitely a target for me as well. He missed some time with injury last year, but he matched his receiving yards per game and was still hauling in four receptions each week. He has a weekly PPR floor that can be used as a Flex fill-in, but also a ceiling of catching 80 passes again.

The Absolute Question Mark Group

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Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB28), Ronald Jones (RB38), and Jerick McKinnon (RB75)

This is the All-Post-Hype backfield committee. All three of these guys have been over-hyped previously but failed to live up to expectations. But which one will be the one to roster in 2022?

I will take one more victory lap over the other 99% of the Fantasy Football community because I did not draft CEH in a single league the past two seasons. I will then chastise myself for continuing the believe that the Ronald Jones breakout was coming.

The wild card for me though is McKinnon. In the playoffs last year, McKinnon had 20 more carries than the next two backs combined. He had 14 of the 16 total running back receptions. He was one of Pat Mahomes’ favorite weapons. And now you can get him for free.

If you are drafting late, this will be a key backfield to follow in camp. For now, I would say McKinnon is the key target because of his price, but Jones or CEH could pop out and take control.

Miami Dolphins: Chase Edmonds (RB35), Raheem Mostert (RB44), and Sony Michel (RB48)

This is without a doubt the backfield I want to draft the least. All three guys are new to the team after failing at previous stops. They are new to a Miami team that averaged 3.5 yards per carry last season.

The Dolphins also added Tyreek Hill, which should take away carries from the running backs because he is so adept at the quick screens that act as run plays.

So, draft someone from this group at your own risk. I think it will end up being the ultimate turn-taking committee, with each guy having big games but you will never know when it is coming.

That’s it for the 2022 committee backfields! Be sure to stay up to date with the rest of our Fantasy Football content as we take you right into draft season!

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