Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Fantasy Football running back rankings 2022: Early expert rankings of all RB1s ranked from 1-12

We’re starting our draft prep for the 2022 Fantasy season already, and this is the initial reveal of the running back rankings from our staff. A lot will change between now and August when your Fantasy drafts are happening, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead.

With that in mind, let’s see what the running back rankings could look like in 2022. But first, let’s look back at what happened in 2021 with the Average Draft Position compared to the actual finish of the running backs this past season.

CBS Sports Average Draft Position for running backs:

  1. Christian McCaffrey 1.2
  2. Dalvin Cook 2.6
  3. Derrick Henry 3.4
  4. Alvin Kamara 4.5
  5. Ezekiel Elliott 7.9
  6. Aaron Jones 8.7
  7. Nick Chubb 10.3
  8. Austin Ekeler 11.7
  9. Jonathan Taylor 11.8
  10. Najee Harris 14.4
  11. Saquon Barkley 14.6
  12. Joe Mixon 18.9

Final 2021 top 12 running backs based on PPR points per game:

  1. Derrick Henry 24.4
  2. Jonathan Taylor 21.9
  3. Austin Ekeler 21.5
  4. Leonard Fournette 18.3
  5. Christian McCaffrey 18.2
  6. Alvin Kamara 18.1
  7. Joe Mixon 18.0
  8. Najee Harris 17.7
  9. James Conner 17.2
  10. D’Andre Swift 16.1
  11. Dalvin Cook 15.9
  12. Nick Chubb 15.4

Points per game shows you the greatness of guys like Henry and McCaffrey, which is why we hope both are 100 percent healthy for the start of the 2022 season. At least with Henry we’ll get a chance to see how he looks in the playoffs after he missed the final nine games of the regular season with a foot injury.

Some of the guys who struggled in 2021 included Elliott, Jones and Barkley. Jones (15.3 PPR points per game) was the No. 13 running back, Elliott (14.8) was No. 17 and Barkley was No. 21 (11.5). It was a tough year for Barkley this past season, as well as Fantasy managers who drafted him.

Early Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE

Fournette and Conner were candidates for Fantasy MVP this season based on where both were drafted and how they finished. Both were actually back-to-back picks based on running back ADP (Fournette at 98.2 and Conner at 99.7) and both clearly outperformed that value. However, heading into 2022, no one on our staff plans to draft Conner as a starting running back despite his success in 2021. 

2022 Top 12 PPR RB Rankings

Jamey Eisenberg

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Austin Ekeler
  3. Christian McCaffrey
  4. Derrick Henry
  5. Dalvin Cook
  6. Alvin Kamara
  7. Joe Mixon
  8. Najee Harris
  9. D’Andre Swift
  10. Nick Chubb
  11. Javonte Williams
  12. Antonio Gibson

Adam Aizer

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Derrick Henry
  3. Christian McCaffrey
  4. Austin Ekeler
  5. Alvin Kamara
  6. Joe Mixon
  7. Najee Harris
  8. Dalvin Cook
  9. D’Andre Swift
  10. Javonte Williams
  11. Nick Chubb
  12. Cam Akers

Heath Cummings

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Austin Ekeler
  3. Derrick Henry
  4. Christian McCaffrey
  5. Dalvin Cook
  6. Alvin Kamara
  7. Joe Mixon
  8. Najee Harris
  9. D’Andre Swift
  10. David Montgomery
  11. Javonte Williams
  12. Nick Chubb

Dave Richard

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Derrick Henry
  3. Alvin Kamara
  4. Austin Ekeler
  5. Christian McCaffrey
  6. Dalvin Cook
  7. Najee Harris
  8. Joe Mixon
  9. Nick Chubb
  10. Javonte Williams
  11. D’Andre Swift
  12. David Montgomery

Dan Schneier

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Derrick Henry
  4. Dalvin Cook
  5. Austin Ekeler
  6. Najee Harris
  7. Alvin Kamara
  8. Joe Mixon
  9. Nick Chubb
  10. Javonte Williams
  11. Leonard Fournette
  12. Antonio Gibson

Chris Towers

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Jonathan Taylor
  3. Austin Ekeler
  4. Derrick Henry
  5. Alvin Kamara  
  6. Dalvin Cook
  7. D’Andre Swift
  8. Najee Harris
  9. Joe Mixon
  10. Nick Chubb
  11. David Montgomery
  12.  Leonard Fournette

Chris is the lone member of our staff without Taylor as the No. 1 running back — and likely No. 1 overall pick. He has McCaffrey in that spot, which is risky but brings so much reward if he can stay healthy. McCaffrey has played in just 10 of 33 games over the past two seasons.

Everyone has McCaffrey in the top five, with Dave the lowest at No. 5. So clearly we’re all not afraid to draft him again.

The consensus top six are Taylor, McCaffrey, Ekeler, Henry, Cook and Kamara. Cook will have a new coach, which could sway how he’s ranked in 2022, and we’ll see what happens with the quarterback situation in New Orleans and the potential impact on Kamara.

Mixon and Harris are right after this group, and Adam has Mixon at No. 6, while Dan has Harris at No. 6. I could see both moving ahead of Cook for me depending on what happens this offseason, especially once we know Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement in Pittsburgh and the impact that quarterback has on Harris.

The other running backs who round out the top 12 for most of us include Swift, Chubb and Williams. Chubb is the safest of this group, and Swift has tremendous upside in Year 3. Williams could also be a star if Melvin Gordon leaves Denver, and if the Broncos get an upgrade at quarterback.

Additionally, some outliers for us include Montgomery for Heath, Dave and Chris, and Dan and Chris also have Fournette in their top 12. Me and Dan also have Gibson at No. 12, and Adam has Akers at No. 12. We’ll all be watching the NFL playoffs to see if Akers can return to form from the Achilles tear he suffered in July, and hopefully he can perform like a standout Fantasy running back again in 2022. 

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