Friday, June 14, 2024

Dynasty Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Saquon Barkley is back; Javonte Williams may take awhile


One of the best stories of the first four weeks of the 2022 NFL season has been the return to form from Saquon Barkley. Barkley ranks as the No. 1 running back in PPR leagues and leads the league in rush attempts, rushing yards, and total yards from scrimmage. 

And it’s not just volume, Barkley’s 5.5 yards per carry would be a career high and he passes every eye test. To be this productive on a team with no passing game is impressive. The Giants still haven’t scored more than 21 points in a game and will run out a receiving corps led by Richie James again in Week 5. 

To see just how sold I am that Barkley is back, you only have to look at the updated Dynasty running back rankings below. He’s No. 4 behind only Jonathan Taylor, Breece Hall, and Christian McCaffrey. Seeing as he doesn’t turn 26 until February, Barkley should have two to three productive seasons left after this year, and that’s about all you can ask for from most backs anyway. But it wasn’t all his doing that he rose this far, this fast. He’d probably be RB6 if it wasn’t for the fall from Javonte Wiliams and Najee Harris.

Harris looks like a case where we elevated a little too much based on Ben Roethlisberger’s desire not to get hit. His target rate has shrunk this year and the efficiency hasn’t improved either. He’s still a Dynasty RB1, but won’t be if the situation doesn’t improve soon. Harris is only a year younger than Barkley and there’s a stable of young backs coming into the league in 2023.

Williams’ fall is for even more obvious reasons — his torn ACL and PCL. And Barkley provides both a cautionary tale, and hope. The cautionary part is that we shouldn’t expect Williams to be 100% back next season. The hope is that he still could get all the way back to what he was as Barkley has. The difference is that Barkley had proven himself as a Fantasy RB1 before the injury. Williams hasn’t, so he’s fallen outside of my top 20 for the time being. He’s a target for a rebuilding team, especially if you’re rebuilding for 2024.

Here are my updated Dynasty running back rankings:

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