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2022 Rookie Running Back Class: Dynasty Fantasy Football Post-Draft Grades

Mike Havens offers his view of this year’s running back class by dishing out post-draft grades.

Dameon Pierce

That was not an exciting NFL Draft for running backs. We didn’t see a single back go off the board until day two, and hardly any running backs were taken before day three, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value to be had. Some of the landing spots are fantastic, and I’m here to break down the post-draft ranks to help you plan for your rookie drafts.

This is the final part of a multi-part series. The rest of the series can be found here. In this article, I will give you a pre and post-draft rank, followed by a short blurb about each player. Good luck!

Grading System:

  • A = Elite / Early to middle first-round pick
  • B = NFL starter potential / Late first or early to middle second-round pick
  • C = RBBC or COP Back at best / Middle or late second to third-round pick
    D = Lifetime backup or goal-line back / Late third or fourth-round pick
  • F = Bust / Draft with extreme caution

Breece Hall, RB NYJ

Pre-Draft Grade: A+
Post-Draft Grade: A

The landing spot is not pleasant based on history, so I bumped him down a tad. Name the last offensive players from the Jets who you were excited to own. That’s hard to do, but perhaps Hall can change that since I view him as team-proof. I also like the current coaching staff and the direction the Jets are headed, so maybe there’s something to be positive about in New York. Maybe.

Kenneth Walker III, RB SEA

Pre-Draft Grade: A-
Post-Draft Grade: A

I liked Walker pre-draft, but he’s going to need a full year to develop as a well-rounded back in this league. The landing spot, however, has historically been kind to running backs. If it can turn Chris Carson into a must-own running back for several seasons in a row, imagine what it can do for this prime prospect. If anyone wanted to draft Walker over Hall, I wouldn’t scold them, but personally I like Hall better.

Dameon Pierce, RB HOU

Pre-Draft Grade: B
Post-Draft Grade: B+

If you’re looking to use a second-round pick on a player with as much upside as possible, look no further than Pierce. I liked a lot about his game sans top speed and a few other nit-picky items that you can read about here, but the upside is hard to ignore given his ability to be a day one starter. There are other backs I like better in this draft, but it’s hard to beat this landing spot. Pierce has the talent of a second-round pick, but his landing spot may push his value up to a late first.

Rachaad White, RB TB

Pre-Draft Grade: A- or B+
Post-Draft Grade: B

I would love the landing spot more if Leonard Fournette didn’t just sign a cheap three-year deal to stick around. There’s a small chance he takes over the starting spot in his rookie season, though at worst I think he’ll split carries. White is a quality back worth owning, and I would do so with my second-round picks. In PPR leagues I’d rather own James Cook, in non-PPR I’d rather own Rachaad White.

Brian Robinson, RB WAS

Pre-Draft Grade: B+
Post-Draft Grade: B

I loved Robinson pre-draft and rated him as one of my top five, and I understand this selection given the lack of depth behind Antonio Gibson, but I don’t love the landing spot since there’s already competition at the position. We may have ourselves a Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt situation on a far less talented team. Robinson is a quality selection in the second round of dynasty drafts, and he shouldn’t lose value over time.

Keaontay Ingram, RB ARI

Pre-Draft Grade: B-
Post-Draft Grade: B

I liked Ingram pre-draft and I like the landing spot post-draft. This is the kind of guy who can split carries right away and become a starter sooner than later. I will be targeting Ingram in all drafts as early as the late second round, but hoping I’m thinking I can get him for a third. If there’s one late-round running back in this draft who has great value going forward, this is it.

James Cook, RB BUF

Pre-Draft Grade: C-
Post-Draft Grade: B

This is a little bit of a head-scratcher for me. I liked Cook just fine pre-draft, but I didn’t see him as an every-down kind of back, I think he’s more of an RBBC kind of guy. Off he goes to a team that badly needs a starter when others who I think were a better fit were still available. No matter, Cook will produce value in this offense, though I don’t think he’ll ever be elite. If you need a running back in the second round and are thinking about using a late first to pull the trigger, I wouldn’t hate you for it.

Pierre Strong, RB NE

Pre-Draft Grade: B
Post-Draft Grade: B-

This selection is simultaneously good and bad. It’s good because the Patriots will surely find a place for him in this offense, but it’s bad because of how historically the Patriots use players in their backfield. If Strong takes over the James White role he will have value in dynasty, otherwise I’d want to stay away. Strong is a quality third-round pick in dynasty with PPR upside.

Isaiah Spiller, RB LAC

Pre-Draft Grade: C+
Post-Draft Grade: C+

Most people had Spiller as a top-three prospect, but I had rated him as an RBBC option. The landing spot matches my feelings about this kid; he’s going to be a quality number two for another team’s top back. Spiller is an excellent handcuff for Austin Ekeler owners, and a flex back to anyone else. He’s worth a third-round pick in dynasty.

Zamir White, RB LV

Pre-Draft Grade: C+
Post-Draft Grade: C+

I like his talent but I’m worried about his ability to adjust to the pro-style offense. Most dynasty rankers had White in their top five but I did not. I suggested that he would need to be drafted to a team that already has an established starter to be fantasy-relevant, and that has happened with the Raiders, who also chose not to exercise Josh Jacobs‘ fifth-year option. If Jacobs moves on, White could be a winner. If Jacobs gets signed to a long-term deal, White’s value will tank. This is a risky pick, one that I probably wouldn’t make before the third round of any dynasty draft.

Tyler Allgeier, RB ATL

Pre-Draft Grade: D+
Post-Draft Grade: C-

A lot of rankers loved Allgeier and I did not agree with those assessments. I think he’s too slow and goes down too easily. The landing spot is fantastic, but I’d only draft him with the purpose of flipping him for a profit later on. He’s not a guy I want to hang onto long-term. You should be able to grab him in the third round, and flip him for a future second-round pick eventually.

Jerome Ford, RB CLE

Pre-Draft Grade: B
Post-Draft Grade: C+

I can only assume the Browns used their pick to take the best player available. Ford is a quality back who landed in perhaps the worst situation in the NFL. If you own Chubb or Hunt, you should desire to draft Ford with any third-round pick, otherwise I’d use a late third or early fourth to target this player.

Kyren Williams, RB LAR

Pre-Draft Grade: C+
Post-Draft Grade: C-

He has a lot of talent, but Williams is small and slow. I don’t see how well he’ll transition into the NFL going to a team that’s already full at the position. I will probably be passing on all copies of Williams in all drafts. If he’s around in the fourth I may take a flyer on him but that’s only to flip for a profit later on.

Tyler Badie, RB BAL

Pre-Draft Grade: C-
Post-Draft Grade: C-

He’s a smaller change of pace or PPR back and nothing more. He has late third-round value in PPR leagues, and less than that everywhere else.

Kevin Harris, RB NE

Pre-Draft Grade: C-
Post-Draft Grade: C-

I called this guy a “bowling ball with legs”. You’re not drafting him to hold him, you’re drafting him to flip for a profit later on. Being that he’s on a team with a loaded backfield, you may be able to nab him in the fourth round, but he’s not a guy you want to hang onto long-term because of his horrid landing spot.

Hassan Haskins, RB TEN

Pre-Draft Grade: C
Post-Draft Grade: C-

Haskins is nothing more than depth behind Derrick Henry for the foreseeable future. He’s a fourth-round pick in dynasty, or a late third to all you Henry owners out there.

Isaih Pacheco, RB KC

Pre-Draft Grade: D
Post-Draft Grade: C-

This is the only player who was unranked by most that I took a dart throw on, and it turns out he gets drafted to a team that isn’t afraid to use their running backs. Pacheco has great size and is very fast, but he’s also quite the project pick. It’s a great fourth-round dart throw who has upside.

Tyrion Davis-Price, RB SF

Pre-Draft Grade: UNRANKED
Post-Draft Grade: D-

I don’t understand this pick. The 49ers run outside zone, and Davis-Price ran mostly power at LSU. Last year the 49ers selected Trey Sermon to fill the void left by Tevin Coleman. I didn’t love the selection then but I understood it because there were no other backs in the 2021 draft that could do what Sermon could do. This time around I don’t understand the logic, and that’s hard for me to say because I’m a huge 49er fan. It feels like a wasted pick to fill a need that’s not there – unless they trade Sermon this off-season. Don’t waste your pick on Davis-Price.

Trestan Ebner, RB CHI

Pre-Draft Grade: UNRANKED
Post-Draft Grade: D+

Ebner did not make my pre-draft list. He was taken late in the draft and landed in a crowded backfield. If I owned a Bears running back I’d be interested in Ebner in the fourth round, but otherwise I’d pass on this project pick.

Brittain Brown, RB LV

Pre-Draft Grade: UNRANKED
Post-Draft Grade: D+

He does not have high top speed, nor does he have a lot of wiggle to his game, but he does love to use his body as a battering ram and his running style could see the light of day in Las Vegas at some point. He’s not a long-term hold, but the kind of player you draft to flip for a profit later on. Use no more than a fourth-rounder on him.

Ty Chandler, RB MIN

Pre-Draft Grade: UNRANKED
Post-Draft Grade: D-

He is a bit on the smaller side (5’11, 204 pounds) and older side (23) and was drafted to a team that already has depth at the position, but Chandler can be an asset as a COP back and possibly get some PPR value. If I owned Dalvin Cook I may be interested in Chandler as depth in the fourth round, but otherwise I’ll probably stay away.

Snoop Conner, RB JAC

Pre-Draft Grade: UNRANKED
Post-Draft Grade: F

He was unranked before the draft because he didn’t perform in college and is too slow to really do anything productive at the NFL level. Unless he’s going to play as a fullback, I don’t understand this selection at all.

2022 Rookie Running Back Class: Dynasty Fantasy Football Post-Draft Grades
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Carter Wykoff
4 months ago

You forgot Zander Horvath AKA Mike Alstott Jr.

Charles Day
4 months ago

This was already a weak dynasty class, and then the draft happened and it became a pile of hot garbage. I was ready to target Robinson and Ford in the mid-to-late second round, but they couldn’t have gotten worse landing spots. Really didn’t like Allgeier and he goes to the prime RB landing spot in the draft.

Ed Sulek
4 months ago

Mike as usual great stuff, these RB articles are some of my most anticipated articles on DLF each year. Thanks for all this insight!

I was wondering though, is there a reason you no longer include a numerical rating value for each RB or even text that clearly identifies where exactly he falls on your RB ranking list? For example see at the bottom of this post in which I copied one such from this same article covering the 2021 RB class right after the draft where you gave Javonte Williams (who I drafted thanks to your advice) a 90 value and also specified him as your RB3.

One of the big reasons I ask is because I have both the 1.11 and 1.12 picks this year and it is hard for me to identify who might be my best bet around that area other then perhaps any of the guys you have with some form of a “B” grade. Separating those players with the same letter grade from one another is much more difficult for someone like myself without that additional information.

With that said, for a team that is pretty well set at all other positions outside of RB, what RB’s would you deem it not a reach possibly taking with those 1.11 and 1.12 picks in a 12 team 1QB .5 PPR league?

JAVONTE WILLIAMS, RB DENPre-Draft Grade: B / My RB5
Post-Draft Grade: A- / My RB3 / 90

Jeff Melbostad
4 months ago

Excellent article. Just the right amount of opinion mixed in with the facts. The grades make it easy to consume. We’ll done.

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