The 2022 NFL Draft is over and landing spots have been declared. In your dynasty leagues, you have a plethora of picks in all rounds and are eager to fill up a position of need; running back. The questions are: who do you target? When do you make the selection? How do you know who to pick and why? Worry not, this article is here to help guide you through your running back woes.
The first thing to mention is to never ever force a pick of a running back if it’s not necessary. That’s how people were burned with Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Trey Sermon in the previous two drafts. If you need a running back and you are on the clock, take the best player available. The number one rule of dynasty is to draft for talent, and trade for need. You have four months to trade to fill the void, so don’t force something that’s not there.
In this draft, we have the top two players – Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III – and then everyone else. If you have a need at running back and you own the first overall pick, you are in luck. Hall is a prospect who is ready to go, and if your team is too, this pick is a no-brainer. But if you aren’t ready to compete yet and 2023 is what you’re gearing up for, you should be seeking a trade.
Even moving one spot back in the draft could be beneficial because Walker is going to need a full season of work and practice to become the kind of back everyone expects him to be. Drafting Walker will keep your 2023 draft picks from decreasing in value, while still giving you a quality player in return.
If you own any other pick in the first round that’s not a top-two selection, then don’t force anything. Either trade back or take the best player available. Reaching for a running back is one of the worst mistakes a fantasy owner can make. Draft that value and then use it to trade for what you need later on.
I have a feeling that all the second rounds of 2022 rookie drafts will be heavily dominated by running back talent. Which back is the right one for you? Again, this will depend on the kind of team you are building and the risks you are willing to take.
Rachaad White of Tampa Bay and Brian Robinson of Washington were the front runners pre-draft in my ranks, but both players landed on a team that already has an established number one at the position. If you are looking to draft talent no matter where they ended up, these are the two guys for you. You may have to be patient, but good things come to those who wait.
If you have a competitive team and you’re looking for opportunity and immediate production, you will want to focus heavily on Dameon Pierce in Houston. There’s not another running back in all of the second round with a better opportunity to be a day one starter than Pierce.
He doesn’t have the top speed and lacks in other small areas, but the opportunity he will receive in Houston will rival that of Chris Carson in all those years in Seattle. You won’t run away with a stud on offense, but you will gain a reliable contributor for your fantasy team.
If you’re looking for PPR help and a guaranteed floor for flex positions, take a look at Keaontay Ingram of Arizona and James Cook of Buffalo. Cook probably has more buzz surrounding him because of his landing spot and being the brother of Dalvin Cook, but Ingram should not be overlooked. I found Ingram to be a quality back pre-draft and he landed in a situation where James Conner is his only competition. That’s a very nice spot for a second-round pick.
The ultimate risky pick in the second round is Pierre Strong Jr in New England. I’m a big fan of his ability as a runner but the Patriots have a history of spreading the ball around, and that backfield is already loaded as it is. This is the kind of player you’d select if everyone else above is already taken, and he may even fall to the third round anyway.
If this is where you need to spend capital on a running back, you’re not out of luck but you will be taking some risks, and it all depends on what kind of back you are seeking. If you want to draft the best back regardless of landing spot, then Jerome Ford of Cleveland is for you. He had a second-round grade but will probably fall to the third round since his landing spot is already loaded with talent at the position.
If you want to take a risk to find a long-term starter, then it’ll be harder to find better value than Zamir White in Las Vegas. The Raiders did not pick up Josh Jacobs‘ fifth-year option, and White could be primed to take over the position in 2023 and beyond.
There are some red flags with White, so your lottery ticket may not pan out the way you hope, but that’s the price you pay with a third-round pick. I have a feeling that many may reach for him in the second round, so this may be a moot point.
If you are looking for someone to get you some flex play points over the course of his career, then Isaiah Spiller from the Los Angeles Chargers is the player for you. He won’t take over the position with Austin Ekeler at the helm, but he should get spot duty and perhaps start a game or two if Ekeler needs time off the field.
Finally, we have a host of running backs who you could draft in the hope to flip them for a profit later. Tyler Allgeier of Atlanta, Kyren Williams of the Los Angeles Rams, and Tyler Badie of the Baltimore Ravens are all players who will never be long-term starters at the position, but all have the ability to blow up a game or two this season. If they do, that’s when you sell for a profit. One of these players and a third could easily net you an early second-round pick in the 2023 draft.
It’s not good, but it almost never is this late in the draft. There are two players who I think could be flex play contributors at some point, and both you could flip for a profit down the road, in Kevin Harris in New England and Hassan Haskins in Tennessee.
The Patriots always rotate running backs and the flavor of the week could benefit Harris tomorrow. Haskins has little competition behind a banged-up Derrick Henry and could perform spot duty better than expected and become a player to covet to the right owner. Both of them would be players to flip after their minimal success during the season.
If you’re looking for a true lottery ticket late in this draft, look no further than Isaih Pacheco in Kansas City. He has a ton of work to do to become the kind of pro necessary at the NFL level, but there’s not much competition at the position, and he has more talent than most backs in this draft. He tied for the best 40-yard dash time with a 4.37-second run at the Scouting Combine, and that alone makes him an interesting prospect.
Remember to not force a selection. Look at all positions and take the best player available. If you need a running back, you have four months between now and kickoff to get one, but if you’re sitting on a pick and you can’t trade it or you think the best player available is indeed a running back, then use this summary to help you make that selection. May all your choices be great ones!
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