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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: How and Where to Pick Running Backs

Desperate for a running back this year? We outline your potential rookie draft options.

Dameon Pierce

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.

FIRST ROUND

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.

SECOND ROUND

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.

THIRD ROUND

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.

FOURTH ROUND

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.

CONCLUSION

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!

2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: How and Where to Pick Running Backs
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mike fredrickson
6 months ago

I had superflex draft last night. I took Zamir @ 26 and Keaontay Ingram @ 48. I had pick #13 and thought long about dameon pierce, but took the higher rated dotson

Rick Solak
6 months ago

14 team sf ppr.
1.1 Breece Hall
3.2 Brian Robinson
3.12 Keontay Ingram
4.08 Jerome Ford
UDFA Kevin Harris.

Feeling pretty good after reading this.

Would you trade a 2023 3rd for Strong?

Thanks Mike.

Rick Solak
Reply to  Mike Havens
6 months ago

Thanks Mike hit elijah mitchell last year in 4th rounds, once in the 5th cause of your analysis!

6gummybearsandsomescotch
6 months ago

Great article as always, Mike. Thank you! I really think after Hall, it’s take your guy and I appreciate you lining out where to take all these RB’s. Is Spiller a good value at the end of the 2nd? He goes to a prime spot where Ekeler has said he wants less touches. All the other RB’s except Pearce, Hall and Algier are in committees too. I have a hard time passing on Spiller with such good game tape in the 2nd. It seems across the board, the combine caused larger than normal tilts in value. Am I missing something?

Larry Gunn
Reply to  Mike Havens
6 months ago

Thanks Mike. Great as always. I also really like Spiller’s ability. Also love this tape. With a couple fixes, I think he’s a steal.
It’s not like Eckler is getting younger(27 at seasons start) and he now doubt would like to go back to his role when Gordon was there.
I could see Spiller getting a good amount of first and second down work, especially inside the 20. He also has good receiving ability and he will earn some of those I think. I really like the line the Chargers are putting together.
For me personally, I have no problem spending a second on him at the beginning of the round. He’s a value target for me.

6gummybearsandsomescotch
Reply to  Mike Havens
6 months ago

Excellent! Thanks Mike! Lateral quickness is absolutely important for NFL RB’s. I appreciate the added insight.

Steve Volk
6 months ago

What are the “red flags” for White?

STEVEN PAYNE
6 months ago

Our rookie draft is this Sunday, I have the 1.12 (as a result of a trade, not because I won the title, unfortunately!). I’m seeing Dameon Pierce rising in ADP and I’m strongly considering taking him – I already have Marlon Mack, so I figure it’s going to lock up that backfield for the coming season and maybe longer. My starters are Akers / J Williams / Etienne / Edmonds, so I’m not in desperate need of an immediate starter – but the WR options at that point aren’t likely to be great. Thoughts? Thanks!

Ed Geis
6 months ago

So what is it about Ingram that has you selecting him in the 2nd while the NFL saw a 6th round pick? I liked Ingram, but thought he’d get late day-2, early day-3 draft capital. I was not expecting that late slot.

Andy Cook
Reply to  Ed Geis
6 months ago

Agree, the draft guide has him as a 4th/5th so it was odd seeing him suggested as a 2nd.

Gregory Massa
6 months ago

I believe you guys might have misspelled Pacheco’s first name. I’m seeing it spelled “Isiah” not “isaih”.

Gregory Massa
Reply to  Mike Havens
6 months ago
Justin Mazzella
6 months ago

Thanks Mike! Good to see some of the players I took have some good takes.

I got Breece at 1.01 but aside from him the only RBs I took this year were Robinson at 3.08, I traded back in to get him, and then I picked up Pacheco as a CEH owner, and Kennedy Brooks as a Sanders/Gainwell owner.

Do you think K Brooks is worth it though? I’m thinking of dropping him and stashing Kevin Harris. I like his chances for next year.

Wendell Bera
6 months ago

The top of the 1st rnd is pretty cut and dry, but the late 1st is where it gets interesting. White is in your top 12 but you don’t value him as a 1st rnd pick, so what do you do if you’re holding the 1.10 to 1.12 pick? Do you draft him because he’s your highest ranked player or do you pass on him because you don’t think he’s worth a 1st?

Geronimo Colon
6 months ago

Great insight on round selections Mike. Just completed 12 team PPR BestBall draft and went heavy with RB’s: J Cook 1.12, Z White 2.11, J Woods TE 3.05, J Ross (4.05) and J Ford (5.05)

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