Best Dynasty Running Backs For 2022

Jonathan Taylor
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

I was going to rank my top 12 dynasty RB assets going into 2022, but I didn’t think that was enough. I landed on 15, so think of this as a Top 12 with some lee-way. I’m ranking the running backs who I think are top RB1s going into next season. These are guys that you should be starting every week, regardless of matchup, and they are also still valuable assets in dynasty leagues.

These are players who I think you can justify paying essentially top dollar to acquire. Yes, I know most leagues start more than one RB each week, but due to injuries and the fact that it seems every backfield is a committee, these are 15 guys you can count on in my opinion. Well, as much as you can count on anyone in fantasy football. Next to the player’s name is their 2021 rank in half-PPR.

The Top 3 – Volume, ability, and more volume

  1. Jonathan Taylor (1) – Not only is he the best RB in the NFL right now, but he’s also only 22. Sure, you could worry that the Colts will overuse him and he’ll wear down, but not for at least a few years. He has the coveted blend of youth, proven ability, and consistent volume. It also doesn’t seem to matter who the Colts are playing. Only an astronomical price should acquire him from another team, and even then I don’t think I’d sell him.
  2. Austin Ekeler (2) –  Ekeler is just 26 years old, and he is the lead back in a highly productive offense. In other systems I may not have him this high, but he is active in both the running and passing games and seems to be a magnet for the end zone. If you’re not playing in at least a half-PPR league, then he is lower on my list. But if in any sort of PPR league, I see no reason he doesn’t finish top 5 again after next season.
  3. Najee Harris (4) – Behind a terrible offensive line and in a very inconsistent offense, Harris was RB4 in half-PPR. Imagine even a little improvement happens. I think you can sell him for the right price, but at the moment it’s hard to put many guys in front of him. The one uncertainty is that we don’t know exactly how elusive he is because he always is getting hit right at the line. But, you have to love his 0 fumbles as a rookie. He is always on the field, and since volume is everything, you have to love that.

Numbers 4, 5, & 6 – 2022 potential for days

  1. Alvin Kamara (9) – Assuming the Saints have better QB play next season, Kamara should still be considered one of the top RB assets in dynasty going into 2022. We know what he can do, and he’s only 26 years old. In fact, the Kamara owner in your league may be willing to entertain offers since he had a down year, and this would be a good window to buy before we know for sure who’s back under center in New Orleans.
  2. Javonte Williams (18) – Melvin Gordon is still a solid RB, so sharing with him has really limited Javonte Williams. I don’t think the Broncos will try to keep Gordon after his contract is up, opening up a great situation for Wiliams. He’s elusive, physical, and will be eager to dominate next year. If the Williams owner in your league is willing to sell, I’m comfortable paying top dollar.
  3. Joe Mixon (3) – The Bengals are a young and improving team. When Mixon is healthy, he gets to be the lead back in a highly effective offense. I love Mixon as a dynasty RB. He’s only 25, and he averaged close to 17 fantasy ppg in half-PPR. This offense should be very good for several more years, and with Mixon the only thing you should have to worry about is injury.

Numbers 7, 8, & 9 – Young & Proven

  1. D’Andre Swift (20) – I love Swift, and when he’s healthy there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a fantasy stud. However, I do worry a tad about him being in Detroit. His quantity of touches seems too inconsistent for me to rank him higher. However, the potential is super exciting. He can be a key reason why this Lions team improves, so I like him as a top 10 dynasty asset heading into 2022.
  2. Elijah Mitchell (25) – What a year for Mitchell in 2021. He is far and away the best back in SF and should go into next year with a firm hold on the job. For a team that runs the ball as much as the 49ers do, Mitchell is someone I’m very excited about. My only concern is the emergence of Deebo Samuel as a running back. He is so dynamic, and I’m worried that Deebo will vulture carries and touchdowns from Mitchell, which will limit his production.
  3. Antonio Gibson (11) – Gibson is an interesting one for me. I was down on him all year because I feel like he should have broken out. Instead, he was just kind of solid when he played. He averaged 13 points per game which is a nice floor, but only eclipsed 20 points four times. He is only 23, so I am content to have him in dynasty for the 2022 season. However, I’m not sure I’m giving up a ton of draft capital to acquire Gibson.

Numbers 10, 11, & 12 – Injury uncertainty

  1. Dalvin Cook (16) – While injuries have plagued Cook throughout his career, it has also I think limited the over usage a little bit as well. Not to mention, when he comes back from injury he never looks like he’s lost a step. I think we have a good 3-4 more years of Cook as an RB1, so I’m content to have him in dynasty. If I’m trading for him, though, I’m looking for a slight injury discount.
  2. Christian McCaffrey (40) – I’m a hypocrite. Injuries are so unpredictable, and McCaffrey has had his fair share. He should come back and dominate once again next year. And yet, I can’t trust him anymore. Two consecutive years with significant time missed? That scares me a lot. Also, I have to think Carolina will adopt at least a little bit more of a committee system to keep him healthy. Maybe I’m too scared, but I’m off the CMC train unless I already own him. He’s too good to keep out of the top 15, but I would be wary.
  3. Derrick Henry (17) – I keep doubting him, and he keeps proving me wrong. I typically do not like RBs that don’t catch the ball out of the backfield, but Henry more than makes up for it being an elite runner. Missing time with injury this year was alarming, but barring any sort of major regression next year physically, I can’t move him out of my top 15 just yet.

The “Bottom” 3 – Solid

  1. Leonard Fournette (7) – Tom Brady has a way with giving players new life. Let’s not forget that Fournette was supposed to lead Jacksonville for many years. He is still only 26 and flourished this year in Tampa. He also played a factor in the passing game, which only leads me to be excited for him next season. Brady-led offenses sometimes tend to share the ball too much for fantasy owners to get on board with, which is why I have Fournette here at 13. Nonetheless, I’m okay with him as my RB1 at least for this season, and depending on my record, he’ll still command some decent value in return if I decide to move on.
  2. Nick Chubb (12) – I probably should not have Chubb this low, but the Browns’ offense remains somewhat of an enigma under Baker Mayfield. They were supposed to run all over people and be a force in the playoffs. That didn’t happen. And as long as Kareem Hunt is there Chubb will have to deal with less production than he perhaps deserves. He has proven himself to be an RB1, and I rank him that way, but I’m not convinced he can lead me to a title.
  3. J.K. Dobbins (NR) – I’m predicting this will be my worst ranking on this list. I believe Lamar Jackson and the entire Ravens’ offense will be back to make a statement next season. I think Dobbins produces at an All-Pro level. But I need to see some proof first. If my prediction appears to be true about 3-6 weeks into the season next year, then Dobbins flies up close to the top 5 for dynasty assets.

Notable omissions

Saquon Barkley (NYG) – This is a bummer. Barkley is such an electric player, but injuries have ruined him more than others. I watched him closely in the late-season game against the Bears this past year, and he does not look the same. Even if he starts training camp with a clean bill of health, I don’t think he’ll have the playmaking ability he is known for. I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t value him at RB1 level anymore.

Ezekiel Elliot (DAL) – Like a lot of people, I noticed how Zeke looked while playing through injury. I think Dallas will have to adopt more of a committee next season, and it’s an offense that would prefer to air it out anyway. I love Zeke, and I think he’ll remain decently productive, but I don’t know if you want him leading your fantasy backfield anymore.

Cam Akers (LAR) – I’m excited to see how he does in the playoffs because he could prove to be the biggest omission listed. I omitted him because I honestly haven’t seen enough of him before his injury. I know people were high on him, and typically the consensus isn’t too far off, but coming back from an achilles injury could get dicey. Assuming the Rams don’t have Michel next year, I like Akers to take more control over Henderson, but I’m just not sure. If I’m the Akers owner in my league, I may wait and see if/how he performs in the playoffs, then maybe consider selling if the hype is high.

Your thoughts?

Be sure to let me know what you think! Do you agree with my list? Did I forget someone or rank a player too high? Feel free to keep the discussion going!

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