Damien Harris Fantasy Football Profile-2022

Damien Harris Fantasy Football
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Damien Harris was an eye-turning running back last season for the New England Patriots. Harris was frequently ignored, from a fantasy standpoint, at the beginning of the season. But, he rewarded those who drafted him by finishing second in the league in touchdowns. He also finished in the top ten for rushing yards. He now looks to compete with second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson for touches, both on early downs and in the red zone. Will Damien Harris’ top-15 fantasy football production follow him into 2022?

2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Damien Harris

2021 Recap

High-Level Back

Harris, after not being ranked in the top 20 running backs entering 2021, broke out and finished in the top 15 in all scoring leagues. He finished as the eighth-best runner in standard leagues (no PPR) and 14th in PPR. He was rarely used in the receiving game (hence his lower PPR point totals), but his skills as a pure runner led to a dominant 2021. Harris finished with 929 yards (tenth in the NFL), a career-high. He also tallied 15 touchdowns, which tied for second in the NFL. He had three multi-touchdown games, including a three-score game against the Buffalo Bills later in the season.

Harris was a boom-or-bust candidate every week in 2021. He had six 80+ yard games, including five where we went for 100 or more. But, he also had six games where he gained 40 or less yards. Most of this had to do with how the Patriots were playing on that Sunday. When they get up quick or could at least keep running, Harris usually got 20+ touches and played a great game. But when they fell behind, he was only given 5-10 touches in those games, and couldn’t bring much to the table in those games.

Competition with Stevenson

One concerning thing with Harris was his decline in touches as the season went on. In the Patriots’ last seven games, Rhamondre Stevenson actually had more touches (93) than Harris (86). Stevenson was fed with two 19+ touch games, while Harris did not reach that mark once from Week 13 to the Wild Card round. The Patriots do still value Harris, but his touches will likely see a decline in 2022. His lack of use in the receiving game will hurt him quite a bit, and Stevenson should see those opportunities plus some change-of-pace plays as well.

2022 Projection

Likely Decline in Touches

As said earlier, Harris will likely see a decline in the number of carries he gets in 2022. With fewer carries usually comes fewer yards, which indicates fewer average fantasy points per week. Stevenson has grown on New England quite a bit and will receive some more playing time in his sophomore season. Harris’ average of 13 touches a game shouldn’t see a sharp decline, but it could mean a decrease to only 10 or 11 at a time. It’s not much, but it could be the difference between a few extra points that could be meaningful.

Projected Statline

I believe that Harris will only total about 800 yards this year and finish anywhere from eight-to-ten touchdowns. His usage in the red zone will probably decrease a little, so his exceptionally high scoring numbers from 2021 should also go down. However, it is likely that Harris sees some more volume in the receiving game, and this could in turn boost his PPR scores with receptions and yards.

Average Draft Position

Harris slid from a final ranking of RB14 in PPR down to an average of RB27. Multiple reputable fantasy sources have Harris listed as the #26, 27, 28, 29, and even 32. It’s hard to believe that a guy who did so well in 2021 could fall so far for the next year, but there are a few reasons that could hold him back from being much more than a flex player during any given week.

However, an encouraging sign is that Harris is projected to be taken in the sixth or seventh round. He has an ADP of about 63rd in most ten-player leagues and is a solid, underrated option for 2022.