Week 1’s fantasy football running back rankings left plenty to be desired. Nevertheless, we learn and progress.
Last week, 10 running backs earned more than 20 PPR points, led by Saquon Barkley‘s 33.4. Welcome back to him! In addition to fantastic games from blue-chips Barkley, Jonathan Taylor, and D’Andre Swift, Kareem Hunt and Cordarrelle Patterson showed out as RB4 and RB5, respectively. Meanwhile, players like Cam Akers, Alvin Kamara, and Ezekiel Elliott disappointed.
But it’s a new week!
Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings, Week 2: Welcome Back Saquon Barkley!
What is to say about Jonathan Taylor? He went for 161 yards and a touchdown off of a league-high 31 attempts. Plus, he added six receptions for 30 yards off of seven targets. RB1. Barkley looks like he is going to challenge for RB1 on the year as long as he can remain healthy. He out-performed every other back on just 18 carries. He should go off against the defense that turned Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt into RB19 and RB4, respectively. Conversely, McCaffrey faces off against Barkley’s Giants who limited Derrick Henry. McCaffrey will be fine, however.
Saquon Barkley today:
– 18 rushes, 164 rushing yards (most of any player in Week 1) and a rushing TD
– 6 catches, 30 yards
– Game-winning 2-point conversion
– 82.8% of snaps (most of any RB in the NFL in Week 1)
– 33.4 fantasy points (most of any RB in Week 1) pic.twitter.com/BWNl8Rhipb
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 11, 2022
USA Today has Cooke projected as this week’s RB1 and for good reason. Cook had 20 rushing attempts and five targets in Week 1 but was held without a score. That should change against Philadelphia who allowed D’Andre Swift (RB3) and Jamaal Williams (RB19) to go off last week in a thrilling game. Austin Ekeler had a rough go of it in Week 1, only managing 36 yards off of 14 carries and 36 yards off of four receptions (four targets). With the injury to Keenan Allen, LAC may look to utilize Ekeler more as a receiver.
Joe Mixon was having some success last week and likely would have had more if the offense (Joe Burrow, mainly) had not turned the ball over five times and allowed seven sacks. Against the Cowboys, Mixon should have a strong game. Dallas had a hard time stopping the Tampa Bay rush attack.
Against the Eagles, D’Andre Swift ate. He ended up as RB3 without even scoring a touchdown. Don’t expect him to be held out of the endzone again this week as he takes on a Washington defense that allowed James Robinson to run for six yards a pop. On the other sideline, Antonio Gibson ended up as RB10 with 58 yards off of 14 carries and 72 yards off of seven receptions (eight targets).
Alvin Kamara, on the other hand, was disappointing. He finished as RB46, rushing for 39 yards off of nine carries and just seven yards from three receptions. He will have another chance to assert his dominance against Tampa Bay who was able to keep Ezekiel Elliott in check. Finally, Javonte Williams rushed for just 43 yards off of a measly seven carries but he converted 12 targets into 11 receptions and 65 yards. He’s established himself as an integral part of the Broncos offense in both areas and will help Denver get back into the win column against the Texans.
11. James Conner
12. Leonard Fournette
13. AJ Dillon
14. Nick Chubb
15. Derrick Henry
16. Alvin Kamara
17. Cordarrelle Patterson
18. Jeff Wilson, Jr.
19. Josh Jacobs
20. Damien Harris
21. Michael Carter
With just 26 yards and a touchdown off of 10 carries and 29 yards off of five receptions, James Conner was solidly RB15. This week, Conner will face off against the Las Vegas defense that held Ekeler in check. Leonard Fournette, it seems, is someone I am too low on. He had a strong game last week and managed RB17 status without scoring. His opponent allowed Cordarrelle Patterson to go off for a career-high 120 yards. Fournette played 76% of the team’s snaps and took 64% of the team’s rushing attempts. He’s here to stay.
It seemed like Aaron Jones was going to be the number one back in Green Bay. As it stands, that’s actually AJ Dillon. Dillon ran the ball 10 times for 45 yards and a touchdown to go with five receptions off of six targets for 46 yards. Nick Chubb is not the Cleveland back who benefits from targets in the passing game. But when you’re as good as Chubb is, you don’t need it. He went for 141 yards off of 22 carries last week. He’s their guy and will continue getting a high volume of chances. Derrick Henry was disappointing last week but it was his first week back fully healthy. The offense still runs through him, despite the little emergence of Dontrell Hilliard.
Alvin Kamara was also disappointing. He finished with just 53% of the Saints rushing attempts and managed just 0.37 points per route run as a receiver. He’ll get back on track this week against Tampa. Now, Cordarrelle Patterson is interesting. He was on the field for 65% of the Falcons snaps and 85% of the rushes from running backs. In San Francisco, Jeff Wilson Jr. looks to be the one taking over while Elijah Mitchell is hurt. He’s likely not going to be much of a factor in the pass game but is still a solid volume running back in an offense that loves to open things up for the running backs.
The following running backs had pretty elite usage in Week 1
– Darrell Henderson
– Cordarrelle Patterson
– Rex Burkhead
It’s only just Week 1, but like many have said before me, this is why your RB2 should be the “weakest” position on your roster when compared to wide receivers
— Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler) September 12, 2022
Despite handling 77% of Las Vegas rushing duties, Josh Jacobs managed just 57 yards off of 10 carries. Jacobs gets to face off against the Cardinals who allowed Clyde Edwards-Helaire to end up as RB6. This weekend’s Patriots vs Steelers game is not going to be pretty. However, with the uncertainty surrounding Mac Jones‘ back injury and the fact that Pittsburgh will be without its top two defensive lineman, Damien Harris is set to outperform expectations.Finally, Michael Carter is RB1 in New York even with Breece Hall nipping at his heels. He was in on 60% of the Jets plays and 68% of the long-down distance. Hall played every two-minute offense snaps so Carter will have to make the most of his opportunities outside of then.
22. Rex Burkhead
23. Ezekiel Elliott
24. Kareem Hunt
25. Darrell Henderson
26. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
27. David Montgomery
28. Najee Harris (Jaylen Warren if Harris cannot go)
29. Isiah Pacheco
30. Aaron Jones
31. Melvin Gordon
32. Rashaad Penny
33. Jamaal Williams
Guys like Rex Burkhead, Ezekiel Elliott, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, David Montgomery, Rashaad Penny, and Darrell Henderson are the leaders in the their respective rooms. Each led the way in snaps and rushes for their team and are given the opportunities to succeed. Kareem Hunt is the best RB2 in the NFL and was actually on the field more often than Chubb. He finished as RB4 in the league due to his two-touchdown performance.
The Najee Harris/Jalen Warren situation will be one to watch. Harris expects to play this weekend and has a better opportunity to succeed than he did last week. Isiah Pacheco has earned a fair amount of hype following his 12.2-point performance in Week 1. Pacheco ran the ball 12 times for 62 yards and even scored. The fact that he got more carries than Edwards-Helaire is reason alone to flex him.
Melvin Gordon and Jamaal Williams are also solid RB2s for their respective teams and have legitimate roles within their offenses. Gordon managed 12 rushing attempts while Williams had 11 and scored twice.