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Mid-Round Running Backs to Target in Best Ball

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That means you need to nail your picks. In this article, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite mid-round running back values after the first five rounds. You can track ADP using the Underdog tool on FTN Fantasy. Sign up for Underdog Fantasy with promo code “FTN” for a 100% deposit match up to $100.

AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers

(Round 6, RB24)

AJ Dillon 2022 Mid-Round Best Ball Running Backs

Despite receiving second-round draft capital, AJ Dillon saw minimal work in his rookie season, playing behind Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. His role expanded in his second season once Williams left in free agency. Last season, Dillon accounted for 1,116 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns. Although he was the RB2 on the depth chart, Dillon led the team in rushing attempts (187), yards (803) and touchdowns (5). Since entering the NFL, Dillon has quickly become one of the most prolific rushers, going for over 2.0 yards after contact on a league-best 75.5% of his carries. Per PFF, Dillon’s 90.7 rushing grade ranks fourth out of 86 running backs with 100 or more carries over the past two seasons. He also flashed in the passing game, catching 34 of 36 targets for 313 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 2021. In the offseason, the Packers lost their top two wide receivers (Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling), which should funnel more targets to the running backs and favor a run-heavy approach. Dillon will be the 1b option to open the season but has league-winning upside if something were to happen to Jones. Jones has missed at least two games in four out of five seasons and will turn 28 in 2022.

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

(Round 7, RB27)

Tony Pollard is entering the final year of his contract after a breakout 2021 campaign. Last season, he posted career-highs across the board, rushing 130 times for 719 yards and catching 39 passes on 43 targets for 339 yards. He was one of the league’s most efficient rushers, ranking top five among all running backs in yards before (3.1) and after (2.5) contact per attempt. His workload has steadily increased every season and should continue to rise in 2022. During the offseason, the Cowboys traded Ameri Cooper to the Browns, lost Cedrick Wilson in free agency, and will be without Michael Gallup to start the season — Gallup tore his ACL in Week 17 last season, is on the PUP list, and recently said expecting a Week 1 return isn’t realistic. Early reports out of training camp suggest Pollard has been lining up in the slot and will be more involved in the passing game. No matter how much fantasy managers want to see Pollard take over the backfield, there is no denying that Ezekiel Elliott will be the starter when he’s healthy. The Cowboys made Elliott the highest-paid running back and will continue to feed him the bulk of the touches. However, Elliott is coming off an injury-riddled season and has shown significant signs of decline. If Elliott were to miss time, Pollard would vault into RB1 territory.

 

Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

(Round 8, RB31)

Kareem Hunt was producing as a top-10 running back in the first seven weeks of the season before suffering a calf injury. Through eight games, Hunt had 78 carries for 386 yards and five touchdowns, adding 22 receptions on 27 targets for 174 yards through the air. He ranked No. 8 in yards per carry (5), No. 6 in yards after contact per carry (3.5) and No. 2 in missed tackles forced per carry (0.27). Despite playing the 1b to Nick Chubb‘s 1a, Hunt finished as the RB10 overall in his lone full season with the Browns. With the departure of Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper, the Browns have 181 vacated targets, which should bode well for Hunt, who saw a 26% target rate as the primary pass-catching back. The Browns’ offense should be significantly better after trading for Deshaun Watson, leading to more positive gamescripts and scoring opportunities. Watson’s potential suspension remains a question mark, but Hunt is priced at his floor outside the top 30 running backs.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Miami Dolphins

(Round 8, RB32)

Chase Edmonds failed to live up to expectations after opening last season as the lead back for the Cardinals. He was an RB2 for the first six weeks of the season before losing his starting spot to James Conner due to an ankle injury. Edmonds still managed to go over 1,000 yards from scrimmage (1,040), rushing for a career-high 592 yards on 116 attempts through 12 games. He became a priority for the Dolphins during the offseason and was one of the first running backs to sign in free agency. The new regime in Miami signed Edmonds to a two-year, $12.6 million deal, making him the 12th highest-paid running back in the league. Edmonds’ fantasy stock took a hit after the Dolphins also brought in Raheem Mostert and Sony Michel. However, money talks, and Edmonds is guaranteed more than six times the amount of the team’s next highest-paid running back, solidifying his role in the offense. Unlike Mostert and Michel, Edmonds operates as a pass-catching back and should handle the majority of third downs. He’s also an underrated pass blocker, not allowing a sack in the past three seasons. After hiring the 49ers’ offensive coordinator (Mike McDaniel), trading for Tyreek Hill, and adding Terron Armstead and Connor Williams on the offensive line, the Dolphins have completely revamped their offense. If Tua Tagovailoa can take a step in his third season, there should be plenty of scoring opportunities.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots

(Round 9, RB34)

Rhamondre Stevenson 2022 Mid-Round Best Ball Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson hit the ground running (so to speak) as a rookie, rushing for 194 yards and a touchdown in his first two preseason games. Stevenson’s breakout performance led to the Patriots trading away former first-round pick Sony Michel. Despite playing a complementary role behind Damien Harris, Stevenson had an impressive rookie campaign. The fourth-rounder out of Oklahoma had 133 carries for 606 yards and five touchdowns — along with 14 receptions on 18 targets for 123 yards — through 12 games. In his lone start without Harris, Stevenson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Harris is in the final year of his rookie contract, which may lead to a closer split in the backfield. Based on reports from training camp, Harris and Stevenson have been both rotating with the first team. With James White on the PUP list still recovering from a hip injury and Brandon Bolden now a member of the Raiders, Stevenson could operate as the primary receiving back. Patriots’ beat reporters have even speculated that Stevenson’s skillset could lead to him overtaking the backfield outright.

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

(Round 10, RB38)

After eight years in the NFL, mainly as a kick returner specialist, Cordarrelle Patterson broke the age model with a career year in his age-30 season. He excelled as both a receiver and a running back, posting career highs in touches (205), yards from scrimmage (1,166) and touchdowns (11). He also maintained his role on special teams, logging 434 yards as a kick returner. Patterson benefited from a Falcons roster devoid of talent, and that may have gotten worse since. In 2022, the Falcons will be without Calvin Ridley, who has been suspended after violating the NFL’s gambling policy. They will also be without Russell Gage, who operated as the WR1 during Ridley’s absence just a season ago. Patterson was far and away the most productive running back on the roster but still trailed Mike Davis in snaps. After letting Davis go, the Falcons have added minimal competition to the running back room. They spent a Day 3 pick on former BYU running back Tyler Allgeier and signed career backup and journeyman Damien William in free agency. Patterson finished as the RB9 last season but is currently going outside the top 36 running backs.

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