Fantasy Football 2022: Running Backs to Avoid in Drafts

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVAugust 10, 2022

Fantasy Football 2022: Running Backs to Avoid in Drafts

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    The running back position is perhaps the hardest to evaluate in the fantasy football world.

    While the value of a great running back still arguably trumps anything, the position has generally been devalued in the modern NFL, and it perhaps carries the greatest injury risk.

    In other words, running backs may very well make or break your roster, so let's avoid the "break" part by spotlighting three backs to avoid in your draft.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

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    Cordarrelle Patterson turned the 2021 campaign into his breakout season.

    Good luck to anyone banking on a repeat.

    Atlanta milked a ton of dual-threat mileage out of him, resulting in 618 rushing yards, 548 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. Those are intriguing numbers, but they're so far removed from his previous production that counting on a repeat feels incredibly optimistic at best.

    There are two major worries here, though. The first is Patterson's late-season disappearing act. Over his final four outings, he totaled just 71 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards and a single touchdown. If that trend continues, he's unplayable in all but the deepest of leagues.

    Second, Atlanta's offense looks dreadful. Marcus Mariota should open the season under center. Kyle Pitts is an electric playmaker, but he might be the only one, unless first-round rookie Drake London is a rapid learner. Outside of Pitts, you may not want to touch this offense.

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

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    Josh Jacobs is a tantalizing talent, and he has put up needle-moving numbers in the past.

    So, what's the problem? Well, a couple of things, actually.

    First, the next time he plays a full season will be the first. His offensive line isn't great. His rushing yards have declined from his previous season for a second year in a row. He has yet to record a receiving touchdown.

    Potentially more problematic, though, is the fact that the new Raiders regime isn't the one that drafted him. Moreover, this one spent a fourth-round pick on Zamir White, who looks like he could heavily factor into the running back rotation, particularly if the franchise has no long-term plans with Jacobs, who didn't have his fifth-year contract option picked up.

James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

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    Few running backs produced more fantasy value than James Conner last season.

    Don't count on that to last.

    Conner's value was almost exclusively tied to the end zone. He was, admittedly, a touchdown machine (15 rushing scores, three touchdown catches), but those numbers don't always carry over. To that end, he scored all of six touchdowns the season prior and only seven the year before that.

    If he isn't finding the end zone, he isn't worth the cost. He has yet to tally 1,000 rushing yards or 500 receiving yards in a single campaign and rarely comes particularly close to either. Unless you're willing to rely on presumably unsustainable scoring, you can find better options.

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