Four Running Back Busts for 2022

Marlon Mack Indianapolis Colts

Top 4 Running Back Busts This Fantasy Football Season (2022)

A few weeks ago we looked at a few Veteran Wide Receivers to Avoid for 2022, and now it’s time to shift our focus on a much scarcer position: Running Back.  Running Back busts are a bit harder to predict.  Injuries really don’t count, although there are some backs who are more injury prone than others, so you should consider that when drafting.

There are many other factors to consider when thinking of what Running Backs will bust.  Are they coming off an injury-riddle year?  Is there stronger competition in the backfield?  Did their offense change in a big enough way?

In this article, we will be looking at some of the 2022 Running Backs who are probably being drafted too high and have a higher potential to disappoint fantasy players.  I took ADPs based on 12-team half-PPR drafts .

You can also find our rankings here .

Let’s dive into the top four Running Back busts for the upcoming season.

Cam Akers- Los Angeles Rams

I feel bad for Cam Akers, I really do.  A promising career got derailed thanks to an Achilles tear in the 2021 offseason.  Now Akers is young, and he did return after only five months, which is pretty promising.

But there are a lot of things that are an uphill battle for the young Running Back.  First off, no Running Back has ever returned to form after this injury.  Marlon Mack and D’Onta Foreman are recent examples of this.

Also, look at how Akers performed in the playoffs after returning last season.  He rushed 67 times for 172 yards (2.6 ypc) and 0 touchdowns.  He did catch eight passes for 76 yards, but that was over four games.  That’s pretty bad.  You can argue they played against tougher defenses (Tampa, San Francisco), but still, it’s not very promising.

Lastly, Darrell Henderson is still on the offense and Sean McVay has said that they will probably split carries.  If Akers doesn’t perform well, Henderson could see an uptick in usage.

Akers is currently being drafted at the 4.01 spot as the 20 th Running Back off the board.  Henderson is going five rounds later as the 42 nd Back.  I personally will be targeting Henderson in my drafts and completely avoiding Akers until he proves he is fully recovered from the Achilles injury.

Damien Harris – New England Patriots

Damien Harris makes this list mostly thanks to the rise of second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson.  Stevenson was a rookie in 2021, and as tradition in New England didn’t play very much to start.  Stevenson saw only 17 carries through the first seven games of the season, but got his chance in Week Eight and never looked back.

Harris isn’t much of a pass-catching back, only seeing 21 targets in 2021.  With James White seemingly going to miss some time, that duty may fall on Stevenson.  And if Harris fails to impress early, Stevenson could also cut more into the carries.

Now I do believe both Harris and Stevenson will be involved in the offense, but Stevenson’s stock is surging in camp and his 8.05 ADP is much more exciting than Harris’ 5.02 ADP.  Harris is the 24 th Running Back off the board but has a chance to disappoint if Stevenson is more involved.

Javonte Williams – Denver Broncos

First off I want to say that I don’t think Javonte Williams will kill your fantasy team by drafting him as the 12 th Running Back off the board (2.07).  Williams will do great things in that offense.  The problem I have with Williams going this high is that people are either forgetting or disregarding the fact that Melvin Gordon is back for another year.

Gordon carried the ball 203 times for 918 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 and added 28 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns.  Williams’ numbers were nearly identical, rushing 203 times for 903 yards and four touchdowns.  He caught 43 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns.  So the only thing really preventing this from happening again is a Gordon injury or meltdown.  Williams finished as the RB17, and Gordon finished as the RB18 in half-PPR last season.

I have to imagine that the Broncos brought Gordon back for a reason, and now he is reunited with Russell Wilson (Go Bucky!).  That’s not to say Gordon will take a majority of the carries, but it should show you that the five-round discrepancy (Gordon is 7.07 ADP) is a bit much based on previous usage.

I’d much rather grab Gordon late in drafts, and Williams probably doesn’t finish in the top 12.  Again, Williams is a great back who will be great for fantasy, I just think people are overhyping his usage this season.

Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris is a popular bust pick this season, and for good reason.  He is currently going as a first-round pick and is the fifth Running Back off the board.  A big reason why he performed so well last season was his pass-catching stats.  Harris caught 74 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns.  His rushing was decent enough, but he only carried for 3.9 ypc, which is not all that great.  That could be from the Steeler offensive line, which is one of the worst in the NFL currently.

Also going against Harris is the Quarterback change.  Ben Roethlisberger, who could barely hobble around last season, has retired.  Now it’s up to a much more mobile Quarterback, Mitch Trubisky to lead the offense.  That means a lot fewer short passes and dump-offs.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Harris lost half of his targets from last year.

If it’s not Trubisky, the Steelers will be led by “meh” backup Mason Rudolph or unproven rookie Kenny Pickett.

All of that put together could lead to a rough sophomore season for Harris, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up closer to RB12 than a top five Running Back.

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