2022 Tiered RB Rankings (Top 32, PPR)

Similar to my QB rankings, here are my current RB rankings:

Tier 1:
1 Najee Harris

Najee gets a tier of his own. The gap to the next tier isn’t huge, but the following 5 players are awfully close to each other.

Tier 2:
2 Derrick Henry
3 Jonathan Taylor
4 Christian McCaffrey
5 Austin Ekeler
6 Leonard Fournette

Tier 3:
7 Aaron Jones
8 Joe Mixon
9 D’Andre Swift
10 Dalvin Cook

Dillon will get more run attempts than Jones in Green Bay. But thanks to a lack of trusted targets, I expect Jones to be a lot more involved in the passing game. In standard formats, I have him ranked lower.

As for Cook, I have him projected with 17 games, but it’s worth mentioning that he never did that in his entire career.

Tier 4:
11 Javonte Williams
12 Saquon Barkley
13 Nick Chubb
14 Travis Etienne
15 Ezekiel Elliott

Tier 5:
16 James Conner
17 Josh Jacobs
18 JK Dobbins
19 David Montgomery
20 Ken Walker
21 Breece Hall

Walker’s projection is based on Rashaad Penny playing only 9 games this season.

Tier 6:
22 Nyheim Hines
23 Cam Akers
24 Tony Pollard
25 Damien Harris

The Colts plan to deploy Hines on passing downs, which would give him quite a bit of value in PPR formats. In standard scoring, he isn’t in my top 32.

Tier 7:
26 Rachaad White
27 Rhamondre Stevenson
28 Miles Sanders
29 Melvin Gordon
30 Clyde Edwards-Helaire
31 Devin Singletary
32 Antonio Gibson

I may be too high on Rachaad White, as I’m not sure if Tom Brady will really be comfortable with throwing the ball to a rookie RB that often. But with Gronk retired and Gio Bernard gone, somebody has to catch those short distance passes. If that turns out to be Ke’Shawn Vaughn, White will drop out of the top 32.

Players that are prominently absent from my top 32 list at this point:

Kareem Hunt and AJ Dillon, who basically belong into tier 7.
Alvin Kamara, as I expect him to miss 6 games. Otherwise, he’d be at the top of tier 3.
Elijah Mitchell, as I am not sure he can retain his RB1 role in San Francisco.
Chase Edmonds, as the Miami backfield is a mystery at this point.
Rachaad Penny, as I don’t believe he can stay healthy.
James Cook, as I’m not sure how much the Bills will really use him.

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So you are viewing these players on talent alone, and not their situation?

What prompted that thought?

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Aaron Jones above AJ Dillon, not even shown? Honestly, I’d put Dillon above Jones.

Also, there’s no Alvin Kamara? Granted, he’ll miss a few games, but no value up until 32? Honestly, I’d take him before any of your tier 6.

I see Dillon as the lead back in Green Bay. But he is no pass catcher. Aaron Jones is. Aaron Rodgers is a QB who builds his game on trust. Jones has his trust. Since there aren’t many targets that have Rodgers’ trust, Jones could be the #3 receiver in Green Bay. This is a PPR ranking.

I see Jones in an Austin Ekeler role, but with less rushing volume. Dillon will handle over 50% of the rushing volume, but that alone isn’t enough to elevate him into higher tiers.

As mentioned, I have Dillon in tier 7. RB#34 at the moment. Players in the same tier are rather close to each other in terms of FFP, so even if my situational projection is correct, he can still easily finish as RB#26. Or jump into the next tier, if he stays healthy but players I have ranked higher miss time. This is not an exact science. Thank goodness :slight_smile:

If I give Kamara 17 games, he’s RB#7. If I reduce that to 11 games, all else equal, he drops to RB#35. If he gets banned for only 4 games, he’s RB#23.

Players like Kamara require a different approach in drafts. Nb: my projection says he will finish the season as RB#35, not that you should draft him at RB#35. A player who is likely to miss a couple of games, but will be a top 10 RB with top 5 upside in the games he will play can still be a league winner. Espcecially since he’ll probably be available for the fantasy playoffs.

I have to admit, I’m a bit torn how to approach players like him, or also Dalvin Cook. Cook wasn’t even close to RB1 territory, until my latest adjustment. One reason was a typo (gave the Vikings only 5 team rushing TDs). The other was that I had projected Cook with only 14 games.

Historically, he never played more. He’s not getting any younger, so it would be easy to defend that decision. But it warps the rankings. Even after fixing the typo, if I gave him only 14 games now, he’d be my RB#19. That’s certainly not the value he represents, even if he does miss 3 games again.

I’m not sure how to handle this, to be honest. If I give Cook all 17 games, even though I’m sure he will not play that much, I also de-value Mattison as his backup.

And even the (real) final season rankings don’t really represent a player’s fantasy value, if you ask me.

A player who scored 50 FFP in one game, and each 5 in the next two, is, in theory, more valuable than a player who scored each 15 FFP in all 3 games. 60 vs 45 FFP, quite the gap for 3 games.

Yet still, the less valuable player may have helped you win 3 out of 3 games. The more valuable one only 1 out of 3.

As I said, thank goodness this is not an exact science. If anybody will ever find the perfect fantasy football theory of everything, we’ll need a new hobby. :sweat_smile:

Rodgers trusted Dillon enough to target him 37 times last year, of which he caught 34 passes. I’d say he can catch.

I used to try predicting stats, but I gave up on it. Better to go by my own gut. Just listen and read as much as I can, and even mock draft a lot. By the time I get to my real drafts, I am usually quite happy with the results.

At the same time, he targeted Jones 65 times in 15 games. That would have been 74 targets in 17 games - twice as much. I projected Jones with 91 targets, and Dillon with 36 for 2022.

You might just be a year or two ahead of me there. :sweat_smile:

There are some players I wouldn’t touch even if they came out high in my own projections. And mock drafts are very helpful, indeed. After all, projecting a player with a specific season outcome is one thing. But knowing when it’s time to pull the trigger on a player is equally important.

When my projections spit out Nyheim Hines in low-end RB2 territory, that doesn’t mean I have to draft him there. In fact, I would waste a pick if I did, even if he was as good as I projected. Doesn’t make sense to draft a player in the 6th round if he will almost certainly still be there in round 9.

That is the main reason why I do these projections, btw: to identify late round targets (redraft) or trade targets (dynasty).

In early rounds (redraft), I will trust my gut more than my own projections. Because my projections can only depict 1 scenario. When it comes to making my decisions, I will take other factors into account as well.

Overall, I was quite happy with my 2021 projections (it was the first year I did that using my current methodology). Sadly, I overwrote one file, destroying my 2021 player projections, so I can’t do a full analysis. But I did trade for a few players based on my own projections, and they all delivered.

My 2021 team projection file still works, and for most teams, I did pretty okay. I was too high on Seattle and Jacksonville (didn’t expect Urban Meyer to be such a disaster), got Baltimore’s run-pass-ratio all wrong (but can easily forgive myself for that), and was too low on Philly’s and Indy’s rushing production. But 24 of 32 teams I had within 5% of their actual production, and I think that’s pretty neat.

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I just found that no matter how I projected players to finish, I still tended to go with my gut when it came to drafting. I use the ADP to determine where to draft players, and then rely on my gut to tell me which one. If player A is the next up, but player B is one I really like but due to be taken 5 or 10 or however many picks later, then I take player B, although not before the following round when he might be available.

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The truth is, no matter how I projected players to finish, when it came to drafting, I tend to go with my gut. Its really cool

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That’s what you should do. Your gut may not always be right, but at least you feel invested in it. When you draft someone on your projections, strictly based on numbers, you feel far less invested in it. You’ll also be quicker to drop the player too early, if they get off to a slow start.

I’m curious what insight has caused you to rank Najee Harris in a tier of his own at the top?

The Pittsburgh offensive line is ranked 30th by PFF (and described as “Problematic”), and they probably won’t have much of a passing game to keep defenses from stacking the box.

I get that Harris is going to be a bellcow like Taylor or Henry (and I would actually take Harris #3 behind those two), but 25 touches a game doesn’t necessarily translate into fantasy points at 3.4 yards per carry.

He should be among the elite, but to say he IS the elite is stretching it a bit.

I won’t argue you there. I set a tier break whenever there’s a larger gap in projected points. But compared to other tier gaps, this one is pretty small at 6.8 points. That’s one TD negated by a penalty, so well within the margin of error.

The following players all came in a lot closer in PPR, though. I have Henry and JT a whooping 0.1 point apart.

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