2022 NFL Draft RB Landing Spots: Rounds 4-7 (Fantasy Football)

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The last three rounds of the NFL drafts have always intrigued me. On one hand, the national coverage starts at 12pm, and the draft moves along furiously while celebrities and contest winners read off the names of the players deemed less important by the league, and the public. On the other hand, 66% of the active players on NFL rosters were drafted in the fourth round or later. Plenty of Super Bowl champions were drafted in these rounds, yet everyone (including myself) deprioritizes it. It makes sense when taken at surface value, but it’s also a key area to exploit for the veteran dynasty manager. Fantasy players naturally assume these guys have less potential to breakout, because that’s true at most positions. Running back isn’t one of them. Obviously the cream of the crop is going to be drafted early, but the modern NFL is waking up to the fact that there are long term issues with prioritizing running backs in the draft. You can build an excellent backfield on day three, whether you run a fantasy team or a real NFL franchise. There were sixteen running backs taken on the final day of the draft this year. It’s a near guarantee that at least one of these guys will end up very fantasy relevant, so we need to pay attention: 

Dameon Pierce –  Houston Texans

Pierce is a touchdown vulture waiting to happen, and there is a good chance it happens. His fantasy stock will depend entirely on the performance and health of Marlon Mack, as Mack is the favorite to lead this backfield between the 20s. I would expect a frustrating timeshare, but Pierce will have every opportunity to earn snaps. He’s a top-tier pass blocker which means everything to modern-day NFL coaches, so Pierce can’t be ignored in rookie drafts. I’d expect him to be a middling fantasy asset with a potentially safe floor if he can solidify himself as the Texans’ goal-line back like he was for the Gators. His ceiling will be capped by his mediocre route running and average-at-best hands in the passing game. 

Zamir White –  Las Vegas Raiders

White has the skillset to essentially be a clone of Josh Jacobs in terms of role with the Raiders. He’s built to be an early-down bruiser, who excels at the first level and is tough to tackle at first contact. His skill set in the passing game is below average, so I wouldn’t expect White to push anyone on the roster for snaps in year one. He’s a good back, but not a great back. He has the physical traits and vision to be a career backup in the NFL. Anyone can find luck in Las Vegas, but this is Josh Jacobs’ backfield for now. White will serve as the seamless replacement if Jacobs goes down for any length of time. 

Isaiah Spiller –  Los Angeles Chargers 

The Chargers backfield is a mess for fantasy purposes, unless your name is Austin Ekeler. We watched Melvin Gordon and Ekeler split time in a somewhat frustrating timeshare for what felt like an eternity, but Ekeler was let loose by Joe Lombardi in 2021 and it was a beautiful thing. The remaining work outside of Ekeler’s 276 touches was minuscule at best, so anyone else in that backfield is simply a handcuff for the foreseeable future. Spiller had three strong seasons at Texas A&M, including his eye-popping freshman season where he accumulated over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns as an 18-year-old. His underwhelming combine metrics didn’t help his case though, so he ended up falling into the fourth round where his future presents more questions than answers. I’m not counting on Spiller to have much fantasy value in his first season, and I’m avoiding him in rookie drafts until more information becomes available that can influence my line of thinking.

Pierre Strong Jr. –  New England Patriots 

Strong is one of my favorite sleepers from this draft, and this won’t be the last time I mention him. He flat out crushed the combine and had a ridiculous production profile, albeit from a much smaller school. As an athlete, he could go toe to toe with any SEC product from this class, and he dominated at the lower collegiate ranks in the way any serious NFL prospect needed to. The Patriots don’t care at all about who was on the team already, but Strong obviously has a pretty tough path to immediate work. He’s a sleeper for a reason, but I like his chances more than most. I’ve snagged him in every draft I could, and his third-round price tag is reasonable. I hit the nail on the head with Rhamondre Stevenson last year, and I see very strong potential in Pierre for some of the same reasons. 

Hassan Haskins – Tennessee Titans 

I have to throw my Michigan Wolverine bias to the side here. Haskins is simply a Derrick Henry insurance policy who has little to no chance at seeing the field unless the Big Dog gets hurt. The productive back from Ann Arbor drew the short end of the stick on draft day in terms of landing spot. He’s a total flier and should be deprioritized in rookie drafts.  

Tyler Allgeier – Atlanta Falcons 

The Falcons running back room is an interesting enigma. Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most confusing players in the league to project, and outside of him there is no real competition in front of the new rookie. Allgeier is a bruiser who functions more as an early-down back than an open field playmaker. He should get an opportunity, but there’s not a lot that separates him from Damien Williams or the other backs on the roster outside of youth. He’s a fourth-round target in rookie drafts simply because he has a path to playing time. 

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Snoop Conner – Jacksonville Jaguars 

Conner is essentially a less refined, but more athletic version of James Robinson in a crowded backfield on a middling offense. The only way he will see the field is if Robinson goes down or if a contract situation arises in future seasons. Conner is a total dart throw that I wouldn’t be targeting unless you have an open roster spot and no one else on the board that you like. 

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Jerome Ford – Cleveland Browns

Any running back in Cleveland deserves attention since their rushing game is so dominant. Deshaun Watson will change that dynamic, but their offense will still have room for multiple guys to produce. Kareem Hunt will be a free agent in 2023, but D’Ernest Johnson should be first in line to replace Hunt based on his production in 2021. Ford is someone to keep an eye on in the late rounds of rookie drafts, simply because the situation in Cleveland could produce results much faster than others. 

Kyren Williams – Los Angeles Rams

The Rams already have two talented backs in their backfield, but Darrell Henderson has had a tough time staying healthy. That doesn’t mean much for the future necessarily, but the offensive scheme creates useful backup running back situations. Both Henderson and Sony Michel have produced in LA at different points. Williams is a perfect handcuff selection in rookie drafts, albeit someone that only has value in 2022 with an injury. 

Ty Chandler – Minnesota Vikings

Chandler is an underrated burner, but he’s entering the league at age 24. He has the build and agility to perform well in the Vikings scheme, but his long-term value is in question due to both his age and two guys named Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. I’d ignore him in rookie drafts and keep an eye on the waivers afterwards. 

Kevin Harris – New England Patriots 

Harris has a lot in his way in terms of securing a roster spot, but the Patriots don’t ever care about depth charts. I’m adding both him and Pierre Strong, with Harris as the secondary target. He doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but he does everything well enough to matter in a place like New England. Training camp will determine if he’s a keep or a cut on your dynasty team. 

Tyler Badie – Baltimore Ravens 

Badie is a change-of-pace guy, but it’s worth noting that he dominated within an outside zone run scheme in college, similar to the one they run in Baltimore. The Ravens love guys who can hit the hole quickly, and Badie does that well. He’s worth a flier in the best run game in football. 

Keaontay Ingram – Arizona Cardinals 

Ingram is the perfect mold of a mediocre running back. The Cardinals scheme doesn’t seem like the place for the former USC Trojan. I’m letting my league-mates take the chance on him in dynasty formats. 

Trestan Ebner – Chicago Bears

Ebner is a former receiver who has excellent hands and runs crisp routes. He’s a candidate to develop into a satellite back in Chicago. His fantasy value is likely to be minimal, even with an injury to David Montgomery. He’s not a good enough early-down runner to threaten Khalil Herbert for that role. Better real football player than fantasy asset. 

Brittain Brown – Las Vegas Raiders 

Brown might not even make the team in Vegas. He’s not a name to remember. If this turns out to be a Tom Brady moment for me, feel free to cite this article in his 30 for 30. 

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Isaih Pacheco – Kansas City Chiefs 

Pacheco takes off like a rocket on every single play, and he has excellent speed for his size. His draft capital lacks attention, but his new offense is arguably the best in football. I wouldn’t draft him in my rookie draft, but I’d pay close attention in camp. That backfield is continuously wide open (I mean, Jerrick McKinnon?)

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