Fantasy Football Rankings 2022: Top 25 RBs

By Team on August 2, 2022

Stocking up on dependable running backs is essential if you want to win the fantasy football championship.

As a result, you should select running backs frequently and early in your fantasy football draft. You'll find it difficult to keep up with the owners in your league that selected superstar running backs like Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, or Austin Ekeler if you miss out on the top running backs in the first few rounds. No matter if you play in a regular league or a PPR (points per reception) league, the teams with the best running backs typically win.

Yes, it is possible to strike it lucky by making a blockbuster trade or adding a breakout running back via the waiver wire. Late in the draft, you might even strike it rich with a "handcuff" running back. Wouldn't you, however, prefer to be safe than sorry?

If so, the following top 25 running backs are ones you should keep an eye on early in your 2022 fantasy football draft:

1. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

In 2021, Taylor was every fantasy owner's ideal. The 23-year-old ran 42 times inside the 10-yard line, which is a record. Damien Harris of the New England Patriots had 30, which was the next-highest total in the NFL, to put that number into context. With a league-best 1,811 running yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns, Taylor eventually gained MVP consideration. Additionally, he grabbed 40 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor should be a no-brainer with the first overall pick in your draft, regardless of the format, because he has guaranteed volume to go with his great talent.

2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

At this point, you are aware of what to expect from Christian McCaffrey. Spending a top-three choice on a player who could win the league also increases the likelihood that they will injure themselves and ruin your season. Even though we still believe he is worthwhile, make sure you add Chuba Hubbard later in your pick as a backup plan.

3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

In PPR formats, Ekeler is about as safe as it gets for a top-five draft pick if he stays healthy. Out of the backfield, he hauled in 70 passes for 647 yards and eight touchdowns. He also showed he wasn't a slouch in the running game, racking up 911 yards and another 12 touchdowns. Ekeler will have plenty of chances to impress in an offense that is anticipated to be at its peak in 2022.

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Henry played in only eight games last season due to injuries, yet he still finished as the RB20. Through those eight weeks, he had the highest PPR points per game (23.4) among all running backs. Given his heavy workload and the apparent injury risk leading into 2022, Henry should, at least temporarily, be regarded as one of the finest running back alternatives available.

5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

Owners of Cooks might be entering this year's draft with a sour taste in their mouths. The three-time Pro Bowler missed four games and his number of touchdowns dropped from 17 in 2021 to 6 in 2022. That is an unusual occurrence. When healthy in the previous season, Cook averaged 15.2 fantasy points per game and 22 touches per game. Those stats merit being selected in the first round early.

6. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

When the 2022 season is over, it wouldn't surprise us to see Harris as the number one running back. The second-year rushing back finished as the RB4 in half-point PPR settings after leading the league with 381 touches the previous season. Harris' reputation could be harmed by Pittsburgh's quarterback dilemma, but we'd wager that he'd be one of the more secure first-round picks.

7. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Last year, Mixon dropped to the second round in the majority of fantasy drafts, but you won't want to take a chance on waiting on him once more this year. With 334 total touches (third in the NFL), 20.9 touches per game (sixth), and 16 goal-line carries in 2021, the 26-year-old was a workhorse (third). Mixon is expected to outperform himself from the previous season, when he finished as the RB3 in half-point PPR leagues, thanks to an upgraded Bengals offensive line.

8. D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Only Swift's history of injuries should prevent you from selecting him in Round 1. The former Georgia standout is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and, until suffering an injury last season, topped all running backs with 53 catches in the 10 games he played. Perhaps the third year is the charm since there's little doubt Swift has the talent to bring you to a fantasy title.

9. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

One of the league's top running backs, Chubb has developed a solid reputation. Since his NFL debut in 2018, the 26-year-old has averaged at least five yards per rush. Nevertheless, there are a few reasons not to make Chubb your first decision. He isn't a strong receiver out of the backfield, which significantly reduces his value in PPR systems. Second, if Kareem Hunt stays healthy, he will likely steal some carries and score several touchdowns. Chubb might let down some fantasy owners this season with an offense that could be terrible if Deshaun Watson is out.

10. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

With Davante Adams out of the picture, Jones ought to be the focal point of the Packers' attack. Last season, the 27-year-old grabbed 52 passes from the backfield for 391 yards and six touchdowns. Jones has scored an average of 23 PPR points a game for Green Bay when Adams is out. This will do.

11. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Since his Offensive Rookie of the Year season in 2017, Kamara has been a dependable option for fantasy owners. Even with head coach Sean Payton gone and Jameis Winston at the controls in 2022, it shouldn't change. Even if Kamara's days of producing as an overall RB1 in PPR leagues may be behind him, he is still a reliable pick early in the draft.

12. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

Owners of Javonte Williams saw glimmers of his great fantasy football potential during the 2017 season, but Melvin Gordon's presence in the backfield prevented a complete breakout season. This summer, the Broncos signed Gordon to a one-year contract, so Williams' 2022 might be more of the same. Even though he had the 13th-most touches last year, he could still produce RB1-level numbers if his workload increases.

13. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Given his friendship with quarterback Tom Brady, it should not be surprising that Fournette has signed a three-year contract to return to Tampa. The 27-year-old ran for 812 yards and eight touchdowns while hauling in 69 passes for 454 yards and two scores for the Bucs last season. Fournette should have another successful season as an exceptional fantasy running back because he is the undisputed starter in a strong offense.

14. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Again, Montgomery can anticipate a lot of volume from a Bears offense that is in dire need of support. He was targeted 4.75 times a game with Justin Fields at QB last season. Montgomery is projected as a good RB2 as long as his usage rate holds steady.

15. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

With 18 touchdowns, the former Steeler had a successful debut season in Arizona. He could post even higher stats in 2022 with Chase Edmonds moving to the Miami Dolphins. He may not be the most attractive choice, but if you can get him in Round 3, he may be a complete steal.

16. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

In his brief NFL career, Barkley has simply struggled to maintain his health. He is a clear-cut Round 1 talent, but this year's owners are choosing to choose him in Round 3 due to his difficulty to stay on the field. If he stays healthy and the Giants' redesigned offensive line performs as expected, which is a big if, he might turn out to be a good deal.

17. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

Akers' 2.4 yards per rush last season despite coming back from an Achilles injury may have alarmed fantasy owners. Despite this, don't hesitate to choose him at his Round 4 ADP (average draft position). On Sean McVay's depth chart, he ought to be the top running back, and fantasy football owners typically profit from having him in that position. Akers could end up being one of the best picks in drafts this year if he stays healthy.

18. Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders

Last year, Gibson ran for Washington for more than 1,000 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. His lack of ball security is the problem. He and Ezekiel Elliott both had six fumbles, which was the most among running backs. With J.D. McKissic rejoining the Commanders' backfield, his value in PPR leagues is also lower. Although Gibson is a good RB2, those who want to start him as their RB1 in PPR settings are setting themselves up for failure.

19. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

You're doing something good if 1,002 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground are seen as a bad season. Elliott's days as a top-tier fantasy running back may be coming to an end, it's also safe to say. Elliott's workload may be further reduced in 2022 by Tony Pollard, who the Cowboys have already shown to be the most effective choice. Those that selected Elliott as their RB2 in the draft should be happy with their selection, but there's a risk it might go wrong.

20. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

With Josh McDaniels as the head coach and Davante Adams in the mix, the Raiders offense ought to see significant improvement in 2022. As the team's go-to red-zone option out of the backfield, Jacobs will be afforded more scoring opportunities, which should increase his fantasy value.

21. Breece Hall, New York Jets

This season, Hall is widely regarded as the best rookie running back in fantasy drafts. The second-round choice of the Jets, a real dual-threat out of the backfield, could get a ton of action in his first NFL season. Even though there are reasons to doubt his ability in the Jets scheme, that makes him an intriguing pick and a potential steal in Round 4.

22. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

Dobbins' first season in 2020 saw him carry for 805 yards and nine touchdowns, with flashes of brilliance. Due to his lack of efficiency in the passing game as well as his ACL injury in 2021, fantasy owners may still be hesitant to choose the Ohio State standout. If you choose Dobbins, you're placing a wager that his number of touchdowns will overcome his meager volume and engagement as a receiver.

23. Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

Last year, Mitchell became the main running back for the 49ers, and he made the most of the chance by rushing for 963 yards and six touchdowns. As a result, he finished the season as the RB14 in terms of fantasy points scored per game, but owners of fantasy leagues should be wary of a similar performance in 2022. The fact that San Francisco frequently switches things up at running back eventually limits Mitchell's potential.

24. Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars

Before suffering a Lisfranc injury that caused him to miss the entire 2021 season, Etienne was a star at Clemson and was predicted to be a contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year. If nothing unexpected happens, he should resume his role as the Jaguars offense's top running back and carry on from when Trevor Lawrence served as his quarterback.

25. Damien Harris, New England Patriots

On Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected two running backs, and Rhamondre Stevenson is expected to play a significant role in the offense this year. These are good reasons to avoid picking Harris in fantasy drafts, particularly in PPR formats, but Harris is not a wimp. The Alabama product concluded last season with 15 touchdowns and had the second-most carries inside the 10-yard line. There's no reason to think he can't be a rock-solid RB2/flex in all fantasy leagues if he's used in the same manner in 2022.