2022 RB Fantasy Football Rankings For Best Ball

Feb 1st 2022

Hayden Winks

Underdog Fantasy has 2022 fantasy football drafts in the lobby right now, with our first 2022 best ball tournament coming shortly. So it's already time for 2022 fantasy football rankings from yours truly: Fantasy QBs - Fantasy RBs - Fantasy WRs - Fantasy TEs - Top 250 Overall.

The baseline for my rankings stems from Underdog Fantasy's 2022 ADP (you can always find them under the app's "Rankings" tab) and my 2022 NFL Depth Charts column. Check them out if you haven't already.

My 2022 RB fantasy football rankings are based on half PPR.

RB1 Jonathan Taylor

There is a legitimate debate to put CMC right back into the 1.01 conversation in full PPR given the latter's ceiling in that format, but Taylor feels a little safer and is coming off a 3rd overall finish in Better in Best Ball Points Per Game. If willing to take on a little more risk, then taking CMC 1st overall is totally chill with me. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB1.

RB2 Christian McCaffrey

Two-straight seasons of injuries lower his 2022 floor, but the ceiling remains intact as a 26-year-old. The Panthers will spend all offseason looking for QB and OL upgrades. Those changes and a fully healthy offseason will determine just how likely a full bounce back is. He averaged 22.0 half PPR points in his four healthy games last year, which only trailed Derrick Henry among RBs and WRs. In Ben McAdoo's final three seasons as play-caller in New York, the Giants finished 3rd, 10th, and 12th in running back receptions despite having sub-par talent, so we shouldn't have to sweat receptions this year. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB3.

RB3 Austin Ekeler

Ekeler, 27, will be back in baby blue, and the Chargers offensive line should be better with more injury luck in 2022. Even if everything remains the same, Ekeler was 5th overall in Better In Best Ball Points per game, my favorite fantasy stat to summarize a season. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB4.

RB4 Derrick Henry

Henry has to stay healthy and continue running at outlier levels to beat this low ranking. He, of course, has a 1st overall ceiling though as arguably the most boom-bust first-round pick. Henry led all players in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game with 12.1 points over replacement. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB2.

RB5 Joe Mixon

The 26-year-old is on the books for $11.5M guaranteed in 2022, and it’s widely expected that the Bengals will be addressing the offensive line aggressively this offseason. With Cincy showcasing a very balanced attack early, Mixon finished as half PPR’s RB5 per game and the 8th overall player in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB8.

RB6 Javonte Williams

The Broncos smartly took things slow during Williams’ rookie campaign, mostly rotating drives with Melvin Gordon. The veteran is unsigned for 2022, and there’s cap space available for Denver to aggressively target a high-upside veteran quarterback (read: Aaron Rodgers). If Gordon walks and a quarterback cruises, Williams has elite RB1 upside. He was 1st in the predictive broken tackles per carry metric (0.31) according to PFF. This is a pure upside ranking for now. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB9.

RB7 Najee Harris

This comes down to which quarterback Pittsburgh brings in. They have $42M in cap space going into the offseason but also have to find RG Trai Turner (free agent) and RT Chukwuma Okorafor (free agent) replacements possibly. The three-down rookie was 14th in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game and half PPR’s RB8 per game last year. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB5.

RB8 Dalvin Cook

A league-winning RB1 in his prime, Cook will be 27 coming off multiple years of battling through injuries. A potential suspension stemming from a late 2021 domestic violence lawsuit looms, too. He’s one of the most boom-bust picks of the entire draft, especially with Kirk Cousins’ contract looking tradable if Minnesota wants to fully reset. Cook was half PPR’s RB7 per game last season. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB7.

RB9 Nick Chubb

The Browns can keep Kareem Hunt for $6.25M or release him with $0 in dead money. If Hunt is kept, Chubb maxes out as a borderline RB1 until the quarterback play is better, something that’s possibly given Baker Mayfield’s $0 dead cap hit if traded. Chubb, one of the three best pure rushers in the game, gets to run behind an offensive line that’s signed long-term. Swapping Cousins or Carr for Baker would do wonders for Chubb’s ceiling. He was 17th overall in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game last year with Hunt missing some time and the offense in general tanking. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB11.

RB10 D'Andre Swift

The Lions (inexplicably) extended Jared Goff after trading for him, leaving them with a $31.2M cap hit in 2022. This offense will largely be the same, especially with Jamaal Williams on the books, but Swift flashed a three-down skill set during his sophomore season and this offensive line quietly could be a top-10 unit. He was half PPR’s RB9 per game last year. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB10.

RB11 Cam Akers

A 5.5-month Achilles tear return means Akers is simply built differently. He had burst in the playoffs and should be near 100% after a full calendar year with rehab. Akers has three-down upside in a top-10 projected offense, especially with Sony Michel hitting free agency. It’s worth tracking if LT Andrew Whitworth (retirement), C Brian Allen (free agent), and RG Austin Corbett (free agent) bail, but Akers’ ceiling is high. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB13.

RB12 Alvin Kamara

The cap-strapped Saints will try to upgrade at quarterback, but that’ll be a challenge and Kamara’s upside is attached to quarterback. His floor is in tact as an in-prime bellcow, however, especially with Mark Ingram going into the offseason as a cut candidate. Kamara, 27 years old this season, was half PPR’s RB7 per game and finished 9th overall in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game in 2021. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB6.

RB13 Saquon Barkley

It’s fair to question if injuries have zapped some of the game-breaking burst and he was half PPR's RB29 per game in 2021, but Barkley will have another year to knock off the rust of his ACL and gets a far better play-caller this year. Moving from Joe Judge/Jason Garrett to Brian Daboll should get him dozens of more receptions this season, and Daniel Jones should get this offense into the red zone more often based on coaching and better injury luck alone. Saquon will be 25 years old next year. Don't count him out yet. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB14.

RB14 David Montgomery

He’s averaged 16.7 carries and 3.5 receptions over his last two seasons, and the 2022 Bears have more upside than ever with Justin Fields taking over. Montgomery was half PPR’s RB16 on RB8 fantasy usage in 2021. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB15.

RB15 Antonio Gibson

J.D. McKissic is unsigned but could easily return given his complementary skill set and Washington’s flexible cap space. Going into year three, Gibson has yet to take over the passing-down role largely due to too many mistakes. His fumbles and pass protection have been issues. There is a range of outcomes, however, that he improves his usage and Washington finds a meaningful quarterback upgrade with top-10 money to spend. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB12.

RB16 Ezekiel Elliott

This backfield will look the same, as both Zeke has $12.4M guaranteed in 2022 with an additional $18M in prorated money over the next four seasons and Pollard remains on his rookie contract. The odds of a more even split or an actual flippening are higher than ever, however, and Zeke was already only half PPR’s RB18 per game on RB13 fantasy usage last season. The lone case for a bounce back campaign in 2022 is that he played on a partially torn PCL (knee) for most of 2021. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB18.

RB17 Elijah Mitchell

The only backs on the 49ers’ roster heading into the season are Mitchell and Trey Sermon. It’s clear that Shanahan prefers Mitchell’s speed to anything else, and this rushing offense projects to be among the most efficient, especially with Trey Lance opening up lanes. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB20.

RB18 Leonard Fournette

Fournette, Ronald Jones, and Giovanni Bernard are all unsigned for 2022. The Bucs got RB1 production out of Fournette on a one-year deal in 2021, which likely means there will be more free agency competition this time around. Fournette, 27, would be a bellcow for most teams who would be offering him, however, so his floor is higher than given credit for. Forunette’s ceiling with a return to Tampa is undeniable, as he was half PPR’s RB5 per-game over the last 10 weeks of the season and the 19th overall player in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game last year. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB19.

RB19 Aaron Jones

Both Jones and A.J. Dillon will be back whether or not Aaron Rodgers re-signs. Jones was the RB14 per game in 2021 while splitting inside the five-yard line opportunities nearly evenly; Jones (0.67 per game), Dillon (0.71). We should expect Dillon to continue eating into the 28-year-old’s workload, and if Rodgers bounces, there will be fewer goal line opportunities for both backs. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB16.

RB20 James Conner

If Conner re-signs with Arizona (both parties should have interest), he’s being drafted far too late. Conner was 20th overall in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game last year and checked in as the RB2 overall over the last 10 weeks of the season when Chase Edmonds (also a free agent) missed time. It’s hard to find running backs with a three-down ceiling potentially in a top-10 offense this late in the draft. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB27.

RB21 Damien Harris

Both Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are back to compete for early down touches. Harris maintained the lead back role all of 2022, ultimately finishing as the 46th overall player and RB17 in half PPR per game. As long as the defense and offensive line are playing well, New England is likely set as a balanced offense with Mac Jones under center. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB26.

RB22 Josh Jacobs

Jacobs was half PPR’s RB18 over the last 10 weeks with Kenyan Drake missing some time, but Drake will be back in Vegas given his expensive contract. It’s unclear if Derek Carr (tradable contract) will be, too. Jacobs was the 70th overall player in 2021 per Better In Best Ball Points Per Game, but there are many moving parts here. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB21.

RB23 Devin Singletary

After Zack Moss and Matt Breida were phased out, Singletary averaged 16.0 carries and 3.5 targets on 80% plus snaps from Week 14 through the playoffs. Both Singletary and Moss are under contract in 2022, but his play down the stretch make him a heavy favorite to open next year as the Bills’ bellcow back. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB28.

RB24 Travis Etienne

A full year to recover should be enough to get back to pre-injury form, and James Robinson is likely to start on the PUP-list. Etienne is most likely to be treated as a home-run threat running back a la Raheem Mostert and is more unlikely to be type casted into the gadget role Urban Meyer once had. Etienne’s upside is tied to the new coaching staff getting the most out of Trevor Lawrence’s tools. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB22.

RB25 Michael Carter

Tevin Coleman is set for free agency, clearing Carter’s liftoff into the RB2 mix. Carter was half PPR’s RB15 per game on RB10 fantasy usage over the final 10 weeks of the season and looked like an impressive between-tackles rusher. He was 4th in elusive rating and 10th in yards after contact per carry according to PFF. The Jets’ offense and his size (5’8/199) are the primary hurdles for a full breakout campaign. Carter was 97th in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game as a rookie. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB23.

RB26 Kareem Hunt

Injuries cost Hunt most of his 2021, but he was half PPR’s RB19 in his seven healthy games and always has a path to a top-15 overall season in the event of a Nick Chubb injury. Hunt’s $6.25M contract is all non-guaranteed, however, so a release or trade can’t be ruled out. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB30.

RB27 J.K. Dobbins

It’s a misconception that the Ravens use their running backs a lot. They’ve been bottom-five in expected half PPR points in each of the last three seasons, and to make matters worse, this coaching staff has used a committee approach in each of them. Dobbins has plenty of burst to make the most of his situation, but his injury and the overall set up of the offense work against him. Gus Edwards is under contract still. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB17.

RB28 Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Darrel Williams is not under contract, but CEH hasn’t been given the three-down keys in either of his first two seasons, both of which have included injury stints. Edwards-Helaire does get to run behind one of the NFL’s best run-blocking lines and will have a double-digit touchdown projection as long as he’s starting next to Mahomes. He was half PPR’s RB21 per game and 85th overall player in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game. It’s unlikely that he turns into a difference maker in the pass game, however, so his ceiling will be harder to hit. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB24.

RB29 Rashaad Penny

The post-hype first rounder hits free agency after the best stretch of his NFL career. He was the RB25 per game over the last 10 weeks of the season (even higher in the last 5 weeks), and more importantly, finished 1st in yards after contact per carry according to PFF. Penny has earned a starting role on early downs. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB29.

RB30 Cordarrelle Patterson

The late-career running back breakout is a free agent, but it’s unclear why he’d leave the first play-caller that committed to getting him touches. Atlanta could also save $2.5M against the cap by releasing Mike Davis. Patterson was half PPR’s RB15 on RB21 fantasy usage and the 36th overall player last season, but he slowed down the stretch after pivoting from RB-WR hybrid to a more traditional hybrid. It won’t be a surprise if 2021 was the outlier season. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB32.

RB31 Tony Pollard

The bursty complement was top-8 in PFF’s elusive rating and yards after contact per carry in 2021 but was never able to unseat Ezekiel Elliott as the 1a. He ultimately finished as the 166th overall player in Better In Best Ball Points Per Game. Both backs are under contract – Zeke has $12.4M guaranteed in 2022 with an additional $18M in prorated money over the next four seasons – so this could be another “what could be” season, but if Zeke misses time, Pollard would be a top-10 overall asset. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB33.

RB32 Rhamondre Stevenson

Damien Harris is under contract and remained the starter for all of 2021. Stevenson has juice, however, and had spiked weeks whenever the Patriots established a big lead. A Harris injury or a near even split would justify an RB3 ranking, even if the Patriots bring in a Brandon Bolden and James White third-down replacement. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB35.

RB33 AJ Dillon

Both Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon are under contract for 2022 (with basically no way out), which makes Dillon largely contingent on a Jones injury when it comes to fantasy. In the 14 games together, Dillon averaged just 8.3 half PPR points. He had 25.8, 12.7, and 17.5 in the three games without him. That gap should tighten with Dillon heading into year three and Jones heading into his age-28 season, but Dillon most likely needs Aaron Rodgers to stay and Jones to miss time to really pay off. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB25.

RB34 Miles Sanders

Sanders and Kenny Gainwell are on their rookie deals, plus Boston Scott is a restricted free agent. In nine healthy games, Sanders was the RB36 per game, though he closed the year strong with three quality games before injuries took over. Sanders has juice as a rusher (5.5 YPC in 2021), but he’s been an inconsistent player in all three NFL seasons and has yet to hit 200 carries in a campaign. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB31.

RB35 Alexander Mattison

There are more moving parts in Mattison’s projection this year. Dalvin Cook had another year of injuries and could face a domestic violence suspension if the NFL’s investigation finds anything. He has better odds of insurance production in 2022, but the Vikings could just be worse if they move on from Kirk Cousins. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB38.

RB36 Chase Edmonds

Both James Conner and Chase Edmonds are free agents. We’ll see where they end up. Both returning is possible. Between the two, Conner’s three-down workload is easier to envision. Edmonds is too small for that full-time role heading into the season even if he’s a more efficient rusher. Underdog Fantasy ADP: RB37.

RB37 Melvin Gordon → 29yo 3-down free agent. He wants to return. Does DEN?

RB38 Nyheim Hines → I want to be overweight on elite fantasy assets’ backups.

RB39 Darrell Henderson → Akers is back. Sony is likely gone. Back to Cuffland.

RB40 Chuba Hubbard → Mostly played on early downs only as CMC’s fill-in.

RB41 Chris Carson → 28yo cut candidate coming off neck surgery. No Russ?

RB42 Gus Edwards → Backup on a team that quietly doesn’t use their RBs much.

RB43 James Robinson → New coaches, Etienne’s return, and now an Achilles tear.

RB44 Devontae Booker → Quality backup to Saquon already with a 2022 contract.

RB45 Khalil Herbert → A skilled rusher on a team that’s committed to a bellcow.

RB46 Kenyan Drake → A highly-paid backup with a three-down ceiling.

RB47 Jamaal Williams → Valued early-down grinder with some contingent value.

RB48 Ronald Jones → A free agent whose value will be tied to who signs him.

RB49 Sony Michel → A free agent whose value will be tied to who signs him.

RB50 J.D. McKissic → A free agent whose value will be tied to who signs him.

RB51 Justin Jackson → LAC have enough cap space and the need to re-sign him.

RB52 Myles Gaskin → The only signed MIA back, but they replaced him late 2021.

RB53 Trey Sermon → Only Eli Mitchell and Sermon are under contract in SF now.

RB54 Kenneth Gainwell → Too tiny for big role? Scott is a restricted free agent.

RB55 Zack Moss → Healthy scratched before, Moss has yet to show 3-down skills.

RB56 Ke’Shawn Vaughn → TB’s only signed RB. Destined to be insurance still. 

RB57 Jerick McKinnon → 30yo free agent third-down back who popped late.

RB58 Raheem Mostert → 30yo free agent with 9 games in last 2 seasons.

RB59 Darrynton Evans → Derrick Henry’s lone backup. Needs to stay healthy.

RB60 Darrel Williams → A free agent whose value will be tied to who signs him.

RB61 Mark Ingram → A cut candidate, but a high(ish)-ceiling backup if he stays in NO.

RB62 Mike Davis → A cut candidate in one of the worst rushing offenses.

RB63 Samaje Perine → Mixon’s early-down backup, but a cut candidate.

RB64 Chris Evans → Athletic Mixon insurance option. Perine is a cut candidate.

RB65 Jaret Patterson → Early-down insurance to Gibson. No J.D. for now.

RB66 Benny Snell → Snell was playing over Anthony McFarland. Both are back.

RB67 Boston Scott → Restricted free agent passing-down back. Likely back.

RB68 D'Ernest Johnson → Restricted free agent early-down grinder. Hunt cut?

RB69 Joshua Kelley → Jackson is a free agent. Kelley vs. Rountree for now.

RB69 D’Onta Foreman → Free-agent post-hype sleeper on early downs.

RB70 Eno Benjamin → Rookie contract backup. Conner and Edmonds are FAs.

RB71 Kene Nwangwu → Speedy No. 3 back in Minnesota with return skills

RB72 Larry Rountree → Jackson is a free agent. Kelley vs. Rountree for now.

RB73 Anthony McFarland → Was playing behind Benny Snell. Both are back.

RB74 Derrick Gore → Exclusive rights free agent who could return. Darrel is a FA.

RB75 Jeff Wilson → Free agent early-down grinder.

RB76 James White → Free agent passing-down back.

RB77 Rex Burkhead → Free agent early-down grinder.