We’re reaching the crescendo of the actual 2021 NFL season, but the 2022 dynasty fantasy football season is already underway.
Whether you’re entering (another) startup, looking to improve your squad, or taking over an orphan, you’ll need a running back stable capable of taking you all the way.
Let’s take a look at early dynasty RB rankings for 2022.
The best of the best. Taylor edges out McCaffrey for the top spot given their difference in age ( Taylor is two years younger) and wear and tear, but don’t get it confused: Both of these players are dynasty cornerstones.
These are Tier 1-caliber players, but Taylor and McCaffrey have such ridiculous ceilings that they are forced into their own category. Yet all of the RBs listed in Tier 2 here - yes, even Saquon Barkley - are cornerstone dynasty pieces. There are many familiar names, but the oldest player in this group is just 26.
Players like Williams, Akers, and Gibson are knocking on the Tier 2 door, but they’re ranked one rung below given that there’s a little more uncertainty over their futures (role, injuries, and/or we just simply haven’t seen enough yet). They’re the higher upside picks of the Tier 3 RBs. Chubb and Henry take beatings and are getting a little higher up there in age, but they remain tremendous dynasty assets given their roles.
- Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
- Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
- Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
- AJ Dillon, Green Back Packers
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
- Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
- Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
This list includes vets in roles that are potentially phasing out (Jacobs, Jones, Elliott) as well as young players poised to take over (Dillon, Edwards-Helaire, Etienne, Mitchell, Pollard, Singletary). As always in dynasty, the younger players offer more long-term upside but come with more question marks. The vets offer more short-term security but have a shorter lifespan.
- Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
- Michael Carter, New York Jets
- Damien Harris, New England Patriots
- Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
- J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
- Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
- Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
- James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
- James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
- Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
This list is just like the Tier 4 group, except the younger guys have less upside and the older guys have shorter expected lifespans. There are also major questions about the future roles for the players in this group (Pats RBs, Jaguars RBs, Eagles RBs, Rams RBs). These are players you certainly want to own in dynasty, but we’ve exited the realm of “potential dynasty cornerstone” and entered the less exciting (but still hugely important) world of “potential regular starter.”
This is a list of players who could benefit greatly from a change of scenery. Mattison has shown he could be a top-five fantasy RB with a lead role. Gainwell flashed in limited opportunity. Jones was phased out of Tampa. Moss was phased out in Buffalo. Sermon had a redshirt rookie season. Michel looked great but is likely heading to RB2 or RB3 duties if he stays in LA. Long story short: This group has a ton of question marks, but it also has a lot of untapped upside.
If your targets aren’t listed above, they are either aging vets (like Chris Carson or Cordarrelle Patterson) who certainly have short-term value for win-now teams, but don’t make my list of top dynasty investments, which is focused largely on youth and future upside.