Thu Jun 2 10:47am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Williams setup for breakout year
Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the running back position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule of each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to running backs last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the running backs with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season.
|2022 RB SOS|
|3.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||384|
|6.||New York Giants||392.5|
|8.||Las Vegas Raiders||394.1|
|11.||Los Angeles Chargers||397.3|
|12.||Los Angeles Rams||397.8|
|13.||San Francisco 49ers||398.2|
|16.||New York Jets||399.2|
|17.||New Orleans Saints||400.9|
|19.||Kansas City Chiefs||401.4|
|22.||Green Bay Packers||404|
|29.||New England Patriots||411.2|
The Dolphins have the best schedule for fantasy running backs this coming year. The problem is you just aren’t sure the back that will lead that team in carries. But these guys might be worth taking a chance on because of this schedule. Whoever emerges could be a productive fantasy asset. David Montgomery is intriguing on a team that lacks weapons in the passing game and gets the second easiest schedule for fantasy backs. Montgomery might have his best season to date. Javonte Williams is pegged as a breakout candidate by many and having the third most favorable fantasy schedule for running backs makes that even more of a possibility. The Patriots have a host of backs that should get carries and could all produce well with their favorable running back schedule. And the Bills duo of Devin Singletary and rookie James Cook could do some damage this year.
Running backs with challenging fantasy running back schedules include Cordarrelle Patterson, Leonard Fournette, Miles Sanders and Joe Mixon. Patterson is one guy that is a concern because of his finish to last year, stumbling at the end of the season after a great start. And now Patterson gets the most challenging fantasy schedule for running backs. Fournette is setup for more work with Ronald Jones gone, but that might not lead to a lot more fantasy points with this schedule. Lastly, Saquon Barkley has been a bust in recent years and his team has the sixth toughest schedule for fantasy backs. Barkley could have more tough sledding this year.
Take a close look at this entire ranking when figuring out your fantasy rankings for the coming season.
We also wanted to look at playoff schedules for fantasy running backs. So we crunched the numbers of all the schedules from Weeks 14-17, which is the fantasy playoffs for most leagues. We know you have to get to the playoffs first, but knowing the running backs with the easiest playoff schedules doesn’t hurt by any means, especially in the big money contests.
|2022 RB PLAYOFF SOS|
|1.||Los Angeles Chargers||345.7|
|6.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||376|
|8.||Green Bay Packers||380.3|
|11.||New York Giants||390.5|
|12.||Las Vegas Raiders||394|
|15.||New Orleans Saints||400.7|
|19.||New England Patriots||407.9|
|24.||Los Angeles Rams||418.3|
|27.||Kansas City Chiefs||424.7|
|29.||New York Jets||430.6|
|31.||San Francisco 49ers||433.3|
Christian McCaffrey has big injury concerns, but his celling is as high as any back in the game. He also has the easiest fantasy playoff schedule for running backs. This makes him a huge risk/reward pick for fantasy teams. McCaffrey could be a difference maker in the playoffs if he can stay on the field. Elijah Mitchell is another intriguing back for the coming year, getting a chance to start from day one and having the second most favorable fantasy schedule for running backs. Rookie Breece Hall is expected to be the Jets lead back and could have a great finish to his season with a very favorable schedule to end things. And D’Andre Swift has a favorable regular and playoff fantasy schedule. Swift is another back that battles injury issues, but could be a monster this year if he can stay on the field all season.
There are many repeat teams near the top of the list of the toughest fantasy running back schedules, including the Texans, Falcons and Eagles. You might just want to steer clear of players on these teams. Things might not work out well for them. The team with the toughest fantasy running back schedule in the playoffs, though, is the Chargers. Austin Ekeler is a top-five draft pick this year. He gets a ton of work in the passing game, so having a tough running back schedule isn’t a huge concern. But it is something to keep in mind when picking early in drafts. If you are debating between Ekeler and another high-profile back, you might want to lean the other way because of this playoff schedule.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The New York Jets signed free-agent tight end Tyler Conklin to a three-year, $21 million deal this offseason. This coincided with a three-year, $24 million deal for fellow tight end C.J. Uzomah, creating some ambiguity at the position. While it's still early, it seems Conklin is leading the way. Head coach Robert Saleh said, "Conk is awesome. He's been fantastic for us." He further highlighted his three-down skill set, finishing by saying "he's been a pleasant surprise." While it's unknown at this point just how a big of a leap this offense will take, the lead tight end would slot in behind sophomore receiver Elijah Moore and rookie Garrett Wilson as the third option, providing sufficient production to be a weekly streamer with upside.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted rookie tight end Cade Otton 106th overall to join veteran Cameron Brate and future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski. Things changed, however, when Gronkowski announced his retirement, prompting the team to sign veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph. There are a lot of bodies to fill this position, but Otton has by far the most upside and untapped potential. Otton has reportedly flashed in camp and gained quarterback Tom Brady's trust, which is typically a difficult task for a rookie. With Chris Godwin (knee) potentially missing time to start the season, Mike Evans (hamstring) currently sidelined and a host of unproven options behind them, Otton has a chance to secure a meaningful role entering Week 1, making him a player to add to your watch list.
New Orleans Saints quarterback/tight end Taysom Hill (ribs) had a limited training camp practice on Monday and mostly did individual drills. It's all part of head coach Dennis Allen's ramp-up process for Hill, who suffered rib injuries early in training camp. The 31-year-old is making the transition from full-time quarterback to tight end this year, so the lost repetitions isn't ideal. Hill will continue to take some snaps under center, but his main contributions will be at tight end, where he's in a crowded room with Adam Trautman, Juwan Johnson, Nick Vannett and Chris Herndon. Unless quarterback Jameis Winston misses time with another injury, Hill is off the fantasy radar to begin the 2022 season.
Houston Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown lost 18 pounds this offseason after watching film of himself and deciding that he looked slow and unathletic. "He's listed as a tight end, but he can play in line, he can move out," head coach Lovie Smith said. "It's a tough matchup because he has big wide receiver skills. Just another weapon that we have to be able to use." Brown is looking to put up big numbers in a contract year after posting a career-high 23 catches for 171 yards and no touchdowns on 34 targets over 15 games (12 starts) in Houston in 2021. The 28-year-old could be a matchup nightmare when lined up against cornerbacks, but with Brevin Jordan also at the position, Brown can be avoided in most fantasy drafts to begin the season.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (Achilles) is taking snaps with the first-team offense at training camp practice on Monday for the first time all summer, which seems pretty significant, according to SI.com's John Shipley. Robinson is attempting to come back from a torn Achilles suffered last year, and most of the offseason hype has gone to Travis Etienne Jr., who missed all of his rookie season with a foot injury. Robinson, 23, seems to be recovering nicely and has a chance to be ready for Week 1, but it remains to be seen how Robinson and Etienne will co-exist in head coach Doug Pederson's offense. At the very minimum, Etienne will take a significant amount of pass-game work, but Robinson shouldn't be overlooked as an RB3/flex in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
The Baltimore Ravens reached agreement on a four-year contract extension with kicker Justin Tucker on Monday, which is expected to make him the NFL's highest-paid kicker. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the Pittsburgh Steelers recently signed Chris Boswell for four years and $20 million, so it should be north of that figure. Tucker is the best kicker in the NFL, racking up five Pro Bowl appearances and five All-Pro nods for Baltimore in his 10 seasons. In 2021, he had a league-high 94.6 field-goal percentage, making 35 of his 37 attempts, including a 66-yarder. The 32-year-old didn't miss a single one of his 32 extra-point tries. Tucker should once again be the first fantasy kicker off the board in drafts.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won't play in the team's preseason opener on Friday against the San Francisco 49ers. Head coach Matt LaFleur said that Jordan Love will get the start. It's not a big surprise that the 38-year-old future Hall of Famer will be rested in the team's first preseason game, especially after he didn't play at all in the preseason last fall. The Packers are considering giving Rodgers some repetitions in the final preseason game on Aug. 25 against the Kansas City Chiefs this year. With All-Pro receiver Davante Adams gone, Rodgers' fantasy stock has fallen quite a bit to the low-end QB1/high-end QB2 range for the 2022 season.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield has the inside track on the starting job over Sam Darnold to open the 2022 regular season. Mayfield and Darnold opened training camp in an open competition and have been splitting first-team repetitions pretty much down the middle. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says it's clear that it's Mayfield's job to lose. Darnold might be the more steady and safe option, but Mayfield has more ability and more "wow" plays. Mayfield should only gain more of an edge as he gets a better grasp of the team's playbook as well. The best-case scenario for the Panthers is if Mayfield wins the job outright. In the end, Carolina will be a defense-first team, and whoever wins the QB competition will be just a low-end QB2 for fantasy purposes.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk limped off the field at training camp practice on Monday with a trainer with an undisclosed injury. We'll get you more details when we know what is ailing Kirk. The 25-year-old didn't suit up for the Hall of Fame game last Thursday against the Las Vegas Raiders, and it remains to be seen if he'll play in the team's second preseason game this Friday against the Cleveland Browns. The Jags spent big on Kirk in the offseason to give second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence some more firepower. Consistency might be a problem for Kirk and the rest of Jacksonville's pass-catchers, though, even if Lawrence takes a step forward with new head coach Doug Pederson.
Philadelphia Eagles OT Le'Raven Clark (hamstring), DL Javon Hargrave (groin), CB Jimmy Moreland (ankle), SS Jaquiski Tartt (personal) and CB Kary Vincent Jr. (groin) were added to the injury report and did not practice Sunday, Aug. 7.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was spotted doing 11-on-11 work during Sunday's practice. The veteran didn't participate in team drills over the last few days and recently requested a trade. However, with the Browns denying the demand, it appears Hunt has already raised the white flag. Although the 27-year-old is listed behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart, a spot he's very familiar with, he has historically been a relatively reliable PPR option due to his pass-catching ability. Still, he's dealt with injuries and off-the-field issues over the years, which remain concerns for fantasy managers heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll reported he expects everyone healthy to suit up for Thursday's preseason opener against the Patriots. Daboll hopes to expose his players to as many live reps as possible, allowing everyone to become familiar with the new coaching staff. Although it's unknown how much work guys like Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, and Saquon Barkley, among others, will receive versus New England, it will offer a small glimpse of what's to come for fantasy managers heading into the regular season.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been featured in different parts of the field throughout training camp. In an attempt to exploit opposing defenses this year, head coach Kevin O'Connell, who served as the Rams offensive coordinator last season, plans on utilizing Jefferson the same way Cooper Kupp was showcased in 2021-22. The 23-year-old has been a fantastic addition to fantasy rosters, accumulating 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns off 196 catches since being drafted in 2020. Although Kupp should continue to be a reliable asset for managers in all formats, Jefferson's skill set could allow him to finish as the year's top fantasy wideout.
Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin isn't a lock to be the No. 1 option on the depth chart. With the Dolphins having a crowded backfield consisting of Salvon Ahmed, Sony Michel, Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert, it's anyone's guess who has the edge during training camp, especially with head coach Mike McDaniel remaining non-committal to reporters. While Gaskin may end up as McDaniel's preferred runner, it's unlikely he'll be a week-to-week fantasy option this season. As a result, fantasy managers may want to avoid this situation altogether, although Gaskin, Edmonds, Mostert, and Michel could have some potent showings in 2022-23.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs isn't on the trade block, at least for now. After the 24-year-old was on the field for multiple series throughout the exhibition bout against the Jaguars, rumblings began to swirl about a potential move. However, head coach Josh McDaniels was quick to squash any rumors, indicating his preference to subject his players to "live hits" during the preseason, which can't be replicated at practice. Jacobs, whose fifth-year option was declined this offseason, had a down year running the ball in 2021, finishing with only 872 yards and nine touchdowns off 217 carries. Yet, he compiled a career-high 54 catches for 348 yards. While some fantasy managers expect the Alabama alum to bounce back this season, doing so may prove difficult with Kenyan Drake and Zamir White forecasted to also receive touches out of the backfield.
Seattle Seahawks CB Sidney Jones (concussion) remained sidelined at practice on Sunday, Aug. 7, due to a concussion.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt shocked many when he decided to request a trade from the organization. He started skipping team drills in camp while he seeks a new contract. The organization has responded by fining Hunt and declining his request for a trade. This ultimately might backfire on Hunt since the Browns do have depth at the running back position. Nick Chubb is a stud and D'Ernest Johnson has proven himself to be a capable option. The Browns would likely move Hunt if the team received real assets in return. However, it seems unlikely that the Browns are going to move Hunt just because he requested a new deal.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been on the trade block all offseason long. Despite that, there doesn't appear to be a clear trade partner for the veteran quarterback. At this point, it sounds like the team is fine with waiting until cutdown day to make a final decision on Garoppolo. There isn't much of a market for Garoppolo, so the team is waiting to see if another quarterback suffers an injury in camp. It's also worth noting that Garoppolo is working his way back from injury, so that could be part of the reason his trade market is slow. Regardless, fantasy managers shouldn't expect this situation to be resolved anytime soon.
Free-agent DBs Darryl Roberts (Commanders), Daryl Worley (Ravens) and Ken Crawley (Saints) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. could very well move up the depth chart quickly during training camp. The rookie wideout has reportedly hit the ground running in Chicago. The Bears took Jones in the third round, so clearly they believe in his ability on the field. It's also worth noting that Byron Pringle (quad) and N'Keal Harry (ankle) are sidelined right now. The Bears have little reliable depth, so they might be forced to use Jones to begin the season. He'll be a possible late-round target on draft day.