Dynasty Free Agent Running Backs for 2022

The 2022 offseason is upon us. Are there any dynasty free agent running backs worth rostering?

The 2022 Free Agent Running Backs

Acquiring free agency running backs in dynasty is a scary proposition, but as the majority of managers realize this, some value can be had with RBs in the correct situations. The guys I’m going to highlight are all older. However, as a contender, I’d cautiously roster several of them as win now options, especially for second-round picks or multiple later round picks.

In a rebuild, they’re likely candidates for trade, and it’s all about the right time to move them.

The Headliners

The RB class in the draft has several options, but if you’re looking for cheaper RB production, look to the upcoming free agents. With a high level of uncertainty and multiple good-to-great landing spots, look for some of these RBs to get starting jobs. My favorites in the class are Leonard Fournette, Rashaad Penny, Melvin Gordon, and James Conner. We’ll look at a bunch of committee backs with lesser value as well.

Leonard Fournette, 27 years old

The prize of this year’s RB class, Fournette bounced back from getting cut by the lowly Jaguars to showing off his bell-cow chops with the Buccaneers. While the pace he had prior to injury is unlikely to be matched, especially without the Brady targets, Fournette still showed he is more than capable as a runner and receiver, and should see a strong multi-year deal.

Pick any RB needy team and Fournette makes sense. Seattle, Arizona, Kansas City, Miami, Buffalo, Houston, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta all would be solid fits. Arizona and Buffalo are my favorite landing spots, as high upside offenses where Fournette likely comes in as a top 10 RB. Wherever he lands, expect 250 or so carries, 50 or so targets, and likely 8+ touchdowns. He might be worth a late first…

Rashaad Penny, 26 years old

Rashaad Penny is going to be one of the most polarizing players of this offseason. Obviously, he showed off his extreme talent over the second half of 2021, but the injury history might keep some people away who’ve been burned in the past. Some team will likely pay Penny handsomely and likely for multiple years. When he’s on the field, Penny will likely be a top 15 runner, but how many games will he play?

While obviously an extreme outlier, projecting the five-week stretch above over 17 weeks equates to 313 carries, 2,281 yards, and 20 touchdowns. Any team that needs an RB, similar to the Fournette list above, would take half of that and call it a fairly successful year. A return to Seattle or a trip to Miami is my favorite fit for Penny. Even with another RB splitting work, he can still be a top 20 back somewhere.

Melvin Gordon, 28 years old

Dynasty value takes more into account than stats, but let’s compare the Broncos’ RBs. Gordon had 203 carries, 918 yards, and 8 rushing scores, along with 213 receiving yards and 2 receiving scores. Javonte Williams also had 203 carries, 903 yards, and 4 touchdowns, as well as 316 receiving yards and 3 receiving scores. One’s a top-four dynasty RB, the other is worth less than Bears backup Khalil Herbert.

Gordon showed that in a timeshare without a strong offense, he could still be an RB2 for you. If he lands in the right spot, he could be a major steal. My ideal spot for Gordon is Atlanta, as I could see him taking most of the roles both Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson had. Arizona would also be a great fit if they let Conner walk. Either spot, I think the floor is similar to 2021, but with a top 12 ceiling, and dirt cheap.

James Conner, 26 years old

Conner feels like a lock to me to lose some value from last season over the course of 2022. Either he will sign up for a timeshare like he started 2021 in, or will get nicked up because that’s been the Achilles heel of his career. Best case for Conner is a starter in a great offense, in which case he’s show he can rack up a touchdown on close to 6% of his carries. In lesser offenses, it drops to about 3.5%.

In 2021, Conner returned to a similar touch total as 218 but he still never eclipsed 215 carries. He should sign to be the 1A in a committee approach. If the offense there is good like Arizona, Conner should return RB1 numbers. Conner is such a risk, it’ll drive the price I’m willing to pay down to likely a mid to late second rookie pick. I like him in redraft but he might lose all his value in 2022 in dynasty.

The Best of the Rest

There are two main groups for the remaining 2022 free agency RBs in dynasty. One I’ll call “nearing the end of the line”. The others are “second contract guys who struggled on rookie deals”. I’ll highlight a few players in each who have the potential to be flex options in committees for your roster and will be easier targets to get from a rebuilding squad that has no use for older guys.

Nearing the End of the Line

The first group I want to discuss is the aging guys who will sign somewhere to be part of a committee approach. Guys like Cordarrelle Patterson, Raheem Mostert, David Johnson, James White, and J.D. McKissic. I prefer guys like Patterson, McKissic, and maybe Mostert from this list. Johnson and White are over 30 and could easily not get contracts. The others all are more intriguing cheap options.

Patterson had a fantastic breakout season in 2021. I don’t expect early 2021 numbers, but he could be a serviceable timeshare back, especially if he returns to Atlanta. Mostert is explosive and should get a backup job. I like him in San Francisco or New York with the Jets. McKissic, as a pass-catcher, has been solid. I could see him as the “James White” role in Vegas, hurting Josh Jacobs but a flex option himself.

Second Contract Guys who “Struggled” on Rookie Deals

Using struggled loosely, but this group of potential players is intriguing to me. Guys like Chase Edmonds, Ronald Jones, Marlon Mack, Sony Michel, Darrel Williams, and Justin Jackson all have shown varying levels of promise. Without knowing landing spots, I label all of them as cheap buys. They should all land at least backup jobs, potentially even timeshares where they can exceed their current cost.

My favorites out of the group are Edmonds, Jones, and Jackson. Edmonds was extremely efficient as an option for the Cardinals before going down mid-season. Jones was solid for the Bucs in 2020 but took a backseat this year. In the right spot, he’d be a solid early-down runner. Jackson is the cheapest option, but always pops when taking the lead role for the Chargers, maybe he gets rewarded for it.

Thank you for reading my article on dynasty free agent running backs! Please remember to follow me for more content via Twitter @FFFBallers  and @IDPGuys as well as check out my IDP Guys author page and the IDP Guys website.

Scroll to Top