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Running Back Committees Not to Avoid in 2022

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Nobody likes a running back committee. Until you have to do so just out of pure logic. If we're offered the chance of drafting a bell-cow a la Christian McCaffrey in 2019, we're always going to pull the trigger no matter what the outcome ends up being. Just the fact that the man will carry the ball and be targeted more than 25 times per game and surpass the 400-opportunity mark over the year is more than enough for us to drool over the potential results.

Does that mean one-man backfields are the be-all and end-all of fantasy football running backs? No, sir. Not every committee is bad for fantasy purposes, and there are always cases in which rushers (or rather, head coaches) seem to find a proper balance that benefits those involved in the equation.

With that in mind, here are some potential teams expected to run fantasy football running back committee schemes that I'd have no problem seeking and drafting for the upcoming 2022 season.

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2022 High-Scoring, Balanced-Productive RBBC

In order to try and find the best committees for the 2022 season, I have followed a rather simple approach. I have downloaded the PFF projections for the upcoming year, I have calculated a "role" for rushers based on expected opportunities, and then I have looked into the highest-scoring, most-balanced backfields out there. The projected PPR points combine both rushing and receiving fantasy points, mind you.

Let's review some of the best options out there.

 

Green Bay Packers (Aaron Jones & AJ Dillon)

The Packers backfield looks phenomenal out of context, but things get even better when looked at from the widest possible angle. What I'm saying is that, as you very well know, Green Bay is coming off an offseason in which the Pack lost WR1 Davante Adams and WR3 Marquez Valdes-Scantling, re-inked reigning MVP and QB Aaron Rodgers, and did pretty much... nothing (?) to fix their offensive woes when it comes to pass-catchers. Only Sammy Watkins and rookie Christian Watson were added to the receiving corps while Robert Tonyan keeps recovering from a season-ending injury sustained last season.

The backfield has stayed put and that's probably the best thing Green Bay could hope for, even more considering how things went at other positions. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are a ridiculously productive pair while keeping things uncannily balanced on the field. While Jamaal Williams was the Robin to Jones' Batman until he left for Detroit, Dillon became the bonafide RB2 of the Pack last season and I don't think Green Bay regrets handing him a heavy role at all. Dillon rushed the ball 187 times to Jones' 171 (albeit on two more games played) and also got 37 targets catching 34 (!) of them; all in all, it was an RB23 season for Dillon averaging 10.9 FPPG in PPR leagues to go with Jones' RB12 finish at 15.3 FPPG.

As you can see in the chart above, PFF has Green Bay's backfield projected to the third-most PPR points scored next year with a balanced 236 FP coming from Jones and 172 more from Dillon. The underlying numbers tell a similar story, with Jones and Dillon having a 41%/38% rushing attempt share projection and an 11%/8% target share in PFF's latest projection update. It won't be cheap to get the two players (ADPs of 21 and 73 OVR) but you can do much much worse than scoring you shares of both.

 

Dallas Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott & Tony Pollard)

Nothing surprising in featuring these two at this point, am I right? It's been a while since the first time the whole Zeke vs. Tony discussion hit our blogs, but in all honesty, it was the most sensical of arguments with no clear side winning the battle. Why would they, though? Why not play both guys as much as possible given how well they mesh and their combined production!? Of course, both Elliott and Pollard featuring heavily on Dallas' backfield are always going to impact and hurt the upside of each other on an individual basis, but the truth is that their combination is as good as it comes.

PFF projections have Dallas pair as the fourth-best backfield of the 2022 season if things go according to their equations. Although it sounds ridiculously hard to pull off, the balance is quite even between Tony's and Zeke's projections with the former projected to 175 FP and the latter to 232. As I said, having such balanced workloads (Elliot is projected to 202 carries to Pollard's 157, and 65 targets to the RB2 47) would turn both Elliot and Pollard into RB2 (top-24) rushers at best in 2022. That's nothing to hate as long as you play your cards right when it comes to the draft.

Elliott's ADP has dropped all the way back to around 40 with Pollard clocking in at 83 OVR. That's cheap for the fourth-highest (fewer than one full FP behind third-best Green Bay) combined backfield production if you ask me. In fact, you can acquire Dallas backfield in exchange for a total ADP of around 123 compared to Green Bay's way more expensive 94. Of course, that's because of Aaron Jones' value as he's projected to an RB13 finish... or is it? Well, considering Elliott projects to finish RB14, not so much. The 18-pick distance between Jones' and Elliott's ADP makes little sense, and while both backfields (DAL and GB) are worth drafting in full, Dallas' looks much more valuable considering both the prices and productions.

 

Los Angeles Rams (Cam Akers & Darrell Henderson)

There is a clear bump down in terms of overall production when it comes to the Los Angeles Rams' backfield production compared to Green Bay's and Dallas', of course. None of Akers or Henderson are projected by PFF to finish as top-20 rushers with the former projected to an RB23 finish (184 FP) and the latter currently at the RB33 position (154 FP). The ADP is what makes this a winning play as 20 other backfields are currently getting drafted with more expensive draft picks while only six of those franchises' backfields projects to more total PPR points than LA's.

I'm not uncovering any hidden truths in saying that you'd be better off accruing all of the production you can in one player instead of two (that'd free one roster spot for you to add some player who will add numbers no matter how bad they are), but if you don't want to overcommit to a single asset, then not many pairings are looking as good as the Akers-Henderson is entering 2022. You'd have to have the guts to walk the line, though: Akers is coming off a season in which he missed all but one regular-season game and could only perform in the postseason.

Now, that's the key. Most fantasy GMs (I know for a fact, believe me) will look at Akers 2021 stats and don't understand a thing about him. One game played, five carries, and three yards? What's good about that!? Well, what about 172 yards on 67 postseason carries? That's a low 2.6 YPC mark, yes, and no touchdowns, but that's more than encouraging for Akers to build on next year being fully recovered from Week 1. PFF season-long projections see an 860+ yard, 7 TD player in Akers, and a fantastic backup in Henderson (575+ yards and 5 TDs) while both project to a bonus 230+ yards and 27+ receptions each. It'd take a little bit more braveness to go with the Rams backfield instead of one of the other two featured here (GB/DAL) but the ROI could turn out to be huge if things hit for this pair of rushers.



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