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NFL Running Back Depth Charts Analysis: NFC North and NFC West

David Montgomery - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Today we're looking at the fantasy football running back depth charts for the NFC North and NFC West. The regular season is right around the corner and each team's depth chart is mostly complete! Before diving into the fantasy season, RotoBaller has you covered with some last-minute running back depth chart recaps for each team, including some useful bits of analysis for players you want to keep on your radar.

Please note that the charts below are based on individual team depth charts and come from RotoWire's projected starting units. The DCs project the real-life pecking order expected to be used by head coaches at the respective franchises, not where RotoWire projects those players to finish in fantasy leagues.

Here are the current preseason depth charts at running back for teams in the NFC West and NFC North divisions.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Fantasy Football Depth Chart Takeaways: NFC West


Not even regression would stop this Conn artist: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals

Conner was a beast and will (most probably) remain so in 2022, but to a lesser extent if we bake some (realistic) regression back to the mean into his projections. He scored 257.7 PPR points last season for an RB5 finish (career-best) and although PFF has him hitting just RB low-end RB1 points next season, he's still projected to a top-15 finish among rushers league-wide in PPR-format leagues.

That bump-down is mostly due to a regressed touchdown tally to "only" nine instead of the 15 (!!!) he scored last year. I can definitely live with that, folks.

The division is not loaded with talented number one rushers as Conner is the only one projected to score more than 190 PPR points with Cam Akers clocking in second... while having a higher ADP than Conner as I'm writing this. Say what!?

San Francisco is a mess and still has Deebo Samuel – and his rushing chops – on the roster. Seattle boasts a walking-injury backfield with its best player in a projected-34th-best Rashaad Penny. Nothing like a good old safe value in Conner if you ask me.


Alternative value-play - Darrell Henderson (LAR)

If you're going to draft a Ram, make sure that's Henderson and not Cam. Yes, Akers is projected to a division-high 56.3% opportunity rate among rushers (that comes out of putting together carry and target shares) but Henderson ranks fifth at 38.1% and is expected to get nearly 145 rushing chances and see nearly 30 targets.

Akers was able to return to the field for the Rams' postseason run but he was atrocious. Akers got tons of opportunities but topped at 10.5 PPR points with three other games at fewer than 7 PPR points. Henderson put up 14.9+ PPR points in all but one of his first seven games in 2022.


Fantasy Football Depth Chart Takeaways: NFC North


Don't overthink drafting a flagship: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Montgomery is pretty much going to have a similar workload as he did last year as he didn't have any sort of competition in 2021 and he won't have it next year (Khalil Herbert and Darrynton Evans project to 100 combined opportunities in PFF's last run of projections compared to Montgomery's 273 all by himself). Obviously, Dalvin Cook is the bona fide top RB of the division even sharing the backfield with oft-overlooked Alexander Mattison.

D'Andre Swift is also projected to a solid 255-PPR bounty, and Aaron Jones (even with A.J. Dillon taking a lot of touches from him) is also a 235-PPR proposition. The problem? All of those come with tanking ROI figures as their ADPs are more expensive than their expected final ranks.

Montgomery on the other hand is getting drafted as the RB18 off the board while having a slightly positive ROI right now projected to an RB17 finish by PFF. There is upside for a little bit more as PFF only has a projection of one receiving touchdown and seven rushing ones compared to higher numbers but the other top-3 RBs in the division.

Any sort of improvement (and I'm talking one or two more touchdowns, nothing crazy) would have DM hitting a high-end RB2 finish with upside to entering the RB1 realm.


Alternative value-play - Jamaal Williams (DET)

Forget about Dillon and Mattison, the backup rusher to chase in the NFC North is Detroit's, Jamaal Williams. No other rusher projected to get the second-most carries for his team is getting drafted lower than Williams (ADP of 163rd-overall, RB52) while projected to more PPR next year.

PFF has Williams finishing next year as a borderline RB3 with 124.8 FP over the season. Melvin Gordon is the only player boasting a better ROI as things stand now, though his price (109th ADP) makes MG3 nearly five rounds more expensive than Williams.

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