Thursday, June 8, 2023

2022 Fantasy RB Sleeper

Ah, the age-old fantasy football term – “sleepers.” No one knows what it means! We all have a common thought, but the definition may be slightly different for each owner. For some, this means lower level, late-round picks that are finally startable assets. For others, it simply means players whose value and output will be much better than their Precision Ranking and ADP. Either way, heading into 2022, RB sleepers are once again the hottest commodity to go into the draft, as everyone looks to hit on this year’s big running back breakout.

But, again, the exact definition of “sleeper” seems as vague as the true meaning of “MVP”.

2022 Standard Ranking:
QB | rb | WR | TES | D/ST | kickers | Top 200 | superflex

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you define “sleeper”. However, it makes a lot of sense that you get mid-to-mid-round production for mid- to late-round draft picks. Fantasy championships are rarely won in the first few rounds. It obviously doesn’t hurt to get your first three picks, but it’s not the only thing that needs to happen to win it all. Top-heavy teams don’t win in fantasy football.

2022 PPR Ranking:
QB | rb | WR | TES | D/ST | kickers | Top 200 | superflex

A sleeper can be a rookie that your peers haven’t taken the time to research (Tyler Algier or Damon Pierce, anyone?); It could be an undervalued stud who recently recovered from a major injury (remember Travis Etienne Jr.?); Or perhaps it’s just a player who seems destined for a bigger role, whether because of talent or the departure of a teammate (see Khalil Herbert, AJ Dillon).

Sometimes, the sleeper is just an extremely valuable handcuff or backrest that turns into the RB1/RB2 position the moment the lead in his offense gets hurt. And Plenty Patting on the back will hurt. We’re looking at you, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot and Aaron Jones! These stud injuries have given way to fictional relevance for the likes of Chuba Hubbard, Toni Pollard, and the aforementioned Dillon. Those guys weren’t necessarily league-winners, but they certainly helped win weeks for a lot of teams.

Again, everyone is free to have their own rules and parameters for the term “sleeper,” but there’s one thing we can all agree on: The more sleepers you research, the draft, and the week-winner. Change in the beginning, better your chances. Reaching fantasy glory this winter. You don’t need to enjoy the terminology to understand the science of winning.

Let’s go to our sleepers. The following 11 RBs stand out to us as potential X-factors that appear to be very low on most ranking lists, fake drafts or ADPs.

2022 Fantasy RB Sleeper

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Travis Etienne Jr., Jaguarso

After an outstanding college career at Clemson, Etienne was voted No. 25 overall by the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft. Expectations were high for his reunion with Jags QB and former Clemson teammate Trevor Lawrence, but a Lisfranc injury to Etienne’s left leg sidelined him for the entire season. Etienne should be ready for Week 1, while fellow Jacksonville RB James Robinson recovers from a broken left Achilles last December.

At 5-10,210 pounds, Etienne has the size, speed and hands to be an immediate impact-player in Doug Pedersen’s brand new offense. He has a 4.45-speed and elite pass-catching skills, holding all kinds of NCAA records. In 55 career games with the Tigers (1,852 snaps), Etienne ran 686 times with 70 quick touchdowns for 4,952 yards, and received 102 passes and eight touchdowns for 1,155. He is a stud with the RB1 in what should be a modified offense, but most owners are upbeat after the injury. take advantage.

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Clyde Edwards-Heller, Chiefs

Yep, we’re calling this former fantasy bust a sleeper. The Chiefs look very different without three-time All-Pro Tyrek Hill, and Edwards-Hellair may have been the primary beneficiary of the wideout’s departure. Still just 23, CeH is certainly underwhelmed through two NFL seasons, but it’s important to note that he can’t help his rate of injury or use on his own.

Known as a strong pass-catcher out of the backfield from his LSU days, Edwards-Hellair scored only 23 goals in his 10 appearances in 2021. This is the target share of 6.3-percent. His role in the passing game last season makes zero sense and seems destined for positive regression. Edwards-Heller caught 82.6 percent of his goals in ’21, achieving an average of 6.8 yards per reception. He also hovered around his ’20 average of 4.4 yards per carry, and scored four touchdowns in his average seven carries inside the opponents’ 10-yard line (he had just 12 red-zone attempts throughout the season).

Patrick Mahomes will need to use his facility if he wants to once again retain the league’s top red-zone and third- and fourth-down offense. Edwards-Heller still has the RB1 upside down, only now you can get it for a fraction of the price you paid two years ago.

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