Week 2 Fantasy Football Start/Sit Candidates: Running Backs
Wondering who to start and sit at quarterback this week? Below are two top-notch start and two sit options at the running back position for Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season.
Week 1 Review – half-PPR scoring
- RB James Cook, Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams - -1.8 (RB93)
- RB Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals – 6.4 (RB44)
- RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts – 4.4 (RB53)
- RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars @ Washington Commanders – 19.4 (RB8)
Running Backs – Starts
Rex Burkhead (Houston Texans) @ Denver Broncos
Despite head coach Lovie Smith’s proclamations, rookie phenom Dameon Pierce was not the early-down starter last week, it was 32-year-old Rex Burkhead. Burkhead hogged over 66.0% of the early-down snaps, 87.5% of the third-down snaps, and 100% of the red zone snaps last week. His eight targets were second on the team, behind wide receiver Brandin Cooks’ 12. The next closest Texans, wide receivers Nico Collins and Chris Moore, managed just three targets each. Burkhead is well past his prime but fantasy managers who drafted Cam Akers or Elijah Mitchell would do well to add a featured running back, especially a savvy pass catcher playing in Pep Hamilton’s offense.
*4for4’s full RB rankings can be found here.
Darrell Henderson Jr. (Los Angeles Rams) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Henderson rocketed out of the gates last week en route to an 82.6% snap share, dominating third down (85.7%) and red zone usage (100%) along the way. Henderson posted a gargantuan 79.6% route participation rate while No. 2 running back Cam Akers clocked a 0.0%. Rookie passing game specialist Kyren Williams suffered a high-ankle sprain and is expected to miss between 6-8 weeks. Though this gives Akers a second chance to find a role, it also solidifies Henderson as both the lead back on both early downs and passing downs. Henderson is now a member of the nebulous RB16-RB25 range with weekly top-12 upside, should he fall into the end zone more than once. Atlanta’s try-hard defense plays above its class, thanks to savvy scheming, but the New Orleans Saints were still able to rush for 151 yards and one touchdown against them last week.
Running Backs – Sits
Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans) @ Buffalo Bills
Perhaps this is more of a “sit him down in your flex” than a true sit, but there are major causes for concern with Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry this year. As Justin Edwards noted in his 2022 offensive line rankings series, Tennessee lost key offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry this offseason. With Henry now 29 years old, and a metal plate in his foot, the veteran running back just isn’t picking up the yards like he used to. Henry’s rushing yards over expectation per carry have dropped from 0.76 in 2019 and 0.87 in 2020, to -0.04 in 2021 and opened at -0.45 in 2022. Looking down the barrel of a bout with the NFL’s No. 1 run defense, having allowed just 52 rushing yards to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. Henry’s day is unlikely to be salvaged via passing game usage, as his highest season-long route participation rate over the prior three years topped out at 37.6%. Henry did record a 41.6% rate in Week 1 but No. 2 running back Dontrell Hilliard was on fire as a receiver, catching three-of-four passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns, which should earn the latter man more receiving work this week.
Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Isiah Pacheco recorded the highest carry count of the Kansas City backfield last week, turning 12 carries into 62 yards and one touchdown, en route to the overall RB21 finish. While his production certainly warrants an add off the waiver wire, it is important to note that 10 of those carries came in the fourth quarter, after Kansas City was already up 37-7. Backup quarterback Chad Henne even got on the field with five minutes left in the contest. Pacheco’s performance certainly increased the coaching staff’s trust in the rookie rusher but Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon are clearly ahead of Pacheco on the depth chart. The next thing that Pacheco-bench stasher should be looking for is an improvement on his 0.0% route participation from last week.