Top 10 running backs for the 2022 NFL season
Maybe you’re in a high-dollar fantasy football league. Maybe you place weekly wagers on the NFL. Maybe you’re just a football fan who wants to humiliate your friends when engaging in heated bar debates.
Whatever your NFL hobby, knowing which running backs are going to have the best numbers in 2022 is invaluable information.
Top NFL Running Backs
1. Jonathan Taylor - Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor is the defending rushing champion, breaking out in his second season. Eclipsing the 100-yard mark in 10 games en route to 1,811 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. He also added 40 catches for 360 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
There aren't many other reliable weapons in Indianapolis, meaning that Taylor is going to be the first, second, and third options each and every game in 2022.
2. Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans
The King is dead. Now, it's long live the king.
. . . just to be clear here, Derrick Henry is not dead. He just broke his foot last season, which ended his dominant run of NFL rushing titles and derailed his efforts at a second straight 2,000- yard season. Henry is healthy, and even though his usage is bound to take a toll sooner or later, he’s in the mix for yet another rushing title.
As per NFL odds, Taylor and Henry at both priced at 5-1, or +500, to win the rushing title.
3. Najee Harris - Pittsburgh Steelers
From an efficiency standpoint as a rookie, Najee Harris wasn't great. His 3.9 yards per carry ranked 18th among players with more than 800 yards rushing. However, his 1,200 yards ranked fourth in the league, and his 74 catches out of the backfield was first among all running backs.
With a rookie quarterback (Kenny Pickett) in town, it points to an even bigger role for Harris.
4. Dalvin Cook - Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook was Mr. Efficient for the Vikings in 2021. His 89.2 yards rushing per game trailed only Taylor and Henry, and his 4.7 yards per rush was also third. He only scored six total touchdowns in 13 games played, but that’s a random stat for running backs like Cook, so don’t be surprised if it increases. He’s at 25-1, or +2500, to be selected NFL Offensive Player of the Year, according to NFL odds.
5. Christian McCaffrey - Carolina Panthers
"If he stays healthy" is an understood qualification to all preseason projections when talking about the NFL. Christian McCaffrey is the poster child for that phrase.
Healthy, there may be no better multi-purpose weapon available. If he plays 17 games, he’s a cinch to go over 2,000 yards of offense. The problem is that in 33 total games over the last two seasons, he’s managed to play in just 10.
"If" he stays healthy, he will be one of the best running backs in 2022.
6. Nick Chubb - Cleveland Browns
It's not health standing in the way of a rushing title for Nick Chubb, rather the crowded backfield in Cleveland. Consider that Chubb has averaged 1,273 yards rushing in each of the last three seasons, in just 238 carries (on average) a season. That is 5.3 yards per carry, more than Derrick Henry over the same period.
Crowded backfield or not, Chubb is one of the most productive backs in the NFL.
7. Cam Akers - LA Rams
As a breakout star in his rookie season, Cam Akers sophomore season was stopped short (torn Achilles). In a Herculean effort to return, he was back for the final regular-season game, then saw a full load of touches during the Rams' postseason path to the title.
8. Joe Mixon - Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon surpassed 1,500 total yards (16 touchdowns) last season. It was one of the best offenses in the AFC. Now, with the offensive line even better, expect Mixon to be as well.
9. Saquon Barkley - NY Giants
The end of last season had Saquon Barkley finally looking healthy once again. A year of good health, and with the offensive mind of Brian Daboll running the show, should see the return of Barkley from 2018 and 2019.
10. Austin Ekeler - LA Chargers
He’s never rushed for 1,000 yards, but Austin Ekeler's total from scrimmage last season easily passed 1,500 yards. He had 70 catches and 20 total touchdowns, and will remain one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets for the Bolts.