By: Toby Martin-Kohls
Stud: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Saquon came into the season coming off a poor 2021 season that saw him play in only 13 games while injuring his ankle and getting placed into the NFL’s COVID protocol. He averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry and only scored 2 touchdowns in 13 regular season games. He also lost his first NFL fumble.
This season he has looked like he’s back into his first two seasons’ form when he had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. So far, in 2022, he is averaging a career-best 5.1 ypc and 104 rushing yards per game.
His ADP (average draft position) on ESPN this season was 22, as the RB8 overall. Through 7 weeks he has scored 137 fantasy points, good for RB2 on the year, only trailing Chargers RB Austin Ekeler. According to oddsmakers, Barkley is the current favorite to take home the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
Dud: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor was largely the consensus No.1 pick in most fantasy drafts this season. Coming off a monster year where he was the best player in fantasy, he has disappointed a lot of managers this year. Last year he played in all 17 regular season games, rushing for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns. He scored 369 fantasy points on the year, good for an average of 21.7ppg.
Because of his scarce injury history, and the Colts’ willingness to run the ball, he was considered the consensus No. 1 pick this year. An ankle injury has forced him to miss two weeks this year, but even before that, he was underperforming. He currently sits with 62 fantasy points, as the overall RB31.
Stud: Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs has certainly surprised owners this year, finally breaking out, as he is sitting at RB4 on the year. Throughout his 4-year NFL career, he has been a solid, but not an overly spectacular choice for fantasy managers. Coming into this season there were questions around a timeshare with backup running backs Kenyan Drake, Ameer Abdullah, and rookie Zamir White. Jacobs has proven that he is the superior back and the Raiders with continue to feed him the ball.
Jacobs has been red hot the past 3 weeks, averaging over 30 points per game. Jacobs just became the third player in Raiders franchise history to record 150 scrimmage yards and score a TD in three consecutive games, joining Marcus Allen from 1985, and Clem Daniels from 1966. Jacobs is a locked and loaded RB1 for the rest of the season.
Dud: Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
I think the whole fantasy community can agree that Pitts is one of the biggest busts that hurts this fantasy season. Coming into the season, he was being thought of and drafted as the TE3 behind only Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce. On average, he was being drafted around the 3rd/4th round turn in 12-team PPR (point per reception) leagues.
After becoming only the second rookie TE ever in NFL history to have a 1,000-yard season, expectations were high. However, it is clear that the Falcons are a run-first team right now and that head coach Arthur Smith does not trust his starting QB, Marcus Mariota, to throw the ball many times per game.
The Falcons are currently 2nd to last in the league in passing yards per game with only 1,062 yards on the year for an average of 152 yards per game. Pitts is borderline droppable at this point except for perhaps deeper leagues, and only because of his uber talent and upside at the weak TE position.