2022 Fantasy Football Running Backs Tiers: Making the Case for David Montgomery and Ezekiel Elliott

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We do so many mock drafts every year that it’s common for certain patterns to emerge. For me, the most common so far in 2022 is that I get an early pick, David Montgomery is the top player on my board in Round 2, and then I wait until Round 3 to take him because no one else is drafting him in Round 2. Chris Towers has burned me on that recently, so maybe I’ll have to start taking him where I have him ranked. First, I thought I’d better defend where I have him tiered because there aren’t many besides Towers and I who are drafting Montgomery this early.

First and foremost, it’s the touches. Montgomery has averaged 20 touches per game each of the past two seasons. That type of workhorse role is exceedingly rare in today’s NFL and should be prioritized. Montgomery is one of 11 backs to average at least 15 PPR Fantasy points per game over each of the past two seasons and he’s outscored two of those backs (Nick Chubb and Josh Jacobs) on a per-game basis over that stretch.

In those two seasons, Montgomery has given us one season as a top five running back and another as a high-end RB2. That’s a pretty fair range for what to expect in 2022, though I’m optimistic this will be the best offense he’s played in. At the very least, I expect the Bears passing game to heavily feature Montgomery, and project him to be one of 14 backs to average three catches per game. Among those 14 backs, only Najee Harris projects for more rush attempts.

While I do not expect I’ll convert too many to my ranking of Montgomery, the case for Ezekiel Elliott in Tier 3 is even simpler. Because it was not long ago that Elliott was a consensus Round 1 pick, and the Cowboys have spent the summer telling us they expect him to be back to his old self. I do not know how much to believe that Elliott’s injury was the sole cause for his poor play down the stretch in 2021, but I do think it’s at least considering how good he was the first six weeks last season.

Weeks 1 through Week 6, Elliott ranked as RB4, averaging 19.1 PPR FP / G, 5.1 yards per carry, and 104.3 yards on 19.7 touches per game. If he’s actually 100% healthy I do not see any reason he can not be a star. Like most of the backs in Tier 3, Elliott has top-five upside and a scary floor, but I seem to hear a lot more about Elliott’s floor than his upside.

Here are the rest of my running back tiers:

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