Fantasy football drafts are all about maximizing value at each spot, whether that means reaching for your guy or picking that stud who looks to be falling for no obvious reason. In this series, I’ve taken a look at groups of three players with similar current ADPs and have selected the one I’d be picking if it was me on the clock.
Which running back are you taking in the back half of Round 2: Javonte Williams (2.06), Saquon Barkley (2.09) or David Montgomery (2.11)?
My pick: Javonte Williams (but its mighty close)
I’ve seen a few analysts who are potentially dropping Javonte Williams down their board in 2022 but I’m not one of them. Yes, he has seen his timeshare buddy from 2021 in Melvin Gordon re-sign with the Broncos, plus the team will have a new offense this year under new head coach Nathaniel Hackett and traded for quarterback Russell Wilson. However, the contract Gordon signed is telling, with just a $2.5 million, one-year deal that puts Williams firmly on the front foot to be the lead back in 2022.
In 2021, his numbers were solid, finishing as the RB17 with 903 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. This was very similar to Gordon who saw 918 rushing yards but saw more goal line work with 8 touchdowns. Where Williams was more of a difference make was in the passing game, where he had 43 catches for 316 yards and that is something I believe we’ll continue to see with Wilson as quarterback. I have Williams as my RB12 for 2022, which based on 2021 numbers only requires an extra 1.4 points per game to achieve. This is something he’s more than capable to achieve if he secures the predicted extra workload.
Saquon Barkley has one of the widest variances in potential fantasy returns for 2022, with the potential to finish as a top-3 fantasy running back if he can stay healthy. That if is one of the biggest there is however, as Barkley has had back-to-back-to-back injury hampered seasons after his RB2 finish as a rookie in 2018. His skills are off the charts, and with some offensive line help and a new offensive minded head coach in Brian Daboll, the Giants should bounce back from being the bottom-rated offense per my NEFF rankings in 2021. For me though, the risk is not worth the reward and I’ll take the surer thing in Javonte Williams in 2022.
David Montgomery is the least sexy of these three players from a fantasy perspective but has the advantage of volume in his locker to make him a solid RB2 option on your fantasy team. Montgomery missed 4 games in 2021, but still finished as a top-20 fantasy running back overall, and top-15 in points per game. This after finishing 2020 as the RB4.
Like both the other players we’re picking between, Montgomery has a new head coach and offensive coordinator this season, so the Bears will hope to see a bump from the 27th rated offense in 2021. Montgomery does potentially face some challenge for snaps from Khalil Herbert, who averaged 12.3 points per game in Montgomery’s absence last season, but then only 2.4 points per game after his return.
I have Montgomery as my RB15, going around the 2.03 spots in drafts, but have I drafted him a number of times later than this, including the Scott Fish Bowl where I got him as the RB17 in Round 5. Solid floor but maybe not the high ceiling we saw in 2020.
Who would you pick if you were on the clock with Williams, Barkley and Montgomery available?