In seasonal fantasy football leagues, approaching the running back position the right way is crucial to your team’s success. There are a number of different strategies fantasy managers can use to build their backfield. Whether you’re going Robust RB, Zero RB, Hero RB, or something in between, you need running backs on your best ball roster. Let’s take a look at some RBs to target in early fantasy football best ball drafts.
Top 5 Best Ball fantasy football RB targets
There’s no debate over who the best running back in fantasy football is — Jonathan Taylor. If you happen to land the first overall pick, you take JT. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that. Who are some running backs going later in drafts that fantasy managers should target in their best ball leagues?
James Conner | Arizona Cardinals, RB20 (39 overall)
In season-long fantasy football leagues, managers need to be rightly concerned about James Conner’s ability to stay on the field. In best ball, that’s not as important.
After Chase Edmonds sprained his ankle in Week 9, Conner became the Cardinals’ lead back. From that point forward, he was the overall RB2 averaging over 23 PPR fantasy points per game.
Conner’s ADP is a crime. Sure, he may only play 12 games, but he’s extremely likely to enter your lineup in all 12 of those games. Conner displayed an elite ceiling last season with games of 40, 33.5, and 27.3 fantasy points. He is an RB1 at an RB2 price.
AJ Dillon | Green Bay Packers, RB26 (56 overall)
I just don’t understand how AJ Dillon is going so far after Aaron Jones. Did everyone just forget that Dillon usurped Jones over the second half of the 2021 season for lead runner and goal-line duties?
Dillon’s ADP is roughly 30 spots after Jones, and it just doesn’t make sense, especially in best ball.
From Weeks 1-9 last season, Jones was the clear lead back, and Dillon was just his backup. Dillon did not exceed a 42% snap share in any game over that span. In Week 10, something changed. From that point forward, Dillon played at least 50% of the snaps in six of the final eight games. Dillon averaged 13.8 carries per game over that span against Jones’ 9.2. Over the final seven weeks of the 2021 season, Dillon out-touched Jones in the red zone 17-5.
Even with Davante Adams gone, the Packers are going to be a high-powered offense. They will score plenty. When they are in the red zone, which they will be frequently, it’s going to be Dillon getting all the goal-line carries. On the weeks where he scores, which may very well be more than half of them, Dillon is going to be a fantasy RB1. I would be stunned if he wasn’t at least an RB2 on most weeks this season. His RB26 price is a steal, making him an ideal RB to target in 2022 fantasy football best ball leagues.
Tony Pollard | Dallas Cowboys, RB33 (87 overall)
The Cowboys will never quit Ezekiel Elliott. But Elliott’s body will eventually quit him. Tony Pollard has RB1 upside at an RB3 price.
By the end of September, Elliott will likely surpass 2,000 career touches. Although he’s been somewhat of an iron man over his career, missing just four games in six seasons, we saw cracks start to form last season. Elliott dealt with a debilitating knee injury for much of the 2021 season that should’ve kept him out of games. He was able to play through it last year, but now another year older, his injury risk is only higher.
Pollard was effective last season, even with an active Zeke. He averaged 10.8 ppg and had five games of over 14 fantasy points. We also remember what Pollard can do without Elliott. In 2020, Pollard was the overall RB1 in his lone start, scoring 31.2 fantasy points.
At an RB3 price, you’re getting a floor of RB3 production from Pollard. Zeke’s workload isn’t getting any larger as he ages. At worst, Pollard will be the guy he was last season that popped off a few splash plays and gave fantasy managers a couple of spike weeks. At best, Elliott continues to break down and Pollard becomes a league winner.
Alexander Mattison | Minnesota Vikings, RB41 (119 overall)
I completely understand why Alexander Mattison goes so late. He’s a pure backup that will never have even a sliver of fantasy value when Dalvin Cook is healthy. With that said, Mattison has proven to be an elite RB1 whenever Cook misses time.
Cook has missed at least two games every year of his career. Even ruling out his rookie ACL tear, Cook has missed a total of 13 games since the 2018 season. He’s a virtual lock to miss at least a couple of games this season.
Best ball is all about chasing weekly upside. Mattison will enter your lineup on the handful of weeks Cook misses and provide that elite RB1 ceiling. Who else has that type of potential near the double-digit rounds?
Tyler Allgeier | Atlanta Falcons, RB69 (227 overall)
Best ball drafts are longer than seasonal drafts. These guys on the back end of your roster typically do nothing; they rarely enter your lineup. There’s a good chance Tyler Allgeier is one of those guys that never matters. But at least he has a path.
That’s the key with late-round RB targets in fantasy best ball drafts. You just want there to be a plausible path. Allgeier has one. His only backfield competition is in the form of a 31-year-old converted wide receiver and a 30-year-old former UDFA.
Allgeier will likely open training camp behind Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams. Still, it wouldn’t be the least bit shocking if he emerged into the Falcons’ lead back by the end of his rookie season. In the very last rounds of your best ball draft, Allgeier is a perfectly reasonable RB to target.