1.  
RB  IND
Rush Att
321
Rush Yds
1562
Rush TD
14
Rush Avg
4.9
Rec
44
Rec Yds
352
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
8.0
After a solid rookie season that finished with a bang, expectations were high for Taylor coming into 2021, and he exceeded them by a mile. He won his first of potentially many rushing crowns, and he nearly lapped the field doing it, as the 552-yard gap between Taylor and second-place Nick Chubb was the largest since 2009. Taylor's the total package as a runner, showing power, agility, vision and speed, but it's the latter trait that puts him over the top among his peers. He posted three of the five fastest top speeds recorded on touchdowns last year, including an NFL- best 22.13 mph on a 67-yard scamper Week 15 against the Patriots. The power and agility were highlighted by his 2.6 yards per carry after contact, good for third in the league. If there's a flaw in his skill set, it's that Taylor isn't a natural receiver out of the backfield, but the Colts have Nyheim Hines to handle those duties, and Taylor is still capable of contributing. Indianapolis' elite offensive line showed a couple cracks in 2021, and some natural regression could be coming for Taylor's league-leading 89 red-zone carries (more than 40 ahead of second-place Austin Ekeler), but the addition of Matt Ryan to replace Carson Wentz at quarterback shouldn't change the focal point of Frank Reich's offense. Expect Taylor to see big volume again in 2022 and consistently burn defenders with those touches.
2.  
RB  TEN
Rush Att
324
Rush Yds
1543
Rush TD
14
Rush Avg
4.8
Rec
24
Rec Yds
212
Rec TD
1
Rec Avg
8.8
A foot injury that cost him the second half of last season was the main obstacle standing between Henry and a third consecutive rushing title, and maybe even a second consecutive 2,000-yard campaign. He averaged career highs of 27.4 carries and 2.5 targets per game, up from 23.6 and 1.9 the year before, and ran for 937 yards and 10 TDs in eight games despite seeing eight-man fronts 36 percent of the time, one of the highest marks in the league. But there were signs his huge workload was catching up to him, even before he got hurt. Henry's 4.3 yards per carry was a step back from his performance the previous two seasons, and the downturn partially came from breaking tackles at a lower rate. He averaged 2.2 yards after contact in 2021, following 3.2 in 2019 and 2.8 in 2020, and his 10 broken tackles in those eight games was almost half his usual rate. On the other hand, he still ran with shocking speed for a big man, as rushing champ Jonathan Taylor was the only running back to post a faster top speed on a touchdown in 2021. Last season also was Henry's best yet in terms of per-game fantasy production, boosted by the ridiculous volume, and he even returned from his foot injury for a playoff loss to the Bengals. The Titans will keep riding their 28-year-old workhorse as long as he'll hold up, with the burden on the running game as large as ever this season after star wide receiver A.J. Brown was shipped to Philadelphia on draft day and replaced by rookie Treylon Burks.
3.  
RB  MIN
Rush Att
279
Rush Yds
1270
Rush TD
11
Rush Avg
4.6
Rec
47
Rec Yds
375
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
8.0
While he wasn't able to repeat his huge 2020, particularly when it came to scoring touchdowns, Cook still put up good numbers last season, ranking fourth in the NFL with 89.2 rushing yards per game. In fact, he may be the most consistent top back in the NFL, for good and for bad. He's always been a big-play threat thanks to his blend of power, speed and agility, producing 4.5 yards per carry or better in all five of his NFL seasons, and his nine carries of 20 or more yards last year were a career high. On the other hand, he's missed multiple games every year, including four last season due to ankle and shoulder injuries and a stint in the COVID-19 protocols. If there's reason for optimism in 2022, it's the likelihood of positive TD regression and the sweeping changes the Vikings made to their coaching staff. Gone is Mike Zimmer and his old-school approach and in his place is former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. The new offense is expected to give the passing game a more significant boost, but that could also benefit Cook if the Vikings are more efficient overall, particularly if they're playing at a faster pace. He's averaged more than 21 touches and 100 total yards per game three straight seasons, and there isn't much reason for the new coaching staff to reduce Cook's workload after backup Alexander Mattison managed only 3.7 YPC last year.
4.  
RB  CLE
Rush Att
274
Rush Yds
1338
Rush TD
13
Rush Avg
4.9
Rec
28
Rec Yds
211
Rec TD
1
Rec Avg
7.5
Another season, another strong performance from Chubb that makes you wonder what he would be capable of with a bell-cow workload. The Georgia product has run for 5.0 yards per carry or better in all four of his NFL campaigns, and his 3.0 yards after contact per carry in 2021 was second best in the league behind only Rashaad Penny. Chubb boasts exceptional power, speed and elusiveness, and while he doesn't get as many chances to show what he can do as a receiver as he maybe should, he hasn't been charged with a dropped pass in three straight seasons. Therein lies the problem. Kareem Hunt remains a Brown, and Hunt not only handles the majority of pass-catching duties but also poaches some carries, including in the red zone. D'Ernest Johnson also played well last year, so Chubb never took more than two-thirds of the snaps even when Hunt missed time. The Browns offense could look much different with Deshaun Watson replacing Baker Mayfield under center, and it's hard to imagine Stefanski treating the former Texan quarterback as a glorified bus driver the way he did Mayfield. If he got the volume Jonathan Taylor or Derrick Henry get, Chubb would be in the conversation for the first overall pick. Unfortunately, he doesn't, and isn't likely to anytime soon.
5.  
Rush Att
238
Rush Yds
996
Rush TD
8
Rush Avg
4.2
Rec
84
Rec Yds
669
Rec TD
4
Rec Avg
8.0
For the second straight year, injuries derailed what might have been a tremendous season for McCaffrey. The 25-year-old played seven games in 2021 and only saw more than 40 snaps in four of them, but in those four contests he averaged 4.8 yards per carry and over 150 scrimmage yards per game. McCaffrey remains the premier pass-catching back in the league while still being dangerous on the ground, and those skills were still in evidence last year. His 2.3 yards per carry after contact was comparable to the likes of Javonte Williams and Aaron Jones, and McCaffrey broke a tackle every 8.3 carries on average, a better rate than Nick Chubb or Najee Harris, albeit with much less volume. None of the injuries McCaffrey has sustained appear to be chronic, so it's possible his luck will turn for the better in 2022. The Panthers added D'Onta Foreman in the offseason to give them another depth option aside from Chuba Hubbard, who didn't impress as a rookie, but if McCaffrey is on the field he'll still dominate the backfield touches and snaps. Apart from health, his biggest concern at this point is the overall quality of the Carolina offense after the team again failed to bring in a quality starter at quarterback.
Want to see our full fantasy football rankings?

We rank hundreds of players, but only paid RotoWire subscribers have access to our full rankings. This is just one of many features you'll unlock to if you decide to subscribe.

Unlock Our Full Rankings Unlock Our Full Rankings