Well, folks, your buddy Mitch is back after a couple of weeks with some bad news. We lost our two title games, and frankly, it was not close. We had two byes headed into the semis, won both handily, and had high hopes for the finals even though we were clear underdogs to start the week. Unfortunately, in one league, we just could not overcome the Thursday Night Football game that saw Zeke, CeeDee, and Schultz get our opponent to a big lead. 

We never led in the matchup but had a chance until the Vikings decided to no-show. The second game was relatively close at the coin flip, and that is where the story ends. We had three double-digit players, while our opponent dropped three players over 20 and one over 30 points against us. To say we took a beating would be an understatement. Good thing we split the pot prior to kick-off!

Alas, Mitch is back to provide some thoughts on the 2022 season and @BobbyLamarco, and I will be chatting about running back busts on the Tuesday night Razzball YouTube channel. I will follow today’s article up with some of the other positions throughout the month of January. As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to drop those at the bottom of this thread.

As much as I still do not believe it, I think the managers who subscribed to Zero RB probably won your league. If you are one of those managers and went WR/TE/QB heavy early and landed RBs like Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, Jamaal Williams, Kenneth Walker III, and/or Rhamondre Stevenson in the middle/dead rounds, then you probably high-stepped into the playoffs.

Moving from 2022 to 2023, I will stay away from Zero RB, but I will at least look a little deeper into how that strategy worked and how best to employ some of the analysis to help form my future rosters.

Coming in at the top of my RB busts list is the tandem closest to my heart as a diehard Packers fan. I was so high on the double-headed RB monster of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon heading into the season, and it just did not work out. Jones was off the board in the early second round in most drafts I participated in, and Dillon went around the dead zone when I was targeting QB. If you rostered Jones, you feel as if this is the quietest, strangest 1,100-yard rushing season ever. 

The days of 1,000 yards being the bar set for elite RB status are no longer. In today’s fantasy football landscape, we need 1,000+ yards, 70+ catches, and double-digit TDs to truly be elite. Our guy Jones missed two of those marks, and it was not close. Logging a respectable 1,121 yards, 59 catches, and seven total TDs makes his ADP a bust in my book. Consider where you could have landed a guy like Tony Pollard and his 1,007 yards, 39 catches, and 12 total TDs and Jones is seen as a bust.

Add to the frustration in Green Bay is AJ Dillon, who had a solid 770 rushing yards but at only a 4.1 YPC clip, and you have the makings of a double bust. Dillon’s receptions were lower than I expected, and his TDs were nice but came during a stretch of games while the offense was humming. We need sustained success from our RBs, and neither of the Packers truly brought that in 2022.

If you need a little more information, consider that both Jones and Dillon played in all 17 games this season. A full game more than most seasons, and they still only mustered middling stats from a fantasy perspective. Combined, the pair netted just over 110 rushing YPG and less than 1 TD per game. You expect those stats, or close to them, from Jones alone. Overall, this 2022 season is a bust for the Green Bay backfield.

Quite possibly the biggest RB bust of 2022 is the one I considered to be the top pick heading into draft season. Jonathan Taylor was clearly the favorite RB in this year’s draft class. Those landing the first overall pick may have considered Christian McCaffrey for about half a second prior to selecting Taylor 1.01. Fast forward from the draft to Week 1, and Taylor solidified his draft position with 161 rushing yards, four catches (only 14 yards), and one trip to the end zone. 

When you selected him and blasted your Week 1 opponent, you were off and running…or were you? Taylor only hit the 90+ yard rushing mark one more time in Week 10 with 147 yards. Taylor dropped from 20 total TDs to 4 (none receiving). He finished the year with a decent 861 rushing yards and added 28 catches for 143 yards, but the return on (draft) investment left a lot to be desired. Taylor dropped from close to 100 yards rushing per game to less than 75 in 2022 and can easily be listed as the biggest RB bust of the season. 

Sure, sure, he was injured during the season and missed six games, but even when healthy, behind an anemic offensive line with a statuesque, over-the-hill, washed-up QB, Taylor simply was not the guy we foresaw when nabbing him at the top of the 2022 draft.

Imagine drafting an RB whose YPC has dropped from 4.7 to 4.0 to 3.7 in three seasons. Imagine that same RB saw his TD total also decline from 11 to 10 to 5 in that same span. Couple those two statistical disappointments with a rushing yard total that dropped over 450 yards. I distinctly recall Antonio Gibson rocketing up draft boards just prior to the start of the 2022 season after the news of the Brian Robinson shooting incident. 

If I recall correctly, Gibson headed into the 2022 draft season as the RB1 for the Commanders, then Brian Robinson happened, and Gibson’s draft stock plummeted. Enter the news about the incident with Robinson, and late drafters jumped all over Gibson like HOFer Terrell Davis after being named the Broncos’ starter just prior to the 1995 draft. 

I know I just showed my age, but the comparison is real and relevant, trust me. The major difference is Gibson could not hold the job and ended up only starting six games during the 2022 season. Hell, Gibson even lost work to JD McKissic early in the year. Add in the fact that Gibson was only marginally effective when given a chance, and we have another RB bust for the list.

Additional bust-worthy RB names based mostly on injury we may discuss tonight:

Javonte Williams – Top of Round 2 pick that lost his season early.

Rashaad Penny – Injury-prone RB who wears a ‘buyer beware’ tag coming off of a big end of 2021 season.

D’Andre Swift – From the ‘what the hell happened’ category; sure, he was injured and dinged, but when back, he just did not see the volume we expected.

Alvin Kamara – His numbers are very close to 2019 and 2021, while we are all grasping for 2018 and 2020 Kamara.

Cam Akers – Wasn’t this guy supposed to be the lead back for the Rams? If we got the Week 16-18 Akers all year, he would not be on this list.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Dude came out of the gates with five early TDs through Week 4 and then dropped off the fantasy map while only scoring one more TD on the season and being absent from the Chief box score Weeks 12-18.

Elijah Mitchell – Injuries again. Next man up in San Francisco seems to be the mantra.

James Robinson – Coming out of training camp, there was a buzz about Robinson’s health, and he was trending toward being the stater over Etienne. That lasted all of three weeks. After that, Etienne took over and probably solidified his 2023 draft status.   

Damien Harris – The emergence of Rhamondre Stevenson and injuries derailed Harris’ season. No clue how he will factor into the Patriots’ future RB plans.

Thank you for hanging around the Razzball water cooler with us during the 2022 fantasy season. We will be around during the off-season with both articles and podcasts. Look for us on the Razzball YouTube site and drop your questions both here and there. Remember, your 2023 fantasy football season draft prep starts as soon as the playoffs are complete. Guess what? Those playoffs are complete, so get to work.