What if I told you there’s a running back, going in the 7th round in fantasy football drafts, who is running behind the best offensive line in football? Not only that, but he is the lead back who is an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield. By the title of the article, you already know I’m talking about Miles Sanders. Now, originally, I wasn’t particularly interested in drafting Sanders after such a lackluster 2021 season. However, delving into the numbers, he might be a diamond in the rough.
The talent isn’t truly a question mark when it comes to Miles Sanders. The second-round pick out of Penn State has shown he can play at the NFL level. And even if he isn’t a talent like Jonathan Taylor or Dalvin Cook, the situation he’s in is better than you think. At first glance, you would see the numbers Sanders put up last year and turn the other way. I don’t blame you. His 7 game stretch before the injury was horrendous. Consider the offense as a whole, though. Jalen Hurts was still figuring it out as an NFL starter, and nothing was going right as the Eagles started off 2-5. As the season went on, Philadelphia put it together and made the playoffs. Miles Sanders came back, albeit injured, and put up a four-game stretch where he averaged over 112 yards and received the lion’s share of touches.
Sanders couldn’t stay on the field as the injury lingered and ended his season. Now, my point is that the situation Philly has for their backfield is perfect. And this offseason they added no other running backs. The fifth-round undersized Kenneth Gainwell is the only real threat to take touches away. I’m not concerned. I fully expect Sanders to get 20 touches per game.
Let’s take it a step further. Of the top 18 running backs in fantasy football last season, thirteen of the eighteen were a part of offenses that ran the ball at a rate higher than the league average (41%). The exceptions were in pass-heavy offenses that featured running backs that got many targets, like Cordarrelle Patterson (who is a hybrid running back). Now consider that of the top 18 running backs, thirteen were on teams that scored more than the league average. The only starting running back who fits in both those categories but wasn’t a top 18 running back is Miles Sanders. The Eagles scored the 12th most points compared to the rest of the league in 2021. Not only that, but they ran the ball a whopping 51.16% of plays.
I already mentioned how no other competition was added in the offseason to steal carries away from Sanders, but significant upgrades on offense have also been made. The acquisition of A.J. Brown will bring this offense to another level. I fully expect this offense to score more points, as it only got better in the offseason. I say take the chance on Miles Sanders in 2022 for fantasy football. Draft some stud receivers early and take Sanders as your RB2, I think you’ll be surprised.