All NFL teams are not created equally. The same goes for any NFL team’s schedule. Some get a little lucky with a slate filled with cupcakes. Some have to work your way through a murderer’s row. We won’t really know until the season gets into full swing.
But we can take some guesses. And by the look of things right now, these four running backs have the easiest schedules awaiting them this year. Let’s go through what that means for their fantasy value.
Best running back schedules
Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Coming off of a 15-touchdown season, Harris should break the plane early and often in 2022. Emphasis on early, since the Patriots will match up against two of the worst run defenses last year — the Steelers and the Packers — within the season’s first four weeks. Of course, this being the Patriots, backfield shenanigans will probably appear at some point, but Rhamondre Stevenson proved to be a more-than-capable backup last year and should be drafted as a high-end RB4 with plenty of upside if Harris falls off.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
When one-third of your schedule consists of the Packers, Vikings and Lions, your future looks bright. The Bears will likely lean on Montgomery once again as their workhorse. But if they want to take it easy on Monty, that’s cool, too; Khalil Herbert looked electric in small doses as a rookie last year. He should be on everyone’s sleeper lists.
Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins
This could become a good situation wasted. The Dolphins will face those weak run defenses in the NFC North, and their Weeks 5-8 schedule — Jets, Vikings, Steelers, Lions — looks amazing. But is there a starting RB in Miami? Edmonds is atop the depth chart, but he’s always played better as a complementary player, not in a leading role. There’s Sony Michel, Myles Gaskin and Raheem Mostert, who is back after missing nearly all of last season due to a knee injury. No matter the slate, this could be a muddled backfield all year long.
Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
At least Mostert made it to Week 1 last year before he went down. Etienne fell victim to a season-ending foot injury in the third week of the preseason in his rookie year. The second half of the Jags’ 2022 schedule is littered with good matchups for RBs — Chiefs, Lions and Jets and Texans in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively. If Etienne can make it that far, he may become a league-winner during the fantasy playoffs. A legitimate dual-threat back, Etienne has looked good early in camp and should be able to win the starting role over veteran James Robinson, who is only seven months removed from an Achilles tear.