2022 deep targets for fantasy football

While jockeying for position in the early round of rookie drafts allows dynasty fantasy football managers to get the premier players, snagging a few deep sleepers either in the draft or as UDFAs is an easy way to add upside with little to no risk. As the summer heat is turned up on rookies taking part in their individual camps, here are some 2022 deeper rookie sleepers to target for dynasty fantasy leagues.

Dynasty rookie sleepers: 2022 running back deep targets

Given the lack of investment required, one of the things I do with every team is offloading veteran players unlikely to ever make a significant impact on their teams and take dart throws on players in either the last round or after the rookie drafts. If even one hits, it was a win as the player was acquired for little to nothing. If they start to generate some midseason buzz, you always have the option to trade them for future capital if you feel it is a flash in the pan.

Jashaun Corbin, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley is one of the most polarizing players for dynasty fantasy football. Can he be the player we once saw, or have injuries zapped the prime of his career from him? Personally, I don’t consider Barkley injury-prone. He’s just been unlucky. Sometimes that just happens. In 2019, a rather severe ankle sprain occurred after a play was over when he stepped on a Cowboy defender’s foot. Then in 2020, Barkley suffered a torn ACL. That’s not being injury-prone; that’s crummy luck.

Yet, what would the Giants do if Barkley went down in 2022? Who is the next man up? Heck, who is the RB2 on the team? This is a question I ask when looking for deeper sleepers. If you can find a path to opportunity, you also find potential value.

Who is standing in Corbin’s way in New York?

That’s where Jason Corbin come into play. A UDFA from Florida State, he is squarely in the mix for the No. 2 spot behind Barkley. The Giants have four other RBs under contract behind Barkley: Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Gary Brightwell, and Corbin. Breida, signed in the offseason, has been under 300 yards the last two years and is on his third team in three years. Williams hasn’t appeared in a game since 2020, while Brightwell has never taken a carry at running back.

Despite playing behind a poor FSU offensive line that even Cam Akers struggled behind, Corbin was effective. As a part of a one-two punch with QB Jordan Travis in 2021, Corbin recorded 887 rushing yards and seven TDs on 143 carries while adding 144 yards and one score on 25 receptions. In 2021, he was second in the ACC with 6.2 yards per carry.

With only one year to evaluate him due to a transfer from Texas A&M and a torn hamstring in 2019, which hampered his 2020 season, Corbin has his work cut out. But that is also why he is a value. Corbin has just as good of a chance as anyone on this roster to be the No. 2 and can be acquired with your final pick or after the draft as a UDFA. He is one of my favorite deeper rookie sleepers to target in 2022 for dynasty.

Tyler Badie, Baltimore Ravens

In 2021, Doak Walker Award winner Kenneth Walker III tied for the NCAA lead in 10+ yard runs with 46. The running back he tied with was none other than Missouri’s Tyler Baddie.

A smaller back in stature (5’8″ and 197 pounds), Badie’s impact was massive for the Tigers. Taking over as the lead back after Larry Roundtree departed, Badie was a first-team All-SEC member, second-team All-American, rushed for 1,604 yards (third in the nation), and led the Tigers with 54 receptions. With nearly 2,000 total yards and 18 TDs in 12 starts, Badie’s sixth-round selection helped cap off a sensational draft for the Ravens.

A team known for using multiple backs, Badie won’t be competing with JK Dobbins or Gus Edwards as primary rushers but could seamlessly slide in as the passing back for Lamar Jackson. I am not even sure if Mike Davis or Justice Hill will make the 53-man roster.

Going outside the top 40 in most rookie drafts, Badie is an inexpensive option for managers looking to bolster their RB depth while adding sneaky PPR upside. Should Dobbins or Edwards get off to slow starts after missing all of 2021, don’t be surprised if Badie is on the field more than expected in 2022.

Snoop Conner, Jacksonville Jaguars

Doug Pederson has shown us he prefers to use a committee in the backfield. Why should we believe this all of a sudden will change in Jacksonville? Travis Etienne is a favorite breakout after missing his rookie season due to a foot injury but is unknown. James Robinson, one of the best UDFAs in recent history, is also returning from a season-ending injury of his own (Achilles). After those two, it is Ryquell Armstead, Mekhi Sargent, Nathan Cottrell, and Conner.

At 5’10” and 222 pounds, Conner can bring some thump between the tackles but has enough speed to hit the second level (4.59 40-yard dash). If Etienne, who is valued for his receiving skills rather than his power from him in crowded boxes, struggles when things get tight, Conner could work his way into a red-zone role.

Conner is best in a complementary role which is where he finds himself in Jacksonville. Going outside the top 20 RBs in most drafts, Conner is a 2022 rookie sleeper worth rostering as he could have midseason value that may be flipped into a future 2023 pick to the right managers.

Abram Smith, New Orleans Saints

This one still makes me scratch my head. Look at the New Orleans Saints backfield. Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Tony Jones Jr. In 2021, Jones was unable to latch on to a key role and could struggle to make it out of camp. Kamara is facing a likely suspension, leaving a 32-year-old Ingram to be either No. 2 or No. 1 if Kamara misses time. Even when Kamara is on the field, do they want to give him 23.6 opportunities a game with 18.5 of those on the ground? No lo creo.

Abraham Smith, a converted LB, somehow went undrafted despite tying for fourth in the FBS with a school record of 1,601 rushing yards and leading the team with 12 rushing touchdowns on 257 carries. As you would expect from a former linebacker, Smith relished contact. He said so himself back in May.

“I just love imposing my will. Dropping a shoulder on a (defensive back) or a linebacker … it really didn’t matter to me. I can make people miss, but I feel more comfortable when I’m running somebody over.”

If Kamara is indeed suspended, Smith will be splitting reps with Ingram, and it will not surprise me if he looks good doing so. As someone you can acquire for next to nothing, Smith is an excellent deeper rookie sleeper at RB for 2022.

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