It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the running backs. Today, we take a look at Damien Harris, a running back who has seemingly been spared the frightening hand of Belichicanery, securing the Patriots’ running back position, at least on the ground. What can we expect from Damien Harris in 2022 fantasy football leagues?
Damien Harris ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: RB26, 54 overall
Average Auction Value: $9.3
Damien Harris Statistics:
|Year||G||GS||Rush||Ru Yds||Ru TD||Tgt||Rec||Yards||TD||Touches||Opp||Total Yards|
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tch||HPPR Pts/Tch||PPR Pts/Tch|
2022 Damien Harris Fantasy Football Overview:
So, first things first. Damien Harris’ replacement is already on the roster, we just aren’t sure who it is yet. It’s probably Rhamondre Stevenson, but it could be Pierre Strong! Who knows! But, for now, Damien Harris is a New England Patriot, and he’s also a darn good (if one-dimensional) running back. In 2021, Harris ran the ball 202 times for 929 yards and caught 18 balls for 132 yards. In the end, he had 15 touchdowns on 220 touches. His one-dimension is really good, as the Patriot ran for 4.6 yards per carry on an offensive line that, according to BRotoFantasy.com, should have gotten him an average of 3.8 yards per carry. This 0.8 extra YPC over expectation ranked ninth in the NFL, but third in the NFL among running backs with at least 150 rush attempts, behind just Jonathan Taylor and Nick Chubb.
So, he’s exceptionally good at that one aspect of his game, but again, according to BRotoFantasy.com, he was one of the least efficient backs in the NFL from a fantasy-points perspective. He had 15 touchdowns, sure, but what if we strip out the touchdowns? Harris’s lack of catches not only limits his PPR upside, but they’re far less efficient at garnering fantasy points. Because of this, his points per opportunity with touchdowns stripped ranked just above Tevin Coleman at 59th in the league. To understand the outsized impact touchdowns have, in comparison, he ranked 12th in points per opportunity including touchdowns.
So, I think you can see where I’m going with this: Damien Harris needs to secure a lot of touches, and he needs to score a lot of touchdowns with said touches. It worked last year when he had 15 touchdowns in 220 touches, but what about his career before that, when he had 146 touches and 2 touchdowns? Well, according to PlayerProfiler.com, that jump came because he increased his red zone touches from 2.1 per game, with just two goal-line carries in ten games in 2020, up to… 3 red zone touches per game, but 11 goal-line carries in 15 games. He scored five touchdowns on those goal-line carries, which is a decent, but unspectacular clip.
So, we have to wonder… will Damien Harris keep his goal-line opportunities? This is a big question, given that he doesn’t catch the football. The Patriots also already have his replacement on the roster, and if his replacement is Rhamondre Stevenson, and Stevenson scored on 75% of his rush attempts from two-yards-and-in, so he’s better than Damien Harris at that, at least.
2022 Damien Harris Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
Damien Harris is the type of running back that I will never draft. I don’t really care about the price, but he has literally everything going against him. First, it’s literally called “Belichicanery” for screwing around with running back touches. Three years into his career and Harris has eleven games over 15 touches or just about 40% of his games. He needs a lot of touches to produce because his touches are overwhelmingly carries (and not targets), which are incredibly inefficient from a yardage perspective. He also doesn’t get the applicable PPR bonus in your league.
Second, he needs the touchdowns to matter. This offsets his inefficient yards per touch due to a lack of targets and a lack of receiving yards production in addition to his rushing production. After all, in full PPR, a catch is worth 2.5x the number of points of a rush attempt. So, should Harris lose either touches, touchdowns, or both, it’s going to spell danger for his fantasy football production. I’m going to skip on drafting him entirely.
Best Case Scenario:
Damien Harris gets 220 touches, and 15 touchdowns again. He doesn’t cross 1000 yards and finishes as RB15.
Worst Case Scenario:
Damien Harris gets 5 touchdowns, barely crosses 700 yards, and finishes his career as a New England Patriot.
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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Image Source: Damien Harris on Twitter]