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Finding 2022’s Fantasy Football Breakout Running Back: Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) carries the ball for a short gain in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Denver BroncosJavonte Williams’ closest comparable players include former Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai and former Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch.

• While Williams may have top-five fantasy potential, he needs multiple things to go right to even pay off his current RB11 ADP.

• Fantasy managers shouldn’t completely stay away from Williams, but they shouldn't reach for him before taking a running back with a more solidified role.

Click here for Kevin Cole's 2022 fantasy football breakout wide receiver series.

In this series of articles, we're looking at the breakout potential running backs in fantasy football, building off of my recent breakout receiver articles that profiled each of the second- and third-year wide receivers. My research on 10 years of historical data points to second- and third-year backs as the most likely to break out and also most likely to generate the most excess value.

I’ll be especially focused on these backs' receiving potential, as outperforming receiving volume and efficiency has been the most common trait for breakout running backs in the past.

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The matching methodology is similar to what we used to focus on 2022 wide receiver and running back prospect comps, where I found the closest statistically comparable players using principal component analysis (PCA) and the euclidean distance between the players' components before giving each a “Similarity” score based on the percentile of distance. 

PCA's metrics are draft position, weight, 40-yard dash time, best-season collegiate market share of total team yards (Yds MS), collegiate share of team receptions (Rec MS), rookie rushing attempts and rookie targets per game. Additionally, rookie PPR fantasy points per game and top-24 weekly finishes are factored in.



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