1.  
RB  IND
Rush Att
321
Rush Yds
1562
Rush TD
14
Rush Avg
4.9
Rec
44
Rec Yds
352
Rec TD
2
Rec Avg
8.0
After a solid rookie season that finished with a bang, expectations were high for Taylor coming into 2021, and he exceeded them by a mile. He won his first of potentially many rushing crowns, and he nearly lapped the field doing it, as the 552-yard gap between Taylor and second-place Nick Chubb was the largest since 2009. Taylor's the total package as a runner, showing power, agility, vision and speed, but it's the latter trait that puts him over the top among his peers. He posted three of the five fastest top speeds recorded on touchdowns last year, including an NFL-best 22.13 mph on a 67-yard scamper Week 15 against the Patriots. The power and agility were highlighted by his 2.6 yards per carry after contact, good for third in the league. If there's a flaw in his skill set, it's that Taylor isn't a natural receiver out of the backfield, but the Colts have Nyheim Hines to handle those duties, and Taylor is still capable of contributing. Indianapolis' elite offensive line showed a couple cracks in 2021, and some natural regression could be coming for Taylor's league-leading 89 red-zone carries (more than 40 ahead of second-place Austin Ekeler), but the addition of Matt Ryan to replace Carson Wentz at quarterback shouldn't change the focal point of Frank Reich's offense. Expect Taylor to see big volume again in 2022 and consistently burn defenders with those touches.
2.  
Rush Att
238
Rush Yds
996
Rush TD
8
Rush Avg
4.2
Rec
84
Rec Yds
669
Rec TD
4
Rec Avg
8.0
For the second straight year, injuries derailed what might have been another tremendous season for McCaffrey. The 25-year-old only played seven games in 2021 and only saw more than 40 snaps in four of them, but in those four contests he averaged 4.76 yards per carry and over 150 scrimmage yards a game. When he's healthy, McCaffrey remains the premier pass-catching back in the league while still being dangerous on the ground, and those skills were still somewhat in evidence in 2021. His 2.3 yards per carry after contact was comparable to the likes of Javonte Williams and Aaron Jones, and McCaffrey broke a tackle every 8.3 carries on average, a better rate than Nick Chubb or Najee Harris, albeit on much smaller volume. None of the injuries McCaffrey has sustained appear to be chronic, so it's possible his luck will turn for the better in 2022. The Panthers added D'Onta Foreman in the offseason to give them another depth option aside from Chuba Hubbard, who didn't impress as a rookie, but if McCaffrey is on the field, he'll still dominate the backfield touches. The last time new coordinator Ben McAdoo was in charge of an offense, the Giants finished in the top 10 in passing attempts four straight seasons, so the target volume should be there for McCaffrey in the team's new scheme. He only needs to be on the field to get it.
3.  
WR  LAR
Rec
107
Rec Yds
1412
Rec TD
10
Rec Avg
13.2
Rush Att
5
Rush Yds
31
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
6.2
Kupp was the first receiver to catch 145 passes, the second to reach 1,900 yards, the fifth to win the triple crown and the eighth to win Super Bowl MVP. He did that in one season, breaking out at age 28, and after being a fourth/fifth-round pick in most fantasy leagues. The question now is whether he can live up to the new price in Round 1. The argument against him, apart from regression to the mean, centers around Kupp's pre-2021 profile (that of a good player, not a dominant one). While concerns about his 4.62 40 or small-school college career may be distant memories, Kupp's mediocre 2020 stat line isn't. A QB upgrade from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford was a big part of the story in 2021, and a better year from the Rams' O-line helped as well, but Kupp himself took a huge step forward. His catch rate (75.9%) was a career high, and 10.2 YPT was his best mark for a full season by a full yard. To post those efficiency numbers while being targeted on 31.3 percent of routes (third-highest rate among WRs) is impressive, to say the least. Also impressive? Leading the league in YAC (894) whilst ranking second in completed air yards (1,051). Or, leading the league in yards from out routes (296) and also placing second on crossing routes (346) and third on posts (258). Even his PFF grade went off the charts, with Kupp leading all WRs after finishing 18th or lower in his first four seasons (his 93.0 grade was the highest PFF has given to a WR since Julio Jones in 2016). Kupp may not have the first-round pedigree, but he does have coach/QB stability, playing in a Sean McVay offense that annually ranks Top 10 (and usually Top 5) in neutral-situation pace and pass rate. If nothing else, Kupp is set up nicely for the second-best season of his career.
4.  
WR  MIN
Rec
102
Rec Yds
1458
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
14.3
Rush Att
6
Rush Yds
31
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
5.2
On a per-target basis, Jefferson's second NFL season (9.7 YPT) wasn't quite as dominant as his first (11.2). But that's nitpicking; the bigger picture shows he added 42 targets from the previous year and was still one of the most efficient wideouts in the league. Only 11 produced more yards per target, and that includes four who saw 70 or fewer passes. Jefferson finished fourth among WRs in targets and catches, second in receiving yards and t-6th in touchdowns. The 23-year-old often makes it look easy, seemingly playing both bigger and faster than his on-paper metrics suggest (6-1, 195, 4.43 40, 37.5-inch vert). From a fantasy standpoint, there's just as much to like, with Jefferson playing in an above-average offense that has enough weapons to keep defenses honest but nobody to challenge him as the go-to guy. Jefferson surpassed Adam Thielen for that honor mid-2020, and while the 31-year-old scored 10 touchdowns last year, he saw 2.5 fewer targets per game than his young running mate (9.8 to 7.3). If anything, the split could go even more in Jefferson's direction this year, though there is another variable with new head coach Kevin O'Connell coming over from the Rams. Other than that, stability is the story, with QB Kirk Cousins and RB Dalvin Cook joining Jefferson, Thielen and TE Irv Smith to form one of the league's more well-rounded group of skill-position players.
5.  
RB  LAC
Rush Att
224
Rush Yds
998
Rush TD
8
Rush Avg
4.5
Rec
69
Rec Yds
599
Rec TD
4
Rec Avg
8.7
Unlike 2020, Ekeler stayed healthy last season, and the result was an ascent to stardom. He finished the year by finding the end zone in eight straight games, and Ekeler's 20 total touchdowns not only tied Jonathan Taylor for the league lead, it tied Priest Holmes' NFL record for an undrafted running back. Ekeler also topped 1,500 scrimmage yards for the second time in his career thanks to a career-best performance on the ground, with only Taylor and Najee Harris producing more yards out of the backfield. Ekeler is as shifty as they come, and his plus elusiveness and agility combined with some surprising power make him tough to bring down while allowing him to make the most of his 48 red-zone carries, second in the league. He's also one of the NFL's best receiving backs, and working with Justin Herbert gives him tremendous upside in that department. While there are plenty of mouths to feed in the Chargers' passing game, Herbert commands the attention of the defense, and Ekeler faced eight-man fronts less than 23 percent of the time, a much friendlier rate than backs like Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara had to handle. Ekeler should get a little more help from his offensive line after the Bolts spent a first-round pick on tackle Zion Johnson, and the only thing standing between him and another huge campaign is a potential injury.
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