When it comes to sizing up the fantasy football running back options for the 2022 season, the most important factor may be volume. Workhorse backs are becoming few and far between but that doesn't mean there still aren't difference-makers at the RB position.
Why else would Christian McCaffrey, who has played a total of 10 games over the past two seasons, still be considered the No. 1 RB in fantasy? Because when he's healthy, fewer players get the ball more than the Panthers' do-everything dynamo and we already know what he can do when he stays on the field (see 2019). Is there risk? Certainly, but that's also become more the norm rather than the exception for the elite RBs. And sometimes the risk is well worth the eventual reward.
That doesn't mean that McCaffrey is the only option as an elite RB, however. It's perfectly understandable to have Jonathan Taylor, ahead of McCaffrey in the rankings (and the debate as to who is No. 1 overall). After all, Taylor is the one who dominated the position last season, running away with the rushing title and showing he also can be a factor as a receiver out of the backfield.
It's those running backs that are heavily involved as receivers who really move the needle in fantasy these days, which is why Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Najee Harris, and James Cooner can also be found in the top 10. Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry may not rack up the catches but both will definitely get the carries and scoring opportunities, which is why they remain first-round possibilities. They just need to stay healthy. This also is the case for Saquon Barkley, who hasn't been the same player since 2019 but he has the potential to be elite once again because of, you guessed it, volume.
Besides, as last season showed, you also cannot have enough depth in your backfield. You never know when that backup RB seemingly languishing on your bench is suddenly elevated to a starting role because of an injury or some other factor. Remember, it's a long season and all it takes is an opportunity to get increased touches. Or another way to put it — volume.