There’s a clear hierarchy in the NFL when it comes to the top running backs in the league. Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry are in their own tier, and Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb are in the next tier below them.
It’s hard to see anyone else leading the NFL in rushing aside from those four players, so that’s who you should look at when it comes to betting on the NFL’s rushing leader in 2022.
2022 NFL Rushing Yards Leader Odds
Jonathan Taylor +500
Derrick Henry +500
Dalvin Cook +800
Nick Chubb +800
Joe Mixon +1550
Antonio Gibson +1550
Javonte Williams +1550
Najee Harris +1550
All Other Players +1800 or More
As long as he stays healthy, Jonathan Taylor should be one of the top running backs in the NFL once again. Taylor led the NFL in rushing yards last season behind the best offensive line in the league. He ran for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns, and this offensive line returns standouts Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith. The presence of Matt Ryan should be a huge boost to the Colts as Carson Wentz was clearly not the answer under center, and Taylor still has a lot of tread on the tires in his third year.
Derrick Henry has to be considered one of the favorites to win the rushing title too. Henry led the NFL in rushing yards in 2019 and 2020, and he was on his way to doing it for the third straight time before suffering a season-ending injury after eight games. King Henry was 200 yards ahead of the next closest runner at the time he was injured, and Mike Vrabel is not afraid to give his star running back a heavy workload. The carries will be there in this offense, so the main concern is durability coming off a major injury.
My favorite play on the board is Nick Chubb at 8-1 to be the NFL’s leading rusher. Chubb has been the NFL’s most effective running back since entering the league, and he nearly beat out Henry for the rushing title in 2019. He is four yards short of having run for over 1,000 yards in all four of his seasons in the NFL, and he has averaged at least 5.0 YPC every year too. Deshaun Watson should help open up the running game with his arm, and the offensive line is solid.
The other favorite to win the rushing title is Dalvin Cook. After two injury plagued years in the NFL, there were questions over whether or not Cook would ever make it at the next level. He has been an elite running back for the last three years though, and he ran for 1,557 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 5.0 YPC in 2020. Cook has two solid young offensive linemen in front of him in Christian Darrisaw and Garrett Bradbury, and Kirk Cousins will prevent defenses from stacking the box to stop the run.
There isn’t a lot of value in either Joe Mixon, Antonio Gibson, or Najee Harris at a little more than 15-1 to be the NFL’s rushing leader in 2022. Mixon has one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in front of him, and he has yet to run for more than 1,205 yards. He has only averaged better than 4.1 YPC in one of his five seasons in the league too.
Gibson is an underrated running back, but he is on one of the worst offenses in the NFC. Carson Wentz isn’t much of an improvement at quarterback, and he doesn’t have a good offensive line in front of him.
While Harris runs hard, the Pittsburgh Steelers just don’t have a lot to work with on offense. The rookie from Alabama finished last year with 1,200 yards, but he constantly had to break tackles at the line of scrimmage to average 3.9 YPC.
Someone to keep an eye on is Cam Akers at 20-1 to be the NFL’s rushing leader. The odds are a little short, but Akers could be a breakout star in 2022 assuming he is finally healthy. As with Cook, Akers has been injured for most of his first two seasons, but he has a ton of talent.
2022 NFL Rushing Yards Leader Pick: Nick Chubb
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