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2022 Fantasy Projections: Najee Harris

After a productive rookie season, the Steelers running back looks to make more explosive plays.

In his first season in the NFL, Najee Harris ranked third in fantasy scoring (300.7) in PPR formats. Pittsburgh had him on the field for 81.4% of their plays, leading to a massive workload (381 touches). In essence, Harris had a Le’Veon Bell opportunity in this offense with less explosiveness. Between Week 2 and Week 17, Harris had a floor of 16.8 fantasy points in 13 of his 15 starts. He was a better player at home (1,042 combined yards with five touchdowns and 44 catches) than on the road (653 combined yards with five touchdowns and 32 catches). His only three games with over 100 yards rushing (23/122/1, 26/105, and 28/188/1) came in Pittsburgh.

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) carries the ball against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett (23) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers added a pair of offensive linemen via free agency – C Mason Cole and G James Daniels, but there was no sense of urgency to invest in elite offensive linemen in this year’s draft. Pittsburgh allowed 38 sacks last year (14 in 2020), which was significantly helped by Ben Roethlisberger getting the ball out quickly.

Fantasy outlook: Many fantasy drafters will debate the value and potential ceiling of Harris compared to Derrick Henry this year. They currently rank fourth and fifth at running back based on their ADPs (Henry – 5.4 and Harris – 6.2) in the NFFC. The key for Harris is better blocking to improve his production per play. At the same time, the change at quarterback could lead to a step back in catches. His floor appears to be 1,500 combined yards with 10 scores and 60 catches, but he’ll need to beat those stats to fill his draft day ranking.

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