This ranking of the top AFC running backs has Patriots fans confused


There are a lot of good running backs in the AFC.

Stopping the run is critically important to winning games in this conference, which is why it's no surprise that the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans ranked No. 2 in the league in rush yards allowed per game and the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals ranked No. 5.

Coming up with a list of the best running backs in the AFC is no easy task.

Titans running back Derrick Henry was an MVP candidate in 2020 with 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. But after an injury-plagued 2021 campaign for Henry, does Indianapolis Colts star Jonathan Taylor now rank ahead of him? Taylor led the league with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns last season.

It's pretty clear that Henry, Taylor and Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns are the top three running backs in the conference. But what about the rest of the top 16? Where does someone like Damien Harris of the New England Patriots fit into the mix?

Well, according to FanDuel's ranking, he's all the way down at No. 15.

To say Harris being at 15 is a surprise would be quite an understatement. Harris ran for 929 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games last season. He ranked 10th in rushing yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns.

New York Jets rookie Michael Carter ran for 639 yards and four touchdowns, and yet he's five spots ahead of Harris. Travis Etienne missed his entire rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he's four spots above Harris. Chase Edmonds tallied 903 total yards and two touchdowns last season. How is he also ranked higher than Harris?

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Javonte Williams had a very nice rookie season for the Broncos, tallying 1,219 total yards and seven total touchdowns. Even if he's better than Harris -- which is certainly debatable -- he shouldn't be eight spots higher on this ranking.

If Harris needs any extra motivation entering the 2022 season, he should just print out a copy of this list and stick it in his locker at Gillette Stadium. This ranking is Grade A bulletin board material for the Patriots running back.

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