Who is Najee Harris' Backup? Steelers RB Handcuffs to Know for Fantasy Football
Najee Harris showed why volume is king in fantasy football last season. His extensive use as both a rusher and a pass-catcher out of the backfield helped him finish as the RB3 in fantasy as a rookie. Harris is in line to keep up those numbers in 2022, which makes him an attractive fantasy player.
That workhorse role also means his backups are valuable bench stashes in case Harris misses any games. His handcuff would inherit a heavy workload that few RBs in the league get, which has week- and league-changing potential.
That's why everyone should know the ins and outs of the Pittsburgh Steelers' RB depth chart for the 2022 season.
Steelers Running Back Depth Chart 2022
Following the cutdown to 53-man rosters, Pittsburgh currently has three active running backs in the mix. Harris will lead the efforts as the clear RB1 following his outstanding rookie campaign. Although he disappointed with only 3.9 yards per attempt, he still recorded 1,200 rushing yards on 307 carries. He also averaged 4.4 receptions per game, boosting his numbers in PPR formats.
The second RB spot is where things get interesting. There's two players in contention here as undrafted rookie Jaylen Warren and 2019 fourth-round pick Benny Snell Jr. vie for RB2 duties. Warren impressed the coaching staff in training camp and was listed as the backup to Harris on the depth chart ahead of Week 1, which could indicate that Snell has some catching up to do.
Veteran Jeremy McNichols is also on the roster, but he was placed on the IR due to a significant shoulder injury he suffered in early August. It's unclear when, or even if, he'll return for Pittsburgh this season.
Who is Najee Harris' Handcuff?
Harris' handcuff could be Warren to start the year given his place on the depth chart, although Snell is in the mix as well. While Snell has the familiarity factor, it speaks volumes about Warren's play that he's risen up the ranks so quickly despite being undrafted.
Harris didn't miss any games in 2021, helping him record a whopping 23.6 opportunities (18.1 attempts plus 5.5 targets) per game, so there weren't many touches to go around after him. Snell did log the most attempts among Pittsburgh's backups at just 36 after going over 100 in each of his two previous seasons. With a career average of only 3.5 YPC, though, he's failed to solidify himself as a legit running threat that the team can rely on, opening the door for another player to fill that role.
Now Warren has arrived on the scene to potentially do just that. Depth charts aren't gospel, but Warren's status as the RB2 certainly signals a changing of the tide in the Steelers' backfield. The fact he beat out incumbent Anthony McFarland Jr. for a roster spot shows he's a legit talent.
Warren is coming off of a productive senior season at Oklahoma State that saw him record 1,216 rushing yards and 11 TDs on 256 carries. He showed some dual-threat potential by turning 25 catches into 225 yards as well. Warren kept that up in the preseason by registering 16 rushes and 48 yards while also hauling in seven of eight targets for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Neither Warren nor Snell is currently posied to see anything other than situational use with Harris ready to pick up where he left off. However, the opportunity he'd leave behind if he's forced to miss time is the exact reason managers roster handcuffs. Given how frequent injuries are for high-usage running backs, it could be wise to stash Warren now before he potentially becomes a hot waiver-wire commodity.
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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.