The Philadelphia Eagles rebuilt their offense this offseason around their young quarterback Jalen Hurts. While their passing numbers are improving, it could also do wonders for quarterback Myles Sanders, who will look to put together a full campaign after a struggling 2021.
It’s not necessarily that Sanders struggled to gain yards last season; he averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season, so when he had the ball, he had plenty of room to run. But almost everything else went wrong for Sanders. Split with Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and Hurts under center, he failed to score a single touchdown and missed five games with injuries.
From a fantasy perspective, Sanders is looking to put together a bounce-back season. He has struggled with success in a Hurts-led offense, but now that Hurts will have more targets to throw to in the passing game, that could lead to more touches for Sanders. Let’s take a closer look at Sanders’ fantastic outlook for the 2022 season and see whether or not a comeback campaign could be in the cards for him.
Miles Sanders 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
From a fantasy perspective, Sanders was almost unplayable last season. He finished as the 43rd best scoring guard, which was pretty bad. Now, it’s worth noting that Sanders missed five games, but even when he was on the field, he was inconsistent. Out of Sanders’ 12 games, he scored in double figures just three times. For a guy who was expected to be a solid RB2/FLEX option to start the season, Sanders disappointed many fantasy owners last season.
Even so, there are plenty of reasons to expect a rebound in the Sanders campaign this coming season. For starters, assuming he plays all 17 games this coming season, he’ll be more productive than guys like Latavius Murray and Mike Davis. When Sanders is healthy, he is a top 25 player in the league.
Sanders also had probably the worst luck in the league when it came to touchdowns last season. He had 171 touches last season, but one of them failed to take to the house. For what it’s worth, Gainwell had six touchdowns last season, Scott had seven and Hurts scored 10 on the ground himself. The Eagles’ offense is expected to score touchdowns on the ground, and Sanders will surely find his way into the end zone in 2022.
Sanders’ competition for touches with all three, however, immediately diminishes his value. Sanders showed potential as a pass returner during his rookie season, but was often looked over in favor of Gainwell in obvious passing situations last season. Philly’s insistence on running backs makes sense in the NFL, but for fantasy purposes, it hurts Sanders’ value.
While Sanders will compete for touches, he will lead the way for the Eagles when healthy. Tellingly, his two best games in terms of yards last season came in the two games in which he had the most carries. Sanders has the ability to rip big plays out of the backfield, and that makes him a fantastic threat right now, even with all the question marks he faces heading into the season.
What also works in Sanders’ favor is that opposing defenses have to account for Hurts’ threat off the field as well. Typically, Sanders will benefit from the RPO handoff style, which helps soften up the defensive line and allows Sanders a nice two- or three-yard cushion on most carries. Hurts also has top targets in the passing game in AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, which should open up the Eagles offense even more.
Sanders is still a very risky pick, but his ceiling is higher than most quarterbacks who will be drafted at the same time as him. If he can dominate the run out of Philly’s backcourt, there’s no doubt he’ll be productive. But it remains to be seen how the Eagles will divvy up the playing time of their running backs in 2022.
Sanders will likely be drafted somewhere between the sixth and eighth rounds. Philadelphia’s offense has a lot of upside and could be ready to take a step forward in 2022. If you like Sanders’ upside given the likelihood of him returning this season and the fact that Philly’s offense will be much improved this season, he makes sense as a FLEX option, with the ability to become a solid RB2 if all goes well.
But last season showed that things won’t always go Sanders’ way. If it’s late in the seventh round or early in the eighth, he could be a sneaky option in the FLEX, or even off the bench, that eventually works his way into your starting lineup. Counting on Sanders can be a bit risky, but the payoff could be pretty good if you pick him at the right time.
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