Entering the 2022 NFL season, expectations are high for second-year back Kenneth Gainwell. As a fourth-round rookie last season, Gainwell provided the Eagles offense with a dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield, along with some nifty between-the-tackle running.
He’s primed to be the primary third-down back this season and should be the first running back off the bench. The Eagles utilized a four-man committee in the backfield last year that included Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Gainwell, and Jordan Howard. With Howard no longer in the picture, Gainwell’s touches are bound the increase.
Pro Football Focus recently dropped an article where they pinpointed some fantasy football sleepers at the running back position. Gainwell was one of the five backs named, and for good reason.
In PPR formats, Gainwell will be a viable FLEX option from Week 1. He led all Eagles backs in receiving as a rookie, racking up 33 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown. Gainwell was also the highest graded back on the Eagles roster, per PFF, earning an overall mark of 72.0, ranking him 25th out of 62 qualifying backs. His 75.9 receiving grade ranked 7th out of 58 backs.
Although Gainwell was utilized mostly as a receiving threat last season, there’s reason to believe he’ll be more involved in the running game this year. Like mentioned above, he won’t be fighting for carries with Howard anymore. Plus, he’s the only back on the roster who’s under contract past 2022. Both Sanders and Scott are entering contract years and it’s unlikely that both will be back in ’23. The coaching staff is going to want to get a good look at Gainwell to determine how they approach addressing the running back position next offseason.
Fantasy football aside, Gainwell is a prime breakout candidate this season. Eagles fans should be excited to see what the kid can do with more opportunities in 2022.
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