The Swift Formula: Finding 2022’s Elite Running Backs

Eli Grabanski reveals the 2022 'Swift Formula' candidates.

We all do our best to try and win our fantasy leagues. The feeling of glory & pure joy when you win a championship – is absolutely priceless.

But winning a championship is easier said than done. You need to draft a great team, scour the waiver wire each week, and ultimately have the fantasy football gods smile down on you come playoff time.

One of the ways you can greatly improve your chances of winning a title is by drafting the game-changing running back for the year – like David Johnson in 2016, Todd Gurley in 2017, or Christian McCaffrey in 2019. While it can usually be hard to figure out which players will have this game-changing upside, I have devised a way to make it easier to do so.

It’s called the Swift Formula. 

 

 

A few years ago, I noticed a trend among these top running backs – they were all young, dual-threat running backs that flashed their talents the previous year. So I began playing around with some data and found that every RB1 overall since 2014 met the same nine basic criteria.

I publicly published the formula for the first time in 2019 under the name “The Mixon Formula,” and many of the players who made the list ended up having a successful 2019 season. I dropped the same formula in 2020, and while it wasn’t quite as helpful as the previous year due to the higher ADP of the players meeting the criteria, there were still some good values. In 2021 I had to tweak the formula to adjust for the new 17-game schedule and decided to change the name to “The Swift Formula.” It once again had the RB1 overall on the list – Jonathan Taylor – and had produced some other values relative to ADP with guys like D’Andre Swift & Devin Singletary. 

So what exactly are the criteria for the formula? 

 

The Criteria

 

Here are the basic criteria for the “Swift Formula”

  • The RB must be age 26 or younger by the start of the upcoming fantasy year
  • The RB must have had 32 or more receptions the previous year
  • The RB must have had 68 or more rushing attempts the previous year
  • The RB must have had over 215 rushing yards the previous year
  • The RB has played three seasons or less prior to the start of the upcoming fantasy year
  • The RB can’t be on a team that drafted an RB in the 1st round of the most recent NFL draft
  • The RB must have only played for one NFL team
  • The RB averages at least 5.5 yards per reception
  • The RB averages greater than three yards per carry

 

Criteria #1: The running back must be 26 or younger by the start of the upcoming fantasy year.

 

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Running backs have a shorter shelf life than most other positions and their per touch efficiency generally begins to decline around age 26 (according to Mike Tagliere). The bottom line is you should be targeting a player in their physical prime.

 

Criteria #2: The running back must have had 32 or more receptions last year.

The NFL has evolved into a more pass-heavy game. That requires top running backs to contribute in the passing game. I’ve set 32 receptions as the baseline because it means that the featured running back averaged around two receptions (or more) a game.

Note: This criterion was set at 30 receptions when the season schedule was 16 games and the formula was called ‘The Mixon Formula’.

 

Criteria #3: The running back must have had 68+ rushing attempts last year.

This part of the criteria eliminates a few of the third-down backs who don’t really have a role in the rushing game and therefore cannot reach the same ceiling as other backs. Sixty-eight rushing attempts are set as the baseline because this means that in the previous year, the running back got around four carries per game.

Note: This criterion was set at 64 rushing attempts when the season schedule was 16 games and the formula was called ‘The Mixon Formula’.

 

Criteria #4: The running back must have had over 215 rushing yards last year.

This is to make sure they have at least some talent. It’s pretty difficult to not get 215 yards on 68-plus carries regardless of offensive line play.

Note: This criterion was set at 200 rushing yards when the season schedule was 16 games and the formula was called ‘The Mixon Formula’.

 

Criteria #5: The running back has played three seasons or less prior to the start of the upcoming fantasy year.

A player’s potential can only bring them so far. If they’ve already played four seasons, they are officially a proven commodity and are unlikely to break out any further.

 

Criteria #6: The running back can’t be on a team that drafted an RB in the 1st round of the most recent NFL draft.

If a team takes another running back in the first round, that means that they believe that they really need an upgrade at the position, and they will typically get their shiny new toy involved in the offense. The opportunity simply won’t be there for another player on the roster to finish as an RB1 if a first-round back is in the fold. This has eliminated guys like Benny Cunningham (the Rams drafted Todd Gurley in the first round in 2015), Branden Oliver (the Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon in Round 1 of 2015), etc. in previous years.

 

Criteria #7: The running back must have only played for one NFL team.

When a player gets cut or traded that early in their career, it means that an NFL team doesn’t believe that they’re missing out on a game-changing talent. While some players do break out after getting cut early in their careers, like Justin Forsett or Raheem Mostert, they are exceptions to the rule.

 

Criteria #8: The running back averaged at least 5.5 yards per reception last year.

I include this metric to make sure that the running back is effective in open space and can actually do something with their targets. A player needs the talent to break out, after all.

 

Criteria #9: The running back averaged more than three yards per carry last year.

Similar to the above metric, this is to make sure the running back isn’t completely terrible. I use three yards per carry as the baseline because many of the major game-changing candidates that eventually broke out (Le’Veon Bell in 2014, Devonta Freeman in 2015, Melvin Gordon in 2016, Todd Gurley in 2017, Joe Mixon in 2018, etc.) struggled initially and averaged under four YPC. But if a player can’t get three yards per carry, they aren’t worth your draft pick. 

Note: This criterion is probably the least important one of the nine and has helped eliminate just eight players with 30+ receptions since 2013.

 

2022 Swift Formula Candidates

 

And now, the moment of truth: the 2022 candidates Going into the 2022 season there are 13 players who have met all of these criteria: Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift, Javonte Williams, David Montgomery, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Gibson, Devin Singletary, Tony Pollard, A.J. Dillon, Michael Carter, Alexander Mattison, and Kenneth Gainwell

Let’s briefly dive into each of the candidate’s profiles to decide which running backs you should most frequently be targeting in your 2022 fantasy leagues and have that game-breaking potential. 

Additional Notes: There were a few candidates that were close to making this list like James Robinson who would have made it under the old criteria of the Mixon Formula but ended up missing the new Swift Formula criteria by two receptions, Ty Johnson who was seven carries short, Myles Gaskin who only averaged 4.78 yards per reception, and Saquon Barkley who had played one too many seasons. ADP data is from ESPN as of August 15th, 2022.

 

‘The Best Bets’

 

‘The Best Bets’ are composed of players that you will need to spend your first-round or second-round pick to get, but have the best shots at finishing as the number one overall running back from the ‘Swift Formula’.

 

Jonathan Taylor (ADP: 1.5 Overall, RB1)

 

Saying Jonathan Taylor has a great shot of finishing as the RB1 in 2022 isn’t particularly insightful – after all, he’s generally the first player off the board in a majority of fantasy leagues. But Taylor landing on this list should make it crystal clear why he’s going 1st overall – he’s a talented young dual-threat bell-cow back who has a great offensive line and got a QB upgrade. He’s the safest RB pick you can make who also has the upside to finish as the #1 overall fantasy back – as he did last year.

 

Najee Harris (ADP: 9.4 Overall, RB5)

 

Najee Harris doesn’t quite have the picture-perfect profile that Jonathan Taylor does, but there’s a lot to like. He got one of the biggest workloads in the NFL last year as he was top three in carries and targets among running backs in 2021. If he can improve a little in the efficiency department from his 3.9 yards per carry last year (possible since the line did improve slightly) and get a few more red zone rushing attempts in 2022, he’ll have a good shot at finishing as the RB1.

 

D’Andre Swift (ADP: 17.9 Overall, RB9)

 

Since entering the NFL, Swift has been one of the better pass-catching backs in the league. During his rookie season, Swift caught 46 passes (3.54 per game) on 57 targets (4.38 per game) for 357 receiving yards (27.5 per game) and two receiving touchdowns (0.15 per game). He built upon this performance in his second season, as he caught 62 passes (4.77 per game) on 78 targets (6 per game) for 452 receiving yards (34.8 per game) and two receiving touchdowns (0.15 per game). I love his receiving usage and strong offensive line which give him a high fantasy floor. The big concern is whether or not he’ll get more red zone carries in 2022, but if he does get those red zone carries he’s a very strong candidate to finish as the number one fantasy back.

 

Javonte Williams (ADP: 26.2 Overall, RB12)

 

Javonte Williams is an extremely polarizing fantasy running back in the community this year, but I am a big believer in his value. We see the stats about how good he is in terms of broken tackles. He might technically be in a committee with Melvin Gordon, but new head coach Nathaniel Hackett utilizes his backs a lot more than other NFL play-callers in general. I think the way the Broncos deploy these two backs will be a lot like the way Hackett (the Packers offensive coordinator from 2019 to 2021) and the Packers deployed their backs in 2019 and 2020 with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. It was technically a committee, but Aaron Jones was the guy finishing as a top 10 fantasy back. In this offense, I view Javonte as a new version of Aaron Jones and a solid RB1 in the improved Denver Broncos offense.

 

‘One Small Step, Or One Giant Leap To Stardom?’

 

This tier consists of players that will still cost you decent draft capital, but don’t necessarily cost you your first or second-round pick. This group of running backs is primarily composed of expected starters that have some big questions they need to answer in order to hit their upside.

 

David Montgomery (45.0 Overall, RB18)

 

David Montgomery is a big boom or bust candidate on this list. I’m leaning more towards him being a bust on this list, and believe that Khalil Herbert will have more of a role in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s new offense. The big draw of Montgomery the past few years was that he was a bell-cow, but if he loses his high usage there’s really no path for him to being an RB1 if he’s a committee back in one of the worst offenses in the league on paper. I would probably avoid him on this list.

 

Josh Jacobs (49.7 Overall, RB19)

 

When you see a starting back play in the Hall Of Fame game, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow – especially when you realize his new head coach and play-caller Josh McDaniels has been a mixed bag in terms of rolling with a running back by committee and a bell-cow approach. But on the bright side, Jacobs is going to be playing in a high-powered offense and he’s finished as a top 8 fantasy back before back in 2020. For 2022, I think he’s going to split more carries than we’ve seen him in the past couple of years, but since he’s still likely the goal line back in a high-powered offense he should have a decent floor. 

 

Antonio Gibson (59.4 Overall, RB22)

 

Antonio Gibson is another guy that is a little dicier to invest in on this list. On one hand, he played through an injury last year and still finished as a top 10 fantasy running back. On the other hand, he’s got more competition this year, wasn’t particularly efficient as a runner and fumbled a lot. The path for him to be a top-tier fantasy back is that he needs to hold off rookie Brian Robinson for goal line touches and figure out a way to eat more into J.D. McKissic’s target workload. It’s not a very likely path to a top-tier fantasy finish since he needs two guys to miss time/be non-factors, but I do like his odds of a top-five finish a little more than Montgomery in this tier. Writer’s Update (8/26/2022): With the reports and preseason usage of Gibson, he should firmly be the lowest ranked player in this tier behind David Montgomery and Josh Jacobs.

 

‘The FLEX Squad’

 

This is where we put the running backs on the list who are most likely finishing as a FLEX play for the upcoming fantasy football season.

 

Devin Singletary (84.6 Overall, RB27)

 

Devin Singletary is not a player I’m too interested in this year for fantasy purposes since he seems to be more of a high floor/low ceiling type of player given that he’ll likely be operating in a heavy running back committee in Buffalo once again between himself, draft pick James Cook, Zack Moss, and pass-catching back Duke Johnson and his price isn’t as cheap as it was last year. View him as a FLEX play, but don’t anticipate the major breakout.

 

‘Elite Complementary Backs’

 

This is the range where we put the running backs that are better than pure handcuffs and can be used in a pinch as a FLEX play. If the starting running back that they share a backfield with goes down, these are the players that could legitimately win you your fantasy league(s).

 

Tony Pollard (103.2 Overall, RB31)

 

From an efficiency standpoint, Tony Pollard was fantastic in 2021. I’m not quite as high on him as I am A.J. Dillon because I think that Ezekiel Elliott is more likely to stay healthy and play than Aaron Jones (Elliott has missed just one game in his career due to injury), but it’s hard to deny that Pollard has RB1 upside if Ezekiel Elliott does get hurt. He’s a solid buy on this list.

 

A.J. Dillon (107.5 Overall, RB32)

 

My favorite draft target on this entire list at his current cost is A.J. Dillon because he checks off every box except for the fact that he’s likely operating in a committee with Aaron Jones. He’s in his physical prime (24 years old – 250 lbs and ripped), has an RB-friendly play-caller, and played at a similar level to Aaron Jones in a lot of areas in 2021. With Davante Adams gone, I anticipate that the Packers more heavily lean on the duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon and figure out even more ways to have them both on the field at the same time since those are their two best playmakers on offense by far. He’s already shown that he can perform at a low-end RB2/high-end FLEX level with Jones, and if Aaron Jones ends up missing time this year you are looking at a bonafide RB1. I’m buying him a ton at his current ESPN price.

 

 

Handy Handcuffs

 

These are the players who aren’t in a projected starting role and are going outside the top 40 fantasy running backs but are good players to roll the dice on late in drafts.

 

Michael Carter (140.8 Overall, RB40)

 

Carter had a strong rookie year but fantasy players have cooled off on him this offseason after the Jets drafted Breece Hall. The type of outcome you’re hoping for if you’re a Carter owner is that this ends up being a 2015 Devonta Freeman type of situation where fans are hyped about the rookie (Breece Hall – Tevin Coleman) but it’s actually the second year running back that takes hold on the lead role (Michael Carter – Devonta Freeman). Do I think that’s likely to happen? Probably not, but at his current cost I like taking the shot on the outside chance it does somehow play out that way.

 

Alexander Mattison (162.7 Overall, RB45)

 

Mattison isn’t flashy, but he gets the job done when he’s in and is one of the more valuable pure running back handcuffs in the league. Dalvin Cook has an extensive injury history and has never played in 15 games in a single season (five seasons) during his career. If Cook is your 1st/2nd round pick, Mattison should also be on your roster, and if you don’t have Cook and are willing to be patient with one of your bench spots, taking Mattison should pay off at some point during the season.

 

Kenneth Gainwell (170.0 Overall, RB76)

 

Gainwell seems to be the Nyheim Hines/Tarik Cohen of the list this year in that I’m not sure he’s capable of being a bell-cow given his smaller build, but he could be a very sneaky play because of his pass-catching potential. With his pass-catching potential and the Eagles’ strong offensive line, I like Gainwell a lot in PPR formats this year especially since he costs you pretty much nothing to draft.

 

 

Personal Favorites & Draft Strategy Example

 

My favorite candidates to draft this year from the ‘Swift Formula’ are all the backs in the ‘best bets’ tier (Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift, Javonte Williams), A.J. Dillon, and Kenneth Gainwell.

So turning this into a potential draft strategy, I like the idea of drafting two of the ‘elite tier’ running backs in rounds 1 & 2 if I can. So in a 12-teamer, if I get first overall I would be aiming for something like Jonathan Taylor & Javonte Williams. If I get dealt a mid-1st I would be planning for something like Najee Harris & D’Andre Swift/Javonte Williams, and if I get a late-1st assuming that both Najee Harris + Jonathan Taylor are gone I would personally roll the dice on the duo of D’Andre Swift & Javonte Williams. If you don’t feel comfortable taking both Swift and Williams this high (it is a riskier strategy), you can go to the ‘hero RB’ draft strategy and take one of them and an elite WR like Stefon Diggs or Deebo Samuel.

After this I would focus on the other positions for a few rounds – only taking a running back if there’s a value I like at their current ADP (doesn’t necessarily need to be a Swift Formula candidate). Once we get to the ‘elite complementary back tier’ draft range I would do my best to acquire at least one of A.J. Dillon and Tony Pollard since they have league-winning upside if Aaron Jones or Ezekiel Elliott gets hurt and are capable FLEX plays in a pinch. And then round out my draft getting as many of the late-round dual-threat dart throws RBs as I can – Michael Carter, Alexander Mattison, and Kenneth Gainwell

 

 


 

Historical Data

 

Let’s take a look at the candidates in each of the previous seasons who met these criteria and the season that followed to gauge the success of this formula. ADP data is based on data from fantasy football calculator for 12-team standard leagues.

 

2014 Candidates

 

The candidates for the 2014 season were Eddie Lacy, DeMarco Murray, Giovani Bernard, Andre Ellington, Le’Veon Bell, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Bilal Powell.

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
Eddie Lacy 246 1139 42 427 13 9th overall
DeMarco Murray 392 1845 57 416 13 13th overall
Giovani Bernard 168 680 43 349 7 18th overall
Andre Ellington 201 660 46 395 5 25th overall
Le’Veon Bell 290 1361 83 854 11 29th overall
Jacquizz Rodgers 58 217 29 173 2 NA (>163rd overall)
Bilal Powell 33 141 11 92 1 NA (>163rd overall)

From the 2014 candidates, Le’Veon Bell and DeMarco Murray were the biggest hits of the year, finishing as the #1 overall RB and #2 overall RB in fantasy during the season (Bell was #1 in PPR leagues, and Murray #1 in standard leagues).

*Other Note(s): Giovani Bernard became firmly entrenched in a committee with Jeremy Hill this year, with Hill getting 222 carries for 1124 rushing yards.

 

2015 Candidates

 

In 2015, we saw Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy, Andre Ellington, and Giovani Bernard return as candidates and have CJ Anderson, Lamar Miller, and Devonta Freeman join them. Let’s see how they all ended up performing.

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
Le’Veon Bell 113 556 24 136 3 2nd overall
Eddie Lacy 187 758 20 188 5 3rd overall
CJ Anderson 152 720 25 183 5 7th overall
Lamar Miller 194 872 47 397 10 23rd overall
Andre Ellington 45 289 15 148 3 53rd overall
Giovani Bernard 154 730 49 472 2 85th overall
Devonta Freeman 264 1061 73 578 14 104th overall

Yikes. This was one of the roughest years for running backs in recent memory with only 7 running backs running for over 1000 yards: Adrian Peterson  (1485), Doug Martin  (1402), Todd Gurley (1106), Darren McFadden (1089), Chris Ivory (1070), Latavius Murray (1066), and the #1 PPR fantasy back Devonta Freeman (1061). But on the bright side, so far the formula is 2/2 on having the #1 overall fantasy back on its list.

*Other Note(s): Le’Veon Bell was injured after just 6 games. Eddie Lacy put on significant weight this season and never returned to his original form. CJ Anderson played through the season with an injury and split carries with Ronnie Hillman. Andre Ellington ended up losing the starting job to Chris Johnson and then later rookie David Johnson.

 

2016 Candidates

 

Luckily, the dip in overall fantasy RB production from 2015 proved to only be temporary, and we had some major breakout performances. In 2016, the returning candidates were Devonta Freeman and Giovani Bernard, and a bunch of newcomers in David Johnson, Latavius Murray, Melvin Gordon, Duke Johnson, TJ Yeldon, Charles Sims, and Javorius Allen join them. Here’s a look at how they all performed.

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
David Johnson 293 1239 80 879 20 5th overall
Devonta Freeman 227 1079 54 462 13 18th overall
Latavius Murray 195 788 33 264 12 31st overall
Melvin Gordon 254 997 41 419 12 47th overall
Giovani Bernard 91 337 39 336 3 70th overall
Duke Johnson 73 358 53 514 1 81st overall
TJ Yeldon 130 465 50 312 2 92nd overall
Charles Sims 51 149 24 190 2 102nd overall
Javorius Allen 9 34 3 15 0 NA (>168th overall)

This season was a pretty strong one for the four highest-drafted “Mixon formula” backs (David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Melvin Gordon), with David Johnson finishing as the #1 overall fantasy back (making this formula go 3/3 on having the #1 fantasy back on the list). Melvin Gordon was also a major success, putting up over 1400 yards from scrimmage in just 13 games.

*Other Note(s): Javorius “Buck” Allen was a healthy scratch in many games, failing to get playing time over Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon.

 

2017 Candidates

 

If there was one thing I was proud of in the 2017 season, it was predicting a major bounce-back year for Todd Gurley and watching him carry my team to my first fantasy championship. Overall, this year was particularly interesting. We saw a couple of pairs of teammates make the list (Devonta Freeman+Tevin Coleman and Isaiah Crowell+Duke Johnson) for the first time, as well as seven other candidates in David Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Ty Montgomery, Devontae Booker, and Jerick McKinnon. Gurley was the big hit from the 2017 candidates, but how did the rest of the candidates fare?

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
David Johnson 11 23 6 67 0 1st overall
Devonta Freeman 196 865 36 317 8 6th overall
Melvin Gordon 284 1105 58 476 12 8th overall
Ezekiel Elliott 242 983 26 269 9 10th overall
Todd Gurley 279 1305 64 788 19 17th overall
Isaiah Crowell 206 853 28 182 2 25th overall
Ty Montgomery 71 273 23 170 4 37th overall
Tevin Coleman 156 628 27 299 8 75th overall
Duke Johnson 82 348 74 693 7 119th overall
Devontae Booker 79 299 30 275 1 NA (>211th overall)
Jerick McKinnon 150 570 51 421 5 NA (>211th overall)

Todd Gurley made this formula 4/4 on having the #1 overall fantasy back on this list and helped many teams win championships with his fantasy playoff performance. This season also saw a few players drafted after pick 100 return great value in Duke Johnson and Jerick McKinnon.

*Other Note(s): The #1 fantasy RB of the 2016 season, David Johnson, only played in 1 game after fracturing his wrist in week 1. Despite a solid year, Devonta Freeman missed 2 games due to a concussion. Ezekiel Elliott put up over 1200 yards from scrimmage in just 10 games despite a 6 game suspension. Ty Montgomery only played in 8 games, losing his starting job and finishing 3rd on the Packers in carries behind Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.

 

2018 Candidates

 

2018 was the year where we saw ADP begin to catch up with the “Mixon formula” candidates and epitomizes the importance of the formula with how the game of football has evolved in recent memory. Seven of the eleven players who made the list in the 2018 season ended up having an ADP in the top 25. The candidates? Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Kenyan Drake, Tarik Cohen, Duke Johnson, and Devontae Booker. Here’s how they fared.

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
Todd Gurley 256 1251 59 580 21 1st overall
Alvin Kamara 194 883 81 709 18 7th overall
Leonard Fournette 133 439 22 185 6 8th overall
Melvin Gordon 175 885 50 490 14 9th overall
Kareem Hunt 181 824 26 378 14 10th overall
Christian McCaffrey 219 1098 107 867 13 14th overall
Joe Mixon 237 1168 43 296 9 21st overall
Kenyan Drake 120 535 53 477 9 37th overall
Tarik Cohen 99 444 71 725 8 98th overall
Duke Johnson 40 201 47 429 3 135th overall
Devontae Booker 34 183 38 275 1 150th overall

Overall, it was a very strong year for the candidates. We saw the formula go 5/5 on having the #1 fantasy RB, with Christian McCaffrey in PPR and Todd Gurley in standard format.

*Other Note(s): Leonard Fournette struggled through injury and suspensions, appearing in only 8 games. Melvin Gordon was having his best season to date prior to an MCL sprain in week 12, and only appeared in 12 games. Kareem Hunt was having a phenomenal season in his 11 games prior to being cut due to an off-the-field incident. Joe Mixon missed 2 games with a knee injury.

 

2019 Candidates

 

This year had 13 candidates for the Mixon Formula and was the first year I dropped an article proposing the idea of the Mixon Formula. 8 of the 13 candidates would have likely cost you a 1st or 2nd round pick, and the other 5 were generally available for a price outside the top 40 picks. The 2019 candidates were: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, James Conner, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Kerryon Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Kenyan Drake, Tarik Cohen, Austin Ekeler, and Nyheim Hines.

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total Touchdowns ADP
Saquon Barkley 217 1003 52 438 8 1.5
Alvin Kamara 171 797 81 533 6 2.5
Christian McCaffrey 287 1387 116 1005 19 2.5
Ezekiel Elliott 301 1357 54 420 14 4.3
James Conner 116 464 34 251 7 8.1
Joe Mixon 278 1137 35 287 8 14.3
Dalvin Cook 250 1135 53 519 13 16.1
Kerryon Johnson 113 403 10 127 4 26.9
Phillip Lindsay 224 1011 35 196 7 43.7
Kenyan Drake 170 817 50 345 8 60.4
Tarik Cohen 64 213 79 456 3 73.1
Austin Ekeler 132 557 92 993 11 77.9
Nyheim Hines 52 199 44 320 2 NA

This was another strong year for the candidates. The formula once again had the number 1 overall fantasy running back on its list with Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. James Conner and Kerryon Johnson were the big busts of the formula during this season, as both struggled with injuries throughout the year. The players on the list with mid/late round ADPs were the moneymakers of this formula with Phillip Lindsay, Kenyan Drake, and Austin Ekeler all-surpassing expectations.

 

2020 Candidates

 

This year wasn’t as helpful as some other years for the ‘Mixon Formula’ due to the higher ADPs of the players on the list, but was still pretty solid overall. Nine of the 14 candidates would have cost you a first/second round pick, and only three of the candidates were available outside of the top 30 picks. The 2020 candidates were: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, Austin Ekeler, James Conner, Chris Carson, Ronald Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Royce Freeman. Below is how they performed and their ADP going into the year.

2020 Mixon Formula Candidates’ Performance

The formula once again produced the number one overall running back in Alvin Kamara or Dalvin Cook depending on the scoring format you play in.

Notes: Quite a few injuries this year: Christian McCaffrey played in just three games, Saquon Barkley played in just two games, Joe Mixon played in just six games, Austin Ekeler played in just ten games, etc.

 

2021 Candidates

 

This is the year where the formula was rebranded from the ‘Mixon Formula’ to the ‘Swift Formula’ since Joe Mixon was no longer eligible for the list and D’Andre Swift has one of the best running back names ever. There were 10 candidates in 2021: Jonathan Taylor, Antonio Gibson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, David Montgomery, Josh Jacobs, D’Andre Swift, Myles Gaskin, Chase Edmonds, Devin Singletary, and Nyheim Hines. Below is their ADP going into the season as well as a basic look at how they performed.

2021 ‘Swift Formula Candidates’ Performance

The formula once again had the number one overall fantasy running back in Jonathan Taylor (all formats).

Notes: Clyde Edwards-Helaire played in just 10 games, David Montgomery played in just 13 games, D’Andre Swift played in just 13 games, and Chase Edmonds played in just 12 games. Everyone else on the list played 15+ games in 2021.

 

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

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