Before the 2022 NFL Draft, almost everyone expected the Atlanta Falcons to target an early running back. Her leading rusher in 2021 was former receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and he managed just 153 carries and finished for 618 yards. The man behind him on last season’s depth chart was journeyman Mike Davis. However, Atlanta decided not to address the position until the fifth round.
The Falcons selected Tyler Allgeier from BYU with the 151st pick in the NFL draft. They also signed Damien Williams early in free agency and after selecting Allgeier, the Falcons fired Davis. Right now their depth chart consists of Patterson, Williams, Allgeier and Qadree Ollison. Patterson and Williams are both on the wrong side of 30, and if either of them rushes for 650 yards, it’s the first time for either of them.
It can make sense to target ambiguous backfields since fantasy managers don’t know how to score them. Allgeier has a chance in Atlanta to take on an early role on their offense while Patterson continues to work in a hybrid and handover role.
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Tyler Allgeier‘s prospect profile
Tyler Allgeier transferred to BYU’s football program after failing to earn a scholarship. He ended up redshirting his freshman year on campus in 2018 and played sparingly the following year. In fact, Allgeier not only played running back in 2019, but also snapped a few linebackers and recorded 26 tackles and a forced fumble. It wasn’t until 2020 that he became the starting running back for the Cougars and wasted no time making a name for himself.
In his first season as a starter, the former walk-on recorded just 149 carries but still managed 1,133 yards. He finished the season with a paltry average of 7.6 yards per attempt. This ranked third nationally among running backs with at least 100 carries. That wasn’t the only area where he shone, however. Despite only getting 149 carries, which was tied for 24th place, he still managed to finish sixth in yards after contact with 704.
The efficiency he demonstrated in 2020 put Allgeier in a position where it would be difficult to meet the high standards he set the previous year, but he was up to the task. In 2021, Allgeier ranked 10th in the country in yards per carry with an average of 5.8, according to Sports Info Solutions. While that number has declined since his 2020 season, his attempts nearly doubled to 275.
He finished with 123.9 for the third most rushing yards per game. As good as these numbers look, the advanced metrics make Allgeier look even better. He had the highest percentage of runs where he was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage and still finished on a positive expected points gain, according to Sports Info Solutions. He did this 32% of the time. He also had one of the lowest bust percentages in the country. This is defined as the percentage of games resulting in expected extra points of -1. It was just 5%, which was the fifth lowest in the country.
Tyler Allgeier in the last two seasons:
1st in rushing yards after contact (1,847),
Second in quick touchdowns (36)
3rd in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries.
Would have been taken by Atlanta in Rd 4 if they had a pick available. https://t.co/Z4frrpqaWi
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) May 2, 2022
He averaged 16 broken tackles per 100 attempts — the seventh highest — and averaged 3.5 yards from contact per attempt, ranking sixth. Allgeier finished with a total of 1,611 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He also received 32 goals in the passing game that last season. He ended up with 28 receptions and 199 reception yards. There’s certainly a lot to like here when it comes to how Allgeier runs football. NFL.com Lead Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein said the following about him:
“Well built, highly productive zone runner with impressive vision and feel for the job. Allgeier is supple and instinctive with one-cut talent. He effectively navigates through the ups and downs of career development. He is more agile than nervous and reliant on his ability to process quickly. While he sees it clearly, his pace and burst can be a little hit-or-miss and allow the NFL defense to thwart the chunk play. Allgeier is clearly talented as a runner, but he has to prove his explosiveness.”
This is probably the reason for Allgeier’s design failure. For starters, he doesn’t seem to have the talent to make a huge contribution to the passing game. This type of running back is being devalued in today’s passing league, but as Zierlein suggests, there are questions about his explosiveness and whether he has the speed and quickness to hit the holes that open up for him. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) leaves something to be desired.
Tyler Allgeier is an RB prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored 7.33 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 426 out of 1589 RB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/1t3Pg24qRW #RAS pic.twitter.com/v4MpVZX41W
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 4, 2022
He’s only a marginal athlete across the board, but he’s a great size at 224 pounds. That kind of size could help him see the field in early downs and goal-to-go situations. His 4.60 forties are not ideal and illustrate some of the concerns Zierlein previously pointed out. However, he has clearly shown that he can be an effective runner, and Atlanta has one of the most ambiguous backfields in the NFL. Does that make him someone fantasy managers should target in 2022?
what is Tyler Allgeiers role in Atlanta?
The Falcons had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL last season. They were 29th in attempts with 393, 31st in yards with 1,451, had just 11 touchdowns, which ranked 29th, and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, which ranked 30th. At the start of the 2022 season, they really haven’t done much to address these concerns other than adding Allgeier to the draft.
They brought in Damien Williams, but he’s been a journeyman his entire career. He has never rushed for more than 500 yards in a season and averaged just 48 attempts per season during his seven-year career. If they want to improve their rushing game, Williams isn’t the type to help, and Patterson was at Atlanta in 2021 when her running game was so poor.
Patterson finished last season with 153 carries and 618 yards. His 4.0 yards-per-carry average ranked 34th among running backs with at least 100 tries. Patterson brings a much more rounded game and presents himself as a threat in the passing game. He amassed 69 goals last year, which ranked fifth among running backs. His double threat ability will keep Patterson on the field far more times than Williams and Allgeier. However, there’s a chance Allgeier might see some of that early work, which Patterson isn’t as well equipped to do.
“There’s absolutely a possibility that Tyler Allgeier could be at the back with the Falcons early on [as a rookie] and use Cordarrelle Patterson in a hybrid role,” @mikerothstein on fantasy dirt @SiriusXMFantasy.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) May 5, 2022
Mike Rothstein covers the Atlanta Falcons for ESPN so it’s possible this could have some legs early in the season. While Patterson can be an exciting offensive weapon, using him between tackles where his strengths lie isn’t ideal. In that case, it may make more sense for the Falcons to field Allgeier, and Atlanta may be doing so this season.
The backup running backs for the Falcons last year totaled 196 carries and received 77 targets. If they intend to use Patterson in more of a hybrid role, fantasy managers shouldn’t count on nearly 77 targets being handed out to Allgeier and Williams. That’s especially true after the Falcons drafted Drake London in the first round, and it’s reasonable to expect a big step forward for Kyle Pitts in his sophomore year. However, given the chance to handle the majority of rush attempts by non-Patterson running backs, Allgeier could still be looking at nearly 200 touches in his freshman year.
That’s not a given and Allgeier still has to beat Damien Williams for 2nd place on the depth chart, but assuming he can do that, Allgeier could be in line for early down work and nearly 200 carries for Atlanta as a rookie. His role in the passing game is likely to be minimal to almost non-existent. The concern with the fantasy is that his touches could very well be “empty touches”. He is unlikely to be involved in the passing game and Patterson will likely be back in the red zone given his ability to catch passes. This means that the carries Allgeier would receive would be mostly between the 20-yard lines with little touchdown upside.
What’s interesting is what his role would be if Patterson were injured. There’s no question that Williams’ role would increase, but Allgeier would likely face a significant workload in that scenario.
The former BYU star currently has an underdog ADP of 142.5 and is drafted as an RB45. Drafted in behind him are a couple of running backs like Darrell Henderson, Gus Edwards (assuming he’s healthy after his cruciate ligament rupture) and Kenneth Gainwell, who are in similar situations but have better attacks that are probably better targets than Allgeier, but that’s about the range where fantasy managers should be confident in drafting it. If he’s able to beat Williams and become the Falcons’ No. 2 pick, he’ll likely carry RB4’s worth and have some advantages in the event of a Patterson injury.
The final result
- Allgeier has been a prolific runner at BYU in 2020 and 2021.
- He’s a tall 224-pound running back who has demonstrated an ability to break down tackles and gain yards from contact.
- He lacks explosiveness and long pace to hit the home run.
- Passing play is likely to play a very small role, reducing his advantage.
- Allgeier could have 175-200 touches, but it could be empty touches (no receptions, low scoring potential).
- He is best viewed as an RB4 with an advantage.