Nobody really expected Cordarrelle Patterson to have a breakout performance in his ninth season, but the 31-year-old running back found new life after signing with the Atlanta Falcons ahead of 2021 and put up his best single-season stats of his career.
Also making the move to Atlanta was former Chicago Bears passing coordinator Dave Ragone, who was installed as the Falcons’ new offensive coordinator for last season. Patterson and Ragone spent time together in Chicago for two seasons, and when they both made the move to Atlanta, Ragone knew just how to utilize the ninth-year running back.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Rushing: Patterson logged a career-high 153 rush attempts and 618 total yards, along with six touchdowns and two fumbles through 16 games in 2021.
Receiving: He was targeted 69 times, catching 52 of them for 548 total receiving yards — another new career high for the former Tennessee Volunteer. He added five more receiving touchdowns, averaging 10.5 yards per reception.
Fantasy: Patterson finished as the RB9 after scoring a total of 234.6 PPR fantasy points, averaging 14.7 points per game. His best fantasy haul was in Week 4 against the Commanders when he racked up 34.6 points, with three receiving touchdowns on the day.
Falcons offseason moves
Atlanta’s offense will look much different this year as their offseason was highlighted by moving QB Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts while signing Marcus Mariota, who spent two seasons with the Raiders. He’ll add some much-needed mobility at the QB position as Patterson will look to benefit from the changing of the guard. The Falcons also signed WR Bryan Edwards from the Raiders while drafting Drake London with the No. 5 overall pick, creating a lethal pair of wideouts that could affect Patterson’s target share next season if he continues to play as a hybrid RB/WR.
2022 best case scenario
In the best case scenario, Patterson would see even more action than he did last season, as he’s still at the top of the list in the backfield. Through the first 14 games last year, he averaged 15.8 fantasy points per game and sat as the overall RB7 in that stretch. In an ideal situation, he’d be able to keep that up all season long instead of petering out in the final four games, helping the Falcons reach their first postseason appearance since 2017.
2022 worst case scenario
The Marcus Mariota signing ends up being detrimental to Patterson’s passing game, as Mariota is well known to be more of a rushing quarterback and hasn’t targeted RBs quite as much in the past. Especially with the London and Edwards signings, it could eat significantly into Patterson’s target share, tanking his stats as his receiving yards made up nearly half of his total yardage from last season.
Patterson should be in for another banner season, even if he doesn’t quite live up to his performance in 2021. He comes into 2022 as the first choice for Atlanta’s offense in the backfield, so expect him to get plenty of rushing attempts especially early on in the season. He’ll likely finish in the top 10 RBs in fantasy again, if not slightly higher than his RB9 finish last season.