Bargains and Busts for all 32 Teams

In this thread, I will look at players that I have significantly above or below ECR, based on PPR scoring. For ECR, I selected the top 20 experts from 2021, with a recency of max. 14 days.

Arizona Cardinals

A bad start for this thread, all player ranks look okay.

DeAndre Hopkins will probably not reach his rank of WR#39, I have him lower. But you cannot really rank him by his season total, as in the 11 games after his suspension, he will play a greater role than his rank suggests. However, with Hollywood Brown in town, I would not expect D-Hop to put up WR1 numbers in every game he plays.

Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts is slightly overrated (TE#3), I have him at TE#6 this season. I wouldn’t call that a bust, but he isn’t worth being reached for in the early rounds of redraft leagues. He does remain a top dynasty asset, though.

Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman (WR#32) is underrated. Yes, the Ravens are a run-first team with one of the lowest passing volumes in the league. But so were the 2021 Seahawks, and they were still the only team to produce two top-15 WRs. Bateman and Mark Andrews can split almost the entire passing volume up between them. Bateman is my WR#19, Andrews is my TE#1.

Buffalo Bills

Nothing to see here. But keep an eye on Gabriel Davis’ ADP in your league. I have him at WR#26. In some leagues, he’s drafted even earlier, in other leagues he’s still being slept on. Don’t sleep on him, but don’t overdraft him, either.

Carolina Panthers

D.J. Moore will need a CMC injury to deliver on his WR#14 rank. I have him at WR#22 if CMC plays all 17 games. CMC himself checks in at RB#4, though the top tier has 4 players extremely close in terms of projected points.

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields is overrated at QB#16. I see no reason to believe that the team totals will be a lot better than in 2021, which would make Fields the QB#27, despite his rushing upside. I am also slightly lower on Darnell Mooney, and have him at WR#30, compared to his WR#23 ECR.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow looks a bit overrated. Do we really expect the Bengals’ passing offense to be better still than they were in 2021? I see them improving only marginally, if at all, which would make Burrow the QB#11, compared to his QB#7 ECR.

Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are fine, though. The Bengals will be one of 2 teams to produce two fantasy WR1s this year.

Cleveland Browns

It’s still unclear how many games Deshaun Watson will be allowed to play this year. The ECR ranks look okay to me for the moment.

Dallas Cowboys

I do not see any progression in the team totals for the Cowboys, compared to 2021. Yet still, I find most of their players underrated. Last year, despite being a top 3 passing offense, they did not produce any top fantasy WRs, and that’s probably what makes people overly cautious now.

However, the 2022 Cowboys have a lot less mouths to feed on the roster. So if they can keep the team volume alive, all skill position players should be better than their ECR.

The biggest steal on their roster is rookie Jalen Tolbert. His ECR is currently WR#69, behind Michael Gallup, who’s expected to miss a significant portion of the season. I have Tolbert at WR#31, making him one of the biggest steals in redraft leagues this year.

CeeDee Lamb is also underrated. I have him at WR#3, compared to his #6 ECR. Lamb will finally enjoy a full season as the undisputed alpha target on the team. He may have burned you before, but he will finally deliver this year.

Dalton Schultz is also set for another very strong season, I have him at TE#4.

Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson believers will hate me now, but I can’t help it: he’s overrated in fantasy. I do expect the Broncos passing game to be a ton better with him under center. But with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon in the backfield, I don’t see Russell putting up big rushing numbers. He’s my QB#16, compared to his #10 ECR.

Detroit Lions

Nothing to see here, I have all players close to their ECR. Including Amon-Ra St. Brown at WR#25, because Jameson Williams will play only a few games this year, if any at all. Which is why I have him outside the top 100, while his ECR is #67.

Green Bay Packers

Something is odd here when looking at ECR. Aaron Rodgers is QB#13, I have him 2 spots higher. But all Green Bay pass catchers are ranked well outside the higher tiers.

If we expect Aaron Rodgers to do well, then somebody will have to catch those passes. Because whatever Rodgers is taking, it will not turn him into a new Lamar Jackson in his age 39 season.

However, I do expect him to pass the ball around, so it is okay to keep expectations tempered for all Green Bay WRs. Lazard is still underrated at an ECR of WR#42, I have him at WR#30. And Robert Tonyan could be a top 10 TE once more - if he is healthy for the season. Right now, that’s not granted, so monitor his status.

Houston Texans

With rookie John Metchie missing the season, Brandin Cooks could be in for another completely unspectacular top fantasy season. I have him at WR#14, compared to his #19 ECR.

TE Brevin Jordan could be the top sleeper on that position. I have him at TE#14, compared to his #26 ECR.

WR Nico Collins will also outperform his ECR of WR#66, I have him at #49.

And rookie RB Dameon Pierce can do better than his ECR of RB#38. I have him at #31, but keep in mind it’s not a given that he will lead that backfield.

Don’t mistake all these underrated players for a sign that Davis Mills will be a great fantasy asset, though. His completion rate was spectacular for a rookie last year, but his depth was not. He is a pocket passer who will not generate a lot of yards. His ECR of QB#29 is completely correct.

Indianapolis Colts

Another team where QB and WR rankings don’t add up. Matt Ryan’s ECR is QB#18, and that looks exactly right. That translates into roughly 4,000 yards and 28 TDs.

But the only pass catcher with a notable rank is the WR#12? Ryan will complete a ton of passes, but nobody is going to catch them? Not gonna happen.

2 players are massively underrated here:

Michael Pittman, said WR#12 in ECR. He will be the alpha receiver, but that role will elevate him to WR#4 in my rankings.

And RB Nyheim Hines. The Colts plan to involve him more into the passing game, as a pass catcher out of the backfield. And even a modest increase in targets elevates him to RB#24 in my rankings (keep in mind: PPR). His ECR is RB#40. He’s a total steal. And no, I did not fade Jonathan Taylor. He’s my RB#2, a whooping 0.2 points behind my favorite for the RB#1 spot.

Rookie Alec Pierce should also be able to outperform his ECR of WR#74, I have him at #58.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Another QB-WR mismatch, but this time, it’s in the other direction. Trevor Lawrence’s ECR is QB#19, so about the same as Matt Ryan’s (see above). And all pass catchers are ranked pretty low. So they must be underrated, right?

Wrong. Why? Simply: because unlike in Indy, we have a ton of them in Jacksonville.

A pass-catching specialist in the backfield (Travis Etienne), two TEs (Dan Arnold, Evan Engram) and 4 WRs (Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones, Zay Jones, Laviska Shenault) will all demand targets.

As a result, even Christian Kirk as the expected top target will struggle to reach his ECR of WR#40.

Stay away from all Jaguars pass catchers this year, with the exception of Travis Etienne. He is the only one whom I can see marginally outperforming his ECR of RB#18.

Kansas City Chiefs

I said about the 2021 Cowboys that they were a top 3 passing offense that produced not a single top fantasy WR.

The Chiefs will be in 2022 what the Cowboys were in 2021. Stay away from all their players not named Travis Kelce or Patrick Mahomes. Even Mahomes I have a tad lower (QB#5) than his ECR (QB#3).

Las Vegas Raiders

I am slightly lower on Davante Adams than the experts. I have him at WR#8, compared to his #5 ECR. But overall, the Raiders players look properly ranked.

Los Angeles Chargers

I expect the 2022 Chargers to be the best passing offense of the league. So do the experts, it seems, because their players are properly ranked. Herbert is my favorite for the QB#1 crown this year, I have him slightly ahead of Josh Allen.

Keenan Allen could finish a tad lower than his ECR (WR#9). I have him at #13, unless he can claim a larger volume share than he did in 2021.

Josh Palmer seems to be in the firm lead for the WR3 position, which will make him more valuable than his ECR of WR#75. I have him at #50.

Los Angeles Rams

Cam Akers is overrated. His ECR is RB#20, I have him at #25. The Rams don’t run the ball that often, and he has very little pass catching upside.

Kupp will regress in 2022. The trick is, he has a huge regression treshold before losing the WR#1 crown. I say he’ll keep, though the race will be a lot closer in 2022.

TE Tyler Higbee looks underrated. With the same volume share as in 2021, I have him at TE#12, compared to his #18 ECR.

Miami Dolphins

No, I don’t see the Fins’ passing offense to improve a lot. Maybe a few more team yards, but that’s it.

No, I don’t see Tua making big strides as a passer. His ECR of QB#17 looks absolutely right to me.

And yet, both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are underrated.
ECR: Hill #10, Waddle #16
My WR rank: Hill #6, Waddle #10.
The 2022 Dolphins are the second team (along with the Bengals) to produce two fantasy WR1s, despite being only a mediocre passing offense.

Keep in mind: so did the 2021 Seahawks, and they had the lowest passing volume in the league. But it was almost entirely distributed between 2 pass catchers. That’s what I see for Miami this year.

Stay away from their backfield, though.

Minnesota Vikings

They plan to pass the ball more in 2021. So why are we that high on Dalvin Cook then? Do we really expect him to keep his rushing share AND see more targets AND stay healthy, which he couldn’t do with his old volume already?

His ECR is RB#5, my ranking is RB#10.

Justin Jefferson is the best bet to de-throne Cooper Kupp this year. I ‘only’ have him as WR#2 overall, but by a difference of just 8 points.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the other 2 WRs in my initial post.

Adam Thielen is 32 when the season kicks off. His last 1000+ yard season dates back to 2018. Ever since, he’s been regressing. His ECR is WR#33, and even if he can repeat his 10 TDs from 2021, I only have him at WR#40.

The Vikings WR to draft outside round 1 is KJ Osborn. Even after his 2021 breakout, he is still being ignored by analysts and fantasy managers alike. His ECR is WR#77, his ADP is even lower on some platforms. I have him as WR#44, even with Thielen projected to be fully healthy. As soon as Thielen gets injured, Osborn is a fantasy WR2. He’s among the best value picks for WRs, and my gut says he will outscore Thielen this year.

Don’t waste a mid-round pick on Thielen when you can get a better Vikings WR several rounds later.

New England Patriots

Rhamondre Stevenson is underrated His ECR is RB#37, I have him at #28.

The rest of the team is ranked properly. Which makes the 2022 New England Patriots a fantastic team to stay away from in fantasy.

New Orleans Saints

This will be a different Saints team than in recent years. They will pass a lot more, and run a lot less.

That’s no problem for Alvin Kamara, though. If anything, he will benefit from it. If he can dodge a suspension, I have him at RB#8, compared to his ECR of #12. Keep in mind that the suspension isn’t off the table yet. His hearing was only postponed, not cancelled.

Jameis Winston is underrated at QB#20. He never finished a full season he played at less than QB#14. I have him at #13 this year, he is one of the few potential QB steals.

Chris Olave is brutally underrated. Even if Michael Thomas delivers on his ECR of WR#25 (and I think he will), there still is a ton of volume unclaimed in New Orleans. And I see nobody else than Olave to claim it. I have him at WR#17. Which makes him a gigantic steal, compared to his ECR of WR#46, even if he and Thomas would swap places in my projection.

New York Giants

If any analyst tells you Saquon Barkley is underrated at ECR RB#11, then don’t listen to them.

I gave the 2022 Giants more team passing yards. And more team passing TDs. And more team rushing yards And more team rushing TDs.

And I gave Saquon a 65% share on the ground, and a 15% share through the air.

He’s RB#12 in my ranking, and I feel that may be too high already.

There is no player on this roster that promises value compared to their ECR. Not a single one.

New York Jets

There is no player on this roster that promises value compared to their ECR. Not a single one. Yes, that was copy & paste. Intentionally.

Philadelphia Eagles

So I did buy into the TC talk that Jalen Hurts is showing progress as a passer, and bumped up the team passing totals.

Hurts is still only my QB#7 (ECR #5).

A.J. Brown is still only my WR#16 (ECR #11).

And both ranks are better than in my July rankings. Hurts will have to improve a ton to elevate himself and AJB beyond their ECR.

I’m still very low on Miles Sanders, but so are the experts (ECR RB#29 vs. my #32). Kenny Gainwell has some upside, in case he really gets more volume, but I still wouldn’t draft him a lot higher than his ECR of RB#46.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Najee Harris is still my favorite for the RB#1 crown. But it’s gotten awfully close against Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry, who are both within 3 fantasy points of Najee.

Diontae Johnson could be able to outperform his WR#15 ECR, I currently have him at #10.

Either Chase Claypool (ECR WR#49) or George Pickens (#65) will outperform their ECR, too.

For Pat Freiermuth, I’m a tad lower than his TE#11 ECR, I have him at #13.

The one player who could be an absolute steal on this roster is… (drumroll)… Mitch Trubisky. Of course only if he can keep the job throughout the season, and that’s not a given.

But if he can, I have him at QB#17. Compared to his #31, that would make him the biggest QB steal in fantasy this year. I don’t expect him to throw nearly as much as Big Ben, who had the most passing attempts in 2020, and the 4th most in 2021. I also don’t see him getting close to Big Ben’s completion rate, that was #1 in 2020 and #6 in 2021.

But Trubisky will definitely get more yards per completion, because Big Ben was dead last in that category. Trubisky could easily get more yards out of less passes, while still being well below average in terms of accuracy and depth. Plus, he has at least some rushing upside.

Trubisky is an intriguing QB3 in superflex formats, where it won’t kill your season if he does lose the job at some point.

San Francisco 49ers

I won’t even try to decipher the mess that is the Niners’ backfield. I wouldn’t buy Elijah Mitchell at his RB#23 ECR, though.

Trey Lance is an unknown, and his ECR of QB#11 looks alright to me.

Deebo Samuel is overrated, though. His rushing yards and TDs will be mostly gone, if not entirely. And he could even lose some of his passing volume to Brandon Aiyuk.

I have ranked Kittle (TE#5) and Aiyuk (WR#41) exactly at their ECR. If I would rank Deebo at his WR#7 ECR as well, then Lance would have to finish a top 5 QB. That seems too optimistic.

Deebo is only my WR#18. Anybody who drafts him at his #7 ECR is in for a disappointing season.

Seattle Seahawks

No value to be found here. Ken Walker has a chance to outperform his ECR (RB#35) if Penny struggles. At the same time, Penny could outperform his (RB#33) if he stays healthy all season and gets the RB1a role.

Both are properly ranked for the moment. If I was to pick one, I’d take Walker, though. We all know Penny’s medical history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last year, Brady finished the season as the QB#1 in fantasy. This year, his ECR is QB#8.

I cannot rule out that he finally starts regressing. But if he doesn’t, he will easily outperform his ECR and finish the season as QB#3.

I have both Fournette and Rachaad White above their ECR.
Fournette: ECR RB#10 vs. my RB#6.
White: ECR RB#50 vs. my RB#30.
Yes, the Bucs have one of the lowest rushing volumes in the league. But at least, their QB doesn’t soak up any of it.

I am lower on all 4 Bucs WRs, though.
Mike Evans: ECR WR#8 / me #11
Chris Godwin; ECR #31 / me #42
Russell Gage; ECR #48 / me #61
Julio Jones: ECR #57 / me #76

Even a top 3 passing offense like the Bucs cannot entertain that many pass catchers. Keep in mind they still have 2 TEs and 2 pass catching RBs. See the 2021 Cowboys as a reference - it won’t work.

Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry is undervalued at ECR RB#6 - if he stays healthy. If he can sustain his monster 85% volume share in this top 3 rushing offense throughout 17 games, he will be the RB#1, and it won’t even be close. But as a matter of fact, he couldn’t last year. So either the Titans will dial back on his volume, or his season will be cut short again. I have him as #3 in a top-3 tier that is currently too close to call.

Either Robert Woods (ECR WR#45) or Treylon Burks (#43) will be undervalued, though not by a lot. My money is on Burks, whom I have at WR#36.

Washington Commanders

Antonio Gibson is very overrated. The Commanders drafted Brian Robinson in round 3 and bent over backwards to bring J.D. McKissic back.

I have both Robinson (ECR RB#55) and McKissic (#43 in PPR) very close to their ECR. But that doesn’t leave any room for Gibson to deliver on his RB#24 ECR. I have him at #35.

Same on the passing side, where I have Logan Thomas (ECR TE#25), Jahan Dotson (WR#61) and Curtis Samuel (WR#83) ranked close to their ECR.

But then there is no volume left for Terry McLaurin. He is my WR#38, which makes him a huge bust compared to his WR#18 ECR.

The only potential value I see on this roster is Brian Robinson, in case he completely takes over the backfield from Gibson. But even that wouldn’t make him a fantasy RB2 .Stay away from the 2022 Commanders.

As a top 5 pick in almost every draft, he’s not much of a bargain–and you’re not calling him a bust–so why is JJ in this thread?

The guy you should be talking about here is Thielen. With all the attention and hype around Jefferson, Thielen’s going to be running free through red zone meadows all season–and he was already Cousins’ red zone darling. If this offense is as strong as advertised, 12-14 TDs isn’t out of the question.

Now tell me the downside on the other TE’s. I bet most of them have a lower downside than Pitts. You almost make the argument for making range projections (upside/downside) rather than singular results for the entire season.

Interesting stat time: Over 23% of ALL of Joe Burrow’s fantasy points in 2021 came in weeks 16 and 17. And considering he just had an appendectomy and will likely miss the preseason, is there any reason to buy into the Bengals or Burrow?

I have Schultz as my TE in one dynasty league. This season, I look forward to more Chris Berman impersonations of Sgt. Schultz. :wink:

I could never hate anyone who disses the Broncos!

Now excuse me while I put up my Raider Nation flag…

In all seriousness, Seattle was hopeless with Wilson last year. Are you going to tell me Sutton and Jeudy are an upgrade over Metcalf and Lockett? I’m not seeing it.

Psst! This is the year the Packers become a run-first team. Pass it on!

Don’t be surprised if both Jones and Dillon end up as 1000 yard rushers.

He was QB#28 last season, and he only played 13 games, without a rushing attack, and with most receivers tied behind his back. I think you need to revisit this number, especially in light of your Dameon Pierce projection. How do the Texans do with a real running game?

You have Hines as a low-end RB2?

All in all, your Colts analysis does matchup with what I expect from them. They are in the weakest division with a strong chance to lockdown home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

I don’t remember who said it, but somebody in one of the Fantasy Pros podcasts called Jacksonville the “black hole of suck”. If Tom Brady had been drafted by Jacksonville, he’d have been out of the league in a few years.

So how did you rank them? Raider Nation awaits!

No Allen Robinson projection?

Wow!

The Giants are another “black hole of suck”. Daniel Jones is Sam Darnold 2.0. The only prospect here, and only in deep keeper leagues, is Tyrod Taylor, the backup QB, who might take over the QB role before the end of the year.

The problem with the Jets is we don’t really know what to expect from Zach Wilson this year. With a drastic range of outcomes, I’m not sure it’s possible to project this team.

He is my QB#3.

Henry either gets his touches reduced, or he gets hurt again. Either way, he won’t touch Najee.

I expect Pickens to get a WR3 role, leaving Claypool to dominate in non-passing downs. I’d expect the Steelers to use Claypool deep to keep defenses away from the line of scrimmage, giving Najee plenty of running room, and vice versa.

His downside is zero, his upside is QB#1. Somewhere in there is an average that makes him mediocre.

My thinking too.

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He would have had Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith to work with, though… Maybe Tom Brady could have done what Byron Leftwich could not.

Brady took off more in the Mark Brunell era of Jaguars history, although he overlapped the Leftwich era which immediately followed. It is an intriguing alternate history to consider what would have happened if the Jags had drafted Brady. Would the Jags have ruined Brady for good? Or would he have installed a winning atmosphere in that team?

Regardless, the Jags are the black hole of suck we have come to know today.

The question is how much passing volume this offense is really about to put up. So far, all we have is offseason talk. I bumped them up a few spots, from the 11-13 range to the 7-9 range in passing ranks.

Thielen had 726 yards and 10 TDs in 13 games last year. He’ll turn 32 next week. He will struggle to maintain that volume. Even if he does: 726 yards on 67 receptions and 10 TDs would make him WR#43.

I wouldn’t be surprised if KJ Osborn finished the season higher than Thielen. Osborn is a player I absolutely should have mentioned in the OP. His ECR is WR#77, I have him at #51, with the potential to go higher if Thielen misses time again.

Not really. Mark Andrews is the safest bet you can find on TE. Kelce carries a risk of age regression, but if that doesn’t cause him to miss time, his volume is safe. Waller is pretty safe, too, as long as he doesn’t get injured again.

The next 3 TEs are pretty close to each other. Schultz, Kittle and Pitts are within 10 points of each other, while the gap to Waller is 20 points. If you project Pitts as TE#4, I won’t object.

If I find the time to publish my full positional rankings, I will do it in tiers.

The combination of volume (top 10 in passing yards and TDs) and few relevant targets. I have the Bengals down for some regression, but they still remain one of only 2 teams to produce two WR1s, even if they don’t reach last year’s team totals.

Burrow is still overrated. He doesn’t do too much on the ground, and the team passing volume is top 10, but not top 5 or top 3. People buy into his cool Smokin’ Joe attitude. I dig it, but as a matter of fact, smoking cigars in the locker room doesn’t score fantasy points.

No, but they are not a downgrade, either. But the Broncos will allow Wilson to pass more, something that he desparately wanted to do in Seattle. But more passing means less rushing for Russ. And the Broncos will still not be a high-end passing offense. Not with the best RB comittee in the league. And that’s why the volume just isn’t there for Russ, quite similar to Burrow.

For that to happen, they’d have to rush for 2,100+ team yards. They did that in 2020, so it’s not impossible. But I have them slightly below 2,000 team yards, and both Jones and Dillon below 1,000 yards rushing. Both will see a healthy number of targets, though. I have Jones at RB#9 and Dillon at #23.

Beyond the QB#25 rank, you will find several players who did not play a full season. In projections, I usually give 32 QBs a full season, as it would be very speculative to project when a team would switch QBs.

So while I have Mills at QB#30, he’s pretty much guaranteed to finish higher if he plays all 17 games. So is every other QB in that tier.

As for the team totals: do we really expect the Texans to make huge strides? Pierce was a 4th round pick, and many felt he was a reach in that round. Do we really expect him to set the world on fire? I don’t. What makes him interesting is that he could become the lead back right out of the gates. But does lead back mean workhorse? Marlon Mack is younger than most think (26). And even Rex Burkhead may not disappear entirely, if he’s healthy.

On the passing side, they have no weapons other than Brandin Cooks. The only part of the team that got some serious new weapons is the defense, with the o-line also getting a solid asset in Kenyon Green. But will make that the Texans a better overall offense? I don’t think so.

Yup. Only in PPR, though. The Colts gave Hines a pretty substantial contract last year, only to see him disappear in the smoke cloud JT left behind. They will want to get more for their money, and also balance JT’s workload, if they don’t want this to be the last season in which he’s healthy.

Carr = QB#14 (ECR #15)

Jacobs = RB#19 (21)
Drake = RB#53 (62)
Z White = RB#60 (60)

Waller = TE#3 (4)
Moreau = TE#34 (48)

Adams = WR#8 (5)
Renfrow = WR#37 (38)

Team-wise, I see them at 4,850 passing yards (+300) and 30 TDs (+7). Rushing totals will remain mostly unchanged, they were among the lowest in the league anyway.

No, because he’s not a top tier player, and I agree with his ECR of WR#22. I have him at #20.

Wow, indeed. I should add that this is linked to me being quite optimistic for Jameis Winston. Should Winston struggle (or get injured again), I can throw my projections for Thomas and Olave out of the window.

I also have the Saints down for almost 4,000 passing yards. That’s 800 more than last year, but on the same level as 2020 and 2019.

But those are not unrealistic numbers for Winston. And if Winston does alright, Olave will finish as the highest ranked rookie WR in 2022.

Wow. I guess we can agree that there is not a lot of room to improve on his rushing totals of 784 yards and 10 TDs.

So how many passing yards do you have him down for? He’d need to get close to 4,500 to rise that high in ranking. Last year, he had 3,144 in 15 games.

And he’ll need even more if the Eagles force him to run less. Which they will, because they know they will never win a title with a QB who can’t throw.

He can touch Najee if the Titans reduce his volume share to 65-70%. A volume he might be able to withstand, which could still be enough to remain in the RB#1 race.

If they juice it up to last year’s 85% again, he will miss too many games. That’s a risk for Najee, too, btw. I have him at an 80% volume share, and he will have to sustain that to claim the crown. The Steelers will reduce his blocking duties, so he has a chance. But it’s not without risk. But then, no RB#1 season ever is.

True, but that would not speak for a high fantasy production. Being used as a decoy doesn’t earn you points. Plus, there are rumors that Claypool may be traded, though I’d dismiss that as TC talk for the moment.

QB#1 is too rich, as the Niners never threw for more than 4,200 yards in recent years. I see them below even 4,000 this year. But his rushing upside is massive, and as long as his passing isn’t worse than Jalen Hurts’ (and that’s a very low standard), he should make it to the top 10.

With the Niners having closed the door on Jimmy G, I see no risk of Lance getting benched, even if he struggles.

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I see Hurts with at least 3800 passing yard, possibly as many as 4000 or more. But the key will be in td’s, where I see him getting closer to 30 td’s. Adding Brown is another 10 td’s, plus opportunities for other receivers opening up due to Brown’s presence. The rushing yardage should remain roughly the same.

I expect Claypool will have a few games like he had back in 2020, lending credence to his skills.

What worries me about Lance isn’t getting benched, but rather a Jamarcus Russell-style downside. We really haven’t seen his talent shine through yet. Can he read defenses? Can his strong arm find the receivers against pro defenses? Stay tuned…

Okay, I have him at 3,700 yards. Not sure about the TDs, though. That’s the $1,000 question with the Eagles this year: is AJB all that was needed to make Hurts a good passer? Or would not even the best WR in world improve his passing game?

We’ll know better in a few weeks. Until then, I have him at 22 TDs.

True. But I think he’ll end up somewhere in the middle. Showing flashes, but not being consistently good. Which could still be good for a top 10 fantasy finish, thanks to his profile. You don’t have to be a good NFL QB to be a great fantasy option. Exhibit A: Hurts, Jalen.

So if he plays 18 games and doesn’t see any benefit from increased defensive attention on Jefferson, that prorates to 1,005 yards and 14 TDs in 2022, which would have been WR8 in standard scoring last year.

If he plays 18 regular season games, it means the Vikings traded him right after their week 6 game in Miami, to either the Lions, Texans, Titans or Raiders. And that he starts for his new team immediately in week 7. Not a likely scenario.

31 year old Thielen broke down in week 13. I have my doubts that 32 year old Thielen can shoulder a bigger workload.

Not at all; I’m not sure why you proposed it.

I’m not axing for “bigger,” I said, “If he DOESN’T see any benefit from increased defensive attention on JJ.”

Because it’s the only scenario in which he can play an 18th regular season game.

You prorated his 2021 workload. That means we’d also have to prorate his targets and catches, unless you expect him to switch roles with Jefferson and adapt his stellar 15 yards per catch from 2021.

More targets qualifies as “bigger workload” in my book. What makes us think that 32 year old Thielen can reverse the constant downward trend he’s been showing for 3 straight years now? His last 1,000+ yard season was 2018.

I’m projecting he stops the downward trend and repeats his 2021 performance, and I feel that may be too optimistic already. And if he repeats it, that will firmly remove him from WR2 conversation in full PPR, and from WR3/FLEX in half PPR and standard scoring.

Should Thielen regress further, KJ Osborn can enter that conversation, though. He’s the Vikings WR who is on pretty much all of my rosters.

To be honest, I expect KJ Osborn to take up the WR2 role in Minnesota this season. He did a wicked job as WR3 last season (7 td’s).

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His season really took off when Thielen got hurt in week 13. If he can usurp a fully healthy Thielen remains to be seen. I can see a scenario in which the Vikings reduce Thielen’s workload, in order to keep him healthy, and keep using him mostly in the red zone.

That could lead to a situation in which Osborn gets the Yards and Thielen gets the TDs. Which would make both of them shaky starters in fantasy.

But if Thielen misses games (and he always did in recent years), Osborn will take off. He is still being slept on by analysts and fantasy managers alike. I really need to edit him into my OP (edit: done).

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I have Osborn in one deep dynasty league, and I plan to keep him this season. I see him as the WR2 in Minnesota after JJ.

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I have him in both my dynasty leagues, even the one with a shallower roster, in which I have Chase, Pittman and Waddle.

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I didn’t say they all had to be regular season games.

Well, you’re reading the wrong book. Workloads are calculated on a per-game basis. Continuing to get 10 targets per game over 18 games is the same workload as getting 10 targets per game over 10 games.

Osborn is a red herring; Thielen is a WR2.