Fantasy Court: The Case For Ceedee Lamb in 2022
This article is part of the annual Fantasy Court series. For the opposing view, be sure to check out The Case AGAINST Ceedee Lamb by Ryan DeVaney.
Your honor, today I hope to clearly and accurately portray a man who is ready to shoot off towards the moon. My arguments will be simple and straightforward: Ceedee Lamb is talented, he’s on a good offense, his career arc is ready for an explosion, and the draft cost is actually in line with historical norms for this position.
Jury, may you be overwhelmed with the certainty that Ceedee Lamb not only is a league-winning pick in 2022 but a cornerstone for fantasy for years to come.
The Talent is Undeniable
I’ll start off with a lay-up. This guy is a stud and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone that thinks Ceedee Lamb isn’t an ascending talent. The question is more of how high is too high?
Lamb’s Rookie Profile on our site is glowing with reviews from WR guru Matt Harmon including this gem which made my heart sing: “You can envision him as the type of wideout who annually inhales 25 to 28 percent of his team’s passing targets.” His 1st round draft capital and the fact the Cowboys were willing to ship out Amari Cooper speaks volumes.
Year 2 breakouts are heavily pumped in this industry and I unashamedly am one of those. Last year, I helped edit and co-author Jason’s big article (The Sophomore Bump & Tearing Down the Wall of ADP) and Ceedee Lamb was one of the poster children for it. We wrote how “the opportunity cost of passing on players like this due to the ‘I haven’t seen it yet’ was massive. The ADPs the following year skyrocketed many of these players into the 1st or 2nd round of drafts to the point where you likely missed on getting aboard the train for redraft and keeper leagues. By Year 3, the value and discounts for these WRs were gone.”
It can be easy to simply dismiss Year 3 players as too expensive. Lamb is going ad the WR7/2.04 in Sleeper and even higher as the WR6/2.02 on Underdog. But as Peter Howard recently shared, Year 3 has the true ceiling outcome for WRs using Lamb as the example given his athletic measurables, draft capital, and opportunity.
He does “B-nanas” things on the football field like this:
CeeDee Lamb was crazy for this one.@_CeeDeeThree | @dallascowboys
via @NFL pic.twitter.com/1ZsgPqEcUU
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) July 19, 2022
Buy Into Good Offenses… Duh!
Last year, Betz and I were quite bullish on the Dallas offense putting down a wager for them to lead the league in points per game… which hit! Across the board, they were an offense that you wanted to buy into looking at their 2021 offensive ranks:
|2021||Pace of Play||PPG||Total Yards||Pass Att.||Pass Yards||Pass TD||Rush Att.||Rush Yards||Rush TD|
For all this excitement, Dallas’ fantasy pieces failed to deliver on their draft cost as I detailed in the Shocking Stats episode early in the year.
ALL of the Dallas Cowboys starters in fantasy drafts FAILED to return their draft cost in 2021.
- Dak Prescott– QB6 → QB7
- Ezekiel Elliott– RB4 → RB6
- CeeDee Lamb– WR11 → WR18
- Amari Cooper– WR15 → WR27
- Michael Gallup– WR55 → WR78
- Blake Jarwin– TE24 → TE60
- Note: Tony Pollard (RB50 → RB28) & Dalton “Doctor” Schultz (TE32 → TE3) certainly did.
You may read that and count that against Lamb but perhaps it is an opportunity to see that no one stepped up as a true alpha. The outcome of mostly subpar returns from the passing game is somewhat shocking. The targets could be even more condensed in 2022.
Enter Ceedee Lamb.
As seen in our Team Opportunity report in the Dynasty Pass, both Amari Cooper (104) & Cedrick Wilson (61) are out the door vacating a significant amount of WR targets. We still project Dallas to be a top-notch offense with Mike projecting them with the 4th most total yards in the NFL and 4,600 passing yards and more passing volume from Dak this year. Believe in Dallas, believe in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and the fact this team has ranked top-2 in neutral situation pace for three years in a row.
On DK Sportsbook, Lamb’s current player props are more than reasonable from a median perspective.
- 90.5 receptions
- 1175.5 receiving yards
- 7.5 receiving TDs
Let’s say we used those numbers as a baseline… that alone would’ve made him the WR11 last year in 0.5 scoring formats. In other words, the way he’s being viewed in the betting markets is as an elite receiver… with his median outcome. If you knew you were drafting a top-12 WR for sure, you’d likely be a happy camper.
But what would it look like for Lamb to go full super Saiyan in 2022?
3rd Year WR with Volume
What if I told you that a WR you were drafting was guaranteed 135 targets? You’d likely say be pretty stoked to have that player on your fantasy team. 12 players (in a 17-game season) accomplished that feat in 2021.
In our current Ultimate Draft Kit projections, all three Ballers (Andy- 137, Jason- 138, Mike- 150) have Lamb projected for more than 135 targets. Mike is the most bullish but let’s use recent history to take this a step further.
I compiled all of the WRs over the last decade entering their 3rd Year in the NFL drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft with that target threshold. It’s a pretty impressive list but the fantasy finish on the right side is downright staggering.
There are some absolute studs on this list but the comparison of their average draft position and fantasy finish is too green to ignore. Apart from Marquise Brown in a low-volume passing offense missing Lamar Jackson for the final two months, these WRs all slayed for fantasy. In fact, if you knew you were getting a top-5 finish from Lamb right now at the 1/2 turn, you’d lock it in. Done deal.
But this isn’t taking into account him blowing up with a true ceiling outcome. Let’s pour some more gasoline on the flames…
Over the last five years, here are Year 3 WRs who had 1,300+ receiving yards (which Mike has him projected for) and their fantasy finishes:
Ceedee Lamb is ready to take this thing to the next level with the opportunity in a high-powered offense. Finishing as the WR1 overall is not out of the realm of possibilities.
The biggest stain might be Lamb’s current ADP. I get it… for some, it might be too rich. But what if the fantasy industry is rightly pricing in Lamb’s floor/ceiling combo?
What if Lamb is a perennial top-5 WR in the mold of a young DeAndre Hopkins? If you knew a bonkers fantasy season was in the cards, you’d go all-in. I feel totally fine selecting Lamb as my team’s WR1 or loading up on a WR-WR start at the end of the 1st round in a PPR league.
Hop on board the train.