The Fantasy Footballers’ Writing Staff My Guys for 2022

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By now, you probably know all about the phenomenon known as the Fantasy Footballers “My Guy” episode. It’s been in fantasy football lore since its inception in 2015. If you need all the visuals, here’s the YouTube link:

Every year we give our writing staff the chance to plant their flag in the ground for one guy. We have an incredible group of writers who have written so many forward-thinking pieces during the offseason. Please show them some love on Twitter and let us know who your player for 2022 is using the #MyGuy in your tweet.

Chase Edmonds, RB (MIA)

Overall, the Miami backfield is a complete dumpster fire. But, Chase Edmonds stands out as a shining gem among the trash. The running back room is crowded, but if there is one thing we know, it’s what new head coach Mike McDaniel likes to do with his offense and creative plays. The reason why Edmonds is my guy this season is not because he is a mere running back. It’s because he is an excellent pass-catching running back. Given what McDaniel did with Deebo Samuel in San Francisco, I believe Edmonds has every opportunity to be a Samuel-Lite in 2022. -Lauren Carpenter (@stepmomlauren)

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR (KC)

JuJu has gotten a lot of shade from the fantasy community in recent seasons, but he produces fantasy points when he’s on the field. That includes 2020 when he caught nine touchdowns from the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t have space here to quantify the upgrade JuJu gets with Patrick Mahomes, so let’s just say it’s massive. Oh, and the Chiefs head into 2022 not only with 340 vacated targets but a league-high 265 vacated wide receiver targets and 43.4% of targets inside the ten-yard line. While the bad taste from last season is lingering enough to depress his ADP, I’m not leaving a fantasy draft without JuJu in 2022. – Aaron Larson (@aalarson)

Rashod Bateman, WR (BAL)

Rashod Bateman’s rookie season was far from perfect as he struggled through a groin injury early on and then operated as the WR2 behind Marquise Brown. However, there are plenty of reasons to believe in a potential breakout campaign this year. First off, most WR breakouts occur in a player’s second season, as 39.3% of breakouts since 2000 have happened in Year 2. Secondly, Bateman enters the 2022 campaign as the unquestioned WR1 for Lamar Jackson after Brown was traded to the Cardinals. Yes, vacated targets do not necessarily go to the next man up as opportunities are earned by the best players on the team. However, when the “next man up” is a first-round WR who led his class in multiple experience-adjusted college metrics, it is fair to assume that Bateman has the profile to be a lead WR in the NFL. At the very minimum, expect a low-end WR2 season from Bateman, with the potential for much more in his second year. -Marvin Elequin (@FF_MarvinE)

Allen Lazard, WR (GB)

If you haven’t heard, Aaron Rodgers has lost his number one guy Davante Adams. In addition, MVS has shipped out of town, and with both gone, 224 targets have been vacated. Sure, we know many of those targets will go to the RBs as they often do, but Allen Lazard is poised to pluck the rest of them right out of the cold Wisconsin air. The Packers drafted Rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs (who is starting to get a hype train of his own), but Rodger’s history with first-year pass catchers is well known. In practice and press conferences, Rodgers has made it clear that he trusts Lazard and is planning to look his way. Lazard went for 513 receiving yards, 40 receptions, and eight TDs in 2021 – which means a TD every five receptions. Sure, that will probably regress, but when you have an MVP QB playing with something to prove who threw 37 TDs and over 4100 yards last season, I am betting on Lazard. The value for This Lazard King is equally enticing; he is currently being drafted in the 9th round as WR41. You can load up on RBs early and then get the potential WR1 for one of the best offenses in football in the middle of the 9th round. Yes, please. -Julia Papworth (@julia_papworth)

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D.J. Moore, WR (CAR)

At this point, we all know the D.J. Moore story. He’s a hyper-talented WR who finishes with a ton of receiving yards (1,157 last year) but just four touchdowns (third straight year with that mark). I believe this year is going to be different. Not in terms of usage: D.J. had the 5th highest air yard total in the NFL last year, a stat that is extremely sticky across years. No, I expect some positive touchdown regression. Baker Mayfield represents the best QB the Panthers have trotted out in years. If D.J. finds the end zone just a couple more times (6 scores? 7 scores?) he’ll be a bona fide WR1. What’s more, there’s room at the top. Five of last year’s top WRs had a QB downgrade: Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill switched teams, while D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Diontae Johnson all had their QBs leave town. It’s time for DJM to take the next step. -Matt DiSorbo (@datavizuals)

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR (DET)

The Lions’ offense was missing some key pieces over the final stretch of the 2021 season, but this type of breakout on any offense doesn’t happen simply because targets become available. The man had the fifth most receptions by a rookie receiver ever, and it’s like none of you care. St. Brown was an electric playmaker who not only capitalized on his opportunity but forced the Lions organization into giving him a whole lot more of it. Veteran receivers are given similar target bumps every week in the NFL due to injuries or roster moves, and more often than not they sputter on Sunday. The Lions rookie took the league by storm week in and week out. He was given the chance to produce, but he earned the production. Once you bake in the second-year leap for rookie receivers and the long road ahead for Jameson Williams, all signs point to a potential fantasy star in 2022. I just hope his ADP can avoid the HardKnocks bump. -Rob Wilson (@TheFFGator)

Tony Pollard, RB (DAL)

Pollard has proven himself as a talented runner and pass catcher over the past few seasons. While Zeke is “the guy” in Dallas until proven otherwise, Pollard should see an increase in touches with Amari Cooper gone and an injured wide receiver group to start the season (Michael Gallup & James Washington). In the past two seasons, Pollard has seen 13+ touches in 8 games. In those games, he produced 14.2 fantasy points per game (for reference, Dalvin Cook was RB11 in pts/g last season at 14.6). According to Player Profiler, Pollard ranked #1 in yards per route run, #2 in yards per touch, #5 in juke rate, #3 in breakaway run rate, and #2 in expected points added last season. The guy is a good football player. And if Zeke misses a game/games, Pollard instantly becomes a top-5 RB start for the week. Pollard should be a flex play this season and is one injury away from becoming a league-winner. At his ADP of 8.01, I’m drafting Pollard everywhere I can…Let’s dance. -Jeff Greenwood (@TheFantasyEng)

Jerry Jeudy, WR (DEN)

I’ve been all aboard the Courtland Sutton hype train this offseason, but now that their ADPs have shifted, I’m finding myself favoring Jerry Jeudy instead. Jeudy could become Russell Wilson’s favorite target thanks to his elite separation (2.45) which led all receivers last year per Player Profiler, while Sutton was near the bottom (1.60). Jeudy also had a better catch rate (67.86% vs. 59.18%) per Next Gen Stats and was more efficient once the ball was caught, boasting more yards after catch per reception (5.1) than Sutton (2.5), who was the third WORST among all pass-catchers. In the 2021 opener, Jeudy was on the verge of finally breaking out, catching 6 of 7 targets for 72 yards before suffering a devastating high ankle sprain in the third quarter, while Sutton only caught 1 of 3 passes for 14 yards in the whole game. Once Jeudy returned in Week 8, he outscored Sutton in EVERY game but one. There’s a reason why Vegas has Jeudy beating Sutton in total receptions, receiving yards, and TDs. Both guys are awesome, so why not take the one who will likely go a few picks later? -Peter Chung (@FFHypeman)

Aaron Jones, RB (GB)

While the rest of your league mates try to figure out who the WR1 is in Green Bay sans Davante Adams, you can feel confident Aaron Jones is going to be the dude for this offense as their best playmaker. Jones has played 8 games without Adams in his career, and in those games, he averages nearly 23 PPR points per game. Why? Because we know vacated targets go to the RB position, and Mr. Adams vacates over 30% of Aaron Rodgers‘ targets, receiving yards, and air yards. Look for Jones to set a career-high in receptions in 2022. For a back who saw the 5th most targets at the position last year and who’s averaged 5.6 yards per touch in his career, the path to fantasy football success is clear as day. And don’t hear what I’m not saying, I also love A.J. Dillon a few rounds later. Both can eat this year in Green Bay. -Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT)

Kyle Pitts, TE (ATL)

A few years ago, the Green Bay Packers converted Ty Montgomery from WR to RB in the middle of the season. For a few games at the end of the year, Montgomery was a bell-cow at the RB position. But, because he still had WR status, fantasy managers could start a top-10 RB in one of the WR roster slots. It was a huge advantage. Kyle Pitts offers the same advantage because he is a WR with TE eligibility. Kyle Pitts is my TE1, and I firmly believe that he will finish the year TE1. This is an easy bet because he is running routes like a wide receiver, he’s getting targeted like a wide receiver, and he plays like a wide receiver. Now, I understand the quarterback concerns, but Kyle Pitts doesn’t need Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball to get big volume. Mariota has supported a great TE in the past (Delanie Walker), and he can do it again with a superior talent. 1500 yards and 6 touchdowns seems like his floor to me – that’s a league winner. -Nate Henry (@NateHenryFF)

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Breece Hall, RB (NYJ)

Breece Hall going at the end of the 3rd round is a steal. NFL Next Gen Stats gave Hall a 99 Elite grade, and since 2014, 7-of-9 running backs to receive an Elite grade (90+) and play their entire rookie season finished in the top-12 in their rookie season. He will be a weapon for the Jets on the ground and through the air. He is a superior talent to Michael Carter, who I don’t think will be as much of a factor as most think he will be. The Jets traded up in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL Draft for a reason. -Ryan DeVaney (@WhyDoIEvenTryFF)

Brandin Cooks, WR (HOU)

Hello there, good sir or madam manager. Are you in the market for a player that commands a 26% target share, finished in the top-20 at his position in six of the last seven years, and has no legitimate threats on the depth chart? Interested? Well, what if I told you this player could be drafted for the low, low ADP as the WR26?  You might be tired of hearing how great a value Brandin Cooks is; year after year, his ADP falls as the season approaches, giving way to hyped rookies and preseason standouts. Despite the name fatigue, Cooks is in the kitchen, and he’s primed to deliver in 2022. Davis Mills should step up and at least provide some Bortles-eque garbage time production, and Cooks has proven he can succeed as the clear-cut #1. In 2021 Cooks was targeted 130 times and had a 24.6% targets per route run rate, the same as Stefon Diggs and Deebo Samuel. Cooks’ 6th round ADP puts him as a WR3, which is silly value for guaranteed production. I’m sold. -AJ Passman (@ajpassman)

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Christian Kirk, WR (JAX)

Let me paint you a picture. You are in the tenth round of your draft. You already have a team full of stud running backs, your starting wide receivers are fire, and you even have a great quarterback. Then while everyone else is drafting the second and third-option pass catchers for their rosters, you grab Christian Kirk for your flex or possibly even your bench. You just got the number one pass catcher for a team who has already proven to be a good wide receiver in the NFL. Kirk got seventy-two million dollars to join the Jags, which says the team will make him a centerpiece of the offense. If Trevor Larence is anything like we believed him to be coming out of college, then Kirk should produce a more consistent scoring output than he has in the past. With his ADP of 109 he is free. Take the free money and run! -Caleb Leach (@CalebLeach95)

DeVonta Smith, WR (PHI)

Of the second-year wide-receivers who can see a huge jump in production, DeVonta Smith is my favorite one to bet on. As a rookie, Smith had the 5th most receptions of over 20-yards in the entire league and finished at an average of WR-19 whenever he had just 4 receptions in a game. Philadelphia stands a good chance to product two top-24 (potentially top-12) WRs this season, and Smith’s 8th-round value in redraft makes him too much of a steal. I’ll have Smith on my rosters everywhere I can get him in 2022. -Kurt Mullen (@KurtKnowsBest)

Chris Olave, WR (NO)

I’ve been drafting so much Olave all summer long in Best Ball that I’d be foolish not to go all-in for redraft leagues this season. The draft capital (11th overall) and what the Saints paid (essentially gave up a 2nd, two 3rds, and a 4th round pick) to move up from No. 18 to No. 16 with the Eagles and then up even further to No. 11 with the Commanders is astounding. They obviously were over the moon for Olave, a highly productive player Ohio State. Since 2014, rookie WRs drafted in the top-15 picks average a 19.2% target share and Olave’s big play ability is sorely needed on a team of slant gurus with Michael Thomas & Jarvis Landry. He seems like a near lock to beat his ADP (9.02/WR41) and the ceiling is even higher in my opinion. It wouldn’t shock me if he finishes the year as the fantasy WR1 of this rookie class. -Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

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