The Fantasy Footballers’ Top 10 Things to Remember for 2022
This episode is one of the most helpful of the off-season detailing ten different concepts worth writing down to help you win your leagues in 2022.
10. Jason – Hurt Don’t Help
Jason kept a list of players who missed all of camp/preseason. At the time, it was more of a mental exercise and a chance to assess if the injury dip was worth buying it. Looking back, it was generally a good idea to avoid these players:
- Curtis Samuel – complete L
- Saquon Barkley – complete L
- Kenny Golladay – complete L
- Odell Beckham – complete L until a major season change
- Amari Cooper – Mostly an L on the season
- D’Andre Swift and Marquise Brown – Both good but both got reinjured
In other words, there were no huge ADP winners. No one you were thrilled to pick. Jason claimed that he would be removing players missing all of camp/preseason from his personal draft boards in 2022.
9. Andy – “Plumb the Depths”
After a healthy discussion regarding plums and prunes including Jason’s epiphany that these two are of the same, Andy highlighted why depth is so crucial. More than ever before with a 17 game season, fantasy teams cannot rely on frame-worthy starting lineups and assembling idealistic starter-centric rosters. In 2021, only three RBs in the top-15 played all 17 games: Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris & Ezekiel Elliott.
Make sure you stash + FAAB spend. If you over-attach yourself to a drafted starting lineup, you’ll be too slow to make moves / pay for depth, etc. Depth exists to answer the question of “what do I do now?” before you have to ask it. Pretend you’re already facing the crisis.
8. Mike – Late Round Adjustment
The Late Round QB philosophy has become a bit of the norm in recent years. All three Ballers subscribe to waiting on QBs but the 2021 season might bring up some interesting talking points this off-season.
Here’s how QBs were drafted: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Jalen Hurts
Here’s how the top-12 finished: Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill.
Do those lists look familiar? 11-of-12 ADP QBs finished in the top 12 with Joe Burrow being the only outsider.
Drafters are getting sharper and the edge you might have had 3-4 years ago drafting QBs later might not exist anymore.
7. Jason – “Quarter-blehcs”
It’s easy to buy into narratives of new QBs who bring hope but are re-treds don’t move the needle for the receiving core
Carolina traded for a bright young hope in Sam Darnold. The Adam Gase narrative, the youth, the receiving core. DJ Moore could finally become a superstar. Robby Anderson got paid and was ready to be a great value in fantasy. Terrace Marshall was one of the hottest rookies. Turns out, Darnold wasn’t the answer.
Denver finally got a competent solid veteran QB in Teddy Bridgewater (the irony of being excited about both of these situations seems silly in hindsight). Jerry Jeudy. Sutton healthy. Fant. Bridgewater just supported three 1,000 yard players. The narratives were positive. Turns out, Bridgewater wasn’t the answer.
Washington brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes, he got hurt. But he was supposed to be the answer. Also hyped Taylor Heinicke. Those two were supposed to be way better options than Dwayne Haskins and broken Alex Smith. Turns out not the answer.
- Jimmy Garoppolo will not be a WR core’s answer.
- Mitchell Trubisky will not be a WR core’s answer.
- Jameis Winston will not be a WR core’s answer.
- Carson Wentz will not be a WR core’s answer.
6. Andy – “Proof was in the Pudding”
There are players in fantasy we hope can make the leap, and there are players in fantasy who already made the leap in the past and regressed for whatever reason. It’s important to remember to buy into some of the players who regressed, because they have proven, via on-the-field evidence, that they CAN produce at league-winning levels.
In 2021, we had multiple players who had previously dominated fantasy football in stretches, only to be considered middle-tier options heading into the draft.
It’s hard to do – and when we have on-field evidence that it can happen, it goes a long way towards taking shots on middle-round or late-round players.
- Cooper Kupp (ADP- WR19, Late 4th Round)
- Deebo Samuel (ADP- WR36, Late 7th)
- Leonard Fournette (ADP- RB36, Early 8th)
- James Conner (ADP- RB38, Mid 8th)
- Mark Andrews (ADP- TE5, Early 5th)
5. Mike – Rookie QBs Give WRs the Heeby Jeebies
This should be fairly straightforward. Since 2004, 70% of the time, a rookie QB failed to produce even a top-36 WR.
While you might not be investing in rookie QBs for fantasy as your starter, their pass-catchers and their ADP ultimately is what should be considered as a tiebreaker with other players. Take 2021 for instance:
- JAX- Marvin Jones finished highest at WR34, Laviska Shenault Jr. had arguably the worst 95+ target fantasy seasons ever
- NE- Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor all kinda ending up being meh
- NYJ- Elijah Moore flashed, but the rest of the WRs were not helpful for fantasy.
- CHI- Allen Robinson vanished into oblivion. Darnell Mooney flashed but most of his bigger games weren’t with Justin Fields.
- HOU- Brandin Cooks had his moments but you couldn’t really count on anyone.
4. Jason – Tight Ends? More Like Loose Stools!
Tight Ends still suck despite hope. Draft one early.
- TJ Hockenson is almost a WIN. And he sucked.
- Dallas Goedert was going to be great but Zach Ertz came back. Oh wait. Ertz left. Goedert sucked.
- Noah Fant gonna hit that Year 3 leap. Sucked.
- Tyler Higbee gonna be Higbeast without Everette. Sucked.
- Robert Tonyan already broke out and has the MVP. Sucked before getting injured.
- Gesicki, Jonnu, Engram… everyone sucked. Just. Like. Every. Year.
3. Andy – “New Laundry, New Problems”
It is always easy to craft a narrative as to why the free-agent pickup will work, because of the capital invested, the excitement of local fans, and the inherent reality that these players were pursued and chosen by their new team.
Here were the 2021 Free Agents who changed teams with the most $ by position.
- RBs: Kenyan Drake, Jamaal Williams, Mike Davis
- WRs: Kenny Golladay, Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Marvin Jones, Will Fuller, AJ Green
- TEs: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Kyle Rudolph
But this rarely works how you hope it will work, and you are stuck in the reality that every free agent signing has exactly zero snaps in the new offense, with new coaches, after moving their families to a new place, with a new routine, etc. Players are signed without fantasy in mind. And the reality is worse than fantasy for the new players in new situations quite often.
2. Mike – Take something for that Rookie Fever
Rookie WRs are fun to get excited about but Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase aren’t the norm. This is an ADP and draft-related reminder. Of course, everyone has value but the odds are stacked against rookie WR not only having truly great seasons but being major difference-makers period.
We looked back at every rookie 1st Round WR drafted since 2002. All 77 of them. Only 5% were top-12 WRs… just FOUR total.
- Chase (2021), Jefferson (2020), Odell Beckham Jr. & Mike Evans (2014)…(ZERO from ‘02-’13!!!)
- 19.5% were top-24
- 32.5% were top-36
We took it a step further and added the 93 2nd round WRs drafted in that span.
- 2.6% were top-12…. Michael Thomas (2016) & Anquan Boldin (2003)
- 3.2% were top-24
- 16% were top-36
Rookies certainly can emerge and start producing – but the opportunity cost of the bet says you want to invest elsewhere for a breakout.
1. “The Future is Bright”
Do what your league needs to do to enhance your experience and make sure fantasy football is fun again. The canvas is open.
- Get rid of trade vetos.
- Change to FAAB.
- Make sure your championship is in the correct week.
- Get rid of kickers or DST if you want.
- Change managers which may mean reducing league size potentially.
- Change league commissioners if need be.
- Build out your communication hub.
- Change league formats.
- Record a hype video. Send it out.