Fantasy football is a game in which we choose players who we hope will score a lot of points. This is the general concept. On closer inspection, it’s actually a very similar game to financial markets, sports betting, and even trying to get a promotion in some of our day-to-day jobs. We want to find assets that will perform better than the general public expects them to, and we get rewarded if we find more of them than everyone else. The data point that we use in fantasy football to determine whether we are successful or not is ADP or average draft position. If the fantasy market (everyone who writes) forms a consensus, then we need to find players who will perform better than that consensus. It’s not as easy to identify receivers that outperform ADP as running backs, but there are a few that pop up every year. The key is always to find guys who are tied to either a pass-heavy offense or an elite quarterback. Sometimes both.
The ADP referenced here is from Underdog’s best ADP bullet, as it’s the most common platform used to draft this year start:
Current Best Ball ADP: 113.5
Positional ADP: WR54
I think the keys that type Michael Gallup’s name on my keyboard must be completely worn out by now, as I’ve been shouting about his talent for several years. Much to my dismay, he didn’t turn into a fantasy star like I had hoped. He’s never set the world on fire, but his all-around work has shown he’s a high-quality NFL receiver who would be a great option for many teams in the league. Amari Cooper has been the biggest hurdle for him throughout his career, and CeeDee Lamb’s rise certainly hasn’t helped. He’ll likely be CeeDee’s Batman Robin in 2022, but Cooper’s departure should result in full-time snaps for Gallup, which hasn’t happened to him so far.
Dallas’ offense will be explosive and productive for all pass-catchers in town, and Dak Prescott is a top quarterback who can throw in all parts of the field. The erosion of Ezekiel Elliott will lead to an even greater prioritization of the passing game, and CeeDee Lamb will help Gallup deal with many unique cover looks and demand the use of the red zone. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see him finish among the top 25 fantasy receivers for the year, and his explosive playing ability and inside-out touchdown should make him an attractive weekly flex option at bare minimum.
Current Best Ball ADP: 70.2
Positional ADP: WR34
Before you roll your eyes at another opinion of St. Brown, try to remember that his outburst late last year wasn’t something that happened often. In fact, I would be inclined to use the word historical. His 90 receptions in 2022 were tied for fifth most by a rookie receiver in NFL history, and he started just 9 games a year.
Read that last sentence again. Despite the ridiculous polarization surrounding him in the Dynasty community, it’s very possible we’ll still forget about St. Brown.
The Lions’ offense was lacking in key pieces during the latter part of the 2021 season, but this type of escape on any offense in the NFL doesn’t go unnoticed and doesn’t happen just because targets become available. St. Brown was an electric playmaker who not only capitalized on his opportunity, but forced the Lions organization to give him so much more. Veteran receivers receive similar target bumps every week in the NFL due to injuries or roster changes, and more often than not they sputter on Sundays. The Lions rookie has taken the league by storm week after week. He received the chance produce, but won the production. Once you’ve made the leap to second year for rookie receivers and the long way to go for Jameson Williams, all signs point to a potential fantasy star in 2022.
Current BestBall ADP: 181.1
Positional ADP: WR79
DPJ is a name I’ve brought up several times over the past year for dynasty purposes, and I’ll continue to drive that train here. ADP’s first draft seems to indicate that the fantasy community may be underreacting to Deshaun Watson’s addition to Cleveland. From a strictly footballing point of view, Watson has improved every attacking asset around him, both in real life and in fantasy. Will Fuller was a deep textbook threat who turned into a real WR1 for his team, in part because of the connection he had with Watson. DeAndre Hopkins was a different kind of animal, but we saw the fantastic impact of his departure from the Texans and Watson as well.
The Browns may still be an offense in 2022, but their new quarterback’s precision and playability are going to produce results for pass catchers. Amari Cooper has also just joined the group, and he obviously should be the top dog right away, but behind him there’s very little experience to work with. David Bell should be a factor from day one, but rookie receivers often take time to evolve into their roles and Bell is a possession receiver as opposed to a downline threat.
Peoples-Jones is a quirky athlete who made progress last season in his road running and separation ability. The former Michigan Wolverine led the Browns receiving corps in yardage and touchdowns last season, and the quarterback upgrade here is monumental. His numbers weren’t too impressive on their own, but finishing the season as his team’s statistical WR1 is an underrated testament to the talent he possesses. That same talent could be showcased with someone like Watson behind the centre. It is very possible that DPJ will produce WR3 numbers in 2022 thanks to on-court efficiency and in-game action play. He should have no problem breaking his outrageous WR79 draft position. I pay close attention to his accessory lines throughout the season once they are released by sportsbooks.