As the 2022 fantasy season is in our rearview mirrors, it is time to look forward to the possibilities of the 2023 fantasy season. But before we do that, we must learn from our mistakes while we revel in our brilliance.
That is what players were the best and worst picks from the 2022 fantasy drafts. Where did we go right, and where did we go oh so wrong?
We know that the 2022 season had lots of surprises. Some surprises arose from injuries, which we can never predict, and some from players exceeding their ADP, which we hope to predict. Let’s see how we did.
A lot of these
Let’s just get the bad over with. Whether you played PPR or Standard, the worst-value pick of the 2022 season…no surprise.
Jonathan Taylor, Running Back, Average ADP RB1
Taylor coasted into the 2022 season as the consensus RB1 in fantasy drafts. There were good reasons. The prior season he led the NFL in rushing yards (1811) and rushing touchdowns (18). Taylor also had the most carries (332), and just to tempt fantasy managers, he added career highs in targets (51), receptions( 40), receiving yards (360), and receiving touchdowns (two). He also led every other running back in the league, averaging 21.9 PPR fantasy points per game.
That was then. Taylor finished the 2022 fantasy season as RB36 in standard leagues averaging 9.9 fantasy points per game, and RB33 in PPR leagues averaging 12.2 fantasy points per game.
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Average ADP RB5
I finished RB11 in PPR and RB9 in standard fantasy leagues. Not quite the inglorious fall of Taylor, but a major gut punch to fantasy hopes, nevertheless.
Maybe his 27 points in Week 15 propelled you into the fantasy playoffs. But it is certain that his 6.4 and 2.7 points in Weeks 16-17, respectively, didn’t do you any favors.
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Average ADP WR1
There were so many reasons to be optimistic about Kupp. And even as the Los Angeles Rams offense crumbled before our eyes, Kupp was still good.
Kupp had a 31% target share and was 12th in air yards share (34.5%). And then Week 10 happened. Kupp suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 10 and was shut down for the rest of the Rams’ inglorious season.
Kupp finished the season as WR22. But perhaps what was most painful was he was unavailable for the run to fantasy playoffs and fantasy playoffs (for us, that is, I imagine a high ankle sprain is pretty painful…and the Rams season, oooff).
Najee Harris, Running Back, Average ADP RB6
There is something about Harris that we just can’t quit him. Drafted on average as RB6, Harris finished in standard leagues as RB12 and PPR leagues as RB14.
But I get it. The Pittsburgh Steelers, the former home of fantasy giant LeVeon Bell and Jerome Bettis, are known for using one running back and using him liberally.
And it still was true. Harris had a 70% opportunity share and was eighth in total touches. But none mattered until Week 11 when he busted out a 27.6 fantasy game.
Harris had 14.6, 15.5, and 20.3 points for the fantasy playoffs and championship, respectively. For the rest of the season, Harris scored double-digit fantasy points for those who were patient enough to hold onto him until Week 11.
Dalton Schultz, Tight End, Average ADP TE6
Schultz was coming off a good year. In 2021 he finished as TE3 in both standard and PPR leagues, so optimism in a shallow tight-end pool was warranted.
However, reality hits hard. Even without a reliable WR2, in the 2022 season, Schultz’s fantasy value fell.
Schultz finished as TE11 in standard and TE12 in PPR fantasy leagues. Schultz finished behind Cole Kmet, Juwan Johnson, and Taysom Hill.
Geno Smith, Quarterback
There isn’t an average draft position for Smith. A waiver wire pick-up Smith was the best value pick of the 2022 season.
Smith finished 2022 leading the league in completion percentage (69.8%). Smith cooked with 572 passing attempts (ninth in the league), eighth in deep ball attempts (66), and 10th in red zone attempts (77). He had 4282 passing yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 366 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Smith finished the fantasy season as QB5.
Tyreek Hill, Wide Receiver, Average ADP WR8
Hill moved from Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa. He went from veteran head coach Andy Reid to rookie coach Mike McDaniel. There was a reason for some trepidation.
Then it happened. Hill led the league in deep targets (36), with a league-leading 33.6% target rate. He was second in the league in air yards (2080), receptions (119), and receiving yards (1710).
Hill finished the 2022 season as WR3 in standard leagues and WR2 in PPR leagues.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Wide Receiver, Average ADP WR25
St. Brown finished the 2022 season as WR7 in PPR and WR9 in standard leagues.
In the Detroit Lions high powered offense (who would have thought), St. Brown was third in target rates (32.3%), eighth in red zone targets (21), fifth in receptions (106), and fourth in yards after catch (513).
Ending the season on a high note is what St. Brown did his rookie season and what he did his second year. He had 15 red zone targets from Weeks10-16, including six in Week16.
His fantasy production trailed off during fantasy playoffs amassing 15.2 and 14.6 fantasy points per game. But his average of 16.7 fantasy points per game is the reason for optimism.
Taysom Hill, Tight End
Hill wasn’t drafted until after Round 5 in most fantasy leagues. Yet he finished as TE3 in standard leagues and TE9 in PPR leagues.
The finishing value may be there, but his erratically inconsistent plays weren’t beautiful.
You were handsomely rewarded if you managed to guess what games Hill would break out of (Week 5 versus Seattle).
Hill’s value and ADP will take another hit this season with Derek Carr under center in New Orleans.
AJ Brown, Wide Receiver, Average ADP WR11
Whether it was the relocation or a general malaise regarding Philadelphia’s offense, Brown was generally drafted in the third round behind Deebo Samuel, Mike Evans, and Ja’Marr Chase, all of whom he finished ahead in final fantasy standings.
Brown finished as WR6 in PPR leagues and WR4 in standard leagues.
Brown finished the season eighth in targets (146), fourth in air yards (1772), fourth in receiving yards (1496), second in yards after catch (543), and second in total touchdowns (11).
His “fall” to the third round will not happen in the 2023 fantasy draft.
The Moral of the Story
I’m starting to appreciate those who use the ‘zero-running back’ philosophy (although I would never use it). Running backs were the most overvalued position, while quarterbacks generally outplayed their draft positions.
Players on the move were undervalued, and the injury bug hit hard.
Still, there was value to be found if you looked hard enough. And, of course, value loss. You just have to minimize it.
Gladys is obsessive about fantasy football, Pittsburgh Steelers, dogs/cats, pop culture movies and television shows, and Ben & Jerry’s 7 Layer Vegan Ice Cream (although not necessarily in that order). A writer about NFL, college ball, and fantasy football for more than 10 years, she attempts to combine her degree in statistical variance (BS Policy Analysis) with player knowledge and game script. Though her concentration is on IDP, redraft, and PPR leagues, all fantasy formats are fair game. Reach out whenever you can find me on Twitter @gladysLtyler. And remember, don’t suck and tip your bartenders well.