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Early 2022 Fantasy Football Rankings + Sleepers

Jan 5, 2022

With fantasy football done for all the sensible people who have their championship in Week 17, now is a perfect time to begin looking ahead to 2022. Our featured pundits below have ranked their top 10 options for next season and have shared their thoughts on which players have the most sleeper potential. Please note that a plethora of coaches and quarterbacks will change teams, the NFL Draft will alter the fantasy landscape, free agency will heavily shake up league rosters, and the NFL postseason will further affect how we value players. As such, everything you are about to read below is subject to change drastically over the coming months. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value in this exercise, though. With the fantasy season still very fresh in our minds, the following opinions expressed in this article are likely some of the most genuine and unbiased early rankings you’ll come across. Now let’s check out what our experts had to say!

2022 Top-10 Players (Half PPR)

Consensus Rank Player Position Team Best Rank Worst Rank
1. Jonathan Taylor RB IND 1 1
2. Derrick Henry RB TEN 1 8
T-3. Cooper Kupp WR LAR 2 7
T-3. Dalvin Cook RB MIN 3 7
T-3. Davante Adams WR GB 3 8
6. Christian McCaffrey RB CAR 3 9
7. Austin Ekeler RB LAC 4 10
8. Najee Harris RB PIT 3 N/A
9. Justin Jefferson WR MIN 5 N/A
T-10. Alvin Kamara RB NO 9 10
T-10. Ja’Marr Chase WR CIN 4 N/A

Also receiving top-10 votes: Joe Mixon (#12) and Nick Chubb (#13)

Q1. Who outside of your top five has the best chance of finishing first overall?

Najee Harris (RB – PIT) 
“Think about what Harris has accomplished this season — 366 touches, 1,612 total yards, and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. And yet he was running behind a terrible offensive line with an inept passing offense. The Steelers’ quarterback situation is obviously up in the air, but if they make a major free agent signing and bulk up the offensive line, then Harris absolutely has No. 1 overall potential.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“With only one year of NFL wear and tear on his body, combined with his being a candidate to lead the league in touches, very few players have a safer floor than Najee Harris. If Harris does settle into the late first of early drafts, I will be targeting him heavily as the pieces are in place for Pittsburgh to have one of the league’s top offenses if they can improve at quarterback and offensive line this offseason. If the Steelers were to land a quality quarterback out of what is shaping up to be an interesting crop of free agent QBs, a talent like Harris commanding 90% of the backfield touches could result in him being 2022’s highest-scoring positional player.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
“If it weren’t for injuries derailing his last two seasons, McCaffrey would have finished among the top players. In the five games he was fully healthy for this season, he averaged 20.1 points in half-PPR leagues. Obviously, there are question marks with health, but if he can just stay on the field, CMC is going to get the workload necessary to be the top player in fantasy.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

“I have receivers in the two through five slots, which leaves my RB2, Christian McCaffrey, at No. 6 overall. You’d have to be a Pollyanna not to acknowledge the injury risk with CMC, but if you get lucky and squeeze 16 or 17 games out of him, there’s an excellent chance he’ll finish as the top fantasy scorer among non-QBs in PPR leagues, and maybe in standard leagues, too.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Q2. Who is your top sleeper candidate for drafts next season?

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE) 
“Stevenson is going to be undervalued because people will view him as a backup to Damien Harris. I tend to think he’ll be more of a co-equal. A Week 1 fumble kept Stevenson sidelined for much of the first half of the season, but over his last seven games, he’s banged out 104-498-4 rushing — much of that while sharing the backfield with Harris. Stevenson is a powerful runner with nifty feet, and he’s a capable pass catcher as well. The Patriots have been one of the run-heaviest teams in the league this season, and that’s unlikely to change in 2022.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

K.J. Osborn (WR – MIN) 
“Since taking over as the Vikings’ No. 2 receiver after Adam Thielen suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 13, Osborn has been one of fantasy’s top receivers, compiling 69 points from Weeks 13-17, which is good for a WR14 overall ranking in that span. Even if Thielen were to reclaim his No. 2 receiver role next season, Osborn is someone to target aggressively in dynasty and is worth loading up on at the end of best-ball drafts. Thielen turns 32 this summer and has not played a complete season since 2018, making it likely that Osborn will be posting several boom weeks next season.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL) 
“Bateman had his moments this year, but between a preseason injury and then randomly losing snaps to Sammy Watkins and Lamar Jackson missing time, he never evolved into a reliable fantasy option. But that should change next year, so long as he can remain healthy. He’s an outstanding route runner and has the size and strength to win contested catches, and with the Ravens moving to a less run-heavy approach, there should be enough volume to support three pass catchers. Bateman won’t have the upside to finish as a WR1 in fantasy, but he will be a starting-caliber option who you’ll be able to get in the late rounds, and who will almost certainly outproduce his draft cost.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Travis Etienne (RB – JAC) 
“I’m excited to see this kid finally hit the field. He was one of the top offensive skill-position prospects coming out of college after the 2020 season and I still believe in him. The Jags will hopefully get a coaching staff that knows how to utilize his skill set and can get this team to look like they have a functional NFL offense. Don’t let him slide too far in your drafts just because he was injured in his rookie season.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Thanks to the experts for sharing their advice! For more of their insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites.

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