Fantasy Football Expert Hits & Misses
It’s time to own up, put my FAB where my mouth is and rehash some of my biggest fantasy football hits and misses from the 2021-22 season. We’ll take a look at preseason Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) as well as where players stand following Week 17.
Let’s get into it.
Hit: Cooper Kupp
No, I did not predict Cooper Kupp potentially breaking the single-season receptions and yardage records. I did not predict he would average 25 PPR points per game. However, I did like him more than his preseason ECR of WR16. I wasn’t drafting Robert Woods over Kupp anywhere, which turned out to be a huge hit, regardless of Woods’ injury. Kupp’s route-running and run after the catch abilities were maximized with the best quarterback he’s ever had throwing him the ball in Matthew Stafford, as well as a pass-happy, high-octane Rams offense.
Miss: James Conner
I was definitely lower on Conner than his RB32 ECR coming into the season. I was selecting Ronald Jones 10/10 times over Conner, my logic being the Buccaneers would force feed RoJo and Conner would forfeit most work to Chase Edmonds. Believe it or not, Jones was actually the starting RB for the Bucs in week one, but that quickly faded. Then, there’s Conner. He was an absolute touchdown machine, and on top of that he had some receiving work, which I expected Edmonds to get. I also expected Kyler Murray to take more rushing touchdowns from Conner than he did. Lesson learned: take a chance on talented running backs in good offenses, regardless of anticipated role.
Hit: Dawson Knox
Knox’s preseason ECR was TE27. Can you believe that?! Despite the notorious lack of depth at the position, Josh Allen‘s TE1 was ranked as TE27! He didn’t have the body of work yet, but Knox’s potential was there. Coming out of college, he was expected to be a bit of a project. I figured, he’s in his third year in the league and has a fantastic situation in Buffalo, why not take a chance? Early on in the season, I called Knox the Better Robert Tonyan. Despite missing a couple of weeks due to injury, Knox is currently the TE10 in PPR formats.
Miss: Matt Ryan
I know, I know, I’m a homer. I swear my top-12 ranking of Matt Ryan had nothing to do with my being a lifelong Atlanta Falcons fan. If anything, it made me more pessimistic. I figured the best-case scenario was new offensive-minded Head Coach Arthur Smith takes over and transforms the offense. Even without Julio Jones, they had Kyle Pitts, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage, and some talented receiving running backs. I figured the worst-case scenario would be the Falcons played from behind and threw the ball, giving Ryan a high floor. What I didn’t account for was the near-hazardous work environment forced upon Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons had some of the worst pass-blocking in the entire league, Calvin Ridley missed most of the season, and somehow the run game clicked. It all resulted in Matt Ryan sitting as the QB20.
Hit: Josh Jacobs
This was one of my most unpopular takes coming into the season. Other than Raiders twitter (and shoutout to Raiders twitter) nobody wanted to hear me talking up Jacobs. They didn’t care. They said the offensive line was bad, Kenyan Drake was the more electric back, and Jacobs didn’t have a high ceiling. Well, Josh Jacobs is currently the RB13 despite being hobbled with an injury. I saw Jacobs as the lead back despite the addition of Drake. That held up. I think Jacobs is a talented pass-catcher. That held up. He is in line to have more receptions than in his first two seasons combined. I thought the offensive line wasn’t as bad as everyone thought and Jacobs would still get goal-line work. Those (somewhat) held up as well.
Miss: Courtland Sutton
Last offseason, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a bigger proponent of Courtland Sutton who didn’t share his last name than TJ Horgan. I thought he was the best receiver in Denver, and given his combination of size, speed and hands, a uniquely talented receiver who would command targets wherever he was. Even if my Sutton praise isn’t wrong, his talent wasn’t enough to overcome a loaded group of weapons, two talented running backs, and mediocre quarterback play. Sutton is currently the WR42. For what it’s worth, I do still believe Sutton is talented. He’s also young. I think his price in dynasty is as low as it will ever be if you want to send an offer for him.
Half-Hit: Deebo Samuel
I call this a half-hit because in my preseason “Must-Have WR’s” column I included both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, though I explicitly stated at cost, I’d rather have Samuel. This one held up in spades. I pointed to Samuel’s consistent and impressive yards after the catch numbers. He was basically a running back when he got the football. Well, this year he was actually a running back at times. Samuel’s breakout made plenty of fantasy managers happy, as the “but he’s injury-prone” curmudgeons were finally quieted.
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