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Players Trending Up & Down (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Apr 28, 2022
Derek Carr

Derek Carr’s stock continues to rise as the Raiders add weapons for him this offseason.

Free agency is mostly behind us, and the NFL draft is upon us. As we wait to see what changes the draft brings, now is an excellent time to reflect on the player movement to this point of the offseason and how it may impact fantasy football in 2022. Below are some players whose fantasy stock is trending up and others whose stock is trending down.

Quarterbacks

Trending Up: Derek Carr (QB – LV)

Carr has to be feeling pretty good about how this offseason has gone. For the first time in a long time, he appears to have excellent job security, as the Raiders rewarded him with a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension in mid-April. New HC Josh McDaniels was long rumored to covet him in New England and has been praising his new QB since landing the job. As the architect of the second half of Tom Brady‘s career, McDaniels’ presence could lead to a big season from Carr. The addition of superstar Davante Adams doesn’t hurt either. From a fantasy perspective, a quick-strike pass-happy offense may be in the works for the Raiders, pushing Carr from QB2 land into a viable fantasy starter.

Trending Down: Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB)

Aaron Rodgers had an even more lucrative offseason than Carr financially. However, it may have cost him his favorite target and security blanket in Davante Adams. Adams’s target share last season was an enormous 29.5%, and to this point, the only replacement the Packers have acquired is the oft-injured Sammy Watkins. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has also moved on, and though the Packers may add some WR talent in the draft, it would seem that the weapons at Rodgers’s disposal will be significantly diminished next season. This could lead to a run-heavy offensive approach, ala HC Matt Lafleur’s first season with the Packers in 2019 – the least productive fantasy year of Rodgers’s career.

Wide Receivers

Trending Up: CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL)

By trading Amari Cooper to the Browns this offseason, the Cowboys are firmly staking their claim on CeeDee Lamb. Last season, Lamb led the ‘Boys in targets and receptions, but Cooper wasn’t far behind and scored more TDs. Cedrick Wilson is also gone, leaving Lamb and Michael Gallup as the primary wideouts for Dak Prescott. As Gallup is recovering from ACL surgery, he may not be ready to start the season; another reason why Lamb’s target share could be among the league leaders in 2022.

Trending Down: Tyreek Hill (WR – MIA)

Hill’s stunning trade from the Chiefs to the Dolphins diminishes his fantasy value greatly. No offense to Tua Tagovailoa, but he is no Patrick Mahomes II. Plus, he will now have to compete with rising star Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA) for targets, whereas in Kansas City, he only had to share with Travis Kelce. Perhaps Tua will blossom with all of the weapons now at his disposal, and maybe new Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel will prove an offensive genius, but these are far from certainties. For the first time in a long time, fantasy managers will be nervous spending an early pick on Hill.

Running Backs

Trending Up: James Conner (RB – ARI)

The RB whose value is rising the most this offseason is Javonte Williams. However, he’s been thoroughly covered by my colleagues Bonnie Robinson and TJ Horgan already this offseason. So I’m going to focus on James Conner instead.

From Week 9 through Week 14 last year, when Chase Edmonds was injured, Conner averaged nearly 22 touches per game and 23.4 points (half-point PPR leagues). Edmonds is now a member of the Miami Dolphins, while Conner, who was also a free agent, inked a 3-year deal to stay in the desert. He appears to be the man in the Cardinals’ backfield for 2022, with only the diminutive Eno Benjamin currently on the roster as a threat for usage. Conner carries some injury risk, which keeps him out of the RB1 conversation, but he has top 10 RB upside if he can stay on the field.

Trending Down: Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)

Zeke’s downward trend is not about offseason movement but rather a gradual reduction in his effectiveness. Many fantasy managers were confident that Elliott would have a bounce-back season in 2021, but it didn’t happen. Instead, his fantasy production dropped for the third consecutive year, and Tony Pollard looked like the more effective back, averaging 5.5 yards per carry to Zeke’s 4.2 and 9.3 yards after the catch to Elliott’s 6.0. Elliott isn’t going anywhere, given the enormous cap hit the Cowboys would take by releasing him. However, an RB committee in Dallas looms as a strong possibility in 2022.

Tight Ends

Trending Up: Albert Okwuegbunam (TE – DEN)

Included in the package that the Broncos sent to Seattle for Russell Wilson was Noah Fant. This move opens up the potential for Okwuegbunam to take on a much more prominent role in what should be a vastly improved Broncos offense next season. Okwuegbunam started to come on in the second half of last season, averaging twelve routes and three targets per game after Week 8. However, his only starter-worthy performance came in Week 14 when he caught five passes for 41 yards and a TD against the Lions. That figures to change unless the Broncos bring in another veteran Tight End before the season. As of now, Okwuegbunam is looking like a nice tight-end sleeper.

Trending Down: Noah Fant (TE – SEA)

Regarding Fant, his move to Seattle, with their lack of a proven QB, doesn’t inspire much confidence for fantasy. The former first-round pick has been solid in his three professional seasons but has yet to break out in a meaningful way. Most attribute this to uneven QB play, and who is likely to be tossing him passes this year in Seattle? Yup, you guessed it, his former Denver teammate Drew Lock, who was also a part of the package for Wilson. It’s hard to see Fant consistently contributing to the fantasy game with a coach who likes to run the ball, a less than ideal quarterback situation, and two stud receivers to compete with for targets.

CTAs


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