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Must-Have Quarterbacks & Tight Ends (2022 Fantasy Football)

May 8, 2022
Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford has been in the NFL for 12 years, and with that comes draft exhaustion. As a result, Stafford is no longer the “exciting” name and can be forgotten for younger, sexier players.

The NFL Draft has come and gone, which means the fantasy community turns its attention toward their upcoming drafts. You don’t win your league at the drafts, but you can certainly lose at the draft. So how do we make sure that doesn’t happen to us? We make sure we walk away with the correct players at vital positions.

Today, we are going to discuss the must-have quarterbacks, as well as the must-have tight ends. One position, quarterback, is as critical in fantasy as it is on the field. While the other tight ends, if chosen correctly, can give your team a positional advantage every week. Let’s dive into which quarterbacks should be rostered on your team by the end of your draft.

Rankings based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR)

The Quarterback Position

Jalen Hurts (PHI): ECR QB7

For my first article, my Eagles fandom has to explain why we should be targeting Jalen Hurts in our drafts. Hurts sits at an average draft position (ADP) of 96 overall and is the 11th quarterback off the board. Hurts has a built-in Konami code with 784 yards (an extra 78 fantasy points) rushing in 2021, which ranked as the most in the NFL from the quarterback position. The other excellent stat-padding element to Hurts’ game is his ability to score rushing touchdowns.

In 2021, Hurts rushed for ten touchdowns to add to his 16 passing touchdowns. Unfortunately, these stats came with a group of lower-caliber talent players such as Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor and JJ Arcig-Whiteside. The Eagles remedied that situation by trading for veteran star A.J. Brown. With Brown joining DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, Hurts can elevate to the level last seen by fellow mobile quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Do you still not believe Jalen Hurts can leap into the higher-quality fantasy quarterbacks? Maybe I can entice you with this fun fact. It took Jalen Hurts three weeks into his rookie season to throw for back-to-back 300-yard games. It took Josh Allen, first overall quarterback on FantasyPros rankings, until his third season to complete this feat. Now that Hurts has a plethora of weapons, he can transcend his game from battling to stay within the top ten fantasy quarterbacks to being debated as a top-five by the end of 2022.

Matthew Stafford (LAR): ECR QB10

Matthew Stafford has been in the NFL for 12 years, and with that comes draft exhaustion. As a result, Stafford is no longer the “exciting” name and can be forgotten for younger, sexier players like Joe Burrow or Jalen Hurts.

Stafford had an impressive first season with The Los Angeles Rams as he scored 346.8 fantasy points, which ranked him fifth overall amongst NFL quarterbacks. With another year in the Sean McVay offense, which will now have a full year of Allen Robinson, Cooper Kupp and Cam Akers, Stafford has the chance to finish top five again.

Let’s not forget that in Jared Goff‘s second season in McVay’s offense, he had career highs in yards, TDs and QBR. Stafford has more talent than Goff, the weapons to produce and the coaching system to excel this season. Stafford could give you a top-five finish with the potential of a top-three finish.

Kirk Cousins (MIN): ECR QB16

Kirk Cousins just missed being a top-ten quarterback last season and brings draft exhaustion with his name. You can take advantage of your league’s “draft fatigue” regarding Cousins. Waiting on your quarterback and finishing with a consistent talent such as Cousins allows you to build the rest of your roster.

In addition, he will be entering the 2022 season with plenty of talent around him on the field, as the Vikings have one of the best wide receivers in the game in Justin Jefferson and a plethora of options with Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn and Irv Smith

The Minnesota Vikings also decided to change head coaches this season and bring in Kevin O’Connell to captain the ship. O’Connell is a McVay disciple and should be a more quarterback-friendly system for Cousins and the Vikings. For a quarterback who last year finished as the 11th best quarterback in fantasy, a top ten finish is feasible for Cousins. This season, he should outperform his ADP and help your team steal a valuable piece late in drafts.

Now that we have discussed the most crucial position on the football field, let’s turn to one of the more chaotic positions for fantasy football, the tight ends. We all know how top-heavy the tight end position can be in fantasy football. However, real talent comes from identifying later-round targets to help your fantasy team thrive without reaching at the position. So, let’s break down a few options for your future teams that should help lead you to the playoffs and, hopefully, the championship.

The Tight End Position

Dallas Goedert (PHI): ECR TE7

This offseason, Dallas Goedert joins the list of must-have tight ends, even with A.J. Brown entering Philadelphia. Some may see three options for Jalen Hurts and wonder how each player reaches a target share that we covet for fantasy. However, looking at Dallas Goedert, we should see the coverage shift to the outside receivers allowing him to roam the middle of the field with more space than he has ever had before. This change in coverage makes him more enticing for our fantasy lineups.

Goedert had career highs in yards (830), yards per reception (14.8) and yards per game (55.3). We now have another year of Jalen Hurts as a pro quarterback. With weapons galore to spread the defense and help the Eagles’ offense run smoothly, we could see a positive bump in Goedert’s reception totals and TDs this season. With the Eagles upgrading their offense, this could bring Goedert from his 2021 finish of eighth overall tight end to a top-five play for the season.

Dalton Schultz (DAL): ECR TE8

Dalton Schultz is quickly becoming a “my guy” for this season. The Dallas Cowboys watched Amari Cooper depart this offseason, Michael Gallup working on the off-season rehab that could land him on the Injured Reserve List (IR) to start the season, Ezekiel Elliot debates about being over the hill and Blake Jarwin leaving the team.

Amid the offseason whirlwind in Dallas, Dalton Schultz is the one constant in the Cowboys and Dak Prescott‘s football life. We know Dak is comfortable with using Schultz within their scheme. The Prescott/Schultz connection was proven with career highs in targets (104), yards (808), yards per reception (10.4) and TD (8).

Schultz finished 2021 as the third overall tight end in the NFL for fantasy points with 130.8. He could easily see this and more with a team looking to replace Cooper’s/Gallup’s targets this season.

Irv Smith (MIN): ECR TE24

There is a trend of liking the tight end that we recommend to the quarterback mentioned above. This trend stands true with Irv Smith from the Minnesota Vikings. Smith is a very athletic tight end with second-round draft capital. We also know it takes longer for a tight end to come into his own in the NFL. With the season-ending injury last year, Smith had the chance to sit back and learn the game’s nuances.

The Vikings also have an aging Adam Thielen. Even though Cousins does love Thielen in the red zone, we could see a regression coming and some of those opportunities heading to Smith in 2022, just by his presence on the field. The Vikings also moved on from Tyler Conklin and Chris Herndon, leaving only Johnny Mundt and his career total of ten receptions as the only competition in the tight end room.

On FantasyPros, Irv Smith is ranked as the 15th overall tight end. When drafting a tight end this late, we should be looking for an upside that could help me steal the draft and possibly land me within the top-10 at the position; Irv Smith has the talent and the opportunity to do just that.

In fantasy football, we all love to draft a “fantasy darling” in each round. With this information on must-have quarterbacks and must-have tight ends, you can now significantly increase your chances of improving your team on draft day.

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