9 Scorching Hot Takes (Fantasy Football)
If you predicted before the 2021 season that James Conner would finish as an RB1, that certainly would have qualified as a hot take. Even then, few could have guessed that he’d manage to crack the top five at the position. His career year was even more unexpected when you consider that he entered the season as a backup.
Hot takes are less about accuracy and more about staking your reputation on a particular player you feel is primed to far exceed expectations. Most of the following takes from our featured experts won’t materialize, but they all have a realistic chance of coming to fruition. However, the bigger component that we fantasy managers must take away from this is that all the players suggested by today’s pundits were chosen because they have a high chance of breaking out, regardless of whether they’re able to meet the author’s lofty goals for their season.
Q. What is one fantasy football hot take you have for the upcoming season and why could it happen?
“Courtland Sutton will be this year’s Cooper Kupp: a WR taken in the middle rounds who alters the tides of fantasy football leagues. His new quarterback, Russell Wilson, has always been an elite downfield passer — sixth-highest passer rating on throws of 20-plus air yards last season — which plays heavily into Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat. The big-bodied fiend led the Broncos in red-zone targets in 2021 and led all WRs in target rate inside the 10-yard line in 2019. Wilson has an affinity for attacking receivers in the red zone; a Seattle WR has finished top-five in red-zone targets for three straight seasons. The Seahawks offense as a whole has finished top-five in red-zone TD conversion rate over the same time frame. Denver has never ranked higher than 21st since 2018. Simply put: The fit between Wilson and Sutton could not be better for 2022. ”
– Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)
“Jalen Hurts will finish as a top-four fantasy quarterback. He finished QB9 overall last season, and we saw some development while Hurts still left points on the field as a passer. He led the position in rush attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season. Hurts averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game. His 7.3 yards per attempt were higher than Ryan Tannehill, Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen. The Eagles went hard for a true No. 1 receiver in A.J. Brown, who excels in yards after the catch. In short, Hurts does not need to morph into a high-volume passer to take a step forward in fantasy production. He just needs the bump in passing that Brown can provide and to do what he’s already done well with his legs. ”
– John Hesterman (Dynasty League Football)
“David Montgomery will be a top-five RB in half-PPR and PPR leagues. With a current ECR of RB18, he’s got league-winning upside. Over the last two seasons, he’s been within the top 12 RB scorers on a per-week average, finishing as the RB6 overall in 2020 (15 games) and RB19 overall in 2021 (13 games). In other words, his ECR is below his floor. It’s not hard to see where the fantasy value will come from. The Bears are receiver-depleted in 2022, and Montgomery averaged 4.75 targets per game when Justin Fields was playing. As long as he’s healthy, the Bears RB will get at least 300 touches. Consider Montgomery to be the volume play in 2022 that Najee Harris was in 2021, when Harris finished as the RB4.”
– Tim Metzler (FantasyPros)
“While running backs and wide receivers will get the headlines here, a buried late-round tight end is my target for this spicy slice of fantasy goodness. Dan Arnold will outscore Evan Engram en route to a top-six fantasy tight end season. Arnold was among the league’s most efficient tight ends last season, ranking 10th in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF) and seventh in targets per snap. In an improved offense, Arnold can step up and compete with Travis Etienne for targets as the second pass-catching option behind Christian Kirk. ”
– Derek Brown (FantasyPros)
“Gabriel Davis will be a top-12 WR this season. With Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders out of the picture, the Bills have 193 targets, 30.9% target share and 1,734 air yards vacated from 2021. Starting as the WR2 in the playoffs, Davis had 13 targets, 10 receptions, 242 yards, and five touchdowns, but that’s not his most impressive thing from 2022. This is: Davis ranked eighth in aDOT, 14th in red-zone targets, 11th in yards per reception and fourth in target separation. He’s poised for a major breakout in 2022.”
– Kyle Williams (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Derek Carr, currently QB14 in ECR, will finish as a top-four quarterback this year. Carr set a career high in passing yards last year with 4,804 but had his second-lowest touchdown percentage since his rookie year. He did this with his top receiver getting arrested, his elite tight end missing six games, and his head coach getting fired. The Raiders now have Davante Adams to help bring the passing touchdown total back up and Josh McDaniels running the show to bring a more innovative offense to Las Vegas.”
– Michael Tomlin (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Breece Hall will finish as a top-five fantasy scorer at running back. The usual trepidation about rookies who have yet to prove themselves at the NFL level is pushing Hall’s ADP in RB2 range, but make no mistake: There’s high-end RB1 upside here. Hall has good size, exceptional speed and athleticism, and was wildly productive during his three-year college career at Iowa State. He’s also a terrific pass catcher. Fantasy managers might not be enthusiastic about investing early-round draft capital in a Jets RB, but Hall will be operating behind a Jets offensive line that features some very good run blockers, including Mekhi Becton, Laken Tomlinson, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Conner McGovern. If Hall gets a workload befitting his talents, he could produce the sort of numbers that will make him a consensus first-round draft pick a year from now.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)
“Trey Lance will finish the season as a top three fantasy quarterback in his first season as a starter. The number one reason this could happen is due to Lance’s rushing ability. In any game he could run for 100 yards and a touchdown. On top of his rushing, Lance has a massive arm and great weapons to get points through the passing game, Lance is a true dual threat QB, and he will have a Mahomes-esque breakout in his first season as a starter.”
– Dylan Licciardo (FF Gamers)
“Tee Higgins has a real shot at finishing as the best WR option in Cincy. The second-year player averaged more targets per game than Ja’Marr Chase. If what happened after the bye week (Weeks 11-17) and during the playoffs is any indication, they could both get to the 1,300 target mark in 2022. Add a little touchdown regression both ways and … give me Higgins in the mid-third round over Chase late in the first round every day.”
– Francisco (Chato) Romero (Estadio Fantasy)
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.