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Best Values on ESPN’s 2022 Fantasy Football Rankings

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Jun 8, 2022
Saquon Barkley

Site-specific rankings are one of the least talked about topics when planning for a fantasy football draft. I mean that rankings often differ significantly between the leading fantasy football platforms like ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, etc.

Those nuances between platforms make tools like our Expert Consensus Rankings valuable because they give you the widest variety of opinions from various platforms and publications. And when we cross-reference one site’s ranking with the Expert Consensus Rankings, it can sometimes shed light on underrated or overrated players by a specific place.

When the draft day arrives, fantasy managers can use this information to exploit the leaguemates who primarily stick to a site’s cheat sheet.

With that being said, let’s look at the players who are presenting the most value based on ESPN’s top 300 PPR rankings.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)

ESPN ranking: 27th overall, RB16
ECR ranking: 26th overall, RB14

It seems as if the market has thrown in the towel on Barkley, who managers drafted as a top-five running back each of the last few seasons. But after a rash of injuries and horrible production from the Giants offense, Barkley’s fantasy stock has fallen significantly.

While the difference between ESPN and the ECR ranking of Barkley isn’t crazy, it’s encouraging to see that the experts are at least slightly higher on him. I’m higher on Barkley than both ESPN and the ECR, which is fine with me. There’s no denying Barkley’s an unbelievably talented player. And I’m a believer that Brian Daboll will get that offense headed in the right direction.

If Barkley stays healthy, I know that’s a big if — he could be poised for a bounceback. I’ll gladly take a stab at him as my RB2 at the end of Round 2 or the start of Round 3.

DK Metcalf (WR – SEA)

ESPN ranking: 43rd overall, WR18

ECR ranking: 44th overall, WR19

I get it. Russell Wilson is gone, and the Seahawks could be quarterbacked by either Drew Lock or Geno Smith. The sky is falling in Seattle. Maybe I am glossing over Metcalf’s situation and whistling past the graveyard. But the man is just too talented to be ranked as a low-end WR2.

Metcalf is a stud, and while I agree he deserves better, he’s good enough to put up a very good season with what he’s got. The concerns about Seattle becoming a “run-heavy” team are overblown, as no team in the NFL is truly run-heavy anymore. Metcalf won’t suddenly be reduced to four targets a game. And if he is, then I’ll personally help Pete Carroll find a retirement home.

I’ll gladly take Metcalf as my WR2 at a position that’s about as hard to predict as the weather in my hometown of Chicago. I’d much rather take a stab on Metcalf at that price than on Terry McLaurin, Mike Williams, Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, and Amon-Ra St. Brown (who has Jared Goff as his QB!), who are all ranked near Metcalf.

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN)

ESPN ranking: 84th overall, QB10

ECR ranking: 71st overall, QB6

I’m a little surprised to see Burrow ranked this low after his incredible rise last season. Burrow is Cincinnati’s long-awaited franchise QB and nearly got the Bengals atop the mountain with a Super Bowl win. Burrow finished last season as the QB8 in fantasy, and there are plenty of reasons to believe he has upward mobility in 2022.

Burrow’s supporting cast is still outstanding, and Cincinnati put resources into improving his protection. While I’ll gladly take Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers as my late-round starter at QB, I’m not sure those two should be ranked ahead of Burrow, and I’m not sure Burrow will go this late in drafts this summer.

AJ Dillon (RB – GB)

ESPN ranking: 95th overall, RB31

ECR ranking: 59th overall, RB25

Dillon is ranked far too low on ESPN, even in PPR formats. Let’s not forget Dillon hauled in 34 passes last season, so he also presents some value in this format.

Obviously, Dillon is the 1B in Green Bay’s backfield behind Aaron Jones, the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. However, the 1B in Green Bay’s backfield netted Dillon RB23 in PPR last season. So, what exactly is the problem here?

Dillon isn’t a handcuff like ESPN suggests, and he has a standalone value that will only explode should Aaron Jones miss time. Sign me up.

Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU)

ESPN ranking: 151st overall, RB46

ECR ranking: 152nd overall, RB 52

While our experts are a little lower on Pierce than ESPN, I think he could be an enormous value come draft season. Pierce was a highly productive college back and a touchdown machine despite a low number of touches. He now enters a Texans depth chart with Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack as his primary competition.

I’m not saying Pierce should be ranked as an RB3. But don’t be surprised if his value ascends as the summer goes on.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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