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Best Values on FFPC (2022 Fantasy Football)

by C.H. Herms | @HermsNFL | Featured Writer
Jun 13, 2022
Pat Freiermuth

For this installment, we will look at early values based on average draft position (ADP) per RotoBaller for those who choose to participate in leagues under the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) umbrella.

In case you are unfamiliar, FFPC is a host that yields high payouts for its participants; i.e., this is a high-stakes platform where many of the sharpest minds put their talents to the test.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Derek Carr (QB – LV): QB13

No complicated argument is necessary here. Since 2016, Derek Carr has finished as low as QB19 and as high as QB9 in what is considered the “fantasy season” (all weeks minus the last of the NFL schedule). Just this past year, from Week 1 through 17, he finished as QB12. Considering the historical context of the less-than-stellar surrounding cast of players Carr has had to work with within that span, it is fair to objectively say he is priced at/around his floor.

Per our advanced QB stats tool, it is easy to see that Carr ranked favorably high in deep-ball passing just one season ago. Plainly stated, this man can chuck a good ball. With the emergence of teammate Hunter Renfrow in 2021, an assumed return to health for Darren Waller, and the addition of Carr’s college battery mate Davante Adams, what is stopping the Las Vegas signal-caller from reaching, if not surpassing, his previous high mark of QB9?

This is the best group of skill position players he has ever had to work with by some margin. Carr is your ideal QB target if you are looking to wait on the position to supplement value elsewhere on your roster: boring but reliable.

Travis Etienne (RB – JAX): RB16

Though he missed his rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury, it may prove to have been a blessing in disguise for Etienne. The Jaguars were an athletic comedy of errors in 2021 under the tutelage of Urban Meyer, with an offense that ran the fourth-fewest plays and a total offense success rate of 46% (11th-worst in the NFL) per Sharp Football Analysis. New head coach Doug Pederson should be a refreshing change of pace, literally and figuratively. During Pederson’s tenure as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, the team performed:

– 2020: 6th in total plays, 44% total offense success rate (29th)
– 2019: 1st in total plays, 48% total offense success rate (10th)
– 2018: 8th in total plays, 47% total offense success rate (15th)
– 2017: 3rd in total plays, 45% total offense success rate (11th)
– 2016: 3rd in total plays, 47% total offense success rate (13th)

An offense that runs more plays stays on the field more and thus creates more opportunities for production for its players. In addition to the potential increase in the offense’s volume, Etienne was a more-than-capable receiver out of the backfield in college per Campus2Canton’s college backfield dominator rating receiving data. So, who cares? For those who don’t remember, his college quarterback is current Jaguars starting QB Trevor Lawrence. The two already have a rapport, an advantage few players get, and that should serve Etienne well as he works into seeing his first professional football action.

Without backfield mate James Robinson, who has said he is ‘not trying to rush‘ himself back from a Week 16 Achilles tear, Etienne’s fantasy prospects and potential involvement in the rushing and passing attack of what should be a high-paced offense this season could very well be Alvin Kamara-esque. While we have yet to see him suit up in an NFL game, Etienne is an easy candidate for an RB1 season being selected as a mid-RB2 based on these factors.

Russell Gage (WR – TB): WR35

A new member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gage finds himself having to fill the shoes of high-profile receivers. With Chris Godwin still recovering from an ACL tear and Antonio Brown no longer on the roster, he will need to be an impact player immediately, but the former Atlanta Falcon is not new to this type of situation. In the 2020 season, wideout Julio Jones only played in two games following their Week 10 bye week, a happening that thrust Gage into a more involved role opposite Calvin Ridley. Again in 2021, Gage was forced to step up on the depth chart when the aforementioned Ridley stepped away from football ahead of Week 8. Here is how Gage fared in those stretches of greater responsibility:

– 2020 Week 11 through Week 17: WR18 overall in PPR scoring
– 2021 Week 8 through Week 18: WR18 overall in PPR scoring

It took Gage some time to grow into the WR1 role last season, but from Week 12 through the end of the year, he ranked 16th in average air yards per game and 4th air yard market share percentage per 4for4 and performed as the WR10 overall in PPR during that stretch. Gage has stepped up before and can do so again in Tampa Bay.

But whose role will the Buccaneers ask him to fill? Godwin’s slot role or Brown’s role primarily out wide? The answer is irrelevant: Gage is prepared to do both. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), he went from lining up in the slot 67.5% of the time versus 31.9% out wide in 2020 to a nearly 50/50 split in 2021. The key takeaway here is that even when Godwin returns, Gage will likely not fall out of relevancy whenever that occurs. His versatility is a valuable asset to a hopeful Super Bowl contender.

On top of his leap forward in role diversity, here is a fun stat for fantasy managers who play in leagues with a first down scoring bonus: since 2020, Gage ranks 23rd in first downs achieved among WRs (minimum 50 targets) per Footballguys. That is a relatively robust level of high leverage achievement despite only being one of the Falcons’ primary wide receiver in a combined 17-game span across 2020 and 2021.

There is little reason why Gage cannot outperform his ADP and produce in an offense that ranked third in pass play success rate last year per Sharp Football Analysis.

Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT): TE11

A year-end look at Freiermuth leaves room for muted optimism, but it is vital to remember that concussion issues impacted the conclusion of the rookie tight end’s season. Additionally, speaking as a Steelers fan who wrote about this during the 2021 season, it was not until Week 6 that both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Eric Ebron ceased being in the lineup, and Freiermuth saw greater regularity in usage. The meat of Freiermuth’s effectiveness came from Week 6 through Week 14. During that time, Freiermuth led all tight ends in the NFL in red zone targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.

Moreover, Freiermuth put up seven games of 10+ PPR points in 2021. As referenced in a linked article of mine above (and per Jeff Krisko of Football Absurdity), only two rookie tight ends since 2001 produced a greater number of such games: Jeremy Shockey in 2002 and Evan Engram in 2017 (eight games each). For comparison, Falcons TE Kyle Pitts only had six games over 10+ PPR points last year.

Even with a new quarterback under center in Pittsburgh in 2022, it may be difficult for the Steelers to put the proverbial red zone genie back in the bottle. Freiermuth’s rookie campaign was a lot better than meets the eye looking back at the 2021 season totals, and he essentially faces the same target competition he thrived alongside with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Najee Harris still in town. Take a shot on the second-year pro at a borderline TE1 cost.

CTAs


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