Irv Smith Jr. was a popular sleeper pick last year prior to suffering his season-ending injury. Smith is working his way back from injury, and based on the latest reports he is making progress in his return. What should fantasy football managers expect from Smith in 2022? Let’s take a look.
Chad Graff of The Athletic reports that Minnesota Vikings TE Irv Smith received live first-team reps during the team’s mandatory minicamp after being a limited participant during OTAs as he recovers from a meniscus injury. (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: Smith had surgery on his meniscus on September 1st and missed the entire 2021 campaign as a result of the injury. Reports out of Vikings camp indicate that Smith is fully healthy and could be in line for a breakout year as he’s projected to have close to an every-down role with TE Tyler Conklin leaving the team in free agency. Smith is entering the final season of his rookie contract, and if history is any indication, he should see a bump in production in 2022. Since 2017, 90% of players who have functioned as their team’s primary TE in their contract year have produced a PPG at least one point above their career average. Smith is currently ranked as the TE18 according to FantasyPros ECR and he will be a popular target for fantasy managers who wait until the later rounds to draft a TE.
– By Sam Ryner
Irv Smith Jr. 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
Assuming Irv Smith is at full health to start the season, he could compete with Adam Thielen as the second target in Minnesota behind Justin Jefferson. Let’s not forget that Smith was eighth in yards per target and second in QBR when targeted among tight ends in 2020. The Vikings surprised everyone by ranking 12th in neutral passing rate and eighth in neutral pace last year. If that repeats, the volume will be there for Smith. As an unrestricted free agent in 2023, Smith should be heavily motivated to post career-best numbers.
– Derek Brown
2022 Consensus Best Ball Rankings
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