Contract Year Player Outlook: Irv Smith Jr. (2022 Fantasy Football)
We recently look at the impact contract status has on fantasy football performance. Focusing specifically on players entering the final year of their rookie contracts, Sam Ryner put together key general takeaways and also players impacted entering the 2022 fantasy football season. Let’s take a deeper dive on one of those players, Irv Smith Jr.
Other Contract Year Player Outlooks:
Contract-season fantasy performances for TEs (2017-21; PPR scoring)
- 66.7% produced a PPG at least one point above their career average.
- 27.8% produced a PPG at least one point below their career average.
- 5.5% produced a PPG within one point of their career average.
- 38.8% had the best season-end rank of their rookie contract.
- 27.8% had the worst season-end rank of their rookie contract.
Fun Fact: Of the TEs who saw their PPG drop by at least one point in their contract season, 60% of those players were not starting for their team and the other 40% played in TE committees during their contract season.
What this means: The fun fact listed above is an important one. The data shows that TEs generally improve in their contract season regardless of what their role is in their offense, but the odds of a TE increasing his production in his contract season have been almost a certainty if he is the primary TE in his team’s offense. In the past five seasons, 90% of players who functioned as their team’s primary TE in their contract year have produced a PPG number that is at least one point better than their career average. This bodes well for both Irv Smith Jr. and Dawson Knox heading into this season.
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 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
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