Contract Year Player Outlook: Mecole Hardman (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, Mecole Hardman.
Other Contract Year Player Outlooks:
Contract-season fantasy performances for WRs (2017-21; PPR scoring)
- 48.9% produced a PPG at least one point above their career average.
- 32.6% produced a PPG at least one point below their career average.
- 18.3% produced a PPG within one point of their career average.
- 38.7% had the best season-end rank of their rookie contract.
- 30.6% had the worst-season end rank of their rookie contract.
Fun Fact: 67.2% of fantasy-relevant WRs produce a PPG number that is better than or equal to their career average in the final year of their rookie contract.
What this means: The fact that WRs are more likely to increase their fantasy PPG during the final season of their rookie contracts isn’t surprising given that the WR position tends to be one of the more difficult transitions from college to the NFL. Fantasy managers have been spoiled by Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson the past two seasons, but the majority of young WRs require a few seasons in the NFL to establish themselves as consistent contributors. Research has shown that a WR’s prime years are generally between ages 25 and 28, with age 27 most likely to be the pinnacle of production. So WRs improving their PPG in the final year of their rookie contracts makes sense when rookie contracts can range from 3-5 years. The final season of WR rookie contracts is usually taking place as the player enters or is already within his prime in most circumstances. With this being the case, WRs entering the final season of their rookie contracts are good bets to increase their production and may present draft-day bargains assuming that their potential bump in production isn’t already baked into their ADP.
Mecole Hardman 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
The Chiefs adding a plethora of WRs in free agency along with second-rounder Skyy Moore in the NFL Draft hints they aren’t expecting a massive leap for Hardman.
My advice is to not get overly aggressive drafting a player that has yet to rid the role of a gadget player since entering the league. Because although the thought of a speedy wide receiver attached to Patrick Mahomes is enticing the on-field production really has not been there for Hardman even from a spiked-week perspective.
Case in point, he has finished as a top-18 weekly WR in PPR once in three years to go along with a handful of 18-20th overall finishes.
– Andrew Erickson
2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
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