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Evaluating Players on New Teams: NFC (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Jun 30, 2022
Marcus Mariota

The 2022 NFL offseason was one of the wildest in recent memory, if not all-time. A handful of big-name stars changed teams during the tumultuous period, with many of those moves carrying significant fantasy football ramifications.

Let’s look at the most prominent faces who found new places within the NFC and gauge their fantasy outlooks for the 2022 season:

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

NFC Quarterbacks on New Teams in 2022

Carson Wentz (QB – WAS)

The Indianapolis Colts shipped Wentz to Washington after his one-year stint in Indy delivered mixed results and a horrific Week 18 meltdown. Wentz now returns to the NFC East and serves as a sizable upgrade for Washington, which is saying something.

Fantasy impact: Wentz actually put up a decent fantasy season in 2021, finishing as the QB14. He was a worthy streamer in a handful of favorable matchups. But Wentz also benefited from a great situation in Indy. He was sacked just 32 times in 17 games behind the elite Colts offensive line. He had the league’s best tailback, Jonathan Taylor, taking the pressure off of him. And he was reunited with Frank Reich, who coached Wentz during his outstanding 2017 season in Philly.

Wentz won’t have the same advantages in Washington. The offensive line isn’t terrible, but it’s far from elite. He’s got a No. 1 target in Terry McLaurin as well as intriguing rookie Jahan Dotson. But like Indianapolis, Washington’s receiving depth chart is littered with question marks.

Clearly, the fantasy community is down — or perhaps done — with Wentz. He’s ranked as the QB26 in our Expert Consensus Rankings. That might be a little harsh, but Wentz isn’t worth considering outside of Superflex or 2-QB formats.

McLaurin actually could benefit from this “upgrade”, considering he’s put up at least 900 yards in his first three seasons. That’s incredible when you consider he’s caught passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Case Keenum, and Colt McCoy.

Marcus Mariota (QB – ATL)

I feel like there’s a weird faction of the NFL fan base who thinks Marcus Mariota would be a viable starting quarterback if given the chance. Well, the former No. 2 overall pick will get one last chance in Atlanta, where he signed a two-year deal. Barring an unexpected career resurgence, Mariota will most likely serve as the bridge quarterback to either Desmond Ridder or someone from the QB-rich 2023 draft class.

Fantasy impact: There’s still an air of mystique to Mariota, which is fascinating considering he’s been in the league for seven years. Most recently, the Raiders used him as a gadget player in the Wildcat formation. Mariota’s dual-threat capabilities make him a little more intriguing from a fantasy perspective. Mariota rushed for at least 252 yards in each of his first four seasons with Tennessee.

Atlanta might have the thinnest depth chart at the skill positions, but there are a couple of players who spark intrigue. It starts with second-year tight end Kyle Pitts, who should take another step forward after a 1,026-yard rookie campaign. At the very least, he should catch more than one touchdown in 2022. Then there’s 2022 first-round pick Drake London, a massive target who could be a matchup nightmare if he can separate from cornerbacks at the next level.

Beyond those two, there isn’t much else to get excited about. My apologies to the Olamide Zaccheaus and Bryan Edwards fan clubs. Head coach Arthur Smith will have to get creative with what he’s got, and that could lead to more designed runs for Mariota to keep defenses honest.

Mariota is ranked as the ECR QB29 for a reason. His ceiling is likely a streamable QB2.

Drew Lock (QB – SEA)

Imagine being traded to a new team, then being told by your new team that you have to compete with Geno Smith for a starting job. That’s where Drew Lock is at right now in his career after fizzling out with the Broncos. Lock’s three-year tenure with Denver was filled with plenty of horrible throws, terrible decisions, and rare electrifying moments. But really, Lock’s performance played a big part in Denver making the move to get Russell Wilson. They couldn’t afford to waste another year hoping Lock’s potential materialized.

Fantasy impact: What’s amazing is Lock’s fantasy football situation wouldn’t be too bad if he can just beat out Geno Smith. Seattle’s offense will likely be more run-oriented than most. However, Lock would get to throw to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett… if he can just beat out Geno Smith.

You get the picture. Lock is the ECR QB35 because you can’t trust him, which is a shame and a waste of Metcalf and Lockett’s talents.

NFC Running Backs on New Teams in 2022

D’Onta Foreman (RB – CAR)

I almost wasn’t going to include a running back, and I laughed out loud when I realized Foreman would be the only tailback on this list. It’s like highlighting the movie “Mars Needs Moms”, as the only movie of cultural relevance in 2011.

Fantasy impact: Despite my jokes, you could make an argument that Foreman offers some fantasy intrigue in 2022. And I might believe it after my seventh beer.

Okay, seriously, jokes aside. The Panthers might try this newfound strategy of not running your petite, but incredibly talented, running back into the ground. And Carolina clearly wasn’t thrilled by what they saw in Chuba Hubbard in his rookie season. Maybe there’s a scenario where Foreman becomes the James Conner or LeGarrette Blount of the Carolina offense and becomes the team’s primary goal-line option. If nothing else, he becomes intriguing should Christian McCaffrey go down again.

NFC Wide Receivers on New Teams in 2022

A.J. Brown (WR – PHI)

The A.J. Brown trade didn’t make much sense to me. Well, let me rephrase. Tennessee’s decision to trade A.J. Brown didn’t make sense to me. Yes, I know he’s been a bit injury-prone through three seasons. And yes, he got $100 million from Philadelphia shortly after the trade went down. But there’s no denying that Tennessee’s offense is worse, and Philadelphia’s offense is better with a healthy Brown on the outside.

Fantasy impact: The question is whether Brown can put up an elite fantasy season with his new team. We know he’s talented enough to do so, as he was a top-10 fantasy wideout in his first two seasons. However, the situation in Philadelphia is a tricky one to evaluate. Your opinion on Brown going into this season likely depends on what you think of his new quarterback, Jalen Hurts.

Hurts is an electric athlete, but he still has a lot of room to grow as a passer. Let’s remember he threw for just 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2021. Throw in second-year wide receiver DeVonta Smith and veteran tight end Dallas Goedert, and suddenly Brown’s fantasy potential gets even cloudier.

Brown will be the primary option in Philly’s offense, but his target volume could vary greatly from week to week. And I’m just too skeptical of Hurts to take Brown as my WR1, even though I’m a huge fan of his talent.

Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)

Another surprising trade involving a receiver with the last name Brown. The timing of Baltimore’s decision to ship Marquise Brown to Arizona is fascinating, considering he was coming off of a career year. But Brown’s move to Arizona could actually be quite good for his fantasy prospects.

Fantasy impact: Moving from Lamar Jackson to Kyler Murray as your quarterback is probably a neutral move for most receivers. However, Brown’s chemistry with Murray from their college days makes this a slight upgrade. Brown also benefits from changing systems, as he’ll join a Cardinals offense that routinely leverages four-receiver sets.

Brown will also start the year as Arizona’s top option in the passing game with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games of the season. Brown’s fantasy value becomes a bit murkier once Hopkins returns, but there should be plenty of volume to go around.

A ranking of WR23 feels right for Brown. His ceiling could be capped once Hopkins returns, but he should be a viable weekly starter.

Allen Robinson (WR – LAR)

Finally, we’ll get to see what Allen Robinson can do with an actual quarterback. No offense to Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles, but none of those passers hold a candle to Robinson’s new QB, Matthew Stafford. Robinson signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams this offseason, where he’ll serve as the WR2 on the outside to Cooper Kupp.

Fantasy impact: Robinson might be the player I’m most excited about on this list. Assuming he’s healthy, he should thrive as the X-receiver in Los Angeles’ offense. We’ve seen in the past that Sean McVay’s offense can support two standout receivers. And the departure of Robert Woods and (presumably) Odell Beckham Jr. frees up 117 targets, the bulk of which could go Robinson’s way.

Robinson’s upside is obviously somewhat capped because the passing game goes through Kupp. But I think WR26 is a bit low. I’d actually rank him right around WR20.

D.J. Chark (WR – DET)

Just two years ago, Chark was coming off a 1,000-yard sophomore season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, he’s a Detroit Lion after signing a one-year, $10 million deal that’s fully guaranteed. Injuries played a role in derailing Chark’s tenure in Jacksonville, and he’ll look to revive his career in Detroit.

Fantasy impact: Training camp will go a long way in determining Chark’s fantasy viability. Detroit has a crowded but unproven receiving depth chart featuring Amon-Ra St. Brown, rookie Jameson Williams, Josh Reynolds, and Quintez Cephus. On paper, Chark is the most accomplished guy in this group. But he’ll likely play second fiddle behind St. Brown, and could be relegated to a tertiary role once Williams is fully healthy.

It’s hard to get overly excited about a secondary weapon of Jared Goff‘s. Chark’s WR58 ranking feels fair, with a bit of upward mobility should he solidify a starting job.

Jarvis Landry (WR – NO)

Landry signed with the Saints on a cheap one-year deal. But he could be a valuable slot receiver in a New Orleans passing game that has some sneaky appeal. The question is whether Landry has enough left in the tank at 29 years old.

Fantasy impact: By now, you know what Landry is. He’s immensely more valuable in a PPR format. However, a quarterback change to the wild and wacky Jameis Winston could hurt Landry, who relies heavily on short-area targets. There’s also a ton of uncertainty surrounding the Saints’ offense. Will Michael Thomas return to form, or return at all? Can Chris Olave make an immediate impact as a rookie? Landry has a niche role, and it’s an important role. But he’s becoming harder to roster every year.

Sammy Watkins (WR – GB)

Sammy Watkins lives to disappoint fantasy managers. He did it early in his career in Buffalo when he couldn’t stay healthy or play consistently. He did it in Kansas City when he couldn’t emerge as a secondary weapon for Patrick Mahomes. And he did it again in Baltimore despite a lack of competition for targets.

Now, Watkins will probably generate buzz in Green Bay, which has a thin receiving depth chart and an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. What can go wrong?

Fantasy impact: Someone will argue that Watkins will be a receiver to take a flier on because Aaron Rodgers has nobody else. I’m here to tell you not to take the cheese. Our Expert Consensus Rankings have Watkins as the WR108. Kudos to them. I don’t care what the depth chart looks like, Watkins will let you down again.

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