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Safest Pick on Each NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jun 27, 2022


 
A couple of weeks ago, our experts took a look at breakout candidates. Identifying breakout candidates is a great way to get more production at a lower cost on draft day. But every player on your team won’t be a breakout candidate. You need those safe and reliable players to provide a solid foundation for your fantasy squads.

Our analysts combed through the NFL rosters and identified the safest picks on every team. The results and accompanying justifications are below. Previously, our analysts took a look at the most overrated and underrated players, the top rookies, and the top breakout candidates on each NFL team:

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

AFC East

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Buffalo Bills Josh Allen Josh Allen Josh Allen Josh Allen
Miami Dolphins Jaylen Waddle Jaylen Waddle Jaylen Waddle Jaylen Waddle
New England Patriots Jakobi Meyers Jakobi Meyers Rhamondre Stevenson Damien Harris
New York Jets Breece Hall Breece Hall Breece Hall Elijah Moore

Buffalo Bills
Among QBs last season, Josh Allen’s 13% weekly bust rate was tied for the lowest with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
– Andrew Erickson

Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa to Tyreek Hill is a projection. Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle is a reality we saw unfold last season. Waddle posted nine top-24 PPR finishes — 8th-best at the position and more than Hill did in KC.
– Andrew Erickson

New England Patriots
Jakobi Meyers finished as a WR4 or better in 80% of his games last season.
– Andrew Erickson

New York Jets
Breece Hall had a wildly productive three-year run at Iowa State and then put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine, clocking a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and posting the best vertical jump and third-best broad jump among RBs. He’s one of the better RB prospects in recent years, and his pass-catching ability is going to boost his fantasy value right away. We generally don’t think of rookies as safe fantasy investments, but Hall has a sturdy floor and a lofty ceiling.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

AFC North

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson Lamar Jackson Lamar Jackson Mark Andrews
Cincinnati Bengals Joe Mixon Joe Mixon Joe Mixon Ja’Marr Chase
Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb Nick Chubb Nick Chubb Nick Chubb
Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris Najee Harris Najee Harris Najee Harris

Baltimore Ravens
Since 2019, Lamar Jackson has never finished lower than tenth among quarterbacks in the percentage of top 12 finishes in games he’s played in.
– Derek Brown

Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon was the only RB last season to finish inside the top-36 weekly in a full 16 games played.
– Andrew Erickson

Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb has scored at least eight TDs in each of his four NFL seasons. He’s run for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons after finishing with 996 rushing yards as a rookie. He’s also finished in RB1 range in each of the last three seasons — even in 2020, when he missed four games. Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the game, and he offers steady fantasy production even though he doesn’t catch many passes and has to share work with Kareem Hunt.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Pittsburgh Steelers
Volume is king and Najee Harris is living proof. Despite playing on a bottom-feeding offense a season ago, the Steelers RB posted the 3rd-most top-12 finishes and top-24 finishes.
– Andrew Erickson

AFC South

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Houston Texans Brandin Cooks Brandin Cooks Brandin Cooks Brandin Cooks
Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Taylor Jonathan Taylor Jonathan Taylor Jonathan Taylor
Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence Christian Kirk Trevor Lawrence Trevor Lawrence
Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry Derrick Henry Robert Woods Derrick Henry

Houston Texans
Brandin Cooks finished as a WR2 or better in 53% of his games played last season. That was better or equal to the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Hunter Renfrow, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Williams, Ja’Marr Chase, DK Metcalf, Michael Pittman Jr., Tee Higgins and Amari Cooper.
– Andrew Erickson

Indianapolis Colts
Over the last two seasons, Jonathan Taylor has finished first and ninth in the percentage of his games in which he has finished as a top 24 running back. Last year he led all running backs with 75% of his games as a top 12 option at the position. With Taylor’s combination of talent and volume, he’s the safest bet among rushers.
– Derek Brown

Jacksonville Jaguars
There aren’t many safe fantasy options with a Jaguars offense still trying to adjust to the sunlight after emerging from the darkness of Urban Meyer’s head-coaching tenure. RB James Robinson is recovering from an Achilles tear, RB Travis Etienne lost his rookie season to a foot injury, and the division of targets among WRs is hard to project. Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, had a shaky rookie season but is still a Grade A prospect who should find firmer footing in 2022 now that Meyer has been purged and replaced by ex-QB Doug Pederson.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Tennessee Titans
The key word is “safest,” not 100% safe, but what RB is? Derrick Henry did play in the playoffs and did have a full, regular, healthy off-season program. You know the offense literally runs through him.
– Joe Pisapia

AFC West

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Denver Broncos Melvin Gordon Russell Wilson Russell Wilson Russell Wilson
Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce Travis Kelce Travis Kelce Travis Kelce
Las Vegas Raiders Derek Carr Davante Adams Hunter Renfrow Davante Adams
Los Angeles Chargers Keenan Allen Justin Herbert Austin Ekeler Justin Herbert

Denver Broncos
We don’t know how Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon will split carries, and we don’t know how targets will be divided in Denver. What we do know is that Russell Wilson has finished in QB1 range in 9 of his 10 NFL seasons. He finished in QB2 range last year after missing three games (and a big chunk of a fourth) with a finger injury. It was the first time in Wilson’s career that he had missed any starts.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce’s 73% TE1 finish rate from 2021 ranked No. 1 at the position. With Tyreek Hill gone, his target floor is threating the ceiling.
– Andrew Erickson

Las Vegas Raiders
Davante Adams ASKED for this! He wanted to be with Derek Carr in Vegas. When I think safe, I think talent and Adams is one of the most gifted WR in the NFL. They are going to get him the football.
– Joe Pisapia

Los Angeles Chargers
Keenan Allen never finished a week last season as a top-6 WR. But he also busted just once in 15 games played.
– Andrew Erickson

CTAs

NFC East

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Dallas Cowboys Dalton Schultz Dalton Schultz CeeDee Lamb Dalton Schultz
New York Giants Sterling Shepard None Sterling Shepard None
Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts Jalen Hurts Jalen Hurts Jalen Hurts
Washington Commanders Terry McLaurin Terry McLaurin Terry McLaurin Terry McLaurin

Dallas Cowboys
List of tight ends that played all 16 games last season and busted on fewer than 25% of them: Mark Andrews, Dalton Schultz.
– Andrew Erickson

New York Giants
Simply put: When Sterling Shepard is healthy and on the field, he gets peppered with targets. He has been a top-40 wide receiver in terms of fantasy points per game (PPR) over the past three seasons, commanding nearly eight targets per game.
– Andrew Erickson

Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts has been a top-12 fantasy quarterback at an 85% hit rate in the 20 games he’s played all four quarters. And there’s no reason to think that Hurts won’t continue producing in fantasy with the addition of A.J. Brown
– Andrew Erickson

Washington Commanders
Terry McLaurin has been one of the few stable components of a perennially unstable Washington offense. He’s gone over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons, and he probably would have gone 3-for-3 had he not missed a pair of games as a rookie and fallen 81 yards short. Even though the Commanders spent a first-round draft pick on WR Jahan Dotson, McLaurin is expected to be the go-to receiver for new QB Carson Wentz.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

NFC North

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Chicago Bears Darnell Mooney Darnell Mooney Darnell Mooney Darnell Mooney
Detroit Lions D’Andre Swift D’Andre Swift D’Andre Swift D’Andre Swift
Green Bay Packers Allen Lazard Allen Lazard A.J. Dillon A.J. Dillon
Minnesota Vikings Kirk Cousins Justin Jefferson Justin Jefferson Justin Jefferson

Chicago Bears
Darnell Mooney is the man in Chicago, and by the man I mean the only WR I can even consider drafting. I’ve loved Mooney since his rookie year when he was fighting for balls like a mad man against the Bucs in a primetime game. He’s the WR1 in CHI, but a WR2 in fantasy.
– Joe Pisapia

Detroit Lions
D’Andre Swift teased some lofty potential in 2021, and you know he’s a true bell cow back. The Lions have to get Swift plenty of action if the offense is going to make imporvivements year over year.
– Joe Pisapia

Green Bay Packers
In the last eight regular-season games that A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones played together, Dillon averaged 13.8 carries; Jones averaged 10.3. Dillon also took over as the Packers’ goal-line back late in the season. Dillon has also proven himself to be a better receiver than advertised, catching 34 of 37 targets last year. With Davante Adams gone, the Packers are sure to run the ball at a higher rate this year, and Aaron Rodgers is likely to target his RBs at a higher rate. Dillon is going to be an important part of a top offense.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson may be the safest investment of any elite WR. Cooper Kupp is coming off a gigantic workload and you can argue Jefferson is not only the safest Viking, but also the safest fantasy receiver there is.
– Joe Pisapia

NFC South

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Atlanta Falcons Kyle Pitts Kyle Pitts Kyle Pitts Drake London
Carolina Panthers D.J. Moore D.J. Moore D.J. Moore None
New Orleans Saints Jarvis Landry Jarvis Landry Chris Olave Chris Olave
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Russell Gage Mike Evans Mike Evans Russell Gage

Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts was glorious last season, despite playing for an abysmal offense and scoring one lousy TD. In terms of volume, Pitts will continue to see plenty of it and that makes him a safe investment, even if the Falcons offense caps his ceiling again.
– Joe Pisapia

Carolina Panthers
1.2K yards and 4 TDs, every year, the same deal. What D.J. Moore lacks in upside, he makes up for with floor. I still think he;s being drafted too high, but at least you know what to expect.
– Joe Pisapia

New Orleans Saints
Alvin Kamara is facing a suspension, Michael Thomas is trying to come back from a major foot injury, Chris Olave is a rookie, and Jameis Winston is rarely described as a safe fantasy option. That leaves Jarvis Landry, a reliable slot man and possession receiver who had only missed one game in seven seasons before missing multiple games with a knee injury in 2021.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans has averaged over 1K yards and 13.5 TDs since Tom Brady rolled into town. He has 1K yards in all eight of his NFL season. He is Mr. Consistency.
– Joe Pisapia

NFC West

TEAM Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Arizona Cardinals Zach Ertz James Conner Kyler Murray James Conner
Los Angeles Rams Cooper Kupp Cooper Kupp Cooper Kupp Cooper Kupp
San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel Deebo Samuel George Kittle Deebo Samuel
Seattle Seahawks Kenneth Walker Tyler Lockett D.K. Metcalf D.K. Metcalf

Arizona Cardinals
My colleagues and I don’t see eye to eye on this one. Two of them prefer James Conner, who’s missed 14 games over the last four seasons with a variety of injuries. Erickson prefers Zach Ertz, who had a nice rebound season last year but completely tanked in 2020 and will turn 32 in November. I think Kyler Murray is Arizona’s safest fantasy option. In his first three seasons, he’s averaged 18.6, 24.4 and 22.2 fantasy points per game.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp finished as a top-12 WR in 81% of his games last season. Next closest was Davante Adams at 47%.
– Andrew Erickson

San Francisco 49ers
No matter who is ultimately under center for the Niners, Deebo Samuel is the weapon of choice. Sure, he may lose some of those valuable carries year over year, but he remains the playmaker to get the ball to, and that matters.
– Joe Pisapia

Seattle Seahawks
Kenneth Walker. Nobody is actually safe in Seattle, but their ground and pound approach should provide a secure floor to whichever RB is deemed healthy enough to play. Last season, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny finished as top-24 backs in six of their 13 combined starts.
– Andrew Erickson

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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