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7 High-Risk Draft Picks (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jul 25, 2022

Training camp across the league fully commences this Tuesday, with NFL vets making their way onto the practice field en masse. The most eager fantasy managers have already begun their initial drafts. Sleepers are usually the biggest topic on everyone’s mind at this time of the year, but knowing which players to avoid in drafts is arguably more important. Many of these high-risk athletes can simply be overvalued, but some have major injury concerns, and others have big issues with their situations, like landing in a worse offense during the offseason or being slated for a reduced role.

So, who should fantasy managers be cautious to draft in the early and middle rounds? Keep reading to find out which players our featured experts are steering clear of heading into the 2022 season. Remember that each suggestion is solely that expert’s opinion and that the players suggested aren’t flat-out busts. They are merely players who carry too much risk given their draft cost.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Q1. Which RB comes with the most risk at his current positional half-PPR ADP and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?

Javonte Williams (DEN): Consensus ADP – RB9 | 16th Overall
“Juggernaut Javonte Williams is being drafted way too high as a top-10 running back for me in redraft because it’s hard to envision him significantly surpassing his RB17 finish in half-point PPR scoring from a season ago with a similar split workload expected alongside Melvin Gordon. Let’s not forget that Gordon finished right behind Williams as RB18 and played one fewer game. The veteran also spoke recently claiming he would refuse to lay down in the battle to be the Broncos’ RB1, and his play from last year — eighth in both PFF rushing grade (83.4) and forced missed tackles (45) — suggests he’s still got plenty left in the tank. I’d much rather have D’Andre Swift, who was the RB9 in fantasy in points per game and led all RBs in catches before his injury last season. The Lions RB is a better red-zone role away from an Austin Ekeler-like season in 2022. ”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): Consensus ADP – RB18 | 31st Overall
“Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t looked himself since 2019, and vintage Zeke might be gone for good. As Warren Sharp of Sharp Football recently noted, Elliott’s rushing yards over expected per carry over the last two seasons have been -0.01. Backup Tony Pollard’s RYOE per carry over the last two seasons: +0.52. Zeke’s legion of true believers will note that he finished RB6 last year in 0.5 PPR scoring, but that was largely “survivor bias,” with Zeke one of only five RBs in the top 20 to play all 17 games. With Elliott now 27, a dramatic efficiency rebound after two inefficient seasons seems unlikely. I have him ranked behind James Conner, Breece Hall, Travis Etienne and A.J. Dillon, all of whom have worse ADPs.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Dalvin Cook (MIN): Consensus ADP – RB5 | 6th Overall
“Dalvin Cook. The perennial first-round pick in fantasy drafts carries some extra uncertainty coming into the season. New head coach Kevin O’Connell is expected to bring more passing and 11 personnel from his time with the Rams. Pairing this with the Vikings’ bottom-10 expected defense makes for negative game scripts being a common event, which limits Cook’s carry volume upside. Cook is also coming off a career-low 2.6 receptions per game, and my RB model projects him as the RB8 this season, making Henry, Harris, Mixon and Swift all more attractive options. My yearly team projections have the Vikings dropping by over a point per game as well for less scoring opportunities.”
David Zach (FantasyPros)

Antonio Gibson (WAS): Consensus ADP – RB11 | 18th Overall
“Antonio Gibson was the RB10 last year, averaging averaged 4.4 targets per game in the five games J.D. McKissic missed with a concussion. However, he averaged only 2.7 targets per game when McKissic was healthy. More importantly, Gibson had 52 red zone touches and six goal-line rushing attempts last year. With the addition of Brian Robinson and the return of McKissic, Gibson’s role in the red zone and the passing game will be limited. I’d rather draft Cam Akers, Travis Etienne and AJ Dillon over Gibson.”
Mike Fanelli (Prime Time Sports Talk)

Q2. Which WR comes with the most risk at his current positional half-PPR ADP and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?

DK Metcalf (SEA): Consensus ADP – WR15 | 44th Overall
“DK Metcalf’s situation has drastically changed from a year ago. Russell Wilson is a Bronco, and Geno Smith is in line to be Seattle’s starter. Metcalf averaged 14.9 fantasy points per game in three games without Wilson last year. However, Metcalf averaged only 9.9 fantasy points per game in those contests if you remove the blown-coverage touchdown in the Week 7 matchup against the Saints. Furthermore, he averaged only 0.98 fantasy points per target on his non-touchdown targets in the three games without Wilson. With Smith or Drew Lock under center, there is no reason why Metcalf should get drafted ahead of Michael Pittman, DJ Moore, Mike Williams and Brandin Cooks.”
Mike Fanelli (Prime Time Sports Talk)

“The difference between having Geno Smith/Drew Lock at quarterback versus Russell Wilson cannot be overstated. It’s a horrible situation to be in and puts DK Metcalf in a tough spot for fantasy football. Metcalf thrives off touchdown production (32 touchdowns over his first three seasons), but scoring might be a rare commodity for this 2022 Seahawks offense. One of Seattle’s two top pass catchers might be able to get by solely on volume or due to an injury, but that’s a bet I am not willing to make drafting in the middle rounds. I’d much rather have Michael Pittman Jr., who got an upgrade at QB this offseason with Matt Ryan and commanded a 31% target share from Weeks 13-18 last season.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Tyreek Hill (MIA): Consensus ADP – WR8 | 21st Overall
“Tyreek Hill. Going as the WR9, Hill has a lot of avenues to fail to live up to ADP. New Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel comes from a run-heavy philosophy in San Francisco that ranked 31st in pass attempts last season. There are also major question marks surrounding Tua Tagovailoa, who ranked 23rd in deep ball IQR (64 IQR) according to SIS — Hill’s typical ideal route depth. The Chiefs haven’t had a top-tier WR2, and that changes dramatically with Jaylen Waddle, who just broke the rookie record for receptions in a season. I like players with multiple paths to upside, not the other way around. I prefer Deebo Samuel, Keenan Allen and Michael Pittman as alternatives.”
David Zach (FantasyPros)

Michael Thomas (NO): Consensus ADP – WR25 | 68th Overall
“It has to be Michael Thomas. The potential rewards he offers are enticing, but the risk is enormous. Thomas has played only seven games since 2019 due to an ankle injury that was surgically repaired in June 2021 but wasn’t sufficiently healed for him to take the field last season. It isn’t necessarily a big deal that the Saints placed Thomas on the active/PUP list last week, days before the start of training camp, but it isn’t reassuring either. Thomas won’t be playing with Drew Brees anymore, and he faces target competition from first-round rookie Chris Olave and veteran possession receiver Jarvis Landry. There are a dozen WRs with lower ADPs I’d rather have than Thomas, and I’d MUCH rather have Rashod Bateman, Gabriel Davis and Darnell Mooney.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)


Thanks to the experts for sharing their advice! For more of their insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites.

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