Best Ball Bust & League Winner Candidate: AFC East (2022 Fantasy Football)
Several factors go into building a winning best ball team. One of those factors is identifying which players will let your team down and bust. Another is knowing which players have league-winning upside, especially in the later rounds. To help you build an elite best ball roster, I will identify the most likely bust candidate and potential league winner for every NFL team.
Today I breakdown the AFC East teams: the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets.
The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.
Potential Bust Candidate
Josh Allen (QB – BUF): ADP 30.1
Allen will NOT be a bust in the traditional sense. He won’t let fantasy players down after back-to-back years as the QB1. However, his early third-round ADP is way too high. Allen averaged 23.7 fantasy points per game last season. Tom Brady averaged 22 fantasy points per game, only 7.2% less than Allen by comparison. Yet, Brady’s ADP is four rounds and 50 spots later. More importantly, Allen averaged 6.6 fantasy points per game on the ground last season. The Bills have talked about lightening his rushing workload this season to try and protect his long-term health. Allen could end the year as the QB1 but might not outscore the rest of the quarterbacks enough to warrant a third-round pick.
Tyreek Hill (WR – MIA): ADP 21.2
After Hill got traded to the Dolphins, his fantasy value took a massive hit. Despite whatever nonsense Hill has stated publicly, catching passes from Tua Tagovailoa is a substantial downgrade from Patrick Mahomes. Furthermore, Jaylen Waddle had over 100 receptions and a 24.8% target share last year. While Hill might eventually play up to his second-round ADP, expect a rocky start to begin the season. The Miami offense added several new pieces this offseason and will need time to gel. Therefore, Tagovailoa will lean on Waddle and Mike Gesicki early in the season, especially if the Dolphins consistently force Hill to run downfield routes. He will have several big performances this season, but Hill will have several disappointing ones too.
DeVante Parker (WR – NE): ADP 138.1
The Patriots lack many fantasy-relevant players. Thus, finding a glaring bust candidate is difficult. However, Parker should not be an option in the 11th round of your drafts. He has averaged over 9.6 fantasy points per game in only one season in his career. Furthermore, Parker had nine touchdowns that season. By comparison, he has 15 total touchdowns in the other six years of his career. Last year the Patriots had the eighth-fewest pass attempts in the NFL as their offense is centered around the running game. More importantly, Parker has struggled to stay healthy in his career and has missed 27.3% of the games the past two seasons. Therefore, there is no reason why you should draft Parker this early in your best ball drafts.
Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ): ADP 66.5
While he had good moments during his rookie season, Moore shouldn’t be a top-75 selection. The former Ole Miss receiver averaged 10.6 fantasy points per game last season. However, he scored under 7.5 fantasy points in 45.5% of the contests. Furthermore, Moore missed six games because of injuries. During the offseason, the Jets added several pass catchers, including using a first-round pick on Garrett Wilson. As a result, the former Ohio State star will be challenged as a rookie for the No. 1 wide receiver role. New York also re-signed Braxton Berrios in the offseason and decided to bring back Corey Davis. While he could have several huge weeks this season, Moore will need to fight for every target, thus making his ADP too high.
Potential League Winner
James Cook (RB – BUF): ADP 107.8
Many are excited to see what Cook can do in the NFL. The former Georgia star running back was a mismatch nightmare in the passing game. Meanwhile, the Bills have tried to make Devin Singletary and Zack Moss work in the passing game but have failed. Buffalo targeted their running backs 14.9% of the time last year. Furthermore, the Bills let Cole Beasley go this offseason and could give Cook some snaps in the slot. Not only will Cook provide immediate value in the passing game, but he is an injury to Singletary away from an impactful workload on the ground too.
Sony Michel (RB – MIA): ADP 206.3
After three injury-filled years in New England, many thought Michel’s career was over. However, Michel averaged eight fantasy points per game last season but 13.9 fantasy points per game over the final six weeks of the year with the Los Angeles Rams. With Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers on the sidelines, Michel was the featured back, averaging 23.2 touches per game in those games. While a similar workload isn’t guaranteed in Miami, Michel has a shot at leading their backfield this season. Chase Edmonds has never been a full-time running back, while Raheem Mostert and Myles Gaskin could find themselves on the cutting block. Michel becomes a league winner for the price of next to nothing if he earns the starting role.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE): ADP 114.3
Stevenson was the RB41 last season, averaging nine fantasy points per contest. Despite playing only 24.7% of the snaps, he scored 11.5 or more fantasy points in a third of his games. Stevenson averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and had a 3.4% touchdown rate on only 147 touches. More importantly, Stevenson averaged 15 rushing attempts for 68 rushing yards and 15 fantasy points per contest in the two games Damien Harris missed last year. Furthermore, there is a chance Stevenson replaces Harris as the lead back or earns more of a role on third down this season. If either happens or Harris misses time with an injury, Stevenson becomes a steal at his current ADP.
Zach Wilson (WR – NYJ): ADP 169.3
Last season wasn’t a great one for Wilson. However, he played better over the latter part of the season. Wilson averaged 15.3 fantasy points per game over the final six weeks of the year, scoring over 21 fantasy points twice. More importantly, the Jets made several additions this offseason to help their quarterback. First, they signed C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency. Then they spent two prime draft picks on Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, giving their quarterback a much improved receiving core. The Jets also signed Laken Tomlinson and used a fourth-round pick on Max Mitchell, improving their offensive line. With all the new additions on offense, Wilson has the potential to finish as a top-12 quarterback this year.
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 Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.