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Biggest Question for Each NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Biggest Question for Each NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Will Deshaun Watson play in 2022? Is Michael Thomas still good? Will the Eagles pass more this season? When will Kenny Pickett see the field? Will Gabriel Davis break out in Year 3?

Our analysts took a look at the NFL landscape, identified the biggest fantasy-relevant question for every team, and then broke down each situation.

Previously, our analysts took a look at the most overrated and underrated players, the top rookies, the top breakout candidates, and the safest pick on each NFL team:

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Arizona Cardinals

How will the Cardinals offense function without DeAndre Hopkins?

Kyler Murray‘s production dipped last season without Hopkins in the lineup over the final four weeks of the season. He averaged 18.8 fantasy points per game and 6.3 yards per pass attempt. Murray averaged 24.9 fantasy points per game and 8.7 yards per attempt in the nine games with Hopkins fully healthy. He also posted the No. 1-ranked PFF passing grade (90.5).

Losing Hopkins for six games cannot be ignored, but the addition of Marquise Brown figures to make up for some of the lost production. Murray also tends to post his best fantasy production during the beginning of the season. Considering Murray has averaged 27.8 fantasy points per game as the QB1 and QB3 respectively over the first half of the last two seasons – before he’s gotten hurt – I’d be all over him in drafts if others are reading too much into Hopkins’s absence.
Andrew Erickson

Atlanta Falcons

How high is the 2022 ceiling for Kyle Pitts?

Considered by many to be a once-in-a-generation TE prospect, Kyle Pitts produced 1,026 yards as a rookie but scored only one touchdown in a moribund Falcons offense. Will a year of NFL experience and the arrival of WR Drake London to divert some defensive attention help propel Pitts to new heights, or will an uncertain QB situation keep this future superstar from reaching his potential?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Baltimore Ravens

Will the Ravens revert back to their 2019 run-heavy offense?

QB Lamar Jackson‘s passing efficiency has declined each year since his 2019 MVP campaign (8.9 adjusted yards per attempt in 2019, 7.6 and 6.9 in 2020-21), and the Ravens traded away No. 1 WR Marquise Brown this offseason, so they could lean more on the running game this year. If the Ravens run as much as they did in 2019, when they had a league-high 54.1% rush rate, then RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards will likely both offer fantasy value while TE Mark Andrews and WR Rashod Bateman could underperform expectations.
Matthew Freedman

Buffalo Bills

Will Gabriel Davis break out in Year 3?

Gabriel Davis‘ lack of any consistent target share puts him into a bucket of players that I have traditionally not taken a major leap in production in their third season. The fact that he was not able to completely usurp Emmanuel Sanders and John Brown does create red flags about his profile. But the simple fact of the matter is that Davis is pegged as the No. 2 starter on the outside in one of the NFL’s best offenses. And he’s flashed big-play ability more than once. Those factors might be enough to fuel him to a Year 3 breakout.
Andrew Erickson

Carolina Panthers

Will the Panthers trade for a quarterback before the season starts?

WR D.J. Moore is the only wide receiver with 1,200-plus yards from scrimmage in each of the past three seasons – and he’s just 25 years old. He fits into my perfect 2022 fantasy football draft plans, but he has been saddled by subpar quarterback play for his entire career. If the Panthers can actually trade for a competent NFL quarterback, then Moore’s average draft position and production could explode … and RB Christian McCaffrey would likely challenge RB Jonathan Taylor for the No. 1 pick in more fantasy drafts.
Matthew Freedman

Chicago Bears

Can Justin Fields overcome his horrible situation?

The Bears needed to add more WRs and OL this offseason, but hardly made any major moves at either position. Justin Fields was frequently running for his life last season, and that doesn’t project to change. However, he should be up for the task after he averaged 56 rushing yards per game over his last six contests.
Andrew Erickson

Cincinnati Bengals

Can the Bengals passing offense be even better in 2022?

Keep in mind that the Bengals only ranked 20th in pass attempts per game last season, so there’s more volume to be had for all these Bengals pass-catchers, especially ones flying under the radar like Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst. With an upgraded OL and Joe Burrow another year removed from a devasting injury, I’d envision this team ramping up their passing volume similar to Burrow’s rookie season.
Andrew Erickson

Cleveland Browns

Will Deshaun Watson play in 2022?

If QB Deshaun Watson plays for even half of the 2022 season, then the Browns have a shot of competing for a Super Bowl, and most of their skill-position players will offer value at their current ADPs. If, however, Watson misses a supermajority of the year, then not even RB Nick Chubb will be a player I’ll want much exposure to in fantasy.
Matthew Freedman

Dallas Cowboys

How many targets will CeeDee Lamb get?

Lamb already has back-to-back seasons with 1,000-plus yards from scrimmage, thanks in part to his Robert Woods-esque jet sweep ability (19-158-1 rushing), and now he could see a significant bump in usage without WRs Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and Malik Turner, who have vacated 182 targets with their departures from Dallas. If Lamb jumps up from 7.5 targets per game to 9.5 — or maybe even 10.5 — he could be the No. 1 overall fantasy receiver this year.
Matthew Freedman

Denver Broncos

Who will be Russell Wilson‘s go to wide receiver?

Cover your eyes, Jerry Jeudy believers. While Jeudy did take a step forward last season, ranking 24th in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF), he has never displayed elite-level target earning ability and won’t be the deep threat in the offense. In his two seasons, Jeudy has ranked 30th and 35th in targets rate per route run. Sutton dipped to 62nd in this metric last year, but if we peer back to 2019, he was 13th while also ranking 12th in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF).

The downfield role with Russell Wilson is huge. Wilson has ranked second, tenth, and second over the last three seasons in deep ball rate (minimum 20 deep attempts, per PFF). Only 22.5% of Jeudy’s career targets have been 20-plus yards down the field, where he’s struggled with 55.7 and 67.1 passer ratings when targeted. Last season Sutton ranked second in aDOT and sixth in deep targets. Jeudy can log a productive season with Wilson in 2022, but Sutton will be the king of the Mile High castle.
Derek Brown

Detroit Lions

Can Amon-Ra St. Brown repeat last year’s stretch run?

Did the Lions’ roster injuries factor into Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s scorching finish? Sure. Does that mean we should fully discount his production? Nope. In Weeks 13-18, St. Brown was among the best wide receivers in the NFL, ranking eighth in yards per route run, drawing a target on a ridiculous 31.3% of his routes. To put that figure into context, over a full season, St. Brown would have ranked sixth in targets per route run rate behind only Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Deonte Harty, A.J. Brown, and Cooper Kupp. The Detroit depth chart is congested with everyone healthy and the addition of Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark, but we can’t rule out St. Brown simply being a next-level target earning receiver.
Derek Brown

Green Bay Packers

Is there a Green Bay WR worth rostering?

The Packers’ WR corps is quite the motley crew in the wake of the trade that sent target monster Davante Adams to Las Vegas. Rookies Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure will compete for roles with a veteran group that includes Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins and Amari Rodgers. Are any of these guys worth rostering in redraft leagues? Can Lazard emerge as a true No. 1 receiver in the absence of Adams? Can Watson leverage his size and speed into immediate NFL production? Are Watkins and Doubs worthwhile late-round picks?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Houston Texans

Is it worth drafting rookie RB Dameon Pierce?

The Texans backfield was a sea of darkness in 2021. Rex Burkhead led Houston’s RBs with 427 rushing yards and three TD runs. The Texans spent an early fourth-round draft pick on Dameon Pierce, who’s an intriguing prospect but was a committee back at the University of Florida. Pierce could quickly surge to the top of the depth chart, but he could also end up in a value-killing timeshare with Burkhead and Marlon Mack. Even if Pierce becomes the clear No. 1, will the Texans offense be competent enough to make him a trustworthy fantasy asset?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Indianapolis Colts

Is Matt Ryan still a good quarterback?

Already without longtime No. 1 WR Julio Jones, QB Matt Ryan last year lost new No. 1 WR Calvin Ridley in the middle of the season, and that drastically impacted his numbers. With Ridley, Ryan had 265.2 yards and 2.4 touchdowns passing; without Ridley, just 219.5 and 0.83. Perhaps Ryan is actually still a good passer — and if he is then the Colts offense could be a top-10 unit.
Matthew Freedman

Jacksonville Jaguars

What should we expect from Travis Etienne?

RB Travis Etienne missed his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury. He has a seemingly clear runway in Year 2 with fellow RB James Robinson recovering from a torn Achilles, but Robinson will be back at some point, and it’s hard to tell how new Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson will deploy his running backs once J-Rob is healthy. Etienne has an appealing prospect profile, and it doesn’t hurt that he played with Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, but is Etienne worth his fourth-round price?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Kansas City Chiefs

Will anybody step up in the receiving corps behind Travis Kelce?

Travis Kelce can’t do it all in the Chiefs passing game. Somebody is going to have to step up behind him. But it’s unknown at the is point whether it will be a different guy every week based on gameplan/matchup or if someone will actually carve out a consistent target share behind Kelce. JuJu Smith-Schuster is probably the “safest” bet to lead the WRs in target share based on his career history and Mahomes’ track record of targeting the slot without Tyreek Hill in the lineup.
Andrew Erickson

Las Vegas Raiders

Will Davante Adams launch Derek Carr‘s fantasy numbers?

Derek Carr‘s 3.7 TD rate in 2021 was below his career average (4.3). His 23 total passing touchdowns were seven below expectation. He’s never had a receiver catch double-digit TDs. Davante Adams has averaged double-digit scores since 2016.
Andrew Erickson

Los Angeles Chargers

Can Joshua Palmer breakout this season?

If Keenan Allen and Mike Williams stay healthy, the magic eight ball says, “don’t count on it.” What? Shake. Shake. “My reply is no.” What if one of them is sidelined with an injury? “Outlook not so good.” I can’t fight the oracle’s logic. Last season Palmer ranked 83rd out of 103 wide receivers in yards per route (minimum 40 targets, per PFF). In the six games he ran at least 20 routes, he could only muster a 14.4% target per route run rate. If an injury strikes this roster, the Chargers also have Austin Ekeler, an elite receiving back, and Gerald Everett, who ranked 23rd among tight ends with a 19.6% target per route run rate last season.
Derek Brown

Los Angeles Rams

Is Cam Akers worth drafting as a top 20 running back?

The short answer is yes. Cam Akers faced a mountain of adversity last season in his return, and that’s not even accounting for the severe injury he returned from. Akers played at least 53% of snaps in three of his four games in the playoffs, with a high of 81% against the Buccaneers. Sean McVay had no issues leaning on his young back, but the offensive line offered him no help up front. 94.8% of his rushing yards during this stretch came after contact.

Add in that Akers faced four teams that ranked 17th, fifth, second, and ninth in adjusted line yards allowed last year, and it’s no wonder he struggled. With a full offseason to work his way back, a coach willing to roll with him in a workhorse role, and an offense that was sixth in points per game and third in red-zone scoring attempts per game, Akers is primed to pay off.
Derek Brown

Miami Dolphins

Can Tua Tagovailoa support both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle?

The biggest hindrance to these wideouts paying off at their current ADPs is the Dolphins’ pace and passing rate projection, not Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa was among the most accurate passers in the NFL last season. He ranked 17th in fantasy points per dropback while also finishing top ten in deep, pressured, and clean pocket completion rates. If Mike McDaniel deploys a slower run-heavy scheme, the overall passing volume could suffer.
Derek Brown

Minnesota Vikings

Will Justin Jefferson get 2021 Cooper Kupp usage?

New Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell coordinated the Rams offense that funneled a league-high 191 targets to WR Cooper Kupp last year, and now he has WR Justin Jefferson, who is No. 1 with 3,016 yards receiving in his first two NFL seasons. Like Kupp, Jefferson can play in the slot and on the perimeter, and he could legitimately build on his 167 targets from last year as the Vikings shift toward a more pass-focused offense. Regularly selected as a top-three receiver in fantasy drafts, Jefferson could lap the field — as Kupp did last year — if he gets Kupp-like usage.
Matthew Freedman

New England Patriots

Is any pass catcher outside of Jakobi Meyers draftable?

The answer is no in your customary 12-team redraft league outside of a late shot on Hunter Henry. I’ll add Kendrick Bourne to the queue in deeper leagues, but DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, and still banged up James White don’t make the draft list. Henry was efficient enough, ranking 17th in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF) while gorging himself on high cholesterol targets in New England. He was tenth in deep targets and seventh in red-zone looks. Those targets are the lifeblood of tight ends in fantasy.

Bourne was an efficiency monster last season that teases a high upside if the volume moves in his direction. He was 14th in yards per route run and sixth in yards after the catch per reception (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). If you’re making a bet on any wide receiver taking the number one spot in the target tree away from Jakobi Meyers, Bourne is where your chips should be.
Derek Brown

New Orleans Saints

Is Michael Thomas still good?

The last time we saw WR Michael Thomas, he was one of the best receivers in the league — but that was almost two years and one Hall-of-Fame coach-quarterback combination ago. Thomas is now 29, and he’s still not fully recovered from his ankle injury. If he’s still the player he was in 2020, he will offer massive value at his ADP. If he isn’t, then WRs Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry could be underappreciated sleepers.
Matthew Freedman

New York Giants

Is Saquon Barkley still elite?

Saquon Barkley was the RB1 in PPR leagues as a rookie, and he followed that up by finishing RB10 in 2019 despite missing three games. He missed 14 games in 2020 after a devastating knee injury and didn’t look himself in 2021, averaging 3.7 yards per carry and 4.6 yards per target. He also missed four games with a sprained ankle. After two injury-plagued years, Barkley is more affordable than ever in fantasy drafts, and the arrival of new head coach Brian Daboll offers hope for a livelier NYG offense, but can Barkley still be the fantasy colossus he was in his first two NFL seasons?
Pat Fitzmaurice

New York Jets

Can Zach Wilson do enough in the Jets offense?

The Jets offense has all the pieces to be awesome for fantasy football. It’s just up to Zach Wilson to take a step forward in Year 2 to make it happen. His rookie year was horrible, but he did at least improve in the second half. And although he never seemed to support fantasy viable weapons, he actually did pepper his No. 1 target. Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios – when operating as the clear No. 1 – combined for a 24% target share (7.5 targets per game) and 14.2 fantasy points per game (WR25 last season) in the 11 games that Wilson started/completed last season.
Andrew Erickson

Philadelphia Eagles

Will the Eagles pass more this season?

The way the Eagles started last season, coupled with beat writer buzz and their offseason moves, suggest so. Adding one of the NFL’s most efficient wide receivers in A.J. Brown to DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert is a godsend for Jalen Hurts and should have this coaching staff inclined to dial up the passing. Philadelphia was sixth and first in neutral passing rate and pace through their first six games before they realized they didn’t have the personnel to keep it up. With the players now in house to help maximize the Eagles’ offense, look for them to revert to passing in 2022.
Derek Brown

Pittsburgh Steelers

When will Kenny Pickett see the field?

Word out of Steelers’ camp is Mitch Trubisky is the favorite to start right now. It’s early to proclaim him the signal-caller for Week 1, but it’s possible. If Trubisky is anything close to the disaster the last time we saw him as a starter, the Steelers will quickly have Kenny Pickett under center.

In 2019 and 2020, Trubisky finished with the fifth and seventh-lowest PFF grades for quarterbacks with at least 200 dropbacks. He also logged the seventh and fourth-lowest adjusted completion rates among the same quarterback sample. The camp reports demand monitoring throughout the offseason, but I still peg Kenny Pickett as the Week 1 starter.
Derek Brown

San Francisco 49ers

How will Deebo Samuel be used?

In the first half of last season, WR Deebo Samuel had 81 targets in eight games. In the second half, he shifted to the “wide back” position and had just 40 targets in the same number of contests. He had almost as many yards (904 vs. 866), but he did it with unsustainable efficiency (13.1 yards per target, 6.5 yards per carry) and an unlikely rushing workload (53 carries). If Samuel is to repeat as a top-10 fantasy receiver in 2022, he will almost certainly need to have more target volume than he did to close the 2021 season.
Matthew Freedman

Seattle Seahawks

How should fantasy managers play the Seattle RB situation?

The Seahawks spent a second-round draft pick on Michigan State’s Ken Walker, widely regarded as one of the two best running backs in this year’s draft. However, the oft-injured Rashaad Penny went on a late-season rampage in 2021, producing four 100-yard rushing days and six TD runs over Seattle’s last five games. Penny reportedly will enter camp as the clear No. 1, but can he keep the talented rookie in a backup role? What happens if Chris Carson, who’s recovering from a ncek injury, is cleared to play? And how eager should we be to invest in an offense with such a bleak QB situation?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How will Chris Godwin‘s injury and Rob Gronkowski’s retirement affect the division of targets?

Chris Godwin tore his ACL in Week 15 and reportedly didn’t have surgery until Jan. 3, so it’s very possible he won’t be ready for Week 1. TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement in June. If Godwin misses time, will Buccaneers WRs Mike Evans and Russell Gage soak up the vast majority of the vacated targets and further boost their fantasy value? Will we see an under-the-radar receiver like Tyler Johnson, Cyril Grayson or Jaelon Darden become fantasy-relevant early in the season? And will Cameron Brate become a credible weekly fantasy starter at tight end, or will he be forced to share snaps and targets with rookie TE Cade Otton?
Pat Fitzmaurice

Tennessee Titans

Can the “King” Derrick Henry still handle an insane workload?

Derrick Henry was viewed as nearly invincible but finally broke down in the middle of last season with a foot injury after averaging nearly 30 touches per game. At 28 years old coming off a season with a career low in yards per carry (4.2) and rushing yards over expectation per attempt (0.05) is this the beginning of the end of his supreme reign in fantasy football?

A lack of receiving usage combined with impending offensive regression from last year’s No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Titans plan on riding him out as long as he’s healthy, so Henry might start out the gates hot. But things could turn quickly by the time the fantasy football playoffs come along.
Andrew Erickson

Washington Commanders

Is it worth rostering a Washington pass catcher other than Terry McLaurin?

It seems likely that Terry McLaurin will again be the lead receiver for the Commanders. Should fantasy managers be interested in any other Washington pass catchers with QB Carson Wentz now running the offense? The Commanders aggresively drafted Penn State WR Jahan Dotson in the middle of the first round, and WR Curtis Samuel was a dangerous multipurpose threat for the Panthers before having most of his first season with Washington wiped out by injury. Can either Dotson or Samuel earn a big enough role to move the needle as a fantasy asset? And can TE Logan Thomas bounce back from an injury-plagued year at age 31?
Pat Fitzmaurice


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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