Notable Second-Half Performances & 2022 Impact (Fantasy Football)
You can learn a lot by viewing the fantasy football season in two separate parts, especially when you consider the players that delivered fantasy football championships.
In 2020, David Montgomery and Jonathan Taylor altered the tides of fantasy leagues as top-five scorers among RBs over the final six weeks. Last season, Hunter Renfrow, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Brandon Aiyuk were top-15 wide receivers that fueled league-winning rosters over the last eight weeks of the 2021 NFL season.
Factoring in these second-half surges — along with second-half slumps — should be a key part of your player analysis, as there is a lot to unpack from what happened and how to project the player into 2022.
After all, Cooper Kupp‘s 10.4 fantasy points per game from Weeks 10-16 in 2020 (25th) — a dip from the start of the year — hardly suggested he was slated for a historic 2021 campaign. Whereas JT’s epic 2020 finish was the green light drafters needed to make him the no doubt pick in Round 1 last season.
Although Kyler Murray fell off in the second half of the season compared to his flaming start, he was still posting extremely solid fantasy numbers.
He was the fantasy QB6 in points per game (21.6) in five games played despite DeAndre Hopkins being available in just two of those contests. His big-time throw rate (7.7%) ranked No. 1 in the league and his passing grade from a clean pocket ranked second per PFF.
Losing Hopkins for the first six weeks of the season isn’t ideal for Murray’s ceiling — 18.8 fantasy points per game without Hopkins versus 24.9 fantasy points per game with Hopkins — but it’s hardly a reason to completely fade him at his suppressed ADP. He was still averaging north of 250 passing yards per game and his rushing increased without Hopkins (27 versus 39 rushing yards) in the lineup.
Kyler Murray is being undervalued despite obvious QB1 overall upside.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 1, 2022
Justin Herbert tossed a league-high 21 pass attempts from inside the five-yard line from Weeks 10-17, seven more than the next closest quarterback. But he completed just 29% of his passes.
The pass-heavy nature of the Chargers’ offense near the goal-line is going to lead to more passing TDs for Herbert in 2022, with the most likely benefactor being big-bodied wide receiver Mike Williams.
Chargers WR Mike Williams has 40 end-zone targets since 2019.
He has converted 8 into TDs, 5 of which came last season.
Last year alone he finished with the 6th-most EZ targets.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 14, 2022
Davis Mills turned it on over the final five weeks of the 2021 season, finishing with a 9-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio while averaging a respectable 17.4 fantasy points per game.
His final passer rating from a clean pocket finished first among all rookie QBs. Mills also posted just as many 300-yard passing games (four) as Aaron Rodgers and all the other rookie QBs combined.
And for his final act, Mills fueled a 7-113-2 stat line for a 36-year-old Danny Amendola in Week 18 of the 2021 season.
Mills still has so much room for growth, considering he’s only started 22 games combined at the college and professional levels. For perspective, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has started 49 games over five years at the college level.
And after receiving the nod from the new coaching staff, Mills is projected to be the Houston Texans’ starter for the 2022 season. The team did not draft a quarterback, which greenlights Mills as the presumable starter. I say “presumably” because the Texans have been rumored to be in the market for Jimmy Garoppolo, per Jeff Howe of the Athletic.
Texans’ GM has obvious ties to Garoppolo from his tenure in New England, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see a Jimmy G reunion in Houston.
But for now, Mills looks like QB1. And it’s hard not to view him as a screaming value based on how he finished last season and how his supporting cast has dramatically improved since a year ago.
The Texans invested in OL (Kenyon Green) and WR (John Metchie) in the NFL Draft. And he still has Brandin Cooks and second-year players Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan, who are eager to take another step forward.
The quarterbacks that posted the two lowest deep ball rates during the second half of last season were Jimmy Garoppolo and Tua Tagovailoa.
Taysom Hill attempted more deep passes (15) in fewer games played. I’d hold my breath on the Miami Dolphins having an elite vertical passing game in 2021.
Before the finger derailed his season in Week 5, Russell Wilson led the NFL in yards per attempt (10.4), passer rating (133.6) and passer rating from a clean pocket (130.9). Wilson also finished the season on a high note, averaging over 24 fantasy points per game in his last three contests.
All in all, 2021 was a typical season for Wilson: peaks and valleys. He averaged 23 fantasy points per game from Weeks 1-4 and Weeks 16-18. In his six games post-injury, Wilson averaged an abysmal 13 fantasy points per game. Buy the inevitable 2022 dip on the future Hall of Fame quarterback in a new more favorable situation.
That combined with a plethora of weapons in Denver, makes it very plausible he sees the similar immediate success that other quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford have had since changing teams late into their careers.
Ask anybody about what they think about Aaron Jones in 2022, and they will likely cite his receiving numbers without Davante Adams in the lineup.
RB Aaron Jones has league-winning upside in 2022.
– The receiving looks ELITE w/o Davante Adams.
– But context behind the splits matter.
– You MUST read this before you draft him:
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 13, 2022
Without Green Bay’s No. 1 WR, Jones has averaged close to 4.5 catches, six targets, 48.5 receiving yards and 23 PPR points per game. It’s hard to ignore the Packers’ RB1’s upside in Round 2 with multiple top-five finishes on his resume.
But, what’s being overlooked in the Jones player analysis is how much of a role No. 2 running back A.J. Dillon will own the Packers offense.
A.J. Dillon (RB – GB)
Over the final eight weeks of the 2021 season, A.J. Dillon was the RB6 overall in half-point scoring averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game (11th). He played in just one more game than Jones — Week 11 versus Minnesota — where he caught six of six passes for 44 yards (18% target share) while running a route on 84% of dropbacks.
Jones averaged 11.9 fantasy points per game (23rd) in his six games played over the same time span. He also had just one top-10 finish from Week 9 onward. Dillon had two.
And interestingly enough, the Packers running backs’ current ADPs are the total opposite of how they finished last season with Jones (RB9) being drafted well ahead of Dillon (RB24) in early drafts. The ADP gap probably needs to be tighter. And there’s no doubt that Dillon is the superior value at cost with his potential work at the goal-line.
Dillon’s 32 red-zone touches ranked third in the NFL to end the season. Jones had 10. He also never surpassed more than three red-zone touches in any game after Week 9.
Jones is going to have big weeks with his receiving upside, but Dillon will have equal big weeks when the Packers face a positive game script.
James Conner went nuclear in the second half of the regular season due to a Chase Edmonds injury. During those weeks as the clear-cut workhorse, these were his following finishes: RB1, RB16, RB8, RB11, RB2 and RB3. From Weeks 9-17, only Jonathan Taylor averaged more fantasy points per game than Conner.
Edmonds signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason, but I am not 100% convinced that Conner will see the exact same role that he saw at the tail end of last year. Newly signed Darrel Williams and returning veteran Eno Benjamin — both offer receiving ability — could combine for an Edmonds-esque role to keep Conner healthy for the entire season.
That would hinder Conner’s fantasy RB1 upside; although he was a top-20 running back in half-point scoring last season — 29th in points per game — even before Edmonds got hurt. Worth mentioning that he had more rushing touchdowns (eight) than receptions (five) through the first eight weeks of the season.
Conner’s blazing 2021 finish reminds me of Kenyan Drake‘s second-half surge in 2019 that led him to be vastly overrated the following season under the same offensive coaching staff. Extrapolating his production from a best-case situation over a 17-game pace is not the optimal approach.
Rhamondre Stevenson experienced a very successful rookie season that should not be overlooked. After fully escaping the Bill Belichick doghouse in Week 9, Stevenson earned top grades across the board. He was PFF’s third-highest graded running back (84.2).
Stevenson also ranked 13th in rushing yards and yards per route run (1.41). For fantasy, the rookie running back was the RB25 in total points scored, eight spots behind his backfield teammate Damien Harris.
But it should be noted that Stevenson (93) and Harris (86) split touches nearly 50/50 in the team’s remaining seven games (Weeks 11-18). And in the six games they played together, Stevenson slightly edged out Harris in expected fantasy points per game (9.3 vs. 8.9) with more favorable usage.
The difference in actual fantasy points was that Harris scored eight rushing touchdowns versus Stevenson’s two. Harris’ expected TD output based on his usage was 3.4 touchdowns. He caught seven passes. And no running back had more of their fantasy points come from TDs than Harris.
The Patriots’ lead back is primed for negative touchdown regression with Stevenson earning a larger opportunity share on both early downs and in the red zone. He’s the much better fantasy value based on his RB38 ADP versus Harris (RB29).
The Seahawks drafted Ken Walker in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but there’s no guarantee that he will supplant a healthy Rashaad Penny from Day 1. Penny was brought back on a one-year deal worth $5 million (12th-highest cap hit) after an impressive end to the 2021 regular season.
He was the fantasy RB1 and PFF’s highest-graded running back over the final six weeks of the season averaging 19.1 fantasy points, 6.9 YPC and 115-plus rushing yards per game.
Although he remained a zero in the passing game, commanding just seven targets for 48 receiving yards.
It seems more likely than not that the team rides Penny till the wheels fall off to start the season, then turn to their rookie RB down the stretch. That makes Penny enticing as a late-round RB target for those looking for immediate production out of the gates.
The latest reports out of minicamp that Penny is the favorite to be the team’s starting running back — health withstanding. Walker (RB32) currently holds a higher ADP versus Penny (RB34).
Devin Singletary was unleashed down the stretch for the Bills, finishing as the RB3 in PPR scoring over the final six weeks of the season with 17 fantasy points per game. He gained the coaching staff’s trust by earning 54-plus snaps to close out the season, the highest snap number Singletary saw all season dating back to Week 1.
He also ranked first in the NFL in routes run and third in the NFL in red-zone touches (29), more than double that of quarterback Josh Allen.
With a proven track record and two years of bellcow back usage in spurts, don’t be surprised when PFF’s fourth-ranked running back in rushes of 15-plus yards and seventh-ranked player in forced missed tackles in 2021 is the highly sought-after RB breakout who emerges from a high-octane ambiguous backfield.
Over the final six weeks of this season, former Rams running back Sony Michel ranked second in snaps, first in carries, third in rushing yards, third in broken tackles forced and first in RZ carries.
Not only does this prove Michel’s potential as an egregiously underrated fantasy asset in the Dolphins’ backfield, but it highlights the fantasy friendliness of the Rams’ RB1 role. Cam Akers will have that role in 2022.
Jets running backs Tevin Coleman and Michael Carter finished fourth and sixth respectively in PFF rushing grade over the last eight weeks of the fantasy football season. Both also ranked top-10 in rushing yards after contact per attempt.
Ergo, the Jets’ offensive situation may not be as dire as many are making it out to be for rookie running back Breece Hall. If two inferior running backs were able to be efficient in a worse offensive situation last season, then Hall should easily meet or exceed expectations running behind PFF’s 13th-ranked offensive line heading into 2022.
Hall’s ADP is RB19. I have him ranked RB15.
Leonard Fournette was the fantasy RB3 in points per game from Weeks 10-17. Despite playing in just six games over that time frame, he led all RBs in targets (45).
Second in this category was Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (42, 5.3 per game). Although it’s important to keep in mind that over this eight-game stretch, Kenyan Drake and Darren Waller missed five games. Jalen Richard missed three games. Considering Jacobs averaged just 3.3 targets per game before all the injuries in Weeks 1-9, he’s hardly a safe bet to carry over his pass-game usage from 2021, making him a TD-dependent fantasy RB2.
He’s got “bust” written all over him if he is selected in the first five rounds.
One of my favorite running back sleepers is Texans running back Rex Burkhead. Over the last eight weeks of the season, the journeyman running back finished 16th in snaps, 10th in carries, 18th in rushing yards and 24th in targets. He got the thing fantasy gamers can’t get enough of…volume.
He’s the most under-the-radar player that could be a surprise starter come Week 1.
Rex Burkhead > Marlon Mack
The highest-paid running back on the Houston Texans roster is Rex Burkhead. $2.1 million of Burkhead's $2.35 million contract is fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Marlon Mack signed a 1-year $2 million deal, and rookie Dameon Pierce was drafted in the 4th
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) June 3, 2022
Ezekiel Elliott averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game over the final eight weeks of the fantasy season. He scored six TDs. Tony Pollard averaged 10.5 fantasy points with just one touchdown scored. The Cowboys’ No. 2 running back also averaged 2.03 yards per route run (3rd) on the tenth-most targets (26). Elliott finished 6th in targets and 57th in yards per route run.
It’s so obvious Pollard is going to have a larger role — especially as a receiver — after finishing 3rd in yards per route run over the final eight weeks. Zeke is just holding onto TD equity in a high-powered Cowboys offense, making him super dependent on surrounding circumstances. If he doesn’t score or the OL regresses, Elliott managers are in for a rude awakening.
Simply put: Don’t draft Zeke in fantasy this season. He’s a landmine.
Filling in for an injured Derrick Henry, D’Onta Foreman performed admirably in relief for the Titans. He was the RB21 in half-point scoring over the last seven weeks. He should be viewed as the handcuff favorite for Christian McCaffrey.
Miles Sanders reclaimed “bell-cow” status after coming back from injury in his final five games in the regular season averaging 16 touches per contest. However, he averaged just two targets and two red-zone touches per game. It’s great that he projects to be the lead runner behind a great offensive line, but his lack of high-value opportunities in the backfield seriously caps Sanders’ ceiling.
real guys that had more RZ touches than Saquon Barkley (13) last season…
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) June 9, 2022
This one is cringe. Saquon Barkley had just two red-zone touches in his last seven games of the 2021 fantasy season. That will 100% regress positively in a better offensive situation next season for the Giants if Barkley stays healthy.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF)
Brandon Aiyuk turned his season around during the second half.
Brandon Aiyuk in a 🥜shell
Weeks 1-7: 0.63 yards per route run, 98th ❄ 🐶🏡
Weeks 8-18: 2.16 yards per route run, 13th 🔥🚀💯
^ also generated same target rate per route run as Deebo Samuel
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) May 14, 2022
His yards per route run increased substantially (2.16, 13th), and he averaged 13.1 PPR fantasy points per game as the WR24. The former first-round pick also ranked sixth in yards after the catch per reception (6.9).
If Aiyuk can roll over his second-half production into 2022, he could be a smashing fantasy value in a similar way that his teammate Deebo Samuel was viewed in 2021. His overall disappointing sophomore campaign should not overshadow his electric rookie season.
He’s by far the best value among the 49ers offensive weapons at WR41 ADP.
Even with Ja’Marr Chase’s epic Week 17 eruption that saw him hang over 50 fantasy points versus the Kansas City Chiefs, Tee Higgins led the Bengals in targets, receptions and receiving yards over the last eight weeks of the fantasy football season.
The Bengals No. 2 wide receiver ranked fourth in the NFL in PFF receiving grade (85.7) and fifth in yards per route run. So although his Round 2/Round 3 ADP seems steep for a player that is not his team’s real-life No. 1, the dude is still a downright stud in an offense that easily supports two fantasy WR1s.
And speaking of the Bengals, don’t overlook their No. 3 receiver either. Tyler Boyd was the WR21 from Weeks 10-17, which seems unreal based on his ADP as WR51. If anything, Cincinnati will throw more in 2022, further bolstering the case for Boyd to smash his ADP into oblivion.
All three of Chase (143.2), Higgins (135.9) and Boyd (140.9) generated a top-eight passer rating when targeted in the Bengals’ last seven games. Joe Burrow is good.
I’m not particularly high on the Dolphins’ offense heading into the 2022 season, but my ranking of Jaylen Waddle at WR14 versus Tyreek Hill at WR15 is vastly different from ADP where Hill is WR8 and Waddle is WR17.
Even though in the second half of last season, their cumulative numbers were nearly identical across the board. Except for efficiency marks and fantasy points per game — where Waddle was superior averaging 14.8 half-points per game versus Hill (12.7).
Jaylen Waddle versus Tyreek Hill Weeks 10-17.
Why are drafters paying more for the older veteran wide receiver, when there’s a young ascending talent in Waddle that already has a built-in rapport with Tua Tagovailoa? He’s already proven he can produce with Tagovailoa whereas Hill’s numbers likely won’t improve with an obvious downgrade at quarterback.
Yup def drafting Waddle instead of Hill at cost. Already seen Waddle be good with Tua https://t.co/CRuSmyUuZ0
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 9, 2022
And interestingly enough, the wide receiver that ranked just ahead of Waddle is Chiefs wide receiver, Mecole Hardman. The special teams ace finished ninth in yards per route run over his last seven games, commanding a solid 20% target rate per route run.
After being out on Hardman the majority of the offseason, he’s growing on him exponentially as the receiver that benefits the most from the departure of Hill in the Chiefs offense.
Mecole Hardman vs. Tyler Lockett During 1st 3 Seasons in the NFL 👀
– 1816 yards
– 206 targets
– 137 rec
– 9 TDs
– 38.6 yds/game
– 1791 yards
– 186 targets
– 126 rec
– 12 TDs
– 36.6 yds/game
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 12, 2022
You can find my full breakdown of him as part of the FantasyPros Closer Look series.
Gabriel Davis still wasn’t playing a full-time role by the time Week 10 rolled around, but it’s worth highlighting what he was able to accomplish until his snaps got boosted from Week 14 onward.
He was PFF’s fourth-highest graded wide receiver (86.5) and ranked 11th in yards per route run. Davis was WR25 in total fantasy points and on a points-per-game basis.
No longer do I feel weird ranking Davis over Metcalf in my 2022 fantasy football rankings.
Initially felt so weird ranking Gabriel Davis ahead of DK Metcalf.
Much easier pill to swallow when you acknowledge Davis out-scored Metcalf over final 8 weeks of the 2021 season.
despite Davis being on limited snap count, Metcalf seeing 30 more targets w/ Wilson at QB.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) July 12, 2022
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET)
As noted in the intro, Amon-Ra St. Brown finished the 2021 season on absolute fire as the WR3 in PPR from Weeks 13-18. But the blazing conclusion was fueled by injuries to both D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson.
Because before their injuries, ASB was an essential non-factor outside a stretch from Weeks 4-6, where he commanded a 22% target share despite playing fewer snaps than Kalif Raymond.
Meanwhile, Hockenson was the target leader for the offense until his injury. Through 13 weeks, the Detroit Lions tight end ranked sixth in points per game, fifth in targets per game (7), first in route participation (85%), third in target share (19%) and third in air yard share.
So there’s definitely some hesitance on fully buying St. Brown’s rookie breakout, but the fact that it happened at all can’t be totally ignored. Luckily the concern is baked-in to his WR ADP which is outside the top 24.
And even if ASB doesn’t replicate his earth-shattering fantasy numbers from a season ago, he likely offers a pretty solid WR3 floor with the proven upside for more. In 47% of his games, he finished as a fantasy WR3 in 2021. And it’s all gravy after that should he roll over even 80% of his second-half production, or should injuries hit the Lions’ receiving corps.
Keep in mind that from Week 4 onward, St. Brown was PFF’s 6th-highest graded receiver (84.7) and fourth-highest graded among WRs with at least 100 targets. He’s a good/efficient player, and that should translate to fantasy success in Year 2.
Hunter Renfrow (WR – LV)
There’s not much left to say when it comes to Hunter Renfrow. The kid’s a certified stud and doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The Raiders slot receiver hung a WR13 overall finish last season due to a spectacular late-season surge.
He went over 100 receiving yards in three straight games (Weeks 12-14) while maintaining a 25% target share. And from Week 12 onward, his production generated a WR8 standing in half-point scoring.
Renfrow made the most of the opportunities he got in 2021, and that won’t change in 2022. Adding Davante Adams and Darren Waller will make targets for Renfrow harder to come by, but stay rest assured that the shifty wideout will perform if either guy is forced to miss time.
Be aware that when Waller and Henry Ruggs were available through the start of the 2021 season, Renfrow was averaging 13.9 fantasy points per game in PPR (26th overall).
Even with the increased target competition, Renfrow still looks primed to return WR3 value in Josh McDaniels new offense that historically has peppered its slot receivers. More importantly, Renfrow has the baked-in trust with quarterback Derek Carr that can’t be understated.
His 83% catch rate with 100-plus targets is a feat that has only been accomplished by one other NFL WR since 1992 (Michael Thomas).
Just be wary that his weekly ceiling is going to be hit the hardest by the other big RZ weapons in the offense. Renfrow ranked fourth in the NFL in red-zone targets from Weeks 10-17 (13). Adams ranked second (17). Renfrow’s 81% red-zone target share ranked No. 1 in the league.
His nine touchdowns from last season certainly seem destined to decline, with Darren Waller also a positive touchdown regression candidate.
Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
The second-highest red-zone target share during the back half of last season was generated by a rookie wide receiver, Nico Collins at 63%. The Michigan product commanded plenty of end-zone targets and high air-yard throws in 2021 but ultimately never put together a true breakout game.
He finished behind Cooks in air yards and all other receiving categories. Still, he should open the 2022 season as the de facto No. 2 option for up-and-coming second-year quarterback Davis Mills as second-round rookie draft selection John Metchie III returns from a late-season torn ACL.
Elijah Moore remains one of my favorite WR breakout candidates being drafted outside the top-30 because the talent is so intoxicating.
The Jets’ slot receiver was the WR2 overall during his last stretch of six games played, despite catching passes from a hodgepodge quarterback carousel of Mike White, Zach Wilson and Josh Johnson. His 16.1 fantasy points per game would have ranked fifth ROS. His 2.6 yards per route run from Week 8 onward also ranked fifth.
Not to mention the Jets rookie WR finished as a WR1 in 27% of his games — superior to Metcalf, McLaurin, Pittman, Brown and Diggs.
If Moore can emerge as the Jets’ No. 1 WR based on his 24% target rate per route run, the Ole Miss product is slated for the moon. The Jets WR1 last season between Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios and Moore — averaged a 24% target share.
Braxton Berrios (WR – NYJ)
Speaking of the plucky Berrios, he apparently is one of Zach Wilson’s favorite targets from offseason reports. And I’d take that at face value based on how Berrios wrapped up the 2021 season.
He ran a route on 88% of the Jets’ dropbacks and commanded a 23% target share in Jamison Crowder’s absence in Week 16. Berrios stepped up again with Crowder out in Week 17, commanding a 35% target share without even leading the New York Jets in routes run. He finished the day catching eight of 12 targets for 65 yards to go along with two touchdowns (one rushing and receiving).
He’s worthy of a depth stash because of his ability to command targets at a high rate: Berrios’ 24% target rate per route run over the last two seasons ranks 14th among WRs with at least 100 targets.
And over the final eight weeks of the fantasy season, Berrios ranked sixth in PFF grade (84.1).
Zach Ertz didn’t end up getting traded until Week 7 to the Arizona Cardinals, but his production took off after the trade.
The former Eagle averaged 11.4 fantasy points per game (eighth) and finished second in the NFL in total targets (7.1/game) among tight ends. He also averaged just under five receptions per game and a team-high 20% target share while running a route on 84% of dropbacks.
Ertz undoubtedly got a major receiving boost without DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup, but that will be the case during the first six games with the Cardinals’ No. 1 wide receiver serving a suspension. Ertz was TE4 over that stretch with Hopkins sidelined, averaging seven receptions per game (24% target share).
His trust earned from the coaches and Kyler Murray to be a target hog in the Cardinals’ offense from the get-go bodes well for him to be a back-end fantasy TE1 with him returning to Arizona, even with the addition of rookie second-round tight end Trey McBride.
The starting tight end position is valuable for Arizona in fantasy, evidenced by not only Ertz’s performance but also Maxx Williams. Before the Ertz trade went down, Williams posted two top-six TE finishes in just five games played.
Dallas Goedert was the other big benefactor from the Ertz trade, as he was finally unleashed as the Eagles’ clear-cut TE1. He finished as PFF’s second-highest graded receiving tight end (91.1) and as the TE10 overall, with the majority of his fantasy production coming post-Ertz trade.
In those 11 games played — including the postseason — Goedert averaged 11.8 fantasy points per game, which would have ranked as the TE8 from a season-long perspective. He also averaged an impressive 24% target share and 88% routes run per dropback rate.
With him entering the year as the clear-cut No. 1 tight end another TE1 finish is the expectation.
His 22% target rate per route run last season ranked fourth among all TEs with at least 80 targets, behind studs like Mark Andrews, Darren Waller and Travis Kelce. And he finished the fantasy season (Weeks 7-17) as the fantasy TE4 overall.
I’d argue that Goedert in 2022 is just the cheaper and arbitrage version of George Kittle — an uber-efficient tight end that will deliver when targeted. But a potential run-heavy offense and competition for targets on the offense with talented WRs raise concerns about consistency.
Over the final eight weeks of the season, Denver Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam tied Goedert for the No. 2 rank in yards per route run (2.68). He was targeted on just under 28% of his routes run. Albert O’s ADP at TE16 hardly captures the upside he could deliver if he carves out the TE1 role in the Broncos’ offense.
Conversely, Evan Engram posted the second-worst yards per route run mark (0.80) with an atrocious 14% target rate per route run. You are probably better off taking a flier on Dan Arnold with your last-round pick if you want a Jaguar tight end. He was averaging 7.8 targets per game in his last five healthy games played (22% target rate per route run).
Dawson Knox also graded out very poorly over the second half of the Buffalo Bill season. The Bills’ tight end finished 40th in PFF receiving grade and 37th in yards per route run with a horrible 14% target rate per route run.
Former Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett caught more passes (33) than Kyle Pitts over the last eight weeks of the fantasy seasons. Everett’s receptions total from Weeks 10-17 ranked sixth in the NFL. He also ranked 13th in yards per route run.
The new Chargers tight end remains one of my favorite late-round tight end sleepers. Jared Cook’s top-10 aDOT last year suggests that Everett will be seeing more passes downfield. Everett’s 5.5 aDOT ranked sixth-lowest last season.
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