Quarterbacks to Avoid at ADP: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers (2022 Fantasy Football)
Sometimes, there’s a disparity between a player’s real-life value and their fantasy outlook. As a result, while it might seem odd, the 2018 NFL MVP and the reigning back-to-back MVP might be overvalued in fantasy drafts at their present average draft position (ADP) in point-per-reception (PPR) formats.
Mahomes’ talent is undeniable. He can do unique things on the football field because of his arm strength and creativity. Additionally, head coach Andy Reid has created countless top-shelf offenses for his quarterbacks.
Nevertheless, Mahomes no longer has Tyreek Hill‘s speed in his pass-catching corps. And, to a much lesser extent, he’ll have to adjust to other changing pieces in the receiving group after Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson departed in free agency. Instead, behind Travis Kelce, he has many unfamiliar faces, such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore.
Smith-Schuster has struggled to stay healthy and has been inefficient in recent years. MVS has elite speed that might be more helpful to real offenses than it’s appeared in box scores, but he’s yet to be a consistent contributor. And while Moore is an intriguing player, he’s a rookie. Therefore, there are questions about how good Mahomes’ receiving corps is for 2022. Further, even if they gel, it might take a few games of regular-season action to get up to speed and on the same page.
Speculation about his new group aside, even with Hill in Kansas City’s offense last year, Mahomes was only QB5 in points per game in 2021. Last season, according to Sharp Football Stats, the Chiefs passed at the third-highest rate (62%) in neutral game scripts. Further, per Football Outsiders, the Chiefs played at the third-fastest situation neutral pace. Obviously, a pass-happy and speedy offense is ideal for Mahomes. Still, under those ideal conditions, he was only QB5 in points per game last year.
Is a QB2 finish in Mahomes’ range of outcomes? Yes. Heck, finishing as the overall QB1 isn’t impossible. Nonetheless, he has more questions than ever before. As a result, he shouldn’t be selected in the third round or top of the fourth. The opportunity cost is too high when he’s not clearly more valuable than Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow. Additionally, Jalen Hurts is a more enticing option at QB7 since his 71.8 ADP is more appropriate and reasonable.
Aaron Rodgers (QB-GB): 81.0 ADP, QB9
Rodgers was the QB6 in points per game in 2021, directly behind Mahomes. So, at a glance, slipping to QB9 in ADP doesn’t feel egregious. But, of course, the Packers traded his alpha top pass-catcher, Davante Adams.
Adams has been one of the top receivers in the NFL. According to Sports Info Solutions, last year, he was third in target share (28.2%). Allen Lazard‘s 10.0% target share was the second-highest mark among receivers and tight ends on Green Bay, and Aaron Jones‘ 10.9% target share was the second-highest on the team. So, there’s a gaping hole in Green Bay’s passing game, saying nothing of MVS leaving in free agency.
Surprisingly, the team invested minimally in the wide receiver room, adding Sammy Watkins in free agency, trading up in the second round of the NFL Draft for Christian Watson and spending a fourth-round pick and seventh-round pick on Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure, respectively. Perhaps, they’ll dip their toes back into free agency or trade for a receiver before the regular season.
However, it’s also possible they plan to lean more heavily on their talented one-two punch of Jones and AJ Dillon in the backfield. Regardless, Green Bay’s offensive pace is suboptimal for Rodgers. They were 31st in situation neutral pace in 2021, requiring Rodgers to remain remarkably efficient to finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. It will be more challenging for him to continue to dazzle in the efficiency department without Adams.
Thus, Rodgers is being drafted too aggressively. Tom Brady (QB11, 89.4), Matthew Stafford (QB12, 89.4) and Trey Lance (QB13, 111.4) are quarterbacks going after Rodgers, and they should be picked ahead of the back-to-back MVP. In addition, there are arbitrage selections who are more appealing, such as Derek Carr (QB14, 112.4) and Kirk Cousins (QB15, 122.8). Finally, gamers uncomfortable with only the arbitrage plays can pop Justin Fields as a QB2, awarding themselves two cracks at a high-end quarterback instead of overpaying for Rodgers.
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