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4 Dynasty Trade Targets (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Bo McBrayer | @Bo_McBigTime | Featured Writer
Aug 8, 2022
George Kittle

I have found that accusing a fantasy football manager of having “take lock” is similar to asking a child if he or she is tired or inquiring a woman about when she is expecting her baby to arrive. The result is always a regretful level of backlash. Take lock occurs when a fantasy manager obsesses myopically about a certain player to the point where they eventually fail to acknowledge any flaws that player might have. It isn’t as easy to avoid as one might think.

There is nothing wrong with having “your guys.” In fact, the line between targeting a player at all costs and take lock is as blurry as Mr. Magoo’s vision. My guys might not be your guys and that’s the beauty of dynasty fantasy football. At any point in the calendar year, a dynasty manager can seek out the guys they like and try to acquire them via trade. The most direct way to get your guys is through the league’s startup draft, but there’s only one of those. Here are my guys — the players I’m shedding assets to acquire leading into the 2022 NFL season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Trey Lance (QB – SF)

The Bay Area is still littered with delusional Jimmy Garoppolo proponents. This is despite every single indication that A) Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t good at football and B) the franchise has invested their entire foreseeable future into Trey Lance and shouted from the mountaintops that he is the starting quarterback in 2022 and beyond.

At this point, Jimmy G is like one of those little barnacles on the hull of the 49ers’ tugboat. Lance is better at every facet of the game and has all the tools and the makeup of a QB1 in fantasy football. He has the build, the size, the mobility, the arm talent, and the accelerated growth of a young star who will burn progressively hotter each day. An old boss used to tell me, “If you’re green, you’re growing. If you’re ripe, you’re rotting.” Lance is growing under the tutelage of a legacy offensive mastermind with some of the most gifted receiving weapons in the NFL.

My voice might go hoarse from maniacally laughing in the faces of those who still incorrectly assume that Trey Lance can’t lead the 49ers. The Shanahan offense provides maximum insulation from poor decision-making from the QB position. Even then, Garoppolo regularly appeared disheveled when his solitary read responsibility was covered. Lance might panic, but he is more than equipped to weaponize his legs and pile on easy fantasy points when plays break down.

It might seem risky to put all the eggs in one basket sight unseen, but therein lies the edge. Even though Lance is sporting an ADP of QB8, he is relatively easy to acquire in dynasty trades. I wouldn’t hesitate to float QBs like Jalen Hurts, Russell Wilson, and Dak Prescott to invest in the North Dakota State product’s very bright future in the NFL.

Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI)

Those who know me well understand how much I adore Memphis running backs. The latest in the illustrious RB pipeline is Philadelphia’s second-year weapon, Gainwell. My affinity for Gainwell stems from the perception that head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen intend to deploy him as their version of Austin Ekeler.

It was apparent that this plan was in play early on in 2021, when Gainwell popped with double-digit fantasy performances in three of the first seven games. In two of those games, he was targeted eight times in the passing game and displayed the same dazzling open-field talent that dominated the AAC in 2019 to the tune of over 2,000 scrimmage yards and 16 touchdowns.

Miles Sanders‘ injury last season was initially exciting for Gainwell managers, but that exhilaration was short-lived. The Eagles transitioned to a run-heavy scheme that emphasized more power and gap schemes better suited for free-agent signee Jordan Howard. Veteran RB Boston Scott also proved to be more comfortable in this scheme and racked up 87 rushing attempts and seven touchdowns, leaving Gainwell holders listless.

There have already been rumors of an increased role in the Eagles’ offense this season for Gainwell. The internet truthers had a field day when Sanders was running with the second team early in training camp, even though Sirianni attempted to dispel any indication of the team relinquishing his mostly meaningless designation as the “starter” in the committee. Gainwell is easily the best receiver of the bunch and also showed plenty of toughness between the tackles as a rookie, with five rushing touchdowns on only 68 carries. At an ADP of RB48, the next great PPR back can be yours with a second-round rookie pick.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL)

Here’s a trivia question. Who is the all-time leader in NFL receiving yards by an alumnus of the University of Minnesota? The answer is Eric Decker, who compiled nearly 6,000 receiving yards in his career and had three seasons with double-digit touchdowns. 22-year-old Rashod Bateman is already better than Decker was in his prime.

The proof is revealed in the unwavering confidence in Bateman shown by Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta when he traded away Marquise Brown on draft day, leaving the second-year pro as the de facto WR1 on the Ravens. DeCosta is widely regarded as one of the best GMs in the NFL, so who am I to question his resolve around a player that was already on my dynasty radar as a rookie from Minnesota? This is an all-in move so bold that dynasty managers would be fools to discount it in any way.

According to Matt Harmon’s indomitable Reception Perception, Rashod Bateman was thrown into the proverbial deep end of the pool, after missing training camp and five games due to injury, and came up swimming. The young Golden Gopher ranked in the 85th percentile of all WRs charted in success rate against zone coverage and in the 81st percentile versus press coverage. Mind you, he was a rookie thrust into the buzzsaw X-receiver position without any preseason reps.

Bateman posted five games of 12 or more fantasy points and was seen eviscerating coverage with Tyler Huntley in for an injured Lamar Jackson. Now with a healthy superstar QB and Brown speeding in the desert, Bateman is primed for a breathtaking breakout campaign. Brown earned a 26% target share for the Ravens in 2021, good for 12th in the NFL (PlayerProfiler). Even if Bateman climbs from a 15.8% target share to 22%, he will destroy his WR19 dynasty ADP in 2022. I want Rashod Bateman on every single one of my dynasty rosters as soon as possible and am willing to make a Godfather offer to acquire him.

George Kittle (TE – SF)

Along the same lines as Trey Lance, the eventual shedding of Jimmy Garoppolo like a fur coat when the sun comes out is a great thing for every 49ers receiver. George Kittle is the best tight end in the NFL. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, his blocking prowess and Garoppolo have prevented him from putting up the kind of receiving numbers we saw in 2018. Even his 2019 season with Garoppolo was marred by a shocking reduction in Kittle’s average depth of target (aDOT), route participation rate, and target share, despite finishing with over 1,000 receiving yards as the TE2 behind Travis Kelce.

Trey Lance’s debut as the starting quarterback of the 49ers signals a resurgence in Kittle’s dominance as a downfield receiver. He shouldn’t need to stay in-line as an extra blocker on passing downs instead of running a route because his quarterback is no longer an indecisive, erratic porcelain statue in the pocket. Kittle will no longer need to be the “security blanket” underneath that relies solely on yards after the catch to compile receiving stats. It’s truly sad that it was a combination of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard that extracted the full potential of George Kittle as an elite receiving weapon at every level of the field.

Kittle has TE1 overall in his range of outcomes over the next two to three seasons, assuming he can stay healthy. Lance’s arm talent and mobility will unlock a myriad of passing options that were impossible in the last three seasons. The main ones are boundary throws and downfield throws between levels. Jimmy G became synonymous with “hospital balls” that would flutter and put his receivers in very dangerous situations at the catch point. Many of those were intended for George Kittle, with a few that weren’t broken up or intercepted leaving Kittle injured on the play.

George Kittle is only 28 years old and fully in his playing prime. He is a focal point in a very strong offensive scheme under Kyle Shanahan and is due for positive regression in nearly every statistical category with a gargantuan upgrade at QB. A return to around 120 targets and a bump in aDOT would catapult Kittle back into rarified air as a TE with more than 200 PPR points. He has always been great, but we still haven’t seen him at his stone-cold best…yet.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, 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 how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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