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6 ADP Values, Busts & Sleepers: AFC North (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 9, 2022
Tee Higgins

Chase is a superstar, but Higgins is the much better value at his ADP.

The 2022 fantasy football season is just around the corner. The FantasyPros mock draft simulator is the best preparation for your fantasy drafts. Each year you want to construct your team with a proper mix of good value players and upside sleepers while avoiding players with high bust potential.

In the second part of an eight-part series, I will identify two ADP values, two likely bust candidates, and two potential sleepers in the AFC North.

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ADP Values

Tee Higgins (WR – CIN): ADP 33.2 | WR12

The Bengals have an elite pair of young wide receivers. While Ja’Marr Chase deserves every ounce of credit he gets, Higgins is currently underrated. The former Clemson star was a top-13 wide receiver on a fantasy points per game basis last season, averaging 15.6 fantasy points per contest. Furthermore, Higgins had a team-high 7.9 targets per game last season, while Chase averaged 7.5 targets per game.

While Chase is the more popular name, Higgins had a slightly higher target share (23.9% to 23.7%) despite playing 7.1% fewer snaps last year. More importantly, Joe Burrow looked Higgins’ way in the red zone. Higgins had a 26% red zone target share and 13 red zone targets in 14 games, while Chase had a 20.7% red zone targets share and 12 red zone targets in 17 games. Chase is a superstar, but Higgins is the much better value at his ADP.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL): ADP 93.5 | WR38

Bateman is a popular breakout candidate after the Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL Draft. Brown had a career-high 145 targets last season. With no competition for the No. 1 wide receiver role, Bateman is in line for a massive increase in targets this year. While he averaged only 8.6 fantasy points per game last season, the former Minnesota star receiver showed potential last year when given enough targets.

He started the year strong, seeing six or more targets in his first five career games. Despite not finding the end zone, he averaged 1.41 fantasy points per target in those contests. Furthermore, Bateman averaged 11.3 fantasy points per game and 1.59 fantasy points per target in the eight games with more than four targets as a rookie. As Lamar Jackson‘s new and unchallenged No. 1 wide receiver, Bateman should take a massive step forward this season.


Bust Candidates

Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT): ADP 114.7 | TE12

Last year Freiermuth was the TE13, averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game. However, he was the TE17 on a points-per-game basis. He was also very touchdown dependent as a rookie. Freiermuth had six targets inside the five-yard line and an 11.7% touchdown rate, while 27.7% of his fantasy points came on touchdowns last season. Furthermore, his fantasy production dramatically changed when he failed to find the end zone.

In the six games he scored a touchdown, Freiermuth averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game and 2.6 fantasy points per target on 5.3 targets per contest. However, he averaged only 6.9 fantasy points per game and 1.46 fantasy points per target on 4.7 targets per contest when he failed to score a touchdown. Over a 17-game pace, Freiermuth would have been the TE3 in the games he scored a touchdown last season, while he would have been the TE23 when he failed to find the end zone. Freiermuth is too touchdown-dependent for you to draft at his current ADP. He belongs outside the top-12 tight ends.

Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN): ADP 134.1 | WR50

As the 50th wide receiver off the board, calling Boyd a bust might be a stretch. However, there are several other wide receivers around his ADP I would draft over Boyd. Last year, he was the WR31, averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game. Unfortunately, it was the fourth year in a row where Boyd’s fantasy points per game average dropped by at least one fantasy point from the previous year. Last year he had only 94 targets, his lowest total since 2017.

Furthermore, Boyd’s numbers dropped when Higgins was on the field. Last year Boyd averaged 7.5 targets and 14 fantasy points per game in the two games without Higgins. However, he averaged only 5.6 targets and 11.1 fantasy points per game in the 14 games with Higgins by comparison. Over the 16 games he played last season, Boyd would have finished as the WR35 with his 11.1 fantasy points per game average. Boyd lacks the upside I want from an 11th-round pick. Give me Skyy Moore (WR52), Jarvis Landry (WR53) or DeVante Parker (WR57) with a later ADP instead.

Sleepers to Target

Chase Claypool (WR – PIT): ADP 107.5 | WR42

Claypool had an impressive rookie year in 2020. He was the WR19, averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he was eighth among wide receivers, with nine receiving touchdowns that year. After a strong rookie season, many had high hopes for Claypool in 2021. Unfortunately, he struggled last season and ended the year as the WR37, averaging only 11.1 fantasy points per game.

Part of the drop in his production was the quality of his targets. Claypool’s aDOT dropped from 13.3 as a rookie to 11.5 last season. Furthermore, Claypool saw a massive dip in deep targets. Last year, 19.3% of his targets were deep targets, while it was 29.5% as a rookie. However, the change at quarterback should change that this year. Whether it’s Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett, the Steelers should be able to push the ball downfield more this season. Assuming he can stay healthy, Claypool is an excellent post-hype sleeper candidate.

David Njoku (TE – CLE): ADP 164.3 | TE17

The last time Njoku was on the fantasy radar was in 2018. That year he was the TE9, averaging nine fantasy points per game and a 16.9% target share. Njoku has totaled 92 targets over the past three seasons after seeing 88 in 2018. Part of his fantasy decline was the addition of Austin Hooper. In their two years together in Cleveland, Hooper had 131 targets while Njoku saw only 82. Thankfully, the Browns released Hooper and signed Njoku to a long-term deal in the offseason.

While Amari Cooper is the top pass catcher on the team, Njoku has a clear pathway to the No. 2 role. The Browns have several young pass catchers, including Donovan Peoples-Jones, Harrison Bryant, Anthony Schwartz, and David Bell. However, those four players have a combined 103 receptions in their NFL careers. Regardless of how many games Deshaun Watson misses with the suspension, Njoku should have a higher ADP than the 17th tight end off the board. Don’t let his struggles the past few years sway you from drafting him. Njoku is prime for a breakout this year.


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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

Busts, Featured, Featured Link, NFL, Sleepers