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6 ADP Values, Busts & Sleepers: NFC West (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 29, 2022
Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk is out of the doghouse and primed for a big year in 2022 with Trey Lance under center.

The 2022 fantasy football season is just around the corner. The FantasyPros mock draft simulator is the best to prepare 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 final part of an eight-part series, I will identify two ADP values, two likely bust candidates, and two potential sleepers in the NFC West.

ADP via FantasyPros

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ADP Values

Cam Akers (RB – LAR): ADP 37.6 | RB18

Last season was a lost year for Akers. After suffering a torn Achilles in July, he returned to the field in early January. However, Akers was far from 100%. He averaged only 2.6 yards per rushing attempt and 7.2 fantasy points per game in the Rams’ four playoff games last season. While that is very disheartening, it wasn’t surprising, given how fast Akers returned from the injury. More importantly, Akers was very productive at the end of his rookie season.

Over the final five games of the 2020 season, Akers averaged 14 fantasy points per game. He scored 16 or more fantasy points twice despite playing under 70% of the snaps in all but one contest. Furthermore, Akers was one of the top running backs during the playoffs. He averaged 23 rushing attempts for 110.5 yards, one touchdown, and 22.1 fantasy points per game during the two playoff games. Akers also averaged 4.8 yards per rushing attempt during the playoffs. With Sony Michel now in Miami and Darrell Henderson‘s injury history, Akers has a pathway to a featured role and is a steal as the 18th running back off the board.

Zach Ertz (TE – ARI): ADP 89.1 | TE9

After a disappointing 2020 season, many thought Ertz’s career was on the decline. He averaged only seven fantasy points per game that year, his lowest average since his rookie season. Furthermore, he had only one touchdown in 11 games. However, Ertz bounced back in 2021 after he got traded to the Cardinals. Once he joined the team, Ertz was the TE4 the rest of the year, averaging 12 fantasy points per game. His 81 targets in 11 games with the Cardinals finished third on the team behind Christian Kirk and A.J. Green.

Furthermore, Ertz averaged nine targets and 13.8 fantasy points per game in the seven games Hopkins missed last season. More importantly, the Cardinals made re-signing Ertz a priority this offseason, signing him to a three-year deal worth $31.7 million before the start of free agency. While they used a second-round pick on Trey McBride, tight ends typically don’t become fantasy relevant till their third year in the league. Until then, Ertz remains the No. 1 tight end in Arizona and a value at his current ADP.

Bust Candidates

Deebo Samuel (WR – SF): ADP 16.4 | WR6

Coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season, Samuel broke out last year. He averaged a career-high 21.2 fantasy points per game, an 40.6% increase from his previous career best. Furthermore, Samuel scored 338.96 fantasy points last year compared to 269.8 fantasy points in his first two years combined. The jump in production was because of a massive increase in targets, as he had only four fewer targets last year than his total in 2019 and 2020 combined. More importantly, Samuel had an impactful role in the running game last year.

After scoring 36.5 fantasy points on the ground in his first two years in the NFL combined, Samuel scored 84.5 fantasy points on the ground last season. Furthermore, 90.3% of those fantasy points came over his final eight games. During those final eight games, Samuel averaged only five targets per game. Unlike the first half of the season, George Kittle was healthy, and Brandon Aiyuk wasn’t in the doghouse. With those two ready to contribute, Deebo’s targets per game dropped by 50.6%. Samuel is worthy of a top-24 pick. However, he shouldn’t get drafted ahead of more proven wide receivers like A.J. Brown, Keenan Allen, and Tyreek Hill.

Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA): ADP 87.4 | RB33

Since he stepped foot in the NFL, Penny has dealt with injuries. Over the first three years of his career, Penny played only 56.3% of the games. His inability to stay on the field led to the Seahawks declining Penny’s fifth-year option last offseason. Furthermore, Penny didn’t play in seven of the first 11 games last year and has struggled with injuries during the offseason. Even when on the field, Penny has failed to produce.

He has never had a season with over 120 rushing attempts. Penny also had under 90 rushing attempts in each of the first three years of his career. By comparison, he had 92 rushing attempts in his famous five-game stretch last season. Furthermore, Penny had 16 or more rushing attempts in four of those five games. Meanwhile, he had only two career games with over 12 rushing attempts before that stretch last year. More importantly, Penny had an extremely easy schedule during his “historic” stretch. With the addition of Kenneth Walker, drafting Penny is a foolish mistake.

Sleepers to Target

Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF): ADP 9.8 | WR39

Aiyuk had an impressive rookie season. He averaged 15.4 fantasy points per game and ended the season as the WR35. Furthermore, Aiyuk ended his rookie season on fire, averaging 18.6 fantasy points per game over the final 10 weeks of the year, making him the WR5 during that span on a points-per-game basis. Many had high expectations for him after his rookie year. Unfortunately, Aiyuk failed to live up to those expectations in the first half of the 2021 season.

Last year was a season of two halves for Aiyuk. He started the year in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse, averaging only 2.7 targets and 4.3 fantasy points per game over the first six games. Aiyuk played fewer than 73% of the snaps in all but one game. However, he turned things around over the final 11 games of the year. He averaged 6.2 targets and 13.2 fantasy points per game in those games. More importantly, Aiyuk was the WR16 during those final 11 games, ahead of Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and other elite wide receivers. After an impressive rookie season, Aiyuk is out of the doghouse and primed for a big year in 2022 with Trey Lance under center.

Trey Lance (QB – SF): ADP 102.2 | QB13

When the 49ers traded multiple first-round draft picks to secure Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft, many in the fantasy community were excited to see him on the field. Unfortunately, Jimmy Garoppolo stood in his way. Garoppolo earned the starting role, and Lance spent most of his rookie season learning from the bench. He played sparingly in several games last year, entering the game on designed packages. However, Lance shined when given a chance as a rookie.

Lance started two games last season for an injured Garoppolo. He also played the entire second half of the Week 4 matchup after Garoppolo suffered an injury right before halftime. In those 2.5 games, Lance scored 54 fantasy points. Adjusting for playing only 10 quarters of football instead of 12, Lance averaged 21.6 fantasy points per game last season in a situation where he was the starter. Last season, he would have been the QB4 over a 17-game pace with that average. Once Garoppolo gets traded or released, Lance’s ADP could jump into the top 75. Be sure to draft him on the cheap while you can.

CTAs

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.

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