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Bold Predictions for Each NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 1, 2022

Fortune favors the bold, right? As Matthew Freedman said on a recent episode of the FantasyPros Football Podcast, “I’m not drafting to come in third place.” The point here is that if you follow the consensus, you’re probably going to have a good team. But in order to go from good to great, you have to take some chances. You have to go against the consensus or at least zig while everyone else zags. In short, you need to be bold.

Our analysts combed through the NFL rosters and came up with a bold prediction for every team. The results and accompanying justifications are below.

Previously, our analysts took a look at the most overrated and underrated players, the top rookies, the top breakout candidates on each NFL team, and more:

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

AFC East

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Buffalo Bills Freedman Gabriel Davis finishes as a top-12 WR
Miami Dolphins DBro Chase Edmonds is an RB1 in fantasy
New England Patriots Erickson Rhamondre Stevenson finishes as top-12 fantasy RB
New York Jets Fitz Breece Hall finishes as a top-5 fantasy RB

Buffalo Bills

Gabriel Davis finishes as a top-12 WR

QB Josh Allen is good enough to support two fantasy-relevant wide receivers, and Davis is dynamic enough to make a third-year leap. Wide receivers Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders are both gone (free agency), and 184 targets have opened up in their absence. Davis has produced for two years with the Bills (9.9 yards per target, including playoffs). He’s a legitimate end-zone weapon (6-foot-2, 227 pounds, 12.1% touchdown rate), and he’s just 23 years old.
– Matthew Freedman

Miami Dolphins

Chase Edmonds is an RB1 in fantasy

Chase Edmonds can pay off on past season’s promise as the lead back on an underrated offense in Miami. As the 1B in Arizona over the last two seasons, he’s logged 15 games in which he’s played at least 50% of the snaps. In those contests, he’s finished as a top 24 running back in 67% of games. Behind a revamped offensive line with Terron Armstead and Connor Williams leading the way, Edmonds should have no issues putting his explosiveness to good use. He’s ranked 11th and 20th over the last two seasons in yards created per touch. With a three-down skill set that allowed him to lead all running backs in 2020 in slot targets and receiving yards, Edmonds will crush expectations this season.
– Derek Brown

New England Patriots

Rhamondre Stevenson finishes as top-12 fantasy RB

Stevenson ranked as PFF’s highest-graded rookie running back in 2021. The last four rookie RBs to do that — Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Taylor — finished as top-8 fantasy RBs in Year 2.
– Andrew Erickson

New York Jets

Breece Hall finishes as a top-5 fantasy RB

Breece Hall is a better prospect than Najee Harris was and will be running behind a better offensive line this year. Hall was wildly productive at Iowa State and put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. All he needs is a 60% snap share to be a monster.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

AFC North

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Baltimore Ravens Fitz Lamar Jackson finishes as the QB1
Cincinnati Bengals Fitz Joe Burrow finishes as a top-3 fantasy QB
Cleveland Browns Freedman D’Ernest Johnson finishes as a top-24 RB
Pittsburgh Steelers DBro Chase Claypool outscores Diontae Johnson

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson finishes as the QB1

With J.K. Dobbins reportedly slow to recover from knee surgery, it’s fair to wonder how much firepower the Ravens have at RB. Jackson may need to do even more of the running than usual, so a 1,000-yard, 10-TD rushing season isn’t out of the question. We *think* the Ravens’ defense will be better than it was last season, when it was injury-ravaged. But what if it’s still a below-average defense and the Ravens face more negative game scripts than we’re envisioning? That could juice up Jackson’s passing volume. It wouldn’t take extraordinary circumstances to create a perfect storm for Jackson in which he’s basically a one-man offense and piles up obscene fantasy numbers.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow finishes as a top-3 fantasy QB

Joe Burrow finished QB10 in fantasy points per game last season, but every QB who finished ahead of him averaged more pass attempts per game, with the exception of run-minded Lamar Jackson. Burrow averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt. Tom Brady has never averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt or better in a single season, and Aaron Rodgers has only done it once. You think Burrow is good, but he’s probably better than you think. (He might even run more this year now that he’s more than a year removed from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.)
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Cleveland Browns

D’Ernest Johnson finishes as a top-24 RB

I expect the Browns to rely on the running game per usual, and Johnson could get sustained action if either Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt misses time or if Hunt is traded. The sample is small and skewed, but in his three games last year with 10-plus combined carries and targets, Johnson had 458 yards and two touchdowns. He has significant upside as a lead back or change-of-pace option.
– Matthew Freedman

Pittsburgh Steelers

Chase Claypool outscores Diontae Johnson

The unthinkable could be upon us. Chase Claypool big slot supreme szn could be here. These lucrative layup targets could propel Claypool over Diontae Johnson this season. Claypool has been lining up inside in camp while Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are flanking him outside. Last year Claypool ranked 30th in slot yards per route run and 16th in slot YAC per reception (minimum ten slot targets, per PFF). The talent that led him to 27th in yards per route run in his rookie season immediately ahead of Chris Godwin isn’t gone. He’ll have every chance to flash his skill against nickel corners and linebackers as an easy option underneath for whoever wins the starting gig.
– Derek Brown

AFC South

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Houston Texans Fitz No Texans RB finishes in the top 50 at the position
Indianapolis Colts Erickson Michael Pittman Jr. finishes as a top-8 fantasy WR
Jacksonville Jaguars Joe Trevor Lawrence finishes as a QB1
Tennessee Titans Erickson Derrick Henry finishes outside the top-10 running backs

Houston Texans

No Texans RB finishes in the top 50 at the position

You could argue that this isn’t a bold prediction because it happened to the Texans last year — Rex Burkhead was the top-finishing Texans running back at RB55 (0.5 PPR). But you have to admit, it would be pretty wild for Houston to not land an RB in the top 50 in two straight seasons. Rookie Dameon Pierce is the team’s best hope at the position, but he wasn’t a workhorse in college, he’ll be running behind a bad offensive line, and he’ll be playing in an offense that won’t score many touchdowns. Burkhead is versatile but limited … and old. Marlon Mack has mostly been out of commission since 2019. And it’s very likely that all three of them are involved in a value-smothering timeshare.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Indianapolis Colts

Michael Pittman Jr. finishes as a top-8 fantasy WR

Pittman finished the 2021 season with the league’s eighth-highest target share and got a QB upgrade this offseason with a history of fueling WR1 seasons. It’s all wheels up for the WR16 in half-point scoring from last season.
– Andrew Erickson

Jacksonville Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence finishes as a QB1

Everyone talks about the rushing ability of Trey Lance and Justin Fields, but Trevor Lawrence can also really move and is a far better passer at this stage of his development. Last year, this coaching staff was woefully underprepared to get anything out of Lawrence. This season, Lawrence starts to realize his full potential.
– Joe Pisapia

Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry finishes outside the top-10 running backs

Last year was the first season where Derrick Henry couldn’t hold up to his elite workload. He also finished outside the top-5 in rushing yards over expectation per attempt for the first time since 2018. Ergo, his volume has nowhere to go but down, and he’s showing signs of dependency on his offensive situation more than ever. And that’s not ideal for the 28-year-old coming off a foot injury that doesn’t catch passes in an offense primed for regression.
– Andrew Erickson

AFC West

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Denver Broncos Erickson Courtland Sutton is this year’s Cooper Kupp
Kansas City Chiefs Freedman JuJu Smith-Schuster finishes as a top-12 WR
Las Vegas Raiders Freedman Davante Adams won’t finish as a top-12 WR
Los Angeles Chargers Joe Mike Williams finishes as a top-10 fantasy WR.

Denver Broncos

Courtland Sutton is this year’s Cooper Kupp

Russell Wilson has an affinity for attacking receivers in the red zone; a Seattle WR has finished top-five in red-zone targets for three straight seasons. Sutton can easily lead the league in red-zone targets like Kupp did in 2021.
– Andrew Erickson

Kansas City Chiefs

JuJu Smith-Schuster finishes as a top-12 WR

For the past three years, Smith-Schuster has been hamstrung (pun intended) by injuries and the diminishing ability of former QB Ben Roethlisberger. But in his first two seasons, he amassed 2,343 yards receiving, which puts him No. 4 on the all-time receiving list for players under the age of 23, behind only Justin Jefferson, Randy Moss and Josh Gordon. Turning 26 in November, Smith-Schuster is still young, and now he has a chance to be the No. 1 wide receiver for QB Patrick Mahomes. WRs Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson have vacated 260 targets. Here be the dragon of opportunity.
– Matthew Freedman

Las Vegas Raiders

Davante Adams won’t finish as a top-12 WR

In moving to the Raiders, Adams gets a downgrade at quarterback and maybe even at offensive play caller, given that HC Josh McDaniels has had limited success without QB Tom Brady and outside New England. Adams has more competition than he has ever had as a No. 1 receiver, and the offense almost certainly won’t be as good as that of the 2020-21 Packers, which likely means he’ll get fewer touchdown opportunities and maybe fewer targets. There are a lot of paths toward underperformance for Adams this year.
– Matthew Freedman

Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams finishes as top-10 fantasy WR.

The skills have been there. The health has not always been there, nor was the QB play earlier in his career. However, if everything goes as planned for once, Williams has the potential for a true breakout, star-studded season.
– Joe Pisapia

CTAs

NFC East

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Dallas Cowboys DBro Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard both finish as top-15 RBs
New York Giants Joe Saquon Barkley finishes as a top-5 RB.
Philadelphia Eagles DBro Jalen Hurts morphs into 2019 Lamar Jackson
Washington Commanders Freedman Antonio Gibson finishes outside the top-30 RBs

Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard both finish as top-15 RBs

The Dallas Cowboys’ offense could create a perfect storm in 2022 for this to come to fruition. The last running back tandem to pull off this feat was Melvin Gordon (RB15) and Austin Ekeler (RB6) in 2019. We know Jerry Jones is determined to run Ezekiel Elliott into the ground as long as his legs still function, so it’s not hard to envision Elliott holding up his end of this bargain. Tony Pollard is the wild card in this scenario. Pollard has the talent to get there as the only running back last season to finish top five in yards after contact per attempt and yards per route run. Count me in on the rumors that Pollard will be used in the slot this season as the options after CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz are shakey. Last year Pollard ranked tenth in slot yards per route run (minimum ten slot targets, per PFF) among all running backs, tight ends, and receivers. Pollard could be Austin Ekeler 2.0 in big D in a top pace and passing rate team.
– Derek Brown

New York Giants

Saquon Barkley finishes as a top-5 RB.

I know this isn’t SUPER bold, but when you consider how little Barkley has delivered of late, it still counts. Brian Daboll has a chance to finally put together a real offensive game plan and the offensive line is improved year over year.
– Joe Pisapia

Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts morphs into 2019 Lamar Jackson

My love for Jalen Hurts is well documented. Hurts can go nuclear this year. Before injury struck, Hurts was the QB6 in fantasy points per game, pacing toward 1,000 rushing yards. With the rushing likely to remain and passing touchdown regression poised to pounce, Hurts could vault into superstar status. Last year among 33 quarterbacks with 200 or more pass attempts, Hurts was 23rd with a 3.7% passing touchdown rate. Hurts will silence his final haters in 2022.
– Derek Brown

Washington Commanders

Antonio Gibson finishes outside the top-30 RBs

Despite opening his career with back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns from scrimmage, Gibson carries significant downside in 2022. He possesses a true three-down skill set, but the Commanders seem more desirous than ever to limit Gibson’s workload after he played last year with an assortment of lower-body injuries (hip, turf toe, shin). Even though they had Jaret Patterson, Wendell Smallwood, and Jonathan Williams on the roster, the Commanders went out of their way this offseason to re-sign J.D. McKissic (who had already agreed to a deal with the Bills) and to invest a top-100 pick into Brian Robinson (who was drafted “at least a full round” early, per ESPN’s Matt Miller). With McKissic stealing targets and Robinson challenging for goal-line touches, short-yardage work, and rotational series, Gibson could turn into a low-ceiling, low-floor between-the-20s committee back.
– Matthew Freedman

NFC North

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Chicago Bears DBro Darnell Mooney is a WR1
Detroit Lions Joe Jameson Williams leads the Lions in receiving TDs.
Green Bay Packers Fitz Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon both finish as top-15 RBs.
Minnesota Vikings Joe K.J. Osborn outscores Adam Thielen.

Chicago Bears

Darnell Mooney is a WR1

Darnell Mooney was operating as a WR1 last year in a number of his metrics already. Last year in the five games without Allen Robinson, Mooney averaged 78.2 receiving yards which would have ranked seventh among wide receivers. He also ranked 11th in route win rate against man coverage (per Playerprofiler.com), showing the ability to operate as an X receiver. Mooney is primed for a boatload of targets this year from Justin Fields, with many coming downfield. The big plays could carry him screaming into the WR1 good graces in 2022.
– Derek Brown

Detroit Lions

Jameson Williams leads the Lions in receiving TDs.

Jameson Williams is an extraordinary talent. The ACL could mean a slow start, but he could be in line for a massive second half once he’s 100%. His playmaking ability is extraordinary and he could help win fantasy championships.
– Joe Pisapia

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon both finish as top-15 RBs.

The division of labor is more even than some people realize. In the last eight regular-season games they’ve played together, Dillon has averaged 3.5 more carries a game more than Jones. But Jones’ usage as a pass catcher has usually spiked in games Adams missed due to injury — an encouraging omen. With Davante Adams gone and a patchwork collection of wide receivers, the Packers are going to run the ball at a higher rate, and Aaron Rodgers is going to target his RBs at a higher rate. Green Bay’s defense looks fierce, which should mean a lot of run-friendly game scripts. Jones and Dillon will both eat in 2022.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Minnesota Vikings

K.J. Osborn outscores Adam Thielen.

Adam Theilen is on the downside, and although he’s still strong in the red zone, the more touchdown dependant he becomes, the less appealing of an investment he becomes. K.J. Osborn showed he could handle a bigger workload last year when called upon, and the new offense seems to be more pass-heavy.
– Joe Pisapia

NFC South

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Atlanta Falcons Erickson TE Kyle Pitts breaks Zach Ertz’ (2018) record of 116 catches in a season and Travis Kelce’s 1,416 yards (2020)
Carolina Panthers Freedman DJ Moore finishes as a top-five WR
New Orleans Saints Fitz Rookie WR Chris Olave scores 10 touchdowns
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Freedman Julio Jones finishes as a top-24 WR

Atlanta Falcons

TE Kyle Pitts breaks Zach Ertz’ (2018) record of 116 catches in a season and Travis Kelce’s 1,416 yards (2020)

Go all-in on the unicorn talent. The last two 21-year-old rookies (Justin Jefferson, JuJu Smith-Schuster) to average at least 60 receiving yards per game as rookies — which Pitts also did — reached 1,400 yds in their second seasons. And Marcus Mariota peppered Delanie Walker with targets en route to 94 receptions in 2015.
– Andrew Erickson

Carolina Panthers

DJ Moore finishes as a top-five WR

Moore is the only wide receiver with at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage in each of the past three seasons — and he’s just 25 years old. He has the best quarterback of his career with Baker Mayfield, and Moore is clearly still in the ascension phase of his NFL trajectory.
– Matthew Freedman

New Orleans Saints

Rookie WR Chris Olave scores 10 touchdowns

Chris Olave is a sublime route runner with lethal speed. The Saints were uber-conservative on offense last year, but we know that Jameis Winston doesn’t mind taking shots downfield. If Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael uses Olave to stretch the field, we could see some big plays from the rookie. Who else is going to take the top off defenses for the Saints? Michael Thomas? Jarvis Landry? No and no. Tre’Quan Smith or Marquez Callaway? Those guys are why the Saints drafted Olave. Get ready to watch the fireworks between Winston and Olave.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Julio Jones finishes as a top-24 WR

We all know that Jones has been a great player throughout his career: He’s a Hall-of-Famer. What a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that, even though he missed significant time over the past two years, when he was on the field he averaged an elite 10.4 yards per target, which suggests that he’s still the player he used to be — except maybe more fragile. With the Buccaneers, Jones (like Antonio Brown in previous seasons) won’t have the pressure of needing to play every snap, so he has a better chance of staying healthy, but he’ll likely be targeted heavily as a specialist when he’s on the field. As the No. 3 wide receiver, Jones will face the softest coverage of his career, and he’ll also have the best quarterback of his career in Tom Brady. The stars are aligned: As long as just one thing happens — he stays healthy — Jones should crush. It’s not a given that he’ll stay healthy. A lot of people doubt that he will. But that’s why this call is bold.
– Matthew Freedman

NFC West

TEAM Analyst Prediction
Arizona Cardinals DBro Marquise Brown leads the NFL in deep receiving yards
Los Angeles Rams DBro Cam Akers leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns
San Francisco 49ers Erickson Trey Lance finishes as a top-3 fantasy QB
Seattle Seahawks Joe The Seahawks will have no WR1 or RB1 fantasy finishers

Arizona Cardinals

Marquise Brown leads the NFL in deep receiving yards

Marquise Brown has been highly utilized as a deep receiver with little to show for it up to this point. Over the last two seasons, he’s ranked sixth and seventh in deep targets among receivers, but he’s only climbed to 14th and 40th in deep receiving yards (per PFF). This can be traced to Lamar Jackson’s deep ball inconsistencies, who has ranked 20th and 23rd in deep ball completion rate over the same span. He won’t have that problem with Kyler Murray, who has ranked 19th, sixth, and first in deep ball completion rate since entering the NFL. Brown could be in for a stellar season, and if so, then the deep ball will be a big reason why.
– Derek Brown

Los Angeles Rams

Cam Akers leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns

Last season the Rams were an explosive offense that could support this scoring output. They ranked sixth in points per game and third in red zone scoring attempts per game. Last year’s rushers were left holding the bag as Sean McVay ran an offense with the ninth-highest passing rate inside the 20. This could easily continue in 2022, but it’s equally possible that McVay will revert to his previous ways. From 2018-2020 the Rams ranked sixth, fifth, and second in red zone rushing rate. If that returns, Cam Akers’ touchdown output will be immense.
– Derek Brown

San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance finishes as a top-3 fantasy QB

Lance only started two games in 2021 but flashed the rushing that should excite fantasy managers.
The 49ers’ first-year signal-caller averaged 22.4 expected fantasy points and 60 rushing yards per game, good for QB4 last season.
With the team firmly backing Lance as their franchise QB, the sky is the limit for his fantasy upside in 2022.
– Andrew Erickson

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will have no WR1 or RB1 fantasy finishers

The Seahawks are in serious trouble without Russell Wilson. The remaining QB options are far from appealing, and that spells disappointment for Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Rashad Penny had a nice finish to 2021, but his injury history is checkered, to say the least, and rookie Ken Walker has a lot to prove in terms of receiving skills. This offense just doesn’t have a ton of fantasy appeal, even discounted.
– Joe Pisapia

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to 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 Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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