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Most Polarizing Players on Each NFL Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 8, 2022

Some players generate a wide range of opinions or a divide within the fantasy football community. These players with a high standard deviation are considered polarizing because the range of opinions, rankings and projections means there isn’t a clear consensus. Some of these players will be busts. Some will be breakouts. Others will be somewhere in between. What matters is identifying why these players are polarizing and then determining just how risky they are and how you value them relative to your league and settings.

Our analysts combed through the NFL rosters and identified the most polarizing players on 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 Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Buffalo Bills Gabriel Davis Gabriel Davis Gabriel Davis James Cook Devin Singletary
Miami Dolphins Jaylen Waddle Tyreek Hill Jaylen Waddle Tua Tagovailoa Tua Tagovailoa
New England Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson Rhamondre Stevenson DeVante Parker Rhamondre Stevenson Damien Harris
New York Jets Garrett Wilson Elijah Moore Garrett Wilson Breece Hall Garrett Wilson

Buffalo Bills
Gabriel Davis has never commanded a consistent high-end target share through 2 seasons, which has some skeptical of him taking a massive leap in 2022. But his lack of targets has been a result of his status as a Day 3 pick who was playing behind productive players on the offense. He proved at the end of last season that he is ready to take on a full-time role.
– Andrew Erickson

Miami Dolphins
Some feel the new addition of Tyreek Hill and a crowded RB room is enough to get Tua Tagovailoa to the next level. Although that may be true, the fact they brought in a veteran like Teddy Bridgewater tells me the Dolphins aren’t quite sold yet either, so why should fantasy owners be?
– Joe Pisapia

New England Patriots
DeVante Parker
is creating a divide in rankings at the moment. Parker has been flashing in camp in the early going, and the more I dive into his numbers, the more I love his fit in New England. Before a down 2021 season, Parker ranked 12th and 33rd in yards per route run against man coverage (minimum ten man coverage targets, per PFF). Now he’s paired with Mac Jones, who led the NFL in man coverage throw rate and ranked seventh in completion rate against man coverage (per Playerprofiler.com). We could be seriously underrating Parker’s ability to take the WR1 role for the Patriots this season.
– Derek Brown

New York Jets
There’s no denying the talent of Elijah Moore. The Jets’ slot receiver was the WR2 overall during his last stretch of six games played in 2021, despite catching passes from a hodgepodge quarterback carousel of Mike White, Zach Wilson and Josh Johnson. But if Wilson doesn’t take a step forward in Year 2, it will be a tough challenge for Moore to overcome. Luckily it’s baked into his ADP as a fantasy WR3.
– Andrew Erickson

AFC North

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson J.K. Dobbins J.K. Dobbins J.K. Dobbins J.K. Dobbins
Cincinnati Bengals Joe Burrow Joe Burrow Joe Burrow Joe Burrow Tyler Boyd
Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb Amari Cooper Amari Cooper Deshaun Watson Amari Cooper
Pittsburgh Steelers Diontae Johnson Chase Claypool Chase Claypool Chase Claypool Chase Claypool

Baltimore Ravens
Before J.K. Dobbins’s knee injury, he was a highly targeted fantasy option, despite the presence of Gus Edwards. The Ravens will still be run-heavy, and now that he’s further removed from his great 2020 season finish, I think he’s a value, while others see him as a risk.
– Joe Pisapia

Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt last season. Tom Brady has never posted a YPA of 8.9 or better in a single season. Aaron Rodgers has only done it once. Did Burrow merely hit on a disproportionate number of big plays in 2021, or is that incredible YPA a symptom of greatness? Some fantasy managers view Burrow as a fungible low-end QB1. Others view him as a top-six quarterback.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Cleveland Browns
With Deshaun Watson suspended for six games, Amari Cooper’s value varies. Some view him as a low-end WR1, others a WR3. I fall in between but lean towards low-end WR2 territory.
– Joe Pisapia

Pittsburgh Steelers
Chase Claypool posted nearly identical overall counting stats in 2021 to his rookie season — except for the dramatic fall from 11 to 2 TDs. Entering Year 3, his range of outcomes is quite wide, with 2022 second-round pick George Pickens chomping at the bit to be the No. 2 on the offense behind Diontae Johnson. But on the plus side, Claypool has a much better chance of cashing in on more downfield pass attempts from quarterbacks not named Ben Roethlisberger.
– Andrew Erickson

AFC South

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Houston Texans Dameon Pierce Dameon Pierce Dameon Pierce Dameon Pierce Marlon Mack
Indianapolis Colts Michael Pittman Parris Campbell Parris Campbell Alec Pierce Nyheim Hines
Jacksonville Jaguars James Robinson Christian Kirk Christan Kirk Travis Etienne Christan Kirk
Tennessee Titans Treylon Burks Derrick Henry Derrick Henry Derrick Henry Robert Woods

Houston Texans
Dameon Pierce is an intriguing rookie who could quickly ascend to the top of the food chain in the Texans’ RB room. But will the Houston offense be respectable enough to make any Texans RB a weekly must-start in fantasy football? And will Pierce be able to cruise past veterans Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead on the depth chart, or will he fall into a value-draining committee?
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Indianapolis Colts
Yes, Parris Campbell hasn’t been able to stay healthy. We all know this. That’s why he’s ranked all over the place. The injury history is baked into his ADP, but his upside, if the Colts throw more this season, is not. We must be reminded that Campbell was an uber-talented prospect coming out. In his final two collegiate seasons, he ranked sixth and tenth in yards per route run and sixth and first in YAC per reception (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). I’ll continue to take shots in drafts on a player that’s going late every day.
– Derek Brown

Jacksonville Jaguars
Just because he hasn’t been the main target of an offense doesn’t mean he can’t be. Christian Kirk got PAID, the Jags would be foolish not to pepper him with targets, and that’s enough for me to invest.
– Joe Pisapia

Tennessee Titans
Treylon Burks: In his final two college seasons, Burks had 2,111 yards and 19 touchdowns in 21 games with dominator ratings of more than 40% in each year. Now he’s set to inherit the A.J. Brown role as a rookie — but he “disappointed” at the combine with his merely good 40-yard dash of 4.55 seconds (at 6-2, 225 pounds), he’s more of a bully than a technician as a receiver and he has dealt with conditioning issues to this point of his young NFL career. He seemingly has the talent and opportunity to succeed — but some drafters question his drive.
– Matthew Freedman

AFC West

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Denver Broncos Jerry Jeudy Jerry Jeudy Jerry Jeudy Jerry Jeudy Jerry Jeudy
Kansas City Chiefs JuJu Smith-Schuster JuJu Smith-Schuster JuJu Smith-Schuster JuJu Smith-Schuster JuJu Smith-Schuster
Las Vegas Raiders Hunter Renfrow Josh Jacobs Josh Jacobs Josh Jacobs Josh Jacobs
Los Angeles Chargers Isaiah Spiller Mike Williams Mike Willams Isaiah Spiller Mike Willams

Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy feels like he should be a good NFL receiver. In college, he had back-to-back 1,000-10 seasons before the age of 21, and he entered the league as a true junior with first-round draft capital. And his rookie season wasn’t bad (856 yards, 3 touchdowns), but he didn’t come close to matching fellow first-year players Justin Jefferson (1,402-7) and CeeDee Lamb (1,017-6), and then his second season was derailed by an injury and poor quarterback play. Now with QB Russell Wilson, Jeudy has the opportunity to prove himself, but WRs Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler might fit better with Wilson, given their deep-threat ability and his propensity to take shots downfield.
– Matthew Freedman

Kansas City Chiefs
JuJu Smith-Schuster has easily the most decorated pedigree among the Chiefs new-look WRs and youth on his side at just 25 years old. But he has always been a “beta” receiver, meaning he’s never been “the” guy in his offense. Even in his best days with the Steelers. The fact that he was out-produced by Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson the last time he was healthy should raise concerns that he won’t immediately be a target hog and rise to fantasy WR1 status in Kansas City.
– Andrew Erickson

Las Vegas Raiders
Last year, Hunter Renfrow had an efficient 103-1,038-9 receiving on 128 targets, and for his career he has 8.3 yards per target. But now he has to compete with new No. 1 WR Davante Adams. Renfrow should still continue to see work in HC Josh McDaniels’ offense, which has relied on slot receivers in the past — but last year Adams was No. 1 with 3.49 yards per route in the slot, and he was one of the few receivers with more targets inside the 10-yard line than Renfrow had (14 vs. 13). Renfrow is talented but is almost certain to see fewer (and less impactful) targets this year.
– Matthew Freedman

Los Angeles Chargers
There are few analysts who see a potential Top-10 finish for Mike Williams, and I am one of those people. Many see Williams as more of an erratic WR2, but I think he’s poised for the true full-season breakout.
– Joe Pisapia

CTAs

NFC East

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott Ezekiel Elliott Michael Gallup Ezekiel Elliott Michael Gallup
New York Giants Wan’Dale Robinson Kadarius Toney Wan’Dale Robinson Saquon Barkley Saquon Barkley
Philadelphia Eagles A.J. Brown Miles Sanders Miles Sanders Miles Sanders Miles Sanders
Washington Commanders Antonio Gibson Antonio Gibson Antonio Gibson Antonio Gibson Antonio Gibson

Dallas Cowboys
The cloud hanging over Michael Gallup’s health is enough to make him a polarizing player. Add in that he’s a part of an explosive offense when on the field, but he’s largely been “just a guy” during his career, and you have the perfect recipe for a player that the fantasy community is divided on. Gallup has been overrated for much of his career, ranking 64th, 69th, tenth, and 59th in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). I’ll happily avoid Gallup in drafts and target Jalen Tolbert late.
– Derek Brown

New York Giants
Saquon Barkley was considered a generational RB prospect when he entered the league in 2018. But due to injuries, we haven;t seen Saquon look like Saquon since late 2019. Have knee and ankle injuries robbed Barkley of the freakish athleticism that made him so special, or is he still the same twitchy athlete, about to be used as a multidimensional weapon in new Giants head coach Brian Daboll’s offense?
– Pat Fitzmaurice

Philadelphia Eagles
With 10.2 yards per target, A.J. Brown has unquestionably been one of the league’s best receivers over the past three seasons, and now he’s going to a team that could lean into the passing game more than the 2019-21 Titans did — and even if the Eagles don’t, Brown should still surpass his career-high 106 targets this year. Drafters are skeptical about how Brown will fit in the Eagles offense and connection with QB Jalen Hurts, but that’s reflected in his No. 28 ADP overall, which is far too late in the draft for a player of Brown’s talent.
– Matthew Freedman

Washington Commanders
Imagine that a 6-2, 220-pound RB with 4.39 speed and a background as a college WR entered the NFL and scored 11 and 10 TDs in his first two NFL seasons. Where do you imagine he’d go in fantasy drafts the third year? Top three? Top five? This isn’t a hypothetical; Antonio Gibson fits this description and often falls into the fourth round of 12-team drafts. Washington uses J.D. McKissic on passing downs and might use rookie Brian Robinson at the goal line, robbing Gibson of high-value touches.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

NFC North

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Chicago Bears Darnell Mooney Justin Fields David Montgomery David Montgomery David Montgomery
Detroit Lions Amon-Ra St. Brown Amon-Ra St. Brown Amon-Ra St. Brown Amon-Ra St. Brown Amon-Ra St. Brown
Green Bay Packers Allen Lazard Aaron Jones Allen Lazard Allen Lazard Christian Watson
Minnesota Vikings Adam Thielen Adam Thielen Adam Thielen Adam Thielen Adam Thielen

Chicago Bears
Justin Fields averaged 56 rushing yards per game over his last six contests in 2021. So why the debate on his fantasy status as a mobile QB? The supporting cast in Chicago presents a lot of risk. Not many weapons outside of two third-year players in Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney. And the offensive line is a mess, ranked as the No. 31st unit per PFF.
– Andrew Erickson

Detroit Lions
Can Amon-Ra St. Brown repeat the elite end-of-season run he had last year with the offense fully healthy in 2022? That simple question is what has made St. Brown a player that fantasy managers don’t know what to do with. It’s possible that St. Brown could be that good. That his ability to draw targets is among the best wide receivers in the league. Last year in Weeks 13-18, he ranked eighth in yards per route run drawing a target on 31.3% of his routes. Over the entire season, only Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Deonte Harty, and Cooper Kupp commanded targets at a higher rate. St. Brown is a player I want to be above the field on.
– Derek Brown

Green Bay Packers
Ask anybody about what they think about Aaron Jones in 2022, and they will likely cite his receiving numbers without Davante Adams in the lineup. Without Green Bay’s No. 1 WR, Jones has averaged close to 4.5 catches, 6 targets, 48.5 receiving yards and 23 PPR points per game. But this analysis was exactly what people were saying about Alvin Kamara in lieu of Michael Thomas’ absence going into 2021 based on a prior sample size. His receptions dropped by 1.5 per game versus his career average…as the Saints added six more carries to his workload instead. Let’s keep Jones’ receiving splits and fantasy outlook in check, especially with him sharing touches in the backfield with A.J. Dillon.
– Andrew Erickson

Minnesota Vikings
Was the beginning of the age cliff last year for Adam Thielen or an injury bump in the road? After stacking stout seasons in yards per route run since 2016, Thielen finally slipped to 1.63, which ranked 48th (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). Thielen has been top 23 in red-zone targets in four of the last five seasons. In an offense that we project to be fast-paced and pass-heavy, Thielen can sneak in one more productive season based on the offensive environment and his red zone role if he can stay healthy in 2022.
– Andrew Erickson

NFC South

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Atlanta Falcons Cordarrelle Patterson Kyle Pitts Cordarrelle Patterson Cordarrelle Patterson Cordarrelle Patterson
Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey D.J. Moore
New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara Michael Thomas Michael Thomas Michael Thomas Michael Thomas
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Julio Jones Russell Gage Julio Jones Leonard Fournette Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons
Talent? Unquestioned. Projected quarterback play? The only reason Kyle Pitts isn’t being drafted higher after posting over 1,000 receiving yards as a 21-year-old rookie tight end.
– Andrew Erickson

Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey is my choice to be the No. 1 pick. Over the past two seasons, he has averaged 20.8 fantasy points (27.7 PPR) per game in his seven games with a snap rate of at least 50%. In 2019, he averaged 22.2 fantasy points (29.5 PPR) per game. He has a higher median and ceiling outcome than anyone else in the league — but he has missed 23 games since 2020 because of injury. He’s just 26 years old, and his injuries haven’t been the type to linger or alter careers. I understand the concern with McCaffrey, but I believe it’s overblown.
– Matthew Freedman

New Orleans Saints
I know he hasn’t been a factor for a while, and that should scare many. However, Michael Thomas is still coming at an ADP value where I think his upside/risk ratio is reasonable.
– Joe Pisapia

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We all know that Julio 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. In his 13 games since 2020 with a snap rate of more than 50% (including playoffs), Jones has 72-1,071-4 receiving on 101 targets. That plane will fly. Jones is old (33 years), but with the Buccaneers he (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, and 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. I’m willing to bet that they’re wrong by drafting him.
– Matthew Freedman

NFC West

TEAM Freedman Erickson DBro Pat Joe
Arizona Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins DeAndre Hopkins DeAndre Hopkins DeAndre Hopkins DeAndre Hopkins
Los Angeles Rams Cam Akers Cam Akers Cam Akers Cam Akers Allen Robinson
San Francisco 49ers Trey Lance Brandon Aiyuk Brandon Aiyuk Elijah Mitchell Brandon Aiyuk
Seattle Seahawks Rashaad Penny DK Metcalf Rashaad Penny Rashaad Penny Rashaad Penny

Arizona Cardinals
DeAndre Hopkins’s disappointing 2021 season and his current six-game suspension will make his draft position this year fluctuate widely. He dropped to 29th in yards per route run and 48th in target per route run rate last year (per Playerprofiler.com). Add in that he’s slated to miss nearly half of the fantasy regular season, and he checks the boxes as a player I’ll bypass in many drafts. If you’re stacking Kyler Murray in best ball, I understand selecting Hopkins, but outside of that, no thanks.
– Derek Brown

Los Angeles Rams
A lot of fantasy managers aren’t comfortable spending a third-round pick on a running back who tore his Achilles just over a year ago. Cam Akers made a remarkably fast recovery from that devastating tendon injury, returning in Week 17 and serving as the Rams lead back throughout the playoffs. He wasn’t especially effective, but head coach Sean McVay’s willingness to hand the keys to the backfield to Akers in the most important games of the Rams’ season could bode well for his 2022 usage.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

San Francisco 49ers
From Weeks 1-7, Brandon Aiyuk was a dud in fantasy football. He ranked 98th in yards per route run. But he turned things around in the second half of the season, finishing the year 13th in yards per route run w/ the same target rate per route run as Deebo Samuel. If Aiyuk can roll over his second-half production into 2022, he could be a smashing fantasy value in a similar way that his teammate Samuel was viewed in 2021. His overall disappointing sophomore campaign should not overshadow his electric rookie season.
– Andrew Erickson

Seattle Seahawks
Rashaad Penny was a monster down the stretch last season, rushing for more than 100 yards in four of his last five games and scoring six TDs over that span. But a lot of people have trust issues with the former first-round pick, who’s missed 28 games over his first four NFL seasons and is playing on a one-year contract. The Seahawks also just spent a second-round pick on Ken Walker, widely regarded as one of the two best running backs in this year’s draft.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

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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