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8 Players Experts Are Reaching For (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 19, 2022
Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts has the potential to make the jump to become one of the elite fantasy quarterbacks in 2022.

While it’s key to have a great set of fantasy football draft rankings, it’s also important to know player’s average draft position. This allows you to see where a player is likely to be drafted versus where the experts have the player ranked. You can then ‘reach’ for a player that experts are higher on before they are usually selected by your leaguemates. Let’s take a look at players the experts think you should consider reaching for this fantasy football draft season.

Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.

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8 Players Experts Are Reaching For

Jalen Hurts (PHI)
ECR QB6 | ADP QB7

In his first full season, Jalen Hurts was the QB6 in fantasy points per game as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. An ankle sprain dropped his rushing numbers from 57.9 to 29.7 yards per game over his final three contests. Without that ding, his full-season numbers could have been even better. With another season in this offensive system incoming and A.J. Brown now on the roster, Hurts has top-three fantasy quarterback upside in 2022.

Russell Wilson (DEN)
ECR QB9 | ADP QB11

Russell Wilson’s weapons/supporting cast overall are pretty even going from Seattle to Denver, but Nathaniel Hackett calling the shots is an upgrade over Pete Carroll.

Hackett’s obviously had success with Aaron Rodgers that has translated into fantasy, so a top-five fantasy quarterback outcome is firmly in play with Wilson in 2022. After all, Wilson’s long track record of efficient fantasy play is undeniable – he has finished among the top-six fantasy QBs five times since 2014.

I like his chances of making it seven in 2022. Because Wilson is still among the league’s elite passers when healthy. Before the finger derailed his season, Russ led the NFL in yards per attempt (10.4), passer rating (133.6) and passer rating from a clean pocket (130.9) before Week 5. Wilson also finished the season on a high note, averaging over 24 fantasy points per game in his last three contests.

All in all, 2021 was a typical season for Wilson: peaks and valleys. He averaged 23 fantasy points per game from Weeks 1-4 and Weeks 16-18. In his six games post-injury, Wilson averaged an abysmal 13 fantasy points per game. Buy the inevitable 2022 dip on the future Hall of Fame quarterback in a new situation.

That combined with a plethora of weapons in Denver, makes it very plausible he sees similar immediate success that other quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford have had since changing teams late into their careers.

Dalvin Cook (MIN)
ECR RB4 | ADP RB6

Same old song and dance for Dalvin Cook in 2021. The Minnesota Vikings running back was a workhorse when healthy, averaging 22 touches per game (5th) and 15.2 fantasy points per game (RB11). But the market seems to have soured on the consensus No. 2 pick from a season ago, because he missed four games and his production didn’t align with his usage.

His ADP has fallen to the back of Round 1, and it’s unwarranted based on the impending touchdown regression Cook will experience in 2022. His 15 goal-line carries ranked fourth in the NFL last season, but he converted just three into scores. Considering Cook averaged 16 TDs from 2019-2020, his meager 6 TDs from last season look like a blip on the radar.

Saquon Barkley (NYG)
ECR RB9 | ADP RB14

Last season was nightmare fuel for Saquon Barkley. In his return from the ACL injury, he posted his career’s lowest breakaway run rate (3.1%, per Playerprofiler.com) and yards after contact per attempt (2.69, per PFF). With Joe Judge and Jason Garrett’s special brand of season-destroying special sauce gone, Barkley has all the motivation to crush this year as a pending free agent. With the additions of Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, and first-round pick Evan Neal to pair with holdover Andrew Thomas, the blocking upfront should be much improved. A massive bounce-back campaign could be brewing.

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Breece Hall (NYJ)
ECR RB17 | ADP RB21

My highest-ranked rookie running back is Breece Hall. The Jets selected the Iowa State product at the top of Round 2, signifying his status as the team’s locked-in RB1 for the foreseeable future. Hall’s three-down skill set suggests he never has to come off the field, and the sheer volume he garners will vault him into redraft top-20 running back territory.

The Iowa State product totaled over 4,500 yards from scrimmage, 50 touchdowns and 80 catches over three seasons in the college ranks.

A workload of approximately 240 touches – based on ESPN fantasy analyst Mike Clay’s projections and how many touches the cumulative Jets RB1 earned last season – would place Hall inside the top-15 considering every running back last season that hit that threshold finished inside that ranking.

2021 fourth-rounder Michael Carter had his moments as a rookie, but the Jets know he’s just a No. 2 running back. Anticipate Hall to shoulder 15-20 touches per game based on the workload that Carter received last season when Tevin Coleman missed time.

From Weeks 7-9 with Coleman sidelined, Carter averaged 19 touches per game and a 66% snap share. Upon Coleman’s return from injury in Week 10, Carter averaged 14 touches per game and a 55% snap share in the games they played together.

DJ Moore (CAR)
ECR WR14 | ADP WR18

There’s no denying D.J. Moore’s talent or elite usage for the Carolina Panthers. He was just one of 11 WRs to run a route on at least 90% of their team’s dropbacks to go along with a top-three air yards share (36%) and seventh-ranked target rate per route run (25%).

Most wideouts that own this usage are no-doubt top-12 fantasy options, but Moore’s abysmal quarterback play continues to hold him back. He only finished as the WR19 last season in half-point scoring, as his QB play was graded out as the stone worst in the NFL per PFF. The Panthers literally had the worst QB play last year across several metrics including EPA per dropback and success rate.

But with Baker Mayfield in Carolina, it’s an upgrade for all parties involved.

It’s not being discussed enough that before Mayfield separated his shoulder in Week 6 he ranked sixth in yards per attempt (8.5) and 7th in aDOT (9.6).

The Browns quarterback has shown the ability to support multiple fantasy weapons (not-named Odell Beckham Jr. when healthy) so Moore should be firmly at the top of the fantasy WR2 conversation during the fantasy football draft season. Jarvis Landry – as the Browns No. 1 – finished as WR19 and WR13 in half-point scoring in 2018/2019 with Mayfield at quarterback.

Mayfield also boasts the highest passing TD% of any QB Moore has ever played with, suggesting a career-high in touchdowns is well within reach for 2022.

Courtland Sutton (DEN)
ECR WR19 | ADP WR24

Entering Year 3, it looked like Courtland Sutton was on the cusp of true elite fantasy WR1 production, but his 2020 season was lost due to a torn ACL in Week 2. It was unclear how productive Sutton would be returning from the devastating knee injury.

But to start the 2021 season, the Broncos wide receiver looked like his old self. He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game (17th) and had a 27% target share in Weeks 2-7 during the regular season.

It wasn’t until Jerry Jeudy‘s return from injury that Sutton – and the rest of the Broncos pass catchers – became obsolete in a crowded, run-heavy offense led by a combination of Drew Lock/Teddy Bridgewater. Nevertheless, Sutton finished the season as the fantasy WR46.

However, even in the anemic offense, Sutton still finished seventh in air yards (1,756), cemented in between Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, in 2021.

Sutton has a real chance to recapture his elite form another year removed from his ACL injury. It also helps substantially that he has received an ultra upgrade at the quarterback position with Denver’s trade for Russell Wilson.

Wilson has always been an elite downfield passer – he had the sixth-highest passer rating on throws of 20-plus air yards last season – which plays heavily into Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat.

Cole Kmet (CHI)
ECR TE12 | ADP TE13

Cole Kmet ranked inside the top 12 amongst tight ends in targets (93, eighth), target share (17.7%, 11th), receiving yards (612, 12th), and air yard share (17.6%, 11th). With the depth chart devoid of receiving talent outside of Darnell Mooney, Kmet should see a similar share of the passing offense (if not more) in 2022. With touchdown regression poised to strike his box scores, Kmet is a high floor and ceiling option in fantasy.

FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings

2022 Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

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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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