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Do Not Draft List (2022 Fantasy Football)

Do Not Draft List (2022 Fantasy Football)

Let’s take a look at players our analysts’ 2022 Do Not Draft List.

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

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.

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Do Not Draft List: Players You Should Avoid Drafting


Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)

Tannehill had two 300-yard games in 17 starts last season and had only four games with multiple TD passes. He finished QB12 in fantasy scoring, propping up his value with seven TD runs. Tannehill averaged 219.6 passing yards a game, ranking 20th in that category. Tannehill will be entering his age-34 season, so there’s no hidden upside here. The conservative nature of the Tennessee offense limits his fantasy potential, as does his lack of pass-catching weaponry.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
Ezekiel Elliott‘s main fantasy appeal is the touchdown opportunity he will see in a high-powered offense, coming off another season with poor rushing efficiency marks. The Dallas Cowboys running back finished fifth-worst in PFF’s elusive rating (25.0) and averaged fewer fantasy points per game than in 2020 (14.6 versus 15.4) in a better offensive situation. There is a caveat with Zeke’s inefficient rushing: He reportedly played with a torn PCL last season.

However, history doesn’t necessarily indicate that Elliott is in for a significant comeback in 2022 based on running backs that have had similar careers.

Steven Jackson, Walter Payton and Clinton Portis profile closest to Elliott based on their workloads and age, per Each running back totaled over 1,800 touches before their age-27 season.

But the feedback was negative, with each running back seeing a dip in average PPR points per game (1.34) and total fantasy points (-18). And that came with each of them still seeing 370-plus touches on the season.

Elliott hit a career-low in total touches (284) and touches per game last season (16.7) — nearly three fewer than in 2020.

Dallas has every right to feed Zeke to their heart’s desire with an out in his contract at the end of the season. But they are also in the business of winning games and understand that Elliott breaking down at the end of last season did not help the offense.

Meanwhile, backup running back Tony Pollard quietly averaged 11.3 touches — three more than the year prior — and flashed elite rushing ability as PFF’s second-highest-graded rusher.

I hate to be the one to bury an older running back as washed, as that burned me last season somewhat with the likes of James Conner and Leonard Fournette. However, I am not overly convinced that Elliott will be a volume monster in 2022 after the team dialed back his usage while Pollard continued to impress at every opportunity he received.

And even if Elliott’s efficiency increases slightly after a lackluster season, the Cowboys’ offensive line might mitigate any of those benefits if they take a step back with a plethora of moving pieces.

If Zeke follows in the same path as the previous backs I’ve mentioned, he’s looking at 235 fantasy points (low-end RB1 last season) if he plays a full slate of games. But his points per game fall in the back-end RB2 range at RB22, averaging 13.5 points per game.

Chances are that Elliott will probably beat his ADP because he is an iron man and doesn’t miss games. He’s missed just one game due to injury over his NFL career.

But even the greatest Zeke fans will admit the ride for him to finish as RB10-12 hardly will feel smooth when he’s hanging middling RB2 production most weeks. He’s finished as a top-12 fantasy RB1 in just 35% of his games the past two seasons. Last year, the Cowboys running back tied Najee Harris with the highest bust rate among top-8 finishers (19%).

Elliott won’t end up being a true difference-maker at this stage in his career, and the cost of drafting him over league-winning WRs in the middle rounds is something I can’t justify.

Keep in mind that 13.5 PPR points per game equated to the WR29 last season.

And if the sole argument for drafting Zeke is touchdowns (valid argument) based on offensive surrounding, why not just draft Josh Jacobs instead? Or guys like Elijah Mitchell, Damien Harris and David Montgomery, who all finished as RB1s at a similar percentage (greater than 32%) in 2021?

David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
Despite being an entrenched workhorse, David Montgomery finished as a top-24 running back in fewer than half of his contests last season (46%). Former sixth-rounder Khalil Herbert was a top-12 running back in two of his five games last season when he received at least a 50% snap share.

Just don’t draft David Montgomery. Projected volume is the only reason he’s going where his ADP is, but a new coaching staff could approach the backfield differently. In my heart of hearts, I think Herbert is the better, more explosive back. Monty finished outside the top 24 in more than half of his games last season. His 2022 ADP hits inside the top-20 RBs. No thanks.

Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)

Josh Jacobs is coming off a season where he gobbled up volume that powered him to an RB13 fantasy points per game finish. Unfortunately, Jacobs did very little with the touches he amassed last season. He was ninth in opportunity share and weighted opportunity while ranking 11th in carries and ninth in targets among running backs. In addition, Jacobs was wretchedly inefficient, ranking 40th in fantasy points per opportunity, 36th in breakaway run rate and 34th in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets, per PFF).

Jacobs could lose work on the ground to Kenyan Drake and Zamir White this season if he continues his three yards and cloud of dust ways. This pass game usage is assuredly going down with Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah on the roster. Last year Bolden ranked fourth in yards per route run, and Abdullah was 15th (minimum 20 targets, per PFF). Unless Jacobs falls past RB24 (he won’t), I’m avoiding him this year.

Wide Receivers

Amari Cooper (WR – CLE)
Deshaun Watson will miss 11 games during the 2022 season. Without Watson, Cooper is left with Jacoby Brissett. Although Brissett has plenty of experience and can prove to be serviceable, he is a significant downgrade compared to Dak Prescott.

If Cooper only managed to finish as WR27 in 15 games with Prescott, it’s hard to be optimistic about him as the Browns WR1 or your fantasy WR2 or even WR3. He posted a 36% bust rate — third-worst to only Tyler Lockett and Darnell Mooney among top-28 WRs last season. Despite playing in a super-high paced Dallas Cowboys offense.

There’s also a glaring issue with the indoor/outdoor splits that Cooper has posted during his career. His yards per target drops by nearly three yards and his receiving yards per game by 25 yards.

Over the final five games of the season, the Browns play one game indoors (Dec. 4 at Houston).

Just roster Cooper in DFS that week in Watson’s first week back. 9-200-2 incoming.

Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG)
Poor Kenny Golladay. The New York Giants‘ prized offseason acquisition failed to score a single touchdown with his new team despite seeing 13 end-zone targets.

It was the most end-zone targets of any player to go scoreless this season.

We have an extremely large sample size of Golladay catching touchdowns at the NFL level, though — he led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns in 2019. So the big-bodied wideout has nowhere to go but up in 2022.

However, entering his age 29-season after finishing dead last in separation rate in 2021 (0th percentile), there’s a chance that Golladay is just totally cooked at this point.

It’d be one thing if Golladay got a some massive upgrade at quarterback this year as a reason to buy back in, but the fact that it is still Daniel Jones — along with a new coaching staff/management that did not sign him to his mega-deal — are major red flags.

WRs with Golladay’ s archetype don’t typically age well. So consider me out this year, and from here on out.

Adam Thielen (WR – MIN)
Fantasy football doesn’t have to be complicated. And neither does fading Adam Thielen, who failed to finish as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in over half of his games for the second straight season.

The 32-year-old wideout has made his hay in fantasy because of his “ability” to find the end zone 24 times since the start of 2020, but it’s just not sustainable in the long term. Based on Thielen’s targets and yardage totals, his total TD number should be closer to 16.

Justin Jefferson is an ascending rocketship who will only see his TDs rise entering Year 3, most likely coming at the detriment of Thielen. Dalvin Cook is long overdue for positive touchdown regression. Not to mention, AT’s age may finally catch up to him after he posted his lowest PFF receiving grade and yards per route run since he first became a starter in 2016.

With a slew of ankle injuries from last season also foreshadowing more potential issues for Thielen in 2022, the Vikings wide receiver has a plethora of red flags that suggest staying away entirely.


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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 Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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