5 Fantasy Football Draft Day Landmines to Avoid (2022)
The 2022 NFL season is less than a week away, and over the next 48 hours, there will be thousands of fantasy football drafts.
There are plenty of players you should be excited about drafting, yet there are also several you want to avoid. These players to avoid or “landmines” can severely hurt your team, especially if you pick them at their current ADP.
Some of these landmines aren’t bad players but get drafted before they should. Others will bust and end up on the waiver wire.
Here are five players I am avoiding this year.
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.
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF): 17.0 ADP | WR6
Coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season, Samuel broke out last year. He had a career-high 21.2 fantasy points per game average, a 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, a 20.4% increase. 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 last season on the ground. A whopping 90.3% of those fantasy points came over his final eight games. During that span, 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 Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen and A.J. Brown.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): 65.0 ADP | RB25
Edwards-Helaire had a solid rookie season. However, his fantasy production fell off a cliff last year. His fantasy points per game dropped by 12.6%, and his yards per touch dropped by 7.8%. Furthermore, Edwards-Helaire has struggled with injuries in his career, missing 30.3% of the games. More importantly, his work in the receiving game dropped dramatically last year because of Darrel Williams during the regular season and Jerick McKinnon in the playoffs.
While Williams signed with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, the Chiefs re-signed McKinnon. Even if they didn’t re-sign McKinnon, fantasy players should be concerned about Edwards-Helaire’s regression last year. He averaged two fewer rushing attempts per game while playing 7.6% fewer snaps. More importantly, Isiah Pacheco has been a bright spot for offense in training camp and could take Edwards-Helaire’s job if the veteran struggles. Between the regression from last year, his injury history, and the emergence of Pacheco, drafting Edwards-Helaire at his current ADP is a mistake.
T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET): 66.3 ADP | TE7
Last year Hockenson was a popular breakout candidate given a lack of proven weapons in Detroit. Unfortunately, he ended the year as the TE15 after playing only 12 games because of injuries. However, Hockenson was the TE6 on a points-per-game basis, averaging 12.1 fantasy points per contest. While his points per game average is encouraging, Hockenson had a 21% target share and a 23.7% red zone target share, thanks to the lack of weapons around him. Unfortunately for Hockenson, much has changed in Detroit.
The Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond in the offseason. They also added DJ Chark in free agency and traded up during the NFL Draft to secure Jameson Williams. While these new additions won’t crush Hockenson’s target share, they will cause it to decrease. More importantly, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift are coming off productive years last season and expect to have massive roles this year. Hockenson isn’t a bad low-end TE1 option. However, he shouldn’t get picked ahead of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz.
Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB): 79.8 ADP | QB10
Rodgers has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL the past few years, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021. He has been a top-nine quarterback in four straight years, including three top-six finishes. Furthermore, Rodgers has averaged 19.5 or more fantasy points per game in three of the past four years. However, things have drastically changed for Rodgers this offseason. The Packers traded away Davante Adams and lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. Instead of signing a top-tier free agent or making a blockbuster trade for a wide receiver, the Packers signed Sammy Watkins and spent three draft picks on wide receivers.
Last year Rodgers was the QB5, averaging 20.8 fantasy points per game in four points per passing touchdown scoring. He ranked fourth in passing touchdowns with 37 and had a 7% touchdown rate, tossing a touchdown once every 14.4 pass attempts. However, 11 of his touchdowns from last season went to Adams, accounting for 29.7% of his total. Removing Adam’s 11 touchdowns from his total, Rodgers would have slipped from the QB5 to the QB13. Without Adams, Rodgers lacks the upside to warrant a seventh-round pick.
Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA): 92.8 ADP | WR38
Throughout his career, Lockett has been very inconsistent weekly. One week he will score under seven fantasy points in your starting lineup. Then he will go off for 30 the following week on your bench. Furthermore, the Seattle offense will look dramatically different this year than it did last year. Russell Wilson is in Denver, while Geno Smith will begin the year as the starter. Unfortunately, that severely impacts Lockett’s fantasy value.
Smith started three games last year for an injured Wilson. Lockett averaged 63 receiving yards and 11.6 fantasy points per contest in those games. However, removing Seattle’s blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8, Lockett’s numbers severely drop. He averaged only two receptions on five targets for 47 receiving yards and 8.7 fantasy points per game in Smith’s other two starts. Meanwhile, he averaged 4.4 receptions on 6.5 targets for 75.9 receiving yards and 15.9 fantasy points with Wilson starting. Over a 17-game pace, Lockett would have been the WR29 with Smith under center. He would have been the WR9 with Wilson starting by comparison. I refuse to draft Lockett this year.
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.