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Midseason Review: Fantasy Football Hits & Misses (2022)

Midseason Review: Fantasy Football Hits & Misses (2022)

Now that we’re at the midpoint in the season, it’s a good time to evaluate where we are now compared to where we were back in July and August. Reflection is good for the soul. You learn from it, especially when it contains a healthy dose of humble pie. But the wins are nice, too. Everybody likes to find out that they absolutely nailed something they predicted several months ago.

Our analysts took a look back at their preseason takes to see where they hit and where they missed.

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First Half Hits

What is one call you made before the season that turned out to be right through the first half?

Rhamondre Stevenson would be a top-8 fantasy RB
Through 8 games, Stevenson is RB7 in PPR and half-PPR scoring. 8th in points per game. The talent was so imminent with Stevenson that he would eventually carve out a massive role in the Patriots’ offense.
Andrew Erickson

Travis Etienne would take over the Jags backfield before midseason
Travis Etienne was the more talented all-purpose back, and it was only a matter of time before his real-life draft capital earned him a full-time, bell-cow role. In the last two weeks as the lone wolf, Etienne has finished as RB 9 and RB 6. Not too shabby.
Joe Pisapia

Jalen Hurts + A.J. Brown = League-winning combo
After eight weeks of football, Jalen Hurts is the QB2 in fantasy behind only Josh Allen. A.J. Brown is the WR7 in fantasy points per game. Unlike the elite pairing of Allen and Stefon Diggs, Hurts and Brown were players you didn’t have to select in the top two rounds of your drafts. In addition to his rushing prowess, Hurts has taken the next step as a passer. Hurts is second in PFF passing grade, third in yards per attempt, first in adjusted completion rate, and 15th in big-time throw rate (minimum 50 dropbacks, per PFF). Brown’s elite play in Tennessee has carried over to Philly, and now he’s gotten the volume bump he deserved. Brown is third in PFF, receiving grade behind only Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs, and fourth in yards per route run behind only Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, and Diggs (minimum 15 targets, per PFF). A league-winning tandem.
Derek Brown

Not drinking the Courtland Sutton Kool-Aid
The idea that Courtland Sutton was a high-end WR2 bordering on being a WR1 didn’t sit right with me in the offseason, and I stuck to my guns despite the steady stream of pro-Sutton propaganda coming from some of my colleagues. I wasn’t convinced that Sutton was the best receiver on his own team, and I was fairly certain there wasn’t a big gap between Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. While Jeudy was out with a high-ankle sprain early last season, Sutton looked like a true alpha receiver. But then Jeudy returned and Sutton’s target share completely evaporated — even though Jeudy wasn’t drawing a huge number of targets himself. Sutton had more than 40 receiving yards in just one of his last 10 games in 2021. He got off to a good start this year with 19-291-0 in his first three games, but in the five games since, Sutton has produced 16-176-1, making him the WR50 in half-PPR fantasy scoring over that stretch. Sutton is the WR35 overall. I’m glad I faded him.
Pat Fitzmaurice

Fading Allen Robinson
I took so much heat for predicting the underperformance of Allen Robinson — but, really, that was an easy call to make. He was priced to perfection. I didn’t expect everything to go wrong for him, but when a guy’s projection assumes that everything will go right then that’s probably a guy who shouldn’t be drafted. Last year, he had a woeful 6.2 yards per target on 66 targets in an offense without a lot of target competition. This year, he once again has 6.2 yards per target, and he has failed to get even eight targets in any game — but that’s what happens when a guy is slowing down and playing alongside target monster Cooper Kupp. Robinson’s disappointing campaign isn’t random: It was predictable.
Matthew Freedman

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.

First Half Misses

What is one call you made before the season that you’d like to have back?

Don’t draft Amari Cooper
I was extremely skeptical that the up-and-down Amari Cooper would somehow be better with Jacoby Brissett than in Dallas with Dak Prescott. In yet, he stands as WR8 and WR16 in points per game while earning a 28% target share. Overlooked his massive volume opportunity and underrated his abilities as real-life talent. His 2.14 yards per route run is the second-highest mark of his career. And he has a chance to bury me further with Deshaun Watson unlocking his upside for the fantasy playoffs.
Andrew Erickson

AJ Dillon was a viable RB2 with RB1 upside
Despite encouraging Week 8 usage against Buffalo, the Packers offense as a whole has been terrible. Dillon is on pace for fewer receptions than last year, with more vacated targets, and just one TD. The loss of Davante Adams has been far worse than I ever feared, and Aaron Rodgers has yet to find a way out of the abyss for this offense. Dillon is drowning with him.
Joe Pisapia

Josh Jacobs was another dead zone RB trap
Phew. Was I wrong about this one. Josh Jacobs has been an elite bell-cow carrying the Raiders’ offense this season. Jacobs is the RB4 in fantasy points per game behind only Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, and Derrick Henry. Jacobs is third in missed tackles forced, third in rushing attempts inside the ten-yard line, and 18th in yards per route run (minimum 15 carries and 15 targets, per PFF). The preseason worries about a bad offensive line and splitting the work with Zamir White or Brandon Bolden were overblown. Hindsight is 20/20, and I was WAY WRONG about Jacobs.
Derek Brown

Cam Akers was going to be a heavy-duty workhorse for the Rams
Yeah … not so much. This take looked bad from the start, with Sean McVay giving Darrell Henderson 82% of the offensive snaps in the Rams’ season opener, while Akers had three carries, zero targets and zero yards. Akers did get double-digit carries in three games of his five games, but his snap share never exceeded 50%. Now he’s completely on ice, apparently because of irreconcilable differences with the organization. I was convinced that Akers’ poor numbers in last season’s playoffs were less significant than McVay’s willingness to make Akers his lead back for the most important games of the season so soon after his speedy recovery from a torn Achilles. Surely that meant Akers would be a workhorse in 2022, right? Er, no. Not only was that a faulty conclusion, but I neglected to pay enough attention to the Rams’ postseason struggles against a series of good run defenses. Those problems foretold the Rams’ inability to kick-start their running game this year, in large part because they have one of the worst offensive lines in the league after the retirement of left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Pat Fitzmaurice

Fading Jaylen Waddle
Entering the season, I was of the opinion that Waddle’s record-breaking 104-reception rookie season was driven more by luck than talent and that it would be hard to replicate as the No. 2 wide receiver in what I expected to be a run-heavy offense. Yikes. I got maybe 20% of the thesis right in that Waddle is the No. 2 receiver — but that hasn’t held him back at all, as he has managed to turn 63 targets into 727 yards and five touchdowns receiving. Yeah, he’s the No. 2 receiver on his own team, but he’s an explosive fantasy WR1.
Matthew Freedman

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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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