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Fantasy Football 2022 Recap

With some downtime before the Super Bowl, I figured now would be a good time to give an overall review of the Fantasy Football season. For most leagues, this pertains from Week 1 to Week 17, with the final three to four weeks in that range designated as the playoff period. Today, we'll cover who boomed and busted, which players were the best at each position, and recap my predictions from the beginning of the year. We'll also take a look at the best possible year-long lineup that would be available after each round based on ADP (Average Draft Position), as well as some miscellaneous categories. It was an unpredictable NFL season, and that made for an uneven playing surface in the fantasy world.

Photo: Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports

 

Ranking Guidelines


Before we get into details, I'll cover some parameters since a good chunk of leagues differ in terms of scoring, which fantasy system/app is used, and what positions are utilized.

  1. For ADP, we'll be using ESPN's rankings as it's the most popular fantasy interface and simplest to use

  2. For scoring, we'll be using PPR (points per reception) as the majority of leagues follow this formatting (although Half-PPR is becoming increasingly more utilized over the past several seasons)

  3. For projections and differentials between projected and actual points, we'll once again use ESPN's final numbers to rank the players for each category

  4. For roster size and league size, we'll be using a 12-team league platform consisting of 16 man rosters (2 QBs, 5 RBS, 5 WRs, 2 TEs, D/ST, and K)

With all of that out of the way, let's dive into this past fantasy season!


Boomers/Busters


For this category, we'll be excluding any consensus first round picks as most teams would not have had an opportunity to draft them, and we'll also exclude QBs for Boomers since they tend to have higher point differentials. Additionally, we'll be taking the difference of each player's actual points from their projected points to determine who the biggest boomers and busters were. Lastly, we'll exclude significantly injured players since that heavily skews point differentials. With that being said, we will only consider players who participated in 13 or more games.


Boomers


5. DeVonta Smith - WR - Philadelphia Eagles


Projected: 164.6

Actual: 240.9

Differential: +76.3


Boom Reason: Both he and Jalen Hurts made a massive leap from last season, also adding AJ Brown helped take attention away from Smith


4. Tony Pollard - RB - Dallas Cowboys


Projected: 167.6

Actual: 246.9

Differential: +79.3


Boom Reason: Ezekiel Elliott regressed, Pollard was utilized more


3. Tyreek Hill - WR - Miami Dolphins


Projected: 248.4

Actual: 336.9

Differential: +88.5


Boom Reason: New offensive scheme, Tua exceeded expectations, played opposite Jaylen Waddle


2. Jamaal Williams - RB - Detroit Lions


Projected: 116.1

Actual: 206.7

Differential: +90.6


Boom Reason: More red-zone utilization, Swift missed time and didn't pan out into a top back


1. Josh Jacobs - RB - Las Vegas Raiders


Projected: 173.4

Actual: 321.3

Differential: +147.9


Boom Reason: 5th year option declined, rumors of losing his starting spot with new coaching regime, Davante Adams opened up pass game


Busters


5. Aaron Rodgers - QB - Green Bay Packers


Projected: 303

Actual: 239.1

Differential: -63.9


Bust Reason: Lost his best receiver, no real studs at WR until mid-season, defense played poorly early on


4. D'Andre Swift - RB - Detroit Lions


Projected: 243.2

Actual: 175.5

Differential: -67.7


Bust Reason: Minor injuries, didn't make best decisions in run game when gaps opened up


3. Russell Wilson - QB - Denver Broncos


Projected: 313.1

Actual: 212.9

Differential: -100.2


Bust Reason: Bad play all year long, offensive scheme didn't help, but made poor decisions in pass game


2. Skyy Moore - WR - Kansas City Chiefs


Projected: 147

Actual: 43.4

Differential: -103.6


Bust Reason: Receiving room ended up being deeper than expected, multiple muffed punts led to loss in trust, run game performed better than expected late in the year


1. Elijah Moore - WR - New York Jets


Projected: 202.2

Actual: 86

Differential: -116.2


Bust Reason: Wasn't used much in pass game, carousel of mediocre QB play, greatly outperformed by Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis

Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal


Top Players at Each Position (Total Points, Points Per Game)


Quarterbacks


1. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs (414.4 Points, 25.9 PPG)

2. Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills (389.6 Points, 24.4 PPG)

3. Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles (374.6 Points, 26.8 PPG)


Honorable Mention: Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals (357.4 Points, 22.3 PPG)


Running Backs


1. Austin Ekeler - Los Angeles Chargers (363.7 Points, 22.7 PPG)

2. Christian McCaffrey - Carolina Panthers/San Francisco 49ers (339.5 Points, 21.2 PPG)

3. Josh Jacobs - Las Vegas Raiders (321.3 Points, 20.1 PPG)


Honorable Mention: Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans (289 Points, 19.3 PPG)


Wide Receivers


1. Justin Jefferson - Minnesota Vikings (360.8 Points, 22.6 PPG)

2. Tyreek Hill - Miami Dolphins (336.9 Points, 21.1 PPG)

3. Davante Adams - Las Vegas Raiders (323.2 Points, 20.2 PPG)


Honorable Mention: Stefon Diggs - Buffalo Bills (297.8 Points, 18.6 PPG)


Tight Ends


1. Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs (306.5 Points, 19.2 PPG)

2. TJ Hockenson - Detroit Lions/Minnesota Vikings (212.8 Points, 13.3 PPG)

3. Mark Andrews - Baltimore Ravens (190.5 Points, 12.7 PPG)


Honorable Mention: George Kittle - San Francisco 49ers (181.6 Points, 13.0 PPG)


Defense/Special Teams


1. New England Patriots (182 Points, 11.4 PPG)

2. Dallas Cowboys (164 Points, 10.3 PPG)

T-3. Philadelphia Eagles (148 Points, 9.3 PPG)

T-3. San Francisco 49ers (148 Points, 9.3 PPG)


Honorable Mention: Buffalo Bills (133 Points, 8.1 PPG)


Kickers


1. Brett Maher - Dallas Cowboys (161 Points, 10.1 PPG)

2. Daniel Carlson - Las Vegas Raiders (153 Points, 9.6 PPG)

3. Justin Tucker - Baltimore Ravens (152 Points, 9.5 PPG)


Honorable Mention: Jason Myers - Seattle Seahawks (146 Points, 9.1 PPG)


Best Draftable Lineup (ADP, Points Scored)


QB: Justin Fields* (Pick 149, 307 Points), Trevor Lawrence (Pick 142, 293.5 Points)


RB: Josh Jacobs* (Pick 54, 321.3 Points), Saquon Barkley* (Pick 26, 284 Points), Tony Pollard* (Pick 95, 246.9 Points), Jamaal Williams (Pick 168, 206.7 Points), Kenneth Walker III (Pick 132, 189.1 Points)


WR: Jaylen Waddle* (Pick 44, 248.9 Points), Amari Cooper* (Pick 70, 239.9 Points), Christian Kirk (Pick 82, 220 Points), Garrett Wilson (Pick 120, 197.8 Points), Zay Jones (Undrafted, 192 Points)


TE: Travis Kelce* (Pick 17, 306.5 Points), Pat Freiermuth (Pick 108, 148.2 Points)


DST: New England Patriots (Pick 181, 182 Points)


K: Brett Maher (Undrafted, 161 Points)


* - denotes starter

Photo: Jason Hanna/Getty Images


Prediction Recap


Boomers


QB: Mac Jones - New England Patriots


Projected: 238.1

Actual: 161.9

Result: Busted


RB: Josh Jacobs - Las Vegas Raiders


Projected: 173.4

Actual: 321.3

Result: Boomed


WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown - Detroit Lions


Projected: 208.3

Actual: 256.7

Result: Boomed


TE: Dallas Goedert - Philadelphia Eagles


Projected: 139.7

Actual: 130.6

Result: Pushed


DST: Philadelphia Eagles


Projected: 98.6

Actual: 148

Result: Boomed


K: Rodrgio Blankenship - Indianapolis Colts/Arizona Cardinals


Projected: 124.8

Actual: 19

Result: Busted


Busters


QB: Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys


Projected: 311.6

Actual: 203.9

Result: Busted


RB: James Conner - Arizona Cardinals


Projected: 198

Actual: 200.2

Result: Pushed


WR: Diontae Johnson - Pittsburgh Steelers


Projected: 190.8

Actual: 172.9

Result: Pushed


TE: Dawson Knox - Buffalo Bills


Projected: 136.9

Actual: 126.4

Result: Pushed


DST: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Projected: 129.9

Actual: 101

Result: Busted


K: Brandon McManus - Denver Broncos


Projected: 130.1

Actual: 128

Result: Pushed


Sleepers


QB: Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars


Projected: 258.8

Actual: 293.5

Result: Boomed


RB: Rashaad Penny - Seattle Seahawks


Projected: 161.8

Actual: 52.2

Result: Busted


WR: Darnell Mooney - Chicago Bears


Projected: 194.6

Actual: 101.5

Result: Busted


TE: Albert Okwuegbunam - Denver Broncos


Projected: 125.3

Actual: 25.5

Result: Busted


DST: Minnesota Vikings


Projected: 82.3

Actual: 97

Result: Pushed


K: Austin Seibert - Detroit Lions


Projected: 126.8

Actual: 23

Result: Busted


Rookies


QB: Desmond Ridder - Atlanta Falcons


Projected: 118

Actual: 22.9

Result: Busted


*Best Rookie: Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh Steelers


RB: James Cook - Buffalo Bills


Projected: 140.2

Actual: 100.4

Result: Busted


*Best Rookie: Kenneth Walker III - Seattle Seahawks


WR: George Pickens - Pittsburgh Steelers


Projected: 135.6

Actual: 150.3

Result: Pushed


*Best Rookie: Garrett Wilson - New York Jets


TE: Trey McBride - Arizona Cardinals


Projected: 33.7

Actual: 55.4

Result: Pushed


*Best Rookie: Chigoziem Okonkwo - Tennessee Titans


Correct Predictions: 8 (4 Boomed, 4 Busted)

Incorrect Predictions: 6 (0 Boomed, 6 Busted)

Neutral Predictions: 7 Pushed

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images


Miscellaneous Tidbits


Most Touchdown Dependent Players (Total TDs, TD%)


1. Jamaal Williams - RB - Detroit Lions (17 TDs, 43.54%)

2. Christian Watson - WR - Green Bay Packers (7 TDs, 41.18%)

3. Jahan Dotson - WR - Washington Commanders (7 TDs, 40.70%)


Least Touchdown Dependent Players (Total TDs, TD%)


1. Diontae Johnson - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers (0 TDs, 0.00%)

2. Chris Godwin - WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 TDs, 9.85%)

3. Michael Pittman Jr - WR - Indianapolis Colts (4 TDs, 10.27%)


Playoff Gems (Total Points, PPG, Regular Season vs Postseason PPG Differential)


1. Jerick McKinnon - RB - Kansas City Chiefs (69.6 Points, 23.2 PPG, +11.5)

2. Cam Akers - RB - Los Angeles Rams (62 Points, 20.7 PPG, +11.7)

3. KJ Osborn - WR - Minnesota Vikings (55.3 Points, 18.4 PPG, +9.7)


Playoff Ghosts (Total Points, PPG, Regular Season vs Postseason PPG Differential)


1. Stefon Diggs - WR - Buffalo Bills (19.9 Points, 6.6 PPG, -12.0)

2. Miles Sanders - RB - Philadelphia Eagles (14.1 Points, 4.7 PPG, -8.6)

3. David Njoku - TE - Cleveland Browns (12.3 Points, 4.1 PPG, -5.7)


Top Rookies (Total Points, PPG)


1. Garrett Wilson - WR - New York Jets (197.8 Points, 12.4 PPG)

2. Kenneth Walker III - RB - Seattle Seahawks (189.1 Points, 13.5 PPG)

3. Chris Olave - WR - New Orleans Saints (183.2 Points, 13.1 PPG)


Best Undrafted Players (Total Points, PPG)


1. Geno Smith - QB - Seattle Seahawks (299.3 Points, 18.7 PPG)

2. Zay Jones - WR - Jacksonville Jaguars (192 Points, 12.8 PPG)

3. Jerick McKinnon - RB - Kansas City Chiefs (187.7 Points, 11.7 PPG)


Fantasy MVP


Regular Season MVP (Weeks 1-14)


1. Justin Jefferson - WR - Minnesota Vikings (296.7 Points, 22.8 PPG)

2. Austin Ekeler - RB - Los Angeles Chargers (292.7 Points, 22.5 PPG)

3. Tyreek Hill - WR - Miami Dolphins (285 Points, 21.9 PPG)

4. Josh Jacobs - RB - Las Vegas Raiders (282.8 Points, 21.8 PPG)

5. Davante Adams - WR - Las Vegas Raiders (278.6 Points, 21.4 PPG)


Playoff MVP (Weeks 15-17)


1. CeeDee Lamb - WR - Dallas Cowboys (74.7 Points, 24.9 PPG)

2. Austin Ekeler - RB - Los Angeles Chargers (71 Points, 23.7 PPG)

3. Christian McCaffrey - RB - San Francisco 49ers (70.9 Points, 23.6 PPG)

4. Jerick McKinnon - RB - Kansas City Chiefs (69.6 Points, 23.2 PPG)

5. DeVonta Smith - WR - Philadelphia Eagles (69.4 Points, 23.2 PPG)


Overall MVP


1. Austin Ekeler - RB - Los Angeles Chargers (363.7 Points, 22.7 PPG)

2. Justin Jefferson - WR - Minnesota Vikings (360.8 Points, 22.6 PPG)

3. Christian McCaffrey - RB - Carolina Panthers/San Francisco 49ers (339.5 Points, 21.2 PPG)

4. Tyreek Hill - WR - Miami Dolphins (336.9 Points, 21.1 PPG)

5. Davante Adams - WR - Las Vegas Raiders (323.2 Points, 20.2 PPG)

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

 

Final Notes:


This fantasy football season was like no other - and it may very well flip the fantasy realm on it's head in the coming years. There was a greater gap between the top QBs and TEs compared to the rest than ever before, when normally the best performers at those positions can be found late in the draft. First rounders like Jonathan Taylor and Najee Harris underperformed, thus opening the door for volatility within the top-tier projected players, especially RBs.


Will fantasy go back to normal next season? Will top tier QBs and TEs be taken in the first round more than ever? Are kickers and defenses still worth streaming on the waiver wire from week to week, or is it time to start drafting them? We'll have to wait until next year to find out...

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