You are all hyped up after the 2022 NFL Draft. You’ve meticulously crafted your rookie fantasy football player rankings for your dynasty fantasy football leagues. You have even updated your overall seasonal fantasy football player rankings. And now you’re bored, aren't you?
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Underdog uses two-day rolling data which means, at best, the ADPs are just now starting to update for the changes we just saw this weekend. We waited at least two days just to see if there was any material change. And, since most casual players are still going to draft their teams based on the ADP that is showing in the app, there really hasn’t been.
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Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the draft, let’s look at a couple of players that are likely more valuable now than their ADP suggests. Just keep in mind that you aren’t the only sharp fantasy gamer out there so I’ll do my best to give you an “estimated range” of where I think these guys should go. If you really like them, you might need to go even higher to get some of them. Just be careful not to get too reactionary and overpay.
Underdog Best Ball Values Plays Post 2022 NFL Draft
Top Value Best Ball Quarterbacks
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, QB21
This offseason Zach Wilson lost his veteran slot receiver, Jamison Crowder. That, along with a lackluster rookie year, has him going outside the top 20 quarterbacks. But the rest of this offseason has actually been fairly kind to Mr. Wilson. In free agency, they went out and got stud guard Laken Tomlinson as well as not one but two solid tight ends in CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.
Then in the draft, they used two high-end picks bringing in arguably the most pro-ready wide receiver in Garrett Wilson (the second WR drafted at pick 10 overall) as well as the top running back off the board in Breece Hall. Now he has Corey Davis at split end, Garrett Wilson at flanker, and Elijah Moore in the slot as well as two capable tight ends and two capable pass-catching running backs. The upside is there if he can take a step forward.
Given the new developments, he definitely shouldn’t be going after Ryan Tannehill (who lost AJ Brown). I’d still take guys like Stafford, Watson, and Carr ahead but Wilson should now be going in a similar range to guys like Justin Fields (QB17) and Tua Tagovaloia (QB18) at least.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints, QB25
Jameis Winston was already intriguing for a number of reasons. First, it’s not like he’s brand new to this organization - he’s been with the team for two years now. In fact, he was the starter last year before getting hurt, and, in the six full games he played, he was QB15. In this draft, the Saints decided to use two first-round picks to help him by taking wide receiver Chris Olave and offensive tackle Trevor Penning.
Winston also gets wideout Michael Thomas back. We’ve seen this guy throw 28 and 33 touchdown passes in this league before and we don’t really care about interceptions because it’s best ball. Though, just for good measure, he threw 14 TD passes to only three interceptions last season so maybe that LASIC surgery did work after all.
Winston needs to move way up. Ahead of Daniel Jones, Matt Ryan, Mac Jones, Zach Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill at the very least. Probably also ahead of Trevor Lawrence (19), Tua Tagovailoa (18), and Justin Fields (17) as well. But with his ADP depressed right now, you may be able to wait and snag him for cheap.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers, QB31
We knew this quarterback class wasn’t amazing but we certainly didn’t expect only one to go before round three. And, even though the average draft position for Malik Wilson is still QB28 ahead of Pickett, Willis going in round three behind an established, incumbent starter is not good news for his 2022. On the flip side, the Steelers already said they will give Kenny Pickett a chance to compete for the starting job against Mitch Trubisky - who wasn’t even with the team last year and was a backup before that.
Not only did the Steelers already have weapons like Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris but they went out and added George Pickens just for good measure. If Pickett can win that job at any point during the season, he should be able to deliver value on that ADP.
I’d take Kenny Pickett now over any QB with an uncertain starting job so Lock, Trubisky, and Malik Willis for sure. I’d also take him ahead of guys like Davis Mills, Marcus Mariota, and Jared Goff - those teams are slated to be some of the very worst in the league per early Vegas odds. That would put Pickett closer to the Daniel Jones (QB24) and Carson Wentz (QB26) range as we just talked about how Jameis Winston should move up from QB25.
Top Value Best Ball Running Backs
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles, RB32
There were rumors up and down the board that the Eagles were going to draft a running back. Possibly an early-down back like Kenneth Walker to compliment the pass-catching ability of Miles Sanders. Well, SURPRISE - they didn’t. That leaves Miles Sanders as the guy with Boston Scott in his usual non-threatening role. The criticism for Sanders has been injury and inconsistency but let’s look at his efficiency over the first three years in terms of yards per carry.
Yes, among active running backs in career yards per attempt (minimum 400 carries), Miles Sanders’s 5.1 yards per carry is behind only Nick Chubb (5.3), Jonathan Taylor (5.3), and the next player on our list who may come as a surprise at (5.2). They convinced Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson to return so they are playing to win now and Miles Sanders should be moving on up.
I’m not even going to list the running backs he should go ahead of now because there are too many. But one example would be Josh Jacobs at RB24 in what is now likely a split backfield under Josh McDaniels. Another is Travis Etienne (22) who we have never even seen play NFL football and could split with James Robinson. And he should possibly move as high as Antonio Gibson (15) who has battled injuries, he splits with JD McKissic, and Washington just drafted Brian Robinson Jr. in the third.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens, RB45
When I said that a running back was third in career yards per carry behind Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor, did you immediately say “IT’S Gus Edwards”? Didn’t think so. But the guy has surprisingly been rock solid with essentially 700+ rushing yards per season on 5.2 yards a carry for three straight years before getting hurt last season.
The Ravens reportedly looked into Melvin Gordon which is why some folks had them pegged as drafting a running back but they didn’t do it. The Ravens signed the Gus Bus to the two-year deal they did for a reason and at 6’1” 238 pounds, that reason is touchdowns (which he scored six of last time he was healthy).
At this stage of the draft, you just want a guy who will play and Gus has gotten 130+ carries every year so I’m not sure why that would change. Sure he’s a little risky coming off the injury but so is JK Dobbins - not every player recovers the same but Dobbins is inherently riskier as he goes literally 100 picks higher than Edwards. The last time both were healthy was 2020 and some folks forget that, up until the very last game of the season, Gus was only 14 PPR points behind Dobbins.
When we talk about RB45, you just need someone who is actually going to play and potentially score a TD to crack your lineup. I get why Tony Pollard goes ahead of Gus but does he really need to go 57 picks before him? Same with Alexander Mattison who only plays when Dalvin Cook is hurt. Rhamondre Stevenson (RB38) is in a three-way timeshare with Damien Harris and James White and the Seahawks just drafted Kenneth Walker so Rashaad Penny (RB35) is also too high. There is a place for Gus and it’s earlier than RB45.
Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans, RB50
Now, this pick is at risk of actually becoming TOO popular. But as it stands, RB50 off the board is inappropriate given his path to starting. He might split with Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead to start but there’s no reason he can’t take over that backfield on this rebuilding team.
Sites like Pro Football Focus had him as high as their third-ranked running back and fourth-round draft capital isn’t the end of the world for running backs like it is for most wide receivers. Just beware because someone might think they are too sharp and take him in the top 15-20 RBs which is probably a little too high - he still plays for the Texans, after all.
At a minimum, he should go ahead of most guys in a timeshare, save for maybe Kareem Hunt at RB34. But there are also guys ahead of Hunt that need to come down like AJ Dillon (RB25), Devin Singletary (RB27), and Michael Carter (RB28). I think right around RB30 or so is probably where he should live, not RB50.
Top Value Best Ball Wide Receivers
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens, WR37
I’ll tell it to you straight up - I did not like Rahsod Bateman before this weekend for 2022. The Ravens use too many different personnel groups. Think about how offenses work. Three wide receivers, one quarterback, one tight end, and one running back. Every time you use a second tight end, the QB, TE, and RB aren’t coming out of the game so a WR does. Every time you use a fullback, a WR comes out. Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard played 43% of the overall snaps and that is while missing games.
In reality, he was playing as high as 70-80% of the snaps at times. In 11 games, he played more than HALF of the offensive snaps. That’s why Marquise Brown was the only wide receiver to play more than 50% of the snaps. And that was without Nick Boyle for a good chunk of the season. Now that they have traded Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman is the guy who gets that relatively full snap share. So for me, I’m reaching for Rashod Bateman but I’m still fading all the other Ravens WRs - that’s a trap.
He’s not even going in WR3 range and should be a WR2 at least. There are a bunch of guys in the WR2 range I like him better than - Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Lockett, Gabriel Davis, Darnell Mooney, Brandin Cooks, Hunter Renfrow, Brandon Aiyuk. People are hung up on one game where Gabriel Davis had 4 TDs but he’s never even finished higher than WR50 in this league and two games before that he got 14 targets and caught three. And they added Jamison Crowder. Crazy to take him over, Bateman.
Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals, WR23
Speaking of this trade, the flip side creates value too. Marquise Brown and Kyler Murray played together in college and are reportedly very close friends so that should work out nicely. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman finally threw a bit last year but, prior to that, his offense had never finished higher than 29th in pass attempts. So the Air Raid is a welcome change. Just that alone would have moved Brown up but it just came down yesterday that DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for six games.
So Hollywood Brown competing with aging vets in AJ Green and Zach Ertz as well as Rondale Moore’s 1.3-yard average depth of target is a pretty solid situation. Marquise Brown should be a fairly safe pick and he could put up some monster games to start the year with Hopkins suspended.
He needs to be drafted shortly after the list of certified high-end wide receivers, in my opinion. So he needs to go ahead of Mike Williams and Michael Pittman and possibly even DJ Moore. With the injury to Chris Godwin, I don’t think it’s crazy to take him ahead there as well. So Brown should move into the top 20 at the very least.
Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans, WR41
Another pick that’s at risk of being “too popular” but this one is for good reason. The Minnesota Vikings struck gold by trading Stefon Diggs away and drafting Justin Jefferson and the Titans are attempting their own version of that by trading away AJ Brown and drafting Treylon Burks. Of course, it’s never guaranteed that that works but the only other high-end pass catcher they have is Robert Woods who is coming off a torn ACL so Burks should get every opportunity. Just the chance to be the focal point of that pass attack means WR41 is criminally low.
I’d put him ahead of all of the guys I mentioned in the Rashod Bateman section at least. This first-round stud, drafted to be the split end for Tennessee, needs to go ahead of fourth-round ancillary flankers and slot guys like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Gabriel Davis. And he should probably go before DeVonta Smith who now has to compete with AJ Brown. Given his upside, I’d put him shortly behind the group of Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, and Michael Pittman in the early 20s.
Top Value Best Ball Tight Ends
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals, TE12
I know it’s only for part of the season but the loss of DeAndre Hopkins for six games puts Zach Ertz in the driver's seat for a bunch of targets. Most guys can’t count on high-end production at any point so we will take that at Ertz’s ADP.
Ertz last year actually had the second-most red zone targets of any tight end with 27 (behind only Mark Andrews) and his 10 end zone targets were tied with Dawson Knox for third. Just make sure it’s a pure “most total points” format you are in rather than a tournament one that has an emphasis on the last couple of weeks when Hopkins is back.
There are a lot of tight ends out there who don’t really have a shot to be a top-two target on their team at any point so Ertz getting six games of that should put him ahead of guys like Mike Gesicki, Pat Freiermuth, Dalton Schultz, Dawson Knox, and even Dallas Goedert. Poor Dallas - they trade away Ertz only to go out and get DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown.
Hunter Henry, New England Patriots, TE15
I didn’t really understand his ADP much before the draft. They paid him a boatload of money and he came over to a new offense to play with a rookie quarterback where he tied for the lead in touchdowns among tight ends with nine. He was a top-two target on the team and folks forget that he actually was banged up coming into the season and just barely was ready to play in time with very little practice.
In the draft, the Patriots then went out and got a rookie field stretcher in Tyquan Thornton who is not a risk to soak up targets - if anything, he opens things up underneath. Henry is a buy.
Right from the rip, Albert O and Pat Freiermuth had target competition added in the draft and they already were third on their team at best. I personally am not drafting Goedert, Knox, Schultz, Gesicki, or Fant at their ADP while Henry is there later. But what do I know - I just write an award-nominated tight end series.
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears, TE16
Here’s another reason I’m not taking a bunch of those guys. For instance, the Dolphins like to use guys like Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen in-line with Mike Gesicki in the slot. But now they have Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, and Cedrick Wilson.
So not only is it crunched for targets but Gesicki might not even play a full snap share (he honestly only played a full snap share last year when DeVante Parker was out, otherwise he played around 65-75%). And we don’t even know if Tua is all that much better than Justin Fields. So give me Cole Kmet in the slot (played almost 50% of his snaps at WR) going up against Darnell Mooney and a rookie Velus Jones Jr. instead of all that trouble.
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