Zachary Dennison's Favorite Fantasy Players for 2022

Friday, Jul 15, 2022 at 3:57 pm ET

Here are the guys that Zachary Dennison is keying in on for the upcoming season.

D'Andre Swift

D'Andre SwiftThis guy is going to be a breakout Top 5 Back in the league this year. While people may downplay the team, right now the Lions have a Top 5 O-Line in the league, a QB that has been a Pro Bowler, played in a Super Bowl, and has decent weapons at receiver. I could see Swift getting a heavy PPR role in the offense and be the bell cow back under Dan Campbell. Did you all know that the Lions have the most expensive offense in the NFC right now? They have thrown money at this offense while improving the trenches in the draft on both sides. This is a team that wants to be physical and get the run game started early. It does not hurt that Swift thrives in both situations. If they are down, he is a PPR beast, but if they are in the lead, it is a heavy running workload. Also, this says a lot for me being a Packers fan, it is very big of me to admit that the Lions have an amazing player here. How I look at steals when they are still being drafted in the first round is "Can he finish as a top 3 RB, when he isn't being drafted as a top 3 RB." Swift is going as the RB8 in drafts right now, so do I think that he can finish better than 5 of these guys out of J. Taylor, CMC, Ekeler, Henry, Harris, Cook, and Mixon. Yes, I believe he can beat out 4 of these guys to be in the top 3. There is no such thing as a lock in fantasy injuries come for anyone without a bias. Before Swift was hurt last year, he led all RBs in receptions and was top 10 in half-ppr points per game. This guy has all the talent, the O-line is huge in Detroit, and it helps that the QB they do have loves to dump off the ball to the RB since he has zero athleticism. If you are at the back end of the first round and he still on the board, do not hesitate just draft. This guy has the potential and volume to finish the season as the number one running back in fantasy, especially if you are in a PPR league. If I could leave my draft with Swift and the next guy on my list, I would be ecstatic, speaking of the next guy on my list we are staying in the NFC North.

Aaron Jones

Aaron JonesPeople have him so low in their rankings and I just do not get why. Sure, AJ Dillon is going to have a bigger role this year. But Jones showed last year he is still the first option to catch the ball out of the back field and the first option when they get to the RZ. Both particularly important to fantasy success, and oh by the way with no Adams and MVS the number of targets going to this backfield are going to be immense. Aaron Jones could easily lead this team in targets and receptions depending on how the rookie receivers they grabbed pan out and if Watkins or Cobb can stay healthy. This guy is going in the late second and third rounds of fantasy drafts right now and I think that is an absolute steal in PPR drafts for a guy who could easily finish as an RB1. I do expect Lazard to be the number one receiver on the Packers, but we could see a CMC 100 reception season from Jones. The word out of the Packers organization is that they want to find more ways to get Jones and Dillon on the field at the same time more. It is such a stupid reason for this guy to fall in drafts that he has a running mate that takes away some of his carries, guys news flash that is a wonderful thing. "Zach, but how? He is getting less carries, obviously he is going to be worse" shaking my head at these people that don't use their heads. The most injury prone position is RB, they constantly take huge hits from massive human beings. Less carries and more receptions are the recipe for Jones. He still gets a ton of RZ opportunities and now he is less likely to get hurt not having to run in between the tackles as much. Very funny that people are more confident in a rookie who is going to have a timeshare in Javonte Williams and Nick Chubb who gets almost no passing work and also in a timeshare. The true 3 down backs don't work in fantasy anymore since 90% of them just get hurt before your fantasy playoffs. Even the super humans like Derrick Henry can fall, we just saw him miss a particularly important chunk of games last year. CMC could only do it for about two seasons before having injury issues, I mean shit, Saquan could only do the super man act for a season or two. How long can Najee and Jonathan Taylor really do it for. This turned into a rant and I am sorry, but this is all getting to my final point draft Aaron Jones and don't feel bad, you just got a steal in the back end of the 2nd round or early 3rd depending on where he went.

Michael Pittman Jr

Michael PittmanThis guy has been very under rated, he was the WR15 last year with Wentz at QB. Who to Wentz's credit played decent but they are getting a strong upgrade in Matt Ryan this year. Ryan who has given plenty of players top 10 seasons at their position with Pitts being a top 3 TE last year and Calvin Ridley being the most recent top 5 wide receiver. Pittman got all the skill for a breakout season with a ton of opportunity, all the talent and a good QB behind him that can run the play action with Taylor there too. The only competition Pittman has for targets is the always hurt Parris Campbell and the rookie Alec Pierce. Some stats from last year that can really state how often Pittman was out there getting targets are his 24% target share which is top 10 in the league, and he ran a route on 96% of drop backs, top three in the league. I'm getting this guy everywhere I can, if you want the next young breakout receiver in fantasy this is the guy. I think a very underrated part of this offense is the play action pass, with that O-Line in front of that massive human being Jonathan Taylor defenses will not be very focused on Pittman. The difference in this upcoming season is that Matt Ryan knows how to make timing throws and very accurate quick passes that aren't going to sail on Pittman. So many balls that came at Pittman last year were border line uncatchable, so seeing him with a competent QB will be huge for him. It does not hurt that Ryan has played with some uber talented wideouts in Julio, Roddy White, and Calvin Ridley. Right now, you can get Pittman in the 4th and 5th round of drafts right now, which as you know is the sweet spot for the big breakout, it is where Godwin was drafted the year, he had his breakout and same with Ridley. Round 4 and 5 was also the spot you could have grabbed Kupp and Higgins last year, I don't know if there really is a correlation but for the last 5 years you can find a top 12 receiver in fantasy that fell to those rounds. Michael Pittman is the breakout top 12 receiver no one is talking about, just wait for everyone in your league looking at you when we're halfway through the season and you got one of the best fantasy receivers in your league in the 4th or 5th round.

Diontae Johnson

Diontae JohnsonSo many guys on my list are just being slept on it seems, other than Swift who you will need to use a late first or early second round pick on. Diontae who has been getting an insane amount of targets the last couple of years is still too low, and I've even seen some people saying don't draft him. I just don't see it and I do not know why people think a ton of bad targets is better than a high number of great targets. I know Claypool is there and that they drafted Pickens, but those guys are not digging into his target share a considerable amount. While people around the league might not think so, Trubisky and Pickett will both be improvements to whatever big Ben was doing at QB these last couple of years. People don't talk about how bad the balls looked coming out of Bens hands were, Trubisky is a much more accurate QB than Ben. Trubisky is a career 64% completion percentage guy who gave Allen Robinson two of his three best fantasy finishes. So, whether it is Trubisky or Pickett who is also known for his precision and accuracy. Either of these guys will lead to success for Diontae, who is already growing a strong connection with both guys in camp. To make matters even better for the upcoming season is that this is a contract year for Diontae too, we could really see a huge season from him. Especially with how much wide receivers are making now, he has already priced himself out of Pittsburgh most likely since it has been reported he wants Terry McLaurin money. If he can put up another huge season with bottom 15 QB play throwing to him, we could see a team pay him #1 wide receiver money.

Now this guy is also going in the same general area as Pittman in that 4-6 round range which I guess people are afraid going to Trubisky or Pickett will hurt him even though it is pretty obvious he will be getting much better QB play this season compared to last. I get some of the trepidation from a half ppr standpoint but even then, this guy is a steal in that 4th- 5th round range, and if it is full ppr he should be a click draft as fast as possible in the 4th round since he would most likely be your WR2. If you went 3 RBs in the first three rounds this guy can be your WR1 as well even. I have seen some analysts saying this is the guy they are fading the most, like that's fine more shares for me and you. Diontae has made a living of proving people wrong throughout his career, people said he dropped the ball too much and came in the next year with the strongest hands he has had yet. This year his own team does not think he is worth Terry McLaurin money, just watch him prove them wrong this year. These fantasy analysts look at the analytic numbers too much, sure those numbers are important and can show trends, but they all forget the biggest part of a football players success and it is not consistency numbers. It is their F**king heart and how hard they are willing to work, you think the analytic numbers predicted Kupp breaking out last year, they didn't. Kupp has always been a grinder, and he found a special connection with Stafford. Kupp's heart and hard work are why he broke out, now Diontae did not get the same QB upgrade as Kupp but both guys are still upgrades over big Bens dead arm last year. While he probably won't have a Kupp breakout, he still has the potential to easily outplay where he is being drafted.

Not my Favorites but I like them as late round guys

This list will just be some quick hitter on some guys I really like but don't reach the level of I'm trying to draft them everywhere.

Miles Sanders – I just talked about him in a past article but there is just something about getting someone who is being drafted at a spot where he would have to repeat last year to finish there. He will not go all year without a TD again this year, not in this offense, he is also the unquestioned starter on this offense at RB. One reason I really like him which inherently is a negative but is some raw emotion is that he is telling people don't draft me in Fantasy. I think this is some reverse psychology and he'll probably have his best year yet this year when no one is drafting him.

Gus Edwards – I do not get why he has fallen so far in the draft rankings, the Ravens love to use multiple backs and sure he was out for the year last year but so were 4 other Ravens RBs. It was a bad luck year for them, but to think there is over a 100-pick difference between him and Dobbins is insane. Edwards could have had a breakout last year before he ate the same injury bug everyone else there ate. I think we could see more of a 50/40/10 split there with Dobbins, Edwards, and Davis. But Edwards at the very least is an amazing handcuff and could easily be a starter for the season opener since the Ravens are only hopeful that Dobbins will be back for that.

Alec Pierce – I talked about his teammate earlier in this article, but he can't catch every ball from Matt Ryan. Pierce has been being raved about in camp and seems like one of those guys meant for the slot, with strong hands and some sneaky athleticism. He will probably start for them and if you want a safe player that probably will be a safe play every week this is your guy. It helps that you can get him around the 200th pick in your draft. Take a flyer on this guy in one of the last couple rounds of your draft and you will be happy you did.

Laviska Shenault – Now I know people will probably roll their eyes at this one but why. I know that the Jags just signed Kirk and Zay Jones, and they still have Marvin Jones ahead of him on the depth chart. I just don't think any of those three are that much more talented than Shenault and they definitely aren't in the range of impossible to jump other than maybe Kirk who was very much over paid. Laviska is a dynamic athlete, has a repertoire with Lawrence already and he is going into year 3 where we have seen a lot of young players breakout in that year. Like DK, JuJu, Claypool, and Tee Higgins. I probably like Shenault more than most this year since he's been the breakout guy the last two seasons but has disappointed both those years. You gotta Zig when everyone else is Zagging, and like Pierce he is going basically undrafted in fantasy drafts this year. Might as well take a flyer on him and if does not do anything those first two weeks just cut him.

Join the Discussion

Zachary Dennison CommentedAug 26, 2022 2:11 pm

Wow I wrote this article to early. If you are reading this disregard the entire section of guys I like in the late rounds. Sanders and Peirce have a shot to be good values still but Laviska and Gus do not need to be rostered or thought about in drafts. Pierce can probably wait in till after week 1 too.

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