Dario Offstein’s Must Draft List for 2022 Fantasy Football

The best part about playing Fantasy Football is drafting your Fantasy Football team in the fall with all of your friends. But after that, a lot of leagues tend to lose their juice because some owners draft bad players. The goal with this must-draft list series is to assure you do NOT draft “Bad Players” or values, but instead draft the “Best Players” or the best values. Reading an article about the best players to draft is only part of the job. You also have to draft the team, not show up drunk on draft night, or let values fly by you. There is also game theory to take into account. Don’t overlook draft night. Dario will not have all six players on every fantasy team, nor should you. However, these will be his most rostered in 2022, and he believes you should jump on board. The following players are Dario’s Must-Draft targets for the 2022 Fantasy Football season.

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QB – Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers in Round 7

Now that Jimmy Garoppolo has officially been put on the trade block by the 49ers, the path has been cleared for Trey Lance‘s first full season as the 49ers starting quarterback. With a three-headed YAC monster of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk, plus Kyle Shanahan’s system, Lance has the upside to finish as QB1. In his two starts last season, Lance averaged 12 rush attempts per game. Last year, Lamar Jackson led the league with 11.1 carries per game. At QB, rushing is the key to unlocking top-tier upside and also a safety net for a weekly floor.

The last time Kyle Shanahan had a mobile quarterback, RG3 finished as a top-five fantasy option in his rookie year. You’re not going to want to miss the Lance hype train. While his ADP has shot up to Round 7 on Underdog, you’ll likely be able to get him even later in your home leagues.

RB – D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions in Round 2

Targets are the key to a running back unlocking league-winning ceiling. D’Andre Swift is a player whose receiving upside you want to bet on. Despite averaging 11.6 carries per game in 2021, his 6.0 targets per game propelled him to 16.1 PPR points per game and an RB8 finish on the season. Prior to a shoulder injury in Week 12, Swift was averaging 18.4 PPR points per game! Add in the fact the Lions’ offensive line should be healthier in 2022 and their offense projects to score more touchdowns as a whole, and you’ve got the recipe for a league-winner in Swift.

D’Andre Swift Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

If you’re able to pick up Swift at any point in the second round, especially in full-PPR leagues, you should thank your league for the early Christmas present and watch the receptions pour in.

WR – Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens in Round 5

Look no further than the Ravens draft day trade of Marquise Brown to see that the road has been paved for a Rashod Bateman breakout. The second-year breakout for wide receivers is well-documented, and the opportunity for an elite target share has opened in the Ravens offense. Although Mark Andrews remains Lamar Jackson‘s No. 1 target, that didn’t stop Brown from a 26-percent target share in the last two seasons. The argument for Bateman’s breakout is not solely contingent on vacated targets, however. He is an elite prospect in his own right. Bateman posted a 98th-percentile college target share and a 93rd percentile breakout age. He is also a first-round pick.

Even though the Ravens will almost certainly run fewer plays and have a lower pass rate than in 2021, Bateman is oozing with upside as the WR26 in ADP for 2022. Even with these concerns factored in, we have Bateman projected for 123 targets and finishing as WR23.

WR – Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots in Round 11

While we’re on the subject of earning target volume, Jakobi Meyers is a smash pick in the double-digit rounds for 2022. He’s posted target shares of 23.3-percent and 24.4-percent the last two seasons. The only thing keeping him from garnering more attention from fantasy players has been touchdown production. He infamously had 0 touchdowns in his first two years and only two touchdowns in 2021. However, if there’s one thing we know about touchdowns, it’s they’re largely a fluke. The Patriots offense was one of only four last season to score as many touchdowns on the ground as through the air. It’s safe to assume this will not be the case in 2022 as Mac Jones enters his second season.

Jakobi Meyers Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Meyers is a massive outlier in that no other proven target earner is available as late in drafts. He’s also demonstrated an ability to earn those targets on a route-by-route basis with a 26.4-percent and 25.9-percent target rate the last two seasons. Pencil in at least 120 targets for Meyers, and he should be an automatic pick at his WR59 ADP.

Flex – Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos in Round 9

Entering 2022, the concerns about Melvin Gordon being entirely supplanted by Javonte Williams have gone too far. The last time Gordon finished outside the top-24 running backs in PPR points per game Williams was a sophomore in high school. This includes last season when Gordon was the RB21, and Williams was the RB22. Oh, and the Broncos traded for some guy by the name of Russell Wilson, which will dramatically improve the offense’s outlook and lead to more touchdowns for both Gordon and Williams.

New Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett is coming straight from Green Bay where he deployed Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon as a lethal backfield duo. Currently, Jones is going in the second round while Dillon goes in the seventh. Meanwhile, Javonte Williams goes at the two/three turn and and Gordon is available all the way as RB37 at the nine/10 turn. The scenarios where Gordon returns value at his current ADP far outnumber those where he doesn’t. Thus, he makes the must draft list.

TE – Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders in Round 4

Staying in the AFC West, Darren Waller has posted three straight years of elite target earning ability from Derek Carr. This has resulted in three seasons of elite fantasy production. The Raiders traded for Davante Adams early in the offseason. However, Waller’s ADP has fallen too far. On a per-route basis in 2021, Waller earned more targets than Travis Kelce (12.2 ADP) and Kyle Pitts (32.5 ADP) with a target rate of 26.7-percent. Even if Adams becomes Carr’s No. 1 option, he will likely fall well short of the epic target volume he saw in Green Bay due to Waller’s role in the Raiders offense.

Darren Waller Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

When you can draft a tight end capable of 20+ PPR point spike weeks in the late fourth round, you should pounce on the opportunity. There’s a massive cliff after Waller and George Kittle in 2022. Be sure to get yourself one of the affordable elite tight ends. My bet is on Waller thanks to the shootout potential of every AFC West game, and his established connection with Carr.

Closing Notes

Check out the rest of the Must-Draft series from PlayerProfiler featuring The Podfather, Cody Carpentier, and my own Must-Draft list above for the 2022 Fantasy Football Season. Reminder, the above list of players may not be attainable in every single draft due to game theory from players in your draft or change in ADP. We also do not advise drafting all of these players in every single league. You should build rosters to be fun, dominate, and win. Thank you for the continued support and for reading along. Feel free to Tweet us @RotoUnderworld on Twitter and let us know your thoughts on the above Must-Draft List.