Aaron Rodgers and Deebo Samuel primed for regression


Whereas everybody focuses on the sleepers and breakouts, understanding who might doubtlessly bust for fantasy is simply as — if no more — essential. As coaching camps fireplace up and fantasy football managers dive again into the analysis for upcoming drafts, listed below are some potential 2022 fantasy busts primarily based on doubtless regression.

2022 fantasy soccer bust candidates

I don’t personally take pleasure in ever calling somebody a bust for fantasy. There may be at all times a spread of outcomes the place a participant exceeds expectations. The difficulty is when these outlier seasons are used as predictive markers suggesting that is now a dependable sample. Generally, the reality doubtless lands someplace within the center.

Aaron Rodgers | QB, Inexperienced Bay Packers

Kicking this off is the reigning back-to-back NFL MVP himself, Aaron Rodgers. Wanting like he walked straight off the set from Con Air, Rodgers appears all however assured to have one other unimaginable season. Final 12 months’s QB6 tossed 37 touchdowns with 4,115 yards as a part of probably the greatest QB/WR duos in current historical past.

That is the place issues get dicey for Rodgers in 2022. For one, he was already above expectation final season. Actually, he was 9.8 touchdowns above expection (xTD) primarily based on the projected success fee (27.2 vs. 37). The place expectations and regression fail to regulate is the general expertise of a participant. Some guys are simply higher at soccer than others, resulting in model-breaking performances. Rodgers is a kind of guys.

With that stated, this isn’t the identical staff. And as we all know, it takes multiple participant to document a TD. Somebody needs to be on the opposite finish to catch it. Since 2016, no duo has finished this extra usually than Rodgers and Davante Adams, recording 64 touchdowns, 23 greater than the subsequent closest duo of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. In complete, 33% of Rodgers’ passing touchdowns have gone to No. 17.

Nevertheless, Adams is now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, and Rodgers is coming into 2022 with a WR room consisting of Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs. Even when we drop the TD fee to five.5%, a full share level larger than the NFL common, Rodgers would want greater than 700 passing makes an attempt to hit 39 TDs once more. A extra doubtless end result is we see Rodgers nearer to 30 passing touchdowns than encroaching on 40.

Resulting from improved conditions of others in the same vary, Rodgers is a bust candidate for fantasy in 2022. Whereas he might end inside the highest seven, he might additionally end because the QB15, given the dearth of speeding upside and anticipated TD regression.

Joe Burrow | QB, Cincinnati Bengals

I’m not saying Joe Burrow will bust for fantasy. I feel the man is sensational, and once they placed on the all-white uniforms, I pray I’m not dealing with him or any Bengal that week for fantasy. But out of due diligence, I’ve to say him as a regression candidate who would possibly bust in fantasy primarily based on present expectations.

Burrow might come again to Earth a bit. Since 2016, of the 153 QBs with 100+ dropbacks, 38 have been +3 or larger than anticipated. Burrow is one in all them at +4 xTD with 34. Sadly, this isn’t an important group to be in, as simply seven of these 38 (18%) noticed a rise the next season.

Primarily based on this, Burrow has over an 80% likelihood to have 34 or fewer passing touchdowns in 2022. In a normal league with touchdowns scoring 4 fantasy factors, 43% of Burrow’s fantasy factors (136 of 314.2) got here from passing touchdowns.

Soccer Outsiders suggests there was an much more important disparity, with Burrow’s opportunity-adjusted anticipated landing complete coming in at 23.5 (+10.5). I’m very a lot in on the Bengals for 2022. They’ve arguably the highest one-two punch at receiver with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, plus a wholly overhauled OL. Burrow ought to end as a QB1, however these drafting him assuming he might put up much more TDs than final season could possibly be dissatisfied.

James Conner | RB, Arizona Cardinals

No working again factors to regression greater than James Conner, who completed his 2021 marketing campaign with a staggering +9 xTDs. In his first 12 months with the Cardinals. Conner discovered the top zone on 7.5% of his 241 alternatives. It’s the highest fee for any RB with 150 or extra alternatives since 2016.

Undoubtedly, Conner’s function within the Cardinals’ offense results in extra landing alternatives. His 40 red-zone carries accounted for 15 of his speeding scores, together with 10 TDs on his 16 carries contained in the 5-yard line. If Conner makes an attempt to recapture the identical success, he might want to see the same workload, if no more, contained in the pink zone with the identical utilization in goal-to-go conditions.

The expertise is there. The chance is there. However can Conner keep wholesome, which has been a battle, and reproduce the identical massively inflated TD fee whereas warding off Darrel Williams? At the moment going inside the primary three rounds, Conner is a bust candidate for fantasy on account of doubtless regression.

Damien Harris | RB, New England Patriots

Nobody has loved drafting a New England working again for fantasy in fairly a while. Given the committee strategy and irritating timeshares, having full confidence is uncommon. But, Damien Harris broke that development final 12 months, ending because the RB14 in PPR and twentieth in PPR/sport at 14.0.

He did this thanks to fifteen speeding touchdowns on simply 55.3% of his speeding quantity (203 carries). The place Harris shined was within the pink zone, as you’ll count on, with 13 of his touchdowns approaching 44 carries. He was additionally tied for third with 14 carries contained in the 5-yard line. Nevertheless, Harris ought to have had solely eight TDs on the bottom primarily based on expectation. That might have dropped Harris from the RB14 to RB26 on the season and decrease his per-game common to 11.3 (thirty fifth).

Harris is already making an attempt to combat off Rhamondre Stevenson, who shocked many with how nicely he seemed as a rookie. Stevenson additionally brings some PPR upside in comparison with Harris, because it has by no means been part of his sport. Add within the return of James White and additions of Pierre Robust Jr. and Kevin Harris, and rapidly, Harris is a shaky choice for fantasy.

Historical past has instructed us to not belief New England working backs. It has additionally instructed us that touchdowns should not sticky nor needs to be used as a predictive stat. Add in a bigger workload and a possible breakout for Stevenson, and Harris is extra more likely to bust as a fantasy RB3 than repeat his mid-RB2 efficiency.

Cordarrelle Patterson | RB, Atlanta Falcons

Like many, I didn’t see the Cordarrelle Patterson breakout in my crystal ball final 12 months. The RB9 in 2021, Patterson was the do-it-all participant for the Falcons. Patterson noticed practically as many touches final season (205) as he had in his 4 earlier years mixed (220). Of these touches, 31.1% got here by way of the air (69), accounting for 58.1% of his fantasy factors per sport (8.55).

Purely as a rusher, Patterson was serviceable, however he confirmed a quite important downturn in manufacturing in direction of the top of the season. From Weeks 14-18, Patterson averaged simply 2.62 yards per carry. Whereas he averaged 2.95 yards after contact per try on the 12 months, that bottomed out at 1.56 over the ultimate 4 weeks. Though he did common 14.7 PPR/sport, Patterson posted simply 8.0 PPR/sport during the last six weeks, together with 4 in a row outdoors the RB2 vary (high 24).

There’s a big concern Patterson wore down in direction of the top of the 12 months. Atlanta remedied this by including Damien Williams and drafting Tyler Allgeier to assist carry the load. Dropping carries, particularly within the pink zone, might show disastrous for Patterson.

At +4 xTDs (11 vs. 7), Patterson discovered the top zone at a better fee than needs to be anticipated. Add within the truth Patterson is closing in on 31 and on a staff within the backside two for projected wins and factors, and Patterson is a bust candidate for fantasy in 2022.

DK Metcalf | WR, Seattle Seahawks

We all know DK Metcalf is particular, and I doubt many would argue that an excessive amount of — together with the Seahawks, who simply signed Metcalf to a megadeal. He’s a 24-year-old, mold-breaking athlete with a 1,300-yard marketing campaign and two double-digit TD seasons. Metcalf, together with Tyler Lockett, was the beneficiary of a vertical offense. In 2021, he was seventh within the NFL in air yards (1,636) however, on account of his boom-or-bust nature, transformed simply 59% of these into precise receiving yards. Resulting from his deeper common depth of goal (13.6 profession aDOT), his targets have much less margin for error.

It’s one of many the reason why Metcalf has been in a position to finish because the WR7 and WR12 in his final two seasons (15.7 PPR/sport) whereas ending as a WR2 or higher simply 42% of the time. His worth has are available in hauling in touchdowns as he outmuscles DBs. Final season, Metcalf recorded 12 touchdowns, however based on xTD charges, he ought to have had lower than seven.

Metcalf has been an overachiever since coming into the NFL and has been a beneficiary of arguably the very best deep ball passer within the NFL with Russell Wilson. Metcalf is not going to have the identical profit this 12 months as he has both Geno Smith, Drew Lock, or potentially Jimmy Garoppolo under center.

Metcalf is a boom-or-bust participant who depends on TDs for his fantasy manufacturing and goes from an MVP-caliber QB to somebody who’s considered as a perennial backup. The WR17 in Sleeper’s ADP, Metcalf is a bust candidate as he’s presently my WR29. I imagine regression and inefficiency will take their toll on the Seahawks’ roster in 2022.

Deebo Samuel | WR, San Francisco 49ers

I must be cautious with my phrases right here. I don’t imagine Deebo Samuel is a bust. I really feel he will likely be in your beginning lineup each week. But, the place he could possibly be a “bust” comes all the way down to the place his ADP is. The WR3 of 2021, I’ve seen Samuel persistently go because the WR4 in drafts. And I get it. He set an NFL document for WR speeding TDs with eight on 59 carries for 365 yards. These speeding stats alone represented 25% of his fantasy factors on the season.

However what if the speeding utilization is just not there? Samuel has been very open about not wanting the identical function as final 12 months and to be utilized as a “conventional” WR since that’s the place the cash is within the NFL. He makes a good level, too, as Samuel had 1,405 receiving yards and 6 TDs on 77 receptions, which is someway forgotten about, it feels.

Add within the truth Samuel scored practically twice as many TDs as anticipated, has a brand new beginning QB, and desires to go away from the function that made him a breakout final 12 months makes me warning on Samuel for fantasy in 2022. As I stated above, Samuel is just not a real bust. Nevertheless, in case you are drafting him inside the highest 5 at his place, I imagine you can be dissatisfied with the outcomes. Indicators level in direction of regression, however Samuel is proficient sufficient to offset this.

Dawson Knox | TE, Buffalo Payments

As a complete, tight ends weren’t egregiously over-efficient in 2021. Definitely nothing like Robert Tonyan in 2020, the place he had extra touchdowns (11) than incomplete targets (7). However should you ask who persons are fading, Dawson Knox comes up fairly a bit as his 9 TDs a 12 months in the past really feel unobtainable.

Apparently sufficient, Knox has an anticipated TD complete of seven, inserting him simply +2 xTD. That’s not as dangerous as you assume, contemplating he additionally set career-highs in targets (71), receptions (49), yards (587), and red-zone targets with 18, sixth-most amongst TEs. Six of Knox’s TDs got here within the pink zone, with 4 on targets contained in the 5-yard line.

If Knox goes to bust for fantasy in 2022, it’s as a result of Gabriel Davis really broke out as we hoped, and James Prepare dinner has grow to be a invaluable red-zone weapon at Josh Allen’s disposal. Knox will at all times be landing dependent as he lacks elite goal quantity. On the plus facet, because the TE10 and 97 in ADP, Knox is not going to break the proverbial financial institution to accumulate after which transfer off as soon as regression hits.

George Kittle | TE, San Francisco 49ers

I need nothing extra for George Kittle than to be the elite TE we all know he’s and has been for fantasy. Nevertheless, I’m involved for him in 2022, particularly at his top-five ADP. Kittle has struggled to remain on the sector in recent times given his overtly bodily fashion of play, the place he would quite run over than round you whereas maniacally laughing alongside the way in which. Whereas nice for mic’d-up moments, Kittle has missed 13 video games during the last three years, with 11 coming within the final two.

The place I discover concern is within the QB scenario. Not that I don’t like Trey Lance. If something, I really feel he can open a complete new chapter for this offense and take it to locations it has by no means been. Even earlier than he was drafted, I felt he had the best upside of any QB in his class. The difficulty is Lance didn’t goal Kittle in any respect final 12 months when on the sector.

Sure, that is an absurdly tiny pattern measurement, so put together your grains of salt, however Lance focused Kittle on simply 4 of his 41 move makes an attempt in his begins (9.8%). Having been named the starter over Jimmy Garoppolo, we should readjust our projections of this offense and the way it will function.

Lance is much less more likely to dump the ball on a checkdown to Kittle, the place he can generate gobbles of YAC. As an alternative, Lance can simply hold the ball and outrun everybody if he chooses, pointing to Kittle to choose up a lead block. Final I checked, blocks on QB scrambles don’t depend for fantasy factors … but. It’s unlikely, barring harm, Kittle finishes outdoors the highest 10 at TE, however I’d be hesitant to pick out him above somebody like Dalton Schultz, my TE4 in PPR.

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