The 10 Biggest Questions Heading Into the Fantasy Season

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams

This offseason was an absolute rollercoaster for Green Bay Packers fans as we expected the departure of HOF QB Aaron Rodgers and arguably the league’s top receiving talent in Davante Adams. The Packers were able to secure Rodgers to a three-year deal but lost Adams to the Raiders on an insane contract that they just weren’t going to match. Keep in mind Adams and Rodgers both have had their vocal disagreements with the Packers organization, but how does it impact their fantasy value?

In my honest opinion, both guys take a bit of a hit with this one. Adams rose to fame under Rodger’s arm and it will be interesting to see how he holds up in Vegas with Derek Carr. I love Carr for the record and he has one of the better deep balls in the NFL. All due respect, he is not A A RON. Adams also for the first time in his career will have to compete with some top-tier talent for catches with Darren Waller lining up with him on offense. Pair that with the love Carr has for Hunter Renfrow, and Adams has some concerns for his target share compared to last year.

On the Rodgers side of the ball I think he’ll be “fine”, but an obvious regression is apparent. The Packers draft North Dakota State’s Christian Watson in the 2022 NFL Draft, a big-bodied receiver that the pack will hope can ease the pain of Adam’s departure. All that being said Rodgers has operated with less in his career. Look for guys like Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to see some trust throws and for newcomer Watkins and the recently signed Sammy Watkins to get reps. The Packers are also an option for FA Julio Jones which would be an instant boost to Rodger’s (and the Packers) fantasy value.

Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes

In a similar situation that Rodgers and Adams found, Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes have some massive question marks against them heading into this season. Patrick Mahomes has been one of, if not THE league’s best quarterbacks since he became the Chiefs starter in his second year. The benefit to lean toward Mahomes still being a top-tier talent lies within Travis Kelce remaining the top tight end in the NFL for another year. Add in the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Skyy Moore and you just have to assume Mahomes will see only a slight regression this upcoming season in Andy Reid’s offense.

As far as Tyreek Hill, I have some MASSIVE concerns heading into the season. I’m a fairly big fan of the new Dolphin’s head coach Mike McDaniel and his thoughts on Jaylen Waddle and Tua give this offense a massive boost IMO. Add in growing fantasy star Mike Gesicki (who was NOT resigned this offseason) and their impressive running back room, I do like this offense for the first time in a few years for fantasy. My problem with Hill stems from his obvious connection with Mahomes, something that you just can’t convince me will come instantly with Tua at QB. Hill did mention this offseason that his new quarterback is “more accurate” than Mahomes ( a HILARIOUS convo IMO) but that just doesn’t sell me on Hill’s upside this season. To be fully transparent, Hill will NOT be my WR1 in any leagues this year.

CMC still the #1 pick

Injury after injury has plagued arguably the most versatile running back in NFL history from his crown as the top fantasy back in recent years. Let the record show I LOVE CMC but a workload like that just isn’t viable year after year. The Panthers are in an extremely weird situation with arguably four starters at the QB position. Baker offers the most upside at this point in time but the team did trade for Sam Darnold, added P.J. Walker last year, and drafted Ole Miss QB Matt Corral.

To me, the Panthers have added some other pieces to help CMC not need to demand that workload. D.J. Moore has emerged as a solid receiving option and Robby Anderson was revitalized once he left the Jets. My biggest concern with taking CMC at the 1 or 2 spot this year is simple; you can’t miss on your first pick. There have clearly been people in the past who have taken a bust in round one and still emerged triumphant but as a fantasy manager will tell you, your first-round pick should be your absolute hit. Personally, I like a few RB’s more just due to their situations with lower ADP’s (such as Najee Harris) but I can’t fault anyone who takes a swing at a potential league winner at the draft.

Michael Thomas Returns

The Saints are an absolute enigma heading into this upcoming season. Drew Brees is an afterthought, Sean Payton is long gone and we still have no clue if there’s a suspension coming for running back Alvin Kamara. All that being said, the receiving core still may be the biggest question mark. Michael Thomas hasn’t played a meaningful down of football in two years since his injury and there’s a large question mark around how impactful he will be once he returns. The Saints also drafted Ohio State WR Chris Olave and brought in free agent Jarvis Landry to improve on arguably the league’s worst receiving options from last year.

For me, I’ll only take a flyer on Thomas if I don’t have to rely on him as a top option. The Slant God is clearly one of the best PPR talents when he was healthy but the questions are just too realistic. It looks like the Saints will be pushing for Winston to be the starter again this season after a positive start to last year before an injury. Time will tell, but I’m avoiding Thomas until the later rounds.

DeAndre Hopkins Suspension

How early is too early to draft a wide receiver who will miss 6 weeks of the season? DeAndre Hopkins is without a doubt a top-tier wide receiver in the NFL. No matter what QB was throwing the ball for the Texans he always produced and even had one of the most insane catches in human history with the Cardinals and Kyler Murray. Despite all of his talent, six weeks is an eternity in fantasy football.

The Cardinals also added in the Hollywood Brown from the Ravens during the draft and still have Rondale Moore, A.J. Green and Andy Isabella on the roster along with TE Zach Ertz. Hopkins provides a nice stash for a team, but I wouldn’t touch Hopkins in a round where you can still draft meaningful points. ESPN’s Mike Clay currently has Hopkins ranked as the 39th PPR WR heading into this season and has him being drafted around the likes of Allen Robinson, DeVante Smith, Chase Claypool and Treylon Burks. As of right this second in time, I would take almost all of them over Hopkins just due to availability alone. You can’t win your league at the draft, but you can absolutely lose it.

New Faces, New Places

There are a million names that have changed jerseys this offseason so I wanted to just touch on some of the most impactful from a fantasy perspective.

Allen Robinson – I love this signing for the Rams and for Robinson. ARob is slightly removed from his WR1 territory but he doesn’t need to be anything more than reliable behind Cooper Kupp. I do still love Van Jefferson for the Rams but make no mistake, this more is a positive for Robinson. WR2 with Upside.

Amari Cooper – Cooper has always been an insane talent in the NFL but hasn’t seen the consistency we all hoped for. He finds himself now in Cleveland in the land of potential but with a pending suspension to their quarterback, it’ll be interesting to see just his impactful AC is. I love the upside and the improvements that the Browns organization has done to their receiver room but I have concerns about Cooper maintaining WR1 numbers this season. WR2 with obvious upside.

Russell Wilson – LET RUSS COOK makes it’s debut in the Mile High City this year which provides us with just enough questions to be excited. Russ will have Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton to throw to which should provide him with some early success in Denver. Wilson had a bad year last year in his terms but still finished QB 16 despite injuries and offense concerns. I’m a massive fan of Wilson this year and think he will reach his usual potential with this roster. Top 12 QB.

Russell Gage – I wouldn’t have even thought twice about Gage signing in Tampa if not for the rumors that Tom Brady forced this signing himself. Gage was a trustworthy receiver for the Falcons in his time there and could step in as Brady’s go-to guy this season. Flex play with some upside.

JuJu Smith-Schuster – With a heavy heart we saw the departure of JuJu to the Chiefs this offseason. In all honesty, this is an absolute rock star landing spot for the USC Alum and he should find a large level of success, especially with the departure of Tyreek Hill. Mahomes loves sure handed guys and JuJu spent more of his time with the Steelers as a reliable target for Big Ben. WR3 with upside.

Christian Kirk – The man who broke the market finds himself in Jacksonville with the clear cut chance at being a WR1…on his roster. I LOVED Kirk coming out of college from Texas A&M and even had him as my favorite receiver in a class with D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton. I don’t see any fantasy love for Kirk at the moment despite the large paycheck just because of the Jags uncertainty. WR3 with upside.

Evan Engram – The former Giants tight end finds himself with Christian Kirk in Jacksonville and he just HAS to be good, right? I’m a big fan of Dan Arnold in Jacksonville as well but Engram’s upside is too positive to not monitor. I won’t be drafting Engram in a redraft league but I’m very interested in his value as a late round stash. TE3 with slight upside.

Rookie Impact

This rookie class brought us a number of receivers who landed in amazing spots such as Christian Watson in Green Bay, Skyy Moore in Kansas City, Drake London in Atlanta, Garrett Wilson in New York Chris Olave in New Orleans…not to mention Jahan Dotson in Washington, George Pickens in Pittsburgh, Jameson Williams in Detroit, Treylon Burks in Tenessee, Alec Pierce in Indy…starting to catch on yet?

This is an amazing rookie class with massive expectations. Be careful falling in love with a rookie in redraft formats just due to the natural learning curve, but also feel free to take some flyers late in the draft. You never know which rookie is going to be the surprise league winner we all search for.

The Cleveland Browns

One of the biggest question marks for this offseason is the current legal situation with Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. Jacoby Brissett is a wonderful backup in today’s NFL and will most likely be called upon to be the Cleveland starter for at least 6 weeks this season. Legal issues aside, a lot of the success of this offense depends on who the QB will be. Nick Chubb is still a top tier RB and Kareem Hunt offers an insane amount of upside as an RB2 and a handcuff. Pair that with the arrival of Amari Cooper and recent draft picks David Bell and Donovan People-Jones and you have an insanely talented offense. Brissett, again, is a quality backup but may be a problem when it comes to unlocking this teams top-level potential.

New Steelers Offense

The biggest question for Pittsburgh fans is what to make of this new look offense moving forward. Mitch Trubisky shows to be the starter heading into the season despite first overall pick Kenny Pickett being a STUD (wink wink) which I think gives our weapons the best chance from day one. Johnson, Claypool and Pickens look to be our main core with Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin and Anthony Miller as the next guys on the list. I personally love our WR core moving forward. They offer a nice base for a couple young quarterbacks and the potential for us to be a top tier fantasy team as well.

Najee Harris is my favorite option to finish as the top back in the NFL for fantasy this season mainly because all we did was hand him the ball last year and he still performed. The Steelers have a much improved O-Line compared to last season, something that should speak wonders to Najee’s production.

Another notable fantasy option this year is Pat Freiermuth who was a solid option at TE last year for the Steelers. He is a very popular name for deep snags in redraft leagues this season.

Sleepers (everyone’s FAVORITE question)

I couldn’t write this blog without throwing in a few of my favorite late-round sleepers, could I?

Mecole Hardman – With the departure of Tyreek Hill, Hardman finds himself in the wonderful position of being Patrick Mahomes speed burst. Hardman was drafted out of Georgia to comfort Mahomes through a Tyreek Hill suspension and has been serviceable since. Now with Hill in Miami, Hardman has the most upside he may ever have in his career.

Kadarius Toney – Toney was rumored to be on the move this offseason after the Giants spent a first-round pick on the Florida receiver in the 2021 draft. Keep in mind that despite his injury concerns, Toney was absolutely electric when on the field last season…despite it only being five games. I like Toney a lot as a late round flyer.

Jakobi Meyers – It blows my mind that arguably the top receiver on the Patriots is still being taken in the later rounds of the draft. Mac Jones looks primed to have another great season and although the Patriots added DeVante Parker (BUM), they didn’t do much else to improve their receiver room next to Meyers. Jakobi had a hard time finding the end zone last year but I love his upside going into this season.

A.J. Green – With the suspension of DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals will lean a few different ways through the first six games of the season. Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore will be used, but veteran A.J. Green is in an amazing spot to maintain some fantasy relevance if he can stay healthy.

James Robinson – The big questions around Robinson are his health and his place on the depth chart with the expected emergence of Travis Etienne Jr. I still like Robinson barring insane news about his health for a few reasons, the biggest being his success since joining the NFL. He can be added to a long line of potential handcuffs going late that offer big upside if something were to happen to the starter.

Marlon Mack – The Texans added rookie RB Dameon Pierce in this years draft but the Florida prospect isn’t projected to be the day one starter…Mack is. Marlon Mack has had injuries to keep himself out of our minds but he was a reliable back for the Colts in receiving and rushing. He should enter the season the starter ahead of Pierce and Burkhead, which provides a nice floor for second year David Mills to use.

Mark Ingram – Ingram is back in NOLA and has an interesting situation in front of him. He currently is the RB2 behind Alvin Kamar who is pending a suspension for off the field issues this offseason. The team did sign UDFA Tony Jones Jr. but Ingram is the clear cut back if Kamara is to miss time. Snagging a starting running back this late in the draft would be a helpful boost for Kamar’s suspension.

Ronald Jones – We all had high hopes for CEH in this Chiefs offense but he never seemed to get a solid footing underneath him. Rojo leaves Tampa and joins the Chiefs, adding to the everlasting potential Jones has as a rusher in the NFL. There’s reason to believe Jones is the “goal line” back for the Chiefs despite Travis Kelce being the most obvious choice in the redzone. All that being said, Jones offers value late in the draft on a high octane offense.

Pat Freiermuth – Freier Pat is a typical Steelers receiver; sure handed, quality blocking fan favorite of a player. I love him going into this season as he should step into some of the “security blanket” passes that JuJu was known for while remaining on the field to block for Najee, a notable increase for TE’s in fantasy usage.

Albert Okwuegbunam – Albert O tore the combine up in the 2020 draft with his electric 40 time but never surpassed Noah Fant to receiver notable touches as the teams starter. All that being said, the Broncos felt strong enough about the Mizzou prospect to let Fant go in the Wilson trade opening up the door for him to assist in Russ’ opening days. I like the upside, but need to see it work before I am fully invested. Watch his camp notes!

Noah Fant – As I mentioned before, Noah Fant finds himself in Seattle, starring down the likes of Geno Smith and Drew Lock as his new potential best friend. Fant does have history with lock although it does appear that Geno is the day one starter. I like Fant, he provides a consistently talented floor despite never really hitting his ceiling. Again, check his camp notes for his potential this season.

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