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The 2022 Mount Rushmore of “My Guys”

With the season about to begin, no better time for @OmalTheAlleyCat to highlight 4 players that will take the biggest rise in value over the next year.

Dynasty football can take even the biggest dreamer and humble them quickly. The one thing everyone should understand, not everyone is a rockstar. The odds that your rookie first-round pick this past rookie draft turns into a future Hall of Famer are slim. This isn’t how we should view every player on our rosters.

A well-built team foundation has your established studs, but I guarantee the best team in your league has a bench that can be mistaken for a starting lineup. This roster wasn’t built overnight. To attain the ultimate unstoppable force of a squad in Dynasty, the best at this game will always tell you to be looking to improve your roster forever. I assure you the best teams will never be satisfied with what they have. The never-ending pursuit of what I call “The Death Squad.” A team that puts fear into all in your league and leaves them questioning how anybody can put together this untouchable unit.

Today I will give you the top player that I see having the most profitable value jump over the next calendar year at each offensive skill position. Essentially, you can flip anyone in this article this time next year, and your return on investment will be beyond profitable. I’m not just aiming for positive additions to our teams. I aim to predict which players have the most significant rise in value over the next year. It won’t be easy to move on from league winners when the dust settles on the 2022 season. 

Trey Lance, QB SF

Headlining as the rockstar that is set to melt faces off in 11 different venues this calendar year, Lance may not be the frontman of a huge band. But the eyes of the entire stadium will be focused on him more than on any player on the same field. With a plausible floor similar to the mobile and inaccurate Tim Tebow, his ceiling is reminiscent of perhaps the most dynamic QB we have ever seen. For fantasy purposes, it was rookie Robert Griffin III. You can be assured we are in for one breathtaking show this year. 

This likely isn’t the first time you have heard some hype for the newly anointed starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this or last offseason. That’s exactly what will happen when you get drafted third overall in the NFL draft to one of, if not the top, rushing systems in the NFL. This was a Taylor-made fit for someone with the talents of Lance.

This offseason, when the 49ers restructured Jimmy Garrapollo’s contract, it was just as straightforward as an endorsement of what we can expect from the usage of Lance as any of the 49ers’ actions. This reworked deal had one thing in mind. The 49ers know they still have a roster to compete if Lance gets hurt. They will utilize his rushing ability this early in his career with zero regards for his body and get the maximum benefit of his mobility.

Rushing quarterbacks have broken fantasy football for years, and it’s no secret. Yet, for some reason, it’s not backbreaking to our lineups to make a move for Lance the same way we would if we targeted Kyler Murray or Lamar Jackson. Are these two better QBs and more valuable dynasty assets? 100%. But if there is one QB in the league that can take a massive leap into the Top 5 Dynasty QBs, it’s nobody other than Lance. 

Honorable Mentions: Jalen Hurts, Jameis Winston, Trevor Lawrence

Javonte Williams, RB DEN

“Broncos Country, Let’s Ride!!”. The new quarterback said these already infamous words of the Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson. The dude may be as corny as it gets, which makes the quote so memorable. But at the crux of that statement, there is truth to be had. Everyone will hop on the coattails of greatness that is Danger Russ. After all these years, he is free of Pete Carroll and his outdated establish-the-run mindset that has limited Wilson’s true ceiling for his entire career. Now we finally get to “Let Russ Cook” and see how great he truly is. I see Wilson winning MVP this season, and expect Williams to be the top beneficiary of this high-scoring offense. 

Since I project the Broncos to be the top-scoring offense in 2022, I thought it couldn’t hurt to look into how the top running back for each of the top-scoring offenses over the last five years ended up making out each respective year. Thanks to FantasyFootballer.net, I could find the information that I was seeking. My findings were useful and gave me more hope to believe in Williams this year.

2021/ Dallas Cowboys/ Ezekiel Elliot/ RB7

2020/ Green Bay Packers/ Aaron Jones/ RB7

2019/ Baltimore Ravens/ Mark Ingram/ RB12

2018/ Kansas City Chiefs/ Kareem Hunt/ RB11

2017/ Los Angeles Rams/ Todd Gurley/ RB1

The statistics tell us one thing, an RB on the top scoring offense finishes as a top 12 RB. It ranges, but even old-busted Ingram put together a Top 12 campaign when he was in the same backfield as the best rushing quarterback the NFL has ever seen in Lamar Jackson. Just as recently as last year, we saw an injured Elliot produce a respectful finish at RB7. It’s not like young talent is a lock to finish higher or not, either. In his second year, Kareem Hunt went from RB3 his first season down to RB11. That was a direct correlation of Patrick Mahomes destroying the NFL through the air. The dream is to see a season the likes of 2017 Todd Gurley, who finished as RB1. But we are more realistically hoping for an RB7 finish the likes of Aaron Jones in 2020.

Nothing is for certain; Denver will likely not be the top-scoring offense in 2022. Why do I choose to believe that isn’t the future we have in store for us? Let us start with the division. Six games of the fantasy season will be projected shootouts in the division with the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers. When teams get the chance to play any team in this division, expect to see an abundance of points. Courtesy of SharpFooballAnalysis.com, I found that the Broncos have a middle-of-the-pack strength in the schedule as 17th easiest in the league, with a projected win total of 10.1 games.

There are no facts or stats to back up this take, but if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be passing my information in my head on to you. Having a middle-of-the-pack strength in schedule is beautiful when projecting a high-scoring offense. This ultimately tells me they won’t have far too many games where they choose to ease off the gas, and this is what we want. We want this offense to be pushed, and we want to juice out as many points from it as possible. 

Honorable Mentions: Breece Hall, D’Andre Swift, Rachaad White

Parris Campbell, WR IND

Heartbreak and devastation. That’s the feeling you get when you put your hopes on a player, only to see them not even prove you right or wrong. To get injured before we can even know for sure is tough. Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Campbell has been the poster child of having terrible injury luck. Does this mean his chances of being relevant in this league are done? It makes it less likely for people to give him any credit for possibly being a key part of the Indianapolis Colts and even less likely that anyone values him the same way I do. 

My all-to-fitting comparison to Campbell is the once often injured but uber-talented Percy Harvin. Harvin was a true fantasy game-breaker on the field. His injury history forever clouded that from any fantasy player ever truly putting real value to his name. That being said, he far outproduced and has many more games played than Campbell thus far into their respective careers when comparing them. Even at the college level, there was never a debate that Harvin was the top receiving talent on his offense. This was not the case for Campbell. He teamed up with Terry McLaurin during his time at Ohio State, or as some call it, “WR U,” myself included. Like Harvin, though, when Campbell is on the field, anyone with working eyes can see the potential. 

The true appeal of pursuing the talent of Campbell is to see a receiver that many don’t have even in their top 60 dynasty rankings take a massive jump into true fantasy relevancy. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This may not have ever been more true than when it comes to someone that Matt Ryan will make a habit of hyper-targeting when on the field.

The thing that I noticed this preseason that caught my eye, Campbell had zero usage. Not one catch through three games. Why would that possibly excite anybody? Preseason isn’t when you show the rest of the league what you plan on doing. It’s to work out the wrinkles and get the team in rhythm for the season ahead. He may not have shown out in any way in the preseason. But it was not uncommon to hear buzz out of Colts training camp about how great Campbell looked.

People tend not to care that much about any buzz associated with a player that has only played nine games through three seasons. Don’t expect his preseason lack of usage to mirror what we’ll see from him in the regular season. If anything, I’m telling you, expect the exact opposite. Don’t be shocked when Campbell outtargets Michael Pittman when on the field together. When I look at Campbell, I see two things, first is a clear path to the greatest value gain of any player in all of dynasty football in 2022, and second is the cheapest a league winner can ever be. 

Honorable Mentions: Courtland Sutton, Garrett Wilson, Kyle Phillips

Cole Kmet, TE CHI

Entering his third season in what projects to be one of the five worst offenses in the NFL this year, it can easily baffle someone when they hear any hype about Chicago Bears tight end Kmet. Regardless of how bad the offense will be, even the worst offenses can still produce relevant fantasy pieces. It’s no secret that having an elite tight end is a true difference maker in fantasy. In Dynasty, it can be what puts a team over the top. The trade value of a young elite tight end that hits is enough to drool over.

We can expect Darnell Mooney to rack up the high target numbers in a Justin Fields offense. If anybody else has a shot to see 100-plus targets, it’s the TE that no longer has the shadow of Jimmy Graham hanging in the endzone. In 2021, Kmet totaled 93 targets for 60 receptions and zero touchdowns. Perhaps you have heard the term “positive regression” used in the fantasy space before. The player’s performance returns to a previously expected value if you are unfamiliar. This term will get thrown around when we expect to see a major boost in a particular stat. I don’t know if there is a single tight end in the league that has as much positive regression in store for him this calendar year in terms of touchdowns. 

It can’t be stated enough that this offense isn’t one of the best. Tight ends seem to make or break their weeks based on if they score a touchdown or not. I refuse to believe Kmet isn’t going to score at least five touchdowns this season with a possibility to see 120 targets which would rank him amongst league leaders for tight ends.

Lucky for us, we are not counting on Kmet to be a top-three tight end this year. I would like to see Kmet sniff the top five and give us more hope for true greatness next season. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Travis Kelce wasn’t the greatest tight end in fantasy history overnight. In his second and third years, he was a regular run-of-the-mill tight end as the TE9. In year four, the true breakout occurred; over the following five years, we have seen only TE1 overall performances. Am I expecting Kmet to be the second coming of Kelce? 100% not. Yet, of all the young tight ends in the league, it’s in my opinion that Kmet not only has the best chance to be that guy but at the least, he will go down as the best tight end in Chicago Bears history, not named Mike Ditka.

Honorable Mentions: Hunter Henry, Brevin Jordan, Jaylen Wydermeyer

Look in the Mirror and See Greatness

Early in the 2021 offseason, I did a version of this article. The idea was to highlight four players that I felt were severely disrespected and undervalued by the dynasty community. The hits from this list included Diontae Johnson, who never can be hyped enough, and the consistent yet undervalued Jacobi Meyers. Not too shabby, but far from a success in my eyes! The misses included JK Dobbins, injuries never allowed me to faceplant with my Dynasty RB2 the last offseason. I couldn’t have been more wrong about the forgotten Robby Anderson. This isn’t rah-rah or “fake hype,” everyone will get humbled by this game at some point. Some have it printed on the internet for all to remember and mock. 

Never forget, even Michael Jordan missed shots (spot the lie!!). Anyone who claims to be perfect in this game is full of it. We can minimize error and strive to be the best amongst our league-mates. Is luck involved in this game? Absolutely. Yet like poker, you’ll never see the lucky players at the final table time and time again.

The great Randy “The Macho Man” Savage once said, “The cream always rises to the top.” Fantasy translation: the best will always show why they are the best and weed themselves out from the pretenders. Being six moves ahead is how to stay at the top. With these four players headlined through this article, I’m confident you’ll love what you did sooner than later. Like if you go and acquire them, I said at the beginning of this article, I’m not shooting for just successful campaigns; I’m shooting for the top guy that everyone will wish they made a move to acquire. True difference makers. Four home runs, and I’m calling what part of the outfield each one is leaving. Thank me later when you are cashing your checks, and don’t forget to stretch; it’d be a damn shame to pull a muscle when hoisting that trophy in the air.

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