Monday, February 6, 2023

2022 Fantasy Football Quarterback Preview: Projections, sleepers, breakouts, busts and more

There is a consensus top three at the quarterback position with Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes. In fact, an inordinate number of rankers actually have them ranked in that order. That might be enough to make you think that the first tier of quarterbacks is three deep. I think that would be a mistake, one that many in the industry are making. Because Lamar Jackson absolutely belongs in Tier 1 as much as anyone else.

Last year’s “down” year for Jackson can be explained by two things. A lack of touchdowns and the fact that he played just 10 snaps in Week 14 against the Browns. Through Week 13 Jackson ranked as QB8 and his 24.3 FPPG would have finished the year tied with Dak Prescott for QB7. While that’s certainly not as good as the best we’ve seen from Jackson, it’s better than how his year typically gets framed.

Wide receiver preview | Running back preview

As for the touchdowns, he produced a 4.2% passing touchdown rate, which is a full two points below his career rate. At his career rate, he would have been expected to throw 24 touchdown passes last year. He threw 16. His rushing touchdown rate (1.5%) was almost as far off his career rate (3.4%). All told, Jackson produced 10 fewer touchdowns last year than his career rate would suggest he did. 

There are plenty of possible reasons for this. Jackson could have just had a little bad luck — these rates do fluctuate. Or it could be that his disastrous offensive line play made things more difficult in the red zone. Perhaps it’s because his top three running backs all went down before Week 1. The one thing all three of those reasons have is that they aren’t connected to 2022. The offensive line improved and J.K. Dobbins is working his way back. In other words, expect more touchdowns in 2022, and expect Jackson to be fighting with Allen, Herbert, and Mahomes for QB1. 

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Quarterback draft strategy

In past years this has been a shorter section. Simply wait, and then wait some more. But it’s become difficult to stream your way to a championship simply because of how good the elite have been. So I’m changing my strategy a bit as well.

I would be happy to draft any of Allen, Herbert, Mahomes, or Jackson in Round 4. To some of you, it still sounds like I’m waiting because that’s impossible in your league. I get it. If you miss out on the big four, I’d look for Jalen Hurts in Round 6 or Tom Brady in Round 7. Miss them as well? Now we’re back to waiting, and you’ll need two of them to get the upside and floor you need.

Forgetting rounds for a moment, if I miss on the top eight or nine quarterbacks, I want one of Trey Lance or Justin Fields, and Fields is usually quite a bit cheaper. I also want one of Kirk Cousins or Matthew Stafford. If I miss both, I’ll have to settle for Derek Carr or Jameis Winston at their dirt-cheap cost.

Now let’s take a look at the breakouts, sleepers and busts. As a reminder, sleepers and busts are heavily influenced by ADP, and for this version, we’re using FantasyPros Consensus ADP

Projections powered by Sportsline

Projections powered by Sportsline

Projections powered by Sportsline

Numbers to know

  • 6.3 — Yards per carry for Josh Allen last year. That’s almost 2 full yards higher than his 2019 and 2020 production.
  • 51 — Joe Burrow was sacked 51 times last season. The Bengals went to great lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
  • 1 — Dak Prescott only scored one rushing touchdown last year. He averaged six per 17 games in the first five years of his career. Expect him to score more this year.
  • 494 — Pass attempts for the Eagles last year, the lowest in the league. Expect Jalen Hurts to soar past that number in 2022 now that they’ve added A.J. Brown.
  • 27.3 — Patrick Mahomes leads all quarterbacks in Fantasy points per game over the past three seasons. Notably, that does not include his best season in 2018.
  • 51.6 — Justin Fields averaged 51.6 rushing yards per game in his final seven starts. He could be Fantasy relevant even without a big leap as a passer.
  • 304 — Lamar Jackson averaged 304 yards from scrimmage per game in 2021. That was a career-high.

Draft to stream

Jameis Winston at Falcons, vs Buccaneers

With Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry Winston has one of the best collections of weapons in the league and faces a porous Falcons defense in Week 1 followed by a revenge game against his former team in Week 12. There’s like a 30% chance that Winston produces like a starting Fantasy QB all year.

Matt Ryan at Texans, at Jaguars

I’m a little concerned about the pass volume in Indianapolis, but Frank Reich is doing his best to assuage those feelings. Regardless, Ryan shouldn’t need more than 30 passes against the Texans and Jaguars to put up top-12 numbers,

Carson Wentz vs Jaguars, at Lions

As I wrote in the sleeper section, I believe Wentz is underrated and may have the best receiving corps of his career. More importantly, he faces a pair of bad defenses the first two weeks of the season that shouldn’t put much pressure on him at all.

Format Matters

Better in leagues that reward four points per pass TD: Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, Trey Lance

Better in leagues that allow you to start more than one QB: Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Davis Mills, Mac Jones, Jared Goff

Tiers

Projections

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