Fantasy Football: Outlook for Players on New Teams

By Steve Tsilimos | Posted 1 year ago

Imagine it’s 1999, and you’re gathering in your friend’s basement to do your live fantasy football draft on a big whiteboard. As you throw a CD into the boombox that you burnt for the draft, the 1998 MVP Terrell Davis is being selected as the No. 1 overall pick. The big question in the room is how Marshall Faulk will do on a new team with a QB that no one had heard of. Faulk was coming off the best year with Indianapolis, and the Colts decided to trade him to the Rams so they could draft Edgerrin James.


It would have been easy to stay away from Faulk in the first round of that fantasy draft because of the uncertainty surrounding him. Faulk was headed to a team that was horrible the year before (4-12) with the 27th-ranked offense. But as the old Latin saying goes, “fortune favors the bold,” and anyone bold enough to draft Faulk that year would have been rewarded with the top fantasy player.


Talent can only take a player so far in the NFL. The situation is as important or sometimes more than the actual talent of the player. The name of the game for fantasy football is touches. If an RB or WR is expected to touch the ball a lot in an offense, they have value, no matter their talent. All that being said, sometimes it’s also best to bet on talent no matter how bad the team may look from the year before. In the example above, the talented Faulk was coming to an unproven offense that he helped morph into the “greatest show on turf,” and he became a fantasy god for multiple years.


Buy, or Sell Players on New Teams

After the huge shake-up in the receiver landscape this offseason, many drafters are uncertain about how some of the top names are going to fare this season. A year agoTyreek Hill and Davante Adams were WRs that were easy to predict because they were in situations that had not changed much. Is it safe to assume that they will repeat as top pass-catchers just because they have the proven skill-set, or does their new situation change their outlook?


I will go through some of the top players that changed teams this offseason and decide if they are players to buy or sell at their current average draft position (ADP). Everything in fantasy football is based on a player's draft cost. You may not want a player at the end of the first round but jump all over that same player if he is around in the third. I will be using for the ADP. 

WR Davante Adams – Las Vegas Raiders

ADP 11 – (WR5)


Davante Adams has been as consistent as they come for fantasy managers, finishing no worse than WR5 since 2018. That was with HoF QB Aaron Rodgers feeding him the ball in Green Bay. Adams’ 169 targets were tied for second most in the NFL last year. The Packers ranked 16th in total pass attempts with 569, which means Adams received a ridiculous 29% of the Packers' targets. 


The Raiders not only went out and brought in new players but also hired offensive-minded Josh McDaniels as their head coach. With McDaniels calling the shots in Vegas it is pointless to examine how their offense operated last year. As the offensive coordinator in New England McDaniels was responsible for the No. 1 offense in the league three times 2007, 2012, and 2017. I bring that up because I believe the Raiders have all the pieces to be the No. 1 offense in the league this year. 


Adams may see his targets drop slightly but not much because the Raiders will throw the ball more often than the Packers did a year ago. Darren Waller will also eat into Adams’ red-zone targets, but the Raiders should be in the red zone a lot this year. Derek Carr is not as talented as Rodgers, but he is a good QB that will be able to get the ball to Adams all over the field as McDaniels schemes creative ways to do it. Adams will finish the year as a top-five WR once again, making him a buy as the fifth WR off the board. 

2022 Outlook – Buy


WR Tyreek Hill – Miami Dolphins

ADP 21 – (WR8)


Tyreek Hill is going from one of the best offenses led by one of the best coaches to an unproven offense led by a first-year head coach. He’s also going from a former MVP QB-Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa who has not proven he can fuel a top receiver in fantasy.  


Hill’s speed and playmaking ability are undeniable, which is why he is still ranked so high. But in 2021 Hill posted career lows in yards after the catch per reception (4.3, 42nd) and yards per route run (2.14, 11th). His current ADP has him ranked as if he can repeat what he did with the Chiefs last year. I am not buying that. Tagovailoa will struggle to get him the ball downfield, and HC Mike McDaniel will not be able to scheme him open as well as Andy Reid.

2022 Outlook – Sell

WR A.J. Brown – Philadelphia Eagles

ADP 27 – (WR13)


A.J. Brown has been one of the few receivers to truly excel in a run-first offense. In 2020 Brown finished as WR5 despite having Derrick Henry rush for over 2,000 yards. Last season Brown dealt with injuries and still finished fourth in yards per route run (2.72) and in target rate per route run (28%). 


The Eagles finished last season as one of the more run-heavy teams in the NFL, and many people believe they will implement the same strategy in 2022. I on the other hand think the Eagles will be more balanced this year and will let Jalen Hurts air it out as they did at the beginning of last year. Either way Brown has a solid floor as the Eagles’ top receiver.


Brown’s addition gives the Eagles three very good pass-catchers because both DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert emerged last year as solid options. With one of the easier schedules in the NFL, the Eagles could end up having a top-10 offense this year. Plus, year three has consistently been the year that NFL QBs take a huge leap i.e. Josh Allen and Brown is the perfect guy to help Hurts take that next step in his third year. 

2022 Outlook – Buy


WR Amari Cooper – Cleveland Browns

ADP 61 – (WR24)


Amari Cooper played in 15 games last year with Dallas, and he finished as WR27 which is right around his career average. He entered the year as the Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver, but things got cloudy with the emergence of CeeDee Lamb. Cooper is now the No. 1 guy on a run-first team with a question mark at QB.


Deshaun Watson was given a six-game suspension, but the league is appealing that ruling, and it looks like he could miss the entire 2022 season. Jacoby Brissett is slated to be QB1 in Cleveland in the meantime and if Cooper can only finish as WR27 with Dak Prescott what makes anyone think he is WR24 right now? I’m staying away from all the Browns pass catchers not named David Njoku

2022 Outlook – Sell

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Kansas City Chiefs

ADP 77 – (WR31)


JuJu Smith-Schuster is walking into a dream situation in Kansas City. A perennial Super Bowl contender with one of the best coaches and QB in the NFL. After a solid rookie campaign, Smith-Schuster followed up with an All-Pro sophomore season in 2018. Many thought he was going to be WR1 in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future.


Injuries derailed two of his last three seasons and during those years the Steelers, as they do best, drafted some other WRs to start feeding the ball to. In 2020, the last season Smith-Schuster was healthy, and he finished as WR17 with Ben Roethlisbergers dying arm throwing him the ball. The Chiefs will put Smith-Schuster in situations to succeed, and he has the talent to make the most out of those situations. If he plays in all 17 games, he will be a top-15 WR easily. I would not be surprised if Smith-Schuster outperforms Tyreek Hill this year. 

2022 Outlook – Buy, Buy, Buy


QB Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos

ADP 73 – (QB10)


There is a trend that started in 2020 that Wilson could be the beneficiary of this season. That trend: a veteran QB wins a Super Bowl the first season with a new team. Wilson walks into an excellent situation where new head coach Nathaniel Hackett has handed him the reigns to run the offense how he wants. Wilson is thrust into an offense with plenty of weapons, and he will be competing in a division where they will need to score plenty of points to win.


There is no debate that Wilson has been a solid QB1 throughout his career. He has finished among the top-six fantasy QBs five times since 2014. It has been a long time coming that Wilson would get to run an offense better suited to his game instead of Pete Carroll’s archaic offense. He should find instant success in Denver and be able to finish as a top-six QB once again.

2022 Outlook – Buy

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