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Published July 8th
With mandatory minicamp in the books, the next significant date for NFL activity is July 15th when Training Camp officially begins. The dust has finally settled on the NFL Draft and major moves in Free Agency, so it’s never too early to dive into fantasy rankings.
We’ve already featured Top 25 Rookie Rankings geared towards Dynasty Leagues, but with season-long leagues on the horizon, it’s time to take a look at how to strategize fantasy picks in those critical early draft rounds. Here’s a first look at our Top 50 PPR FLEX Rankings for Redraft Leagues.
2022 WagerEdge PPR FLEX Rankings (1-10):
PPR FLEX Redraft Rankings (1-10):
1. Justin Jefferson (MIN) – Despite having a middling Kirk Cousins under center, Jefferson established himself as perhaps the most elite WR talent in the NFL in his sophomore campaign for the Vikings. His 3,016 receiving yards were an NFL record output through 2 seasons, and at 23, the sky is the limit for this kid. Jefferson is a prototypical #1 alpha-male WR with the length and athleticism to exert his physical dominance and bully opposing defenders. He posted tantalizing career-highs across the board with 167 targets, 108 receptions, 1,616 yards and 10 TDs. Jefferson has the talent to elevate his game to another level in Year 3 and is about as unguardable as it gets as a pass-catcher in the NFL.
2. Cooper Kupp (LAR) – What a year for Cooper Kupp. The 2021 Super Bowl MVP also posted video game numbers in the regular season that have since been etched into NFL History. Kupp’s 145 receptions were 2nd all-time to Michael Thomas’ 149 in 2019, and his 1,947 receiving yards, were 2nd only to Calvin Johnson’s 1,964 in 2012. It’s foolish to expect growth from these 2021 totals, but it was Matthew Stafford’s first season as the Rams’ gunslinger, and adding Allen Robinson should free him up even more. Coming off the highest-scoring season ever (440 PPR points), he certainly warrants consideration at first overall.
3. Christian McCaffrey (CAR) – CMC has played 10 games in the past 2 years and the injury debate with him rages on, but nothing is guaranteed in fantasy football, especially with the health of first round RBs. The undeniable fact with McCaffrey is that his PPR ceiling is unmatched at the position, and we can’t ignore that he racked up 213 receptions in his 2018-2019 seasons. At just 26-years old, who is more worthy of high-upside dice roll than CMC? McCaffrey and Jonathan Taylor are the 1A and 1B of RBs in PPR redraft leagues, and are both great options at 1-2 overall, if the strategy is to go RB with your initial picks.
4. Jonathan Taylor (IND) – As fantasy’s top scoring RB in 2021, with 373 PPR points, Taylor deserves consideration for the top overall pick. After toting the rock an NFL-high 332 times, he obliterated his peers statistically, winning the rushing title by 552 yards. Taylor’s 18 rushing TDs were the most since LeGarrette Blount in 2016, and while shifting from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan appears to be an upgrade, TD totals are a clear regression spot. But there is no denying Taylor’s knack for finding the endzone, after watching him account for 31 Colts TDs in the past 2 seasons. The Indianapolis offense will once again be funneled through Taylor in Year 3, who’s also been showcased in the passing game with 76 receptions on 90 targets in his young career.
5. Davante Adams (LV) – The Raiders rewarded the 29-year old with a major payday (5 yr/$142M) after their trade with the Packers, allowing Adams to finish his career on the West Coast near where he grew up, and reunite with his old Fresno State buddy Derek Carr. I could argue for Adams to be the top PPR WR overall in terms of pure talent, but there is only one ball to go around, and Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow have also been highly productive for the Raiders over the past 3 seasons. Adams is bound to be the most featured playmaker in Las Vegas, but it wouldn’t be ideal for his PPR value to cede slot targets to Renfrow, which appears to be the plan.
6. Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) – A consensus #1 ranked dynasty asset, Chase was an absolute stud in his Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, after being selected 5th overall by the Bengals last May. Chase was immensely productive from the jump, routinely blowing the top off opposing defenses with one big play after the next. The LSU product has zero limit to his ceiling with fellow Tiger Joe Burrow running the show, and is poised to improve on his already lofty 81-1455-13 rookie marks. The future is bright in Cincinnati, who look to have reeled in a generational talent in Chase. Draft him early with confidence.
7. Joe Mixon (CIN) – Mixon notched career-highs in carries (292), rushing yards (1,205) and touchdowns (16) last season, and the young, talented Bengals are bound to take another offensive leap in 2022. In PPR redraft leagues, the Mixon vs Chase draft debate will be real decision for fantasy owners trying to get a piece of the Bengals’ offensive wagon. Both players should be coming off draft boards around the same time, and it’s a win-win situation either way you plan to structure your team in the early rounds.
8. Austin Ekeler (LAC) – Concerns about Ekeler’s health seem largely overblown, after he missed just one game for the Chargers in his 5th NFL season. In Year 2 for Justin Herbert, Ekeler recorded the most well-rounded statistical season of his career. After averaging 100 carries in his 4 previous seasons, his rushing attempts ballooned to 206 in 2022. Ekeler has always been wildly productive in the passing game, but we hadn’t seen that production on the ground before, and his 12 rushing TDs was a massive upgrade over his previous career total of 7. Dial him up with confidence in the Chargers’ high-flying offense, and hope he can withstand another hefty workload in Los Angeles.
9. Derrick Henry (TEN) – Henry enters his 7th NFL season at 28-years old, fresh off of missing the final 9 games to a fractured foot. Before the injury, King Henry was averaging 24.5 PPG, a mark that was tops among RBs in 2021. In the 2 seasons before, Henry averaged 314 PPR points, finishing as the RB3 and RB5, and he seems to be rehabbing like a maniac this offseason. This guy is too much of a physical specimen to bet against him returning to form, and I still think he’s got plenty left in the tank. Henry looks like a man on a mission entering 2022, and is the heart and soul of this Titans team.
10. Najee Harris (PIT) – Finishing 3rd among RBs with over 300 PPR points, Najee Harris provided a physical spark on a weekly basis for the Steelers, handling a massive 307-carry workload in his rookie season, which was 2nd only to Jonathan Taylor (332). Harris finished with 1,200 rushing yards and 10 scores, and was heavily reliable for Pittsburgh, suiting up in all 17 games. If the bell-cow rushing stats didn’t already convince you, he also hauled in an RB-best 74 balls on 94 targets, for nearly 500 receiving yards. The QB situation certainly isn’t ideal, but Harris will again be the main catalyst for this offense, and will be flooded with touches once again in 2022.
2022 WagerEdge PPR FLEX Rankings (11-20):
PPR FLEX Redraft Rankings (11-20):
11. Tyreek Hill (MIA) – It’s early July and Tyreek Hill has already trashed his former Super Bowl MVP-winning teammate about his passing accuracy, compared to his new Miami-fling Tua Tagovailoa. I’d argue any QB attribute in favor of Patrick Mahomes in that debate, but the point is, Tyreek is probably going to be fed the ball a ton more than he was in Kansas City. There is an obvious downgrade to the quality of the targets but he should still be a fantastic PPR option in Miami. Few players can throw on the burners like Hill, who will be a problem alongside Jaylen Waddle if Tua can get him the ball with any consistency.
12. Stefon Diggs (BUF) – After wrapping up 2020 as fantasy’s WR3 with 329 PPR points, Diggs finished last season just 43 points lower, as the WR7. Since arriving in Buffalo, he’s averaged 10 targets per game from Josh Allen, as the main catalyst in the Bills high-flying offensive attack. Diggs was rewarded with a 4-year extension this offseason that is bound to link him with Allen for the remainder of his career. He’ll continue to be a major focal point for the Bills in 2022, and is on track for another highly-productive campaign. He could easily be ranked higher than this.
13. Dalvin Cook (MIN) – Cook finished as PPR’s RB6 in 2019, and RB2 in 2020, but his inability to play a full season makes his dependability and production hard to project. But Cook should have an increased receiving role with Rams’ offshoot Kevin O’Connell now running the offense, and he’s bound to inject more creativity into a Vikings offense that had gotten a bit stale under Mike Zimmer. If you can pull it off, handcuffing Cook with Alexander Mattison is arguably the best redraft strategy possible for the value and upside of these 2 RBs. The entire Vikings offense should get a boost from the fresh start in Minnesota, and this team is poised to make a serious run at the NFC North title.
14. Mike Evans (TB) – Despite missing the bulk of 2 games to a hamstring injury, Evans finished as the WR9 with 263 PPR points ,on a slim 16.9% target share. In a Buccaneers offense that also featured Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown in 2021, Evans hauled in 14 of Tom Brady’s NFL-best 43 passing TDs. With Brady returning for an encore in Tampa Bay, Evans is primed to reach single-season career-highs with Godwin recovering from a December ACL injury, Gronk “retiring” and AB gone. Evans has been Mr. Consistent since entering the league, exceeding the 1,000-yard receiving mark in EACH of his 8 NFL seasons. 2022 looks especially bright with the goat back at the helm and a hefty target share on the horizon.
15. Deebo Samuel (SF) – Deebo’s unprecedented productivity as a position-less playmaker last season has indirectly put a cloud over his 2022 outlook. After initially requesting a pre-draft trade, Samuel reported to mandatory minicamp but is still at odds with the team over the true value of the versatility he’s offering the Niners. Deebo rushed the ball 59 times last season, while no other WR had more than 18. He also tallied 1,405 receiving yards which was 5th-best in the NFL, and this hybrid production vaulted him to 339 PPR points, behind only Cooper Kupp (440) and Davante Adams (344). He has to drop a bit in the rankings with the holdout risk, but Samuel would be locked in as a Top 10 option with any financial resolution.
16. Ceedee Lamb (DAL) – It wasn’t the Year 2 leap many were projecting for Lamb, finishing with marginal improvements to the reception and TD numbers he posted in his rookie season. But he’ll have ample opportunity to build upon his 1,102 receiving-yard campaign, with 104 targets vacated from Amari Cooper’s departure, and Michael Gallup likely to begin 2021 on the PUP. Failing hit the 100-yard receiving mark in any game after Week 8, Lamb’s lack of 2nd half production is concerning, but his current outlook is now far different. Lamb is due for a huge uptick in targets in 2022, and all factors are aligning for this to be his biggest season yet.
17. Dionte Johnson (PIT) – Johnson’s 10.6 targets per game were tied with Davante Adams for 2nd-most in the NFL, behind Cooper Kupp (11.2). He’s made a jump in nearly every statistical category in each of his first 3 seasons, showcasing a savvy ability to get open in a flash, and infuse instant offense into the Steelers. Johnson reeled in a whopping 107 passes for 1,164 yards and 8 scores in 2021, which were all career-bests. Some combination of Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett will be under center in 2022, but Johnson is the unquestioned top dog in the passing game, and will once again be littered with high-volume targets.
18. D’Andre Swift (DET) – For fantasy purposes, Swift’s 2021 season should be evaluated based on a sample size of his first 10 games. Swift looked to have been hitting his stride midseason with back-to-back 130+ yard rushing efforts, before going down with a shoulder sprain in Week 12, that would essentially end his season. There is palpable upside for the former Georgia Bulldog in Year 3, and Swift has the versatility to be a complete 3-down back. Swift was averaging over 6 catches per game in 2021, and should have extra room to operate after the field-spreading additions of D.J. Chark and Jameson Williams.
19. Alvin Kamara (NO) – If he is cleared by the NFL with no suspension for the nightclub incident on Pro Bowl Eve, he becomes an instant first rounder, but who knows how that shakes out. The Saints added 2 new weapons out wide in Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, which is bound to open up more space for Kamara, especially with a fantasy-football-capable Jameis Winston at the helm. Kamara has finished in the Top 10 in fantasy scoring among RBs in every season in PPR PPG since he was drafted in 2017. His legal situation is volatile at the moment, but everyone knows he’s an absolute stud when he laces them up.
20. Mark Andrews (BAL) – Andrews was fantasy’s TE1 in 2021, posting career-highs in receptions (107) and receiving yards (1,361). He’s the clear-cut focal point of the Ravens passing offense, and the departure of Hollywood Brown might even allow him to add to his 153 targets from a year ago. The 26-year old enters his 5th season primed to repeat his breakout production and he should be the first off the board at the position. The only red flag for Andrews is that he was highly productive with Tyler Huntley at QB for 5 starts, which could signal that his 2021 numbers are bound for some regression with Lamar Jackson healthy again.
2022 WagerEdge PPR FLEX Rankings (21-30):
PPR FLEX Redraft Rankings (21-30):
21. Nick Chubb (CLE) – Video of Chubb squatting 675 pounds recently hit social media, so he’s clearly putting in the work this offseason as he preps for another hefty workload in 2022. Chubb missed 3 games from chest and leg injuries last season, but him and teammate Kareem Hunt (missing 9 games) both appear back to full strength. The Browns could be an explosive offense with Deshaun Watson, but a suspension seems inevitable, which would ding Chubb’s value a bit. The next man up in Cleveland would likely be Jacoby Brissett, but either way Chubb is bound for a ton of touches, it just remains to be seen what their quality looks like.
22. Travis Kelce (KC) – With Tyreek Hill gone, Kelce is bound to absorb an influx of targets as the most-trusted receiving target for Patrick Mahomes. Kelce has consistently produced at an elite level, averaging 100 catches in each of the past 4 seasons. The Chiefs offense will look different in 2022 without the need to force-feed Hill, which could create more opportunities for Kelce to post even bigger numbers. Kelce finished as the PPR TE1 in EVERY season from 2016-2020, and it took 285 points last year for Mark Andrews to break his ridiculous streak. Kelce has ample opportunity to take back the TE crown in 2022, and could leapfrog Andrews in future rankings.
23. DJ Moore (CAR) – The Panthers’ subpar QB play certainly held Moore back from unlocking his full potential in 2021, but he was still highly productive with the ball in his hands, totaling 452 yards after the catch. Randy Moss is the only NFL WR with more seasons of 1,200 scrimmage yards before age 26, doing it 5 times (between 1998 and 2002) to Moore’s 3. Others who also accomplished this feat 3 times include Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald. He’s in some elite company there, plus the addition of Baker Mayfield can only improve Moore’s 2022 outlook as the WR1 for the Panthers.
24. Leonard Fournette (TB) – Fournette averaged 18.3 PPR points per game in 2021, which was 4th-best among RBs. The Buccaneers rewarded his production with a 3-year extension that will allow him to team up with Tom Brady for at least another year. Brady connected with Fournette 69 times in 14 regular season games, and Playoff Lenny also hauled in 9 balls in a postseason loss to the Rams. Tampa’s potent aerial attack kept defenses honest and freed up Fournette to finish with a career-best 4.5 YPC. Many more quality touches are in store for the former LSU Tiger entering his 6th NFL season.
25. A.J. Brown (PHI) – The Eagles dished out 1st and 3rd round picks to pry A.J. Brown from the Titans, and there’s excitement in Philadelphia over his potential alongside Jalen Hurts, as the two are appear to be building early chemistry this offseason. Brown has a seemingly unlimited ceiling, but has missed time in each of his first 3 seasons. Few players have upside like Brown, and he’s well worth the risk with such tantalizing speed and physical gifts, but injuries are the obvious concern that fantasy owners have the right to be weary of.
26. Aaron Jones (GB) – After back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons, the Packers scaled back the carries for Jones in 2021, largely because AJ Dillon mixed in and toted the rock 187 times. Jones has continued to shine in the passing game, averaging 50 catches over the past 3 seasons, and his 6 receiving TDs last year doubled his previous career-high. With Davante Adams jettisoned to Las Vegas, there could be some extra targets in store for Jones, especially as Dillon gets more involved in the ground game.
27. Javonte Williams (DEN) – I really want to board the Javonte hype-train with everyone else, but the fact is Melvin Gordon remains on the roster and has averaged an effective 4.6 yards in his 418-carry workload the past 2 seasons. I’m bullish on Williams, but if Gordon’s healthy he’ll be involved, which is an obvious ding to the stock of the explosive Tar Heel product. But the addition of Russell Wilson is arguably enough of a gain to offset the presence of Gordon, as this offense figures to be far more dynamic. The upside here is undeniable in a revamped Denver offense, and he’s bound to unlock his RB1 potential sooner than later.
28. Keenan Allen (LAC) – For the 3rd straight year Allen finished with 100+ catches, a mark he’s exceeded 4 times in 9 years. Entering the 2022 season at age 30, he’s held up better than critics would suggest, missing only 3 regular season games over the past 5 seasons. Allen is in a great spot to succeed once again, given the rapid ascension of Justin Herbert, whose 5,014 passing yards were 2nd only to Tom Brady (5,316). Allen has always been PPR gold, but he’s never topped 8 TDs in a season, which always leaves something to be desired.
29. Tee Higgins (CIN) – Higgins is often overlooked when taking a first glance at the Bengals offense, but he really shouldn’t be. He outproduced teammate Tyler Boyd last season, and even topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark despite missing 3 games. Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase were 1 of 3 receiving tandems to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in 2021, joining Tampa’s Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and LA’s Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. As the biggest body in the Cincinnati passing game, it’s only a matter of time before Higgins produces double-digit TDs in his young career.
30. Mike Williams (LAC) – Along with Keenan Allen, Williams was the other major piece of the receiving pie for the Chargers. The former 7th overall pick finally reached his lofty potential in Year 5, where he turned his 129 targets into 76 catches for 1,146 yards and 9 scores. This prompted the Chargers to dole out a 3-year extension worth $60M to the former Clemson Tiger, who has established himself as one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets. Williams has a great chance to once again notch single-season career highs, and presents the greatest downfield and redzone mismatches of any pass-catcher on the Chargers.
2022 WagerEdge PPR FLEX Rankings (31-40):
|36||WR||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||14||14.0|
|39||WR||Travis Etienne Jr.||JAX||11||N/A|
PPR FLEX Redraft Rankings (31-40):
31. Darnell Mooney (CHI) – With Allen Robinson joining the Rams, Mooney becomes the undisputed top dog in the Bears receiving room. The Tulane product went over 1,000 receiving yards in his sophomore campaign, despite dealing with an underwhelming mix of Andy Dalton, Nick Foles and Justin Fields. Matt Nagy was clearly hindering the growth of Fields, and a new coaching staff around the former first rounder should aid in his development. Mooney and Fields trained together in Atlanta back in March, and the improved chemistry could unlock a major leap for Mooney in Year 3. Mooney might be the biggest “my guy” tag for me this season, and I can’t get enough shares of him.
32. Amari Cooper (CLE) – Reports are all over the map on Deshaun Watson in 2022, ranging from zero games to a full-season suspension being rumored. The outcome of the NFL’s decision on Watson has the greatest impact on the stock of Amari Cooper, who the Browns acquired for minimal draft capital in an essential salary dump by the Cowboys. Dallas’ trash looks like Cleveland’s treasure, and the 28-year old is still in the midst of his prime and will be a target vacuum with a chip on his shoulder. Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper were the most heavily-targeted Browns in 2021 and are vacating a combined 148 targets. But the target quality dropoff from Watson to Jacoby Brissett will certainly have an impact here, so stay tuned.
33. Terry McLaurin (WAS) – Scary Terry just inked a 3-year extension for up to $71M to stay in DC with Carson Wentz projected to be at the helm Commanders in 2022. But Wentz could be on a short leash with Taylor Heinicke and rookie Sam Howell also on the roster. McLaurin has produced at an elite level in his first 3 seasons despite a revolving-door at QB, and has also recorded back-to-back 130+ target seasons. Few players have the explosive speed of McLaurin, and if they can ever get consistent QB play in Washington, his stock would soar even higher.
34. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – Everyone’s down on Zeke’s stock right now and clamoring for more Tony Pollard touches. But the truth is, he’s really becoming a strong value at this point. In 2021, Elliott finished with his 4th career 1,000-yard season and recorded double-digit rushing TDs for a 3rd time. Zeke also continues to eat in the passing game and has averaged 58 receptions over the past 4 seasons, which is an element of his game that feels often overlooked. Elliott should have plenty of offseason fuel to prove the doubters wrong after being shutdown in an early playoff exit to the 49ers, and although he’s entering his 7th season, is still just 26 years old.
35. Kyle Pitts (ATL) – It’s easy to get enamored by the freak athleticism of Pitts, who is truly a unicorn of a TE prospect with pre-draft measurables at 93rd percentile or above in hand size, wingspan, 40-yard dash, 20-yard split and broad jump. At 6’6″, he’s also 80th percentile in height, and alongside 6″4″ rookie WR Drake London, this duo will be a tall task for opposing defenses. With Matt Ryan in Indianapolis, the Falcons will enter the season with a new starting QB for the first time since 2007, as they hand over the reigns to Marcus Mariota and 3rd-rounder Desmond Ridder. Pitts topped the 1,000 yard receiving mark as a rookie and the sky is the limit for him in Year 2. He’s a guy that should fly off draft boards quicker than expected in 2022.
36. Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) – In Year 2, Pittman Jr. vowed to double every line he posted as a rookie and did just that, finishing with 88-1,082-6. Despite Carson Wentz being held under 200 passing yards 8 times last season, Pittman Jr. emerged as a true #1 taking on a 25.9% target share for the Colts. Matt Ryan taking over for the Colts is a clear boost to everyone in the passing game, but Pittman Jr. is the biggest beneficiary. He’s primed for a huge leap in Year 3, especially as defenses load up the box to stop the Colts’ potent run game, which should yield substantial big play opportunities in 2022.
37. George Kittle (SF) – Injuries are everyone’s concern when analyzing Kittle, almost to the point where he’s becoming a value. His track record of productivity is proven finishing as PPR’s TE3 in 2018 (259 points), TE2 in 2019 (223 points) and TE3 in 2021 (193 points). Kittle had his most injury-shortened season in 2020, appearing in only 8 games, but even then his 14.8 PPG was the 3rd highest average among TEs. With Deebo Samuel still holding out, Kittle could be relied upon even more if Samuel’s dealt or if his contract standoff leaks into the regular season. Kittle enters his 6th NFL season at 28-years old and he plays with a unique physicality seldom seen at the position. Injury risks are clear, but his immense upside helps to offset those concerns.
38. Cam Akers (LAR) – Akers was a 2nd-rounder of the Rams in the 2020 NFL Draft, and despite an up and down rookie year, he shined in the playoffs with 272 scrimmage yards and 2 scores against the Packers and Seahawks. Heading into Year 2, Akers suffered a torn Achilles a week before training camp and was sidelined for the majority of the season. A rocky start to his NFL career, but there’s plenty of optimism around former Seminole in 2022, as he should finally be back to full strength with the opportunity to blossom into the dynamic playmaker that we’ve seen glimpses of. Akers carries more risk than most at the RB position, but is a dual-threat back in a great offense who projects to get a ton of quality touches.
39. Travis Etienne Jr. (JAX) – After being selected out of Clemson with the 25th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Etienne Jr. suffered a Lisfranc tear in Week 2 of the Preseason that would shelf him for the entire year. He should slide into an immediate RB1 role for the Jaguars in 2022, with James Robinson still working his way back from an Achilles injury. Etienne Jr. is primed for a major role in the passing game and will have significant standalone value in PPR leagues even when Robinson returns. After being college teammates from 2018-2020, Etienne J.r and Trevor Lawrence will finally play a meaningful game together on the NFL stage in 2022. Get on board here before the Etienne Jr hype-train gets out of control.
40. Darren Waller (LV) – Waller is bound to be undervalued entering fantasy drafts. He’s coming off an injury-riddled season where he missed 5 games, and the arrival of Davante Adams and emergence of Hunter Renfrow make you wonder where the targets will come from. But let’s not forget about his 2019-2020 seasons with the Raiders when Waller didn’t miss a game and tallied 197 catches and 2,341 yards. Get ready to pounce if he slides down the draft board.
2022 WagerEdge PPR FLEX Rankings (41-50):
PPR FLEX Redraft Rankings (41-50):
41. Chris Godwin (TB) – Godwin suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 15 and should be very much eased into the mix, as Tom Brady’s Bucs chase another Lombardi trophy. Given that Tampa Bay truly needs him back to full strength for the meaningful December and January games, his redraft outlook gets a bit murky when you look at early season usage. Russell Gage was brought in to fill the void left by the Godwin injury and departure of Antonio Brown, and strangely enough could be a worthy WR handcuff for Godwin. If he lands on the PUP list, that would cost him 6 games and boot him out of our Top 50, but with such an elite ceiling his rehab progress is something to monitor closely.
42. Jaylen Waddle (MIA) – The offseason addition of Tyreek Hill threw some cold water on Waddle’s breakout rookie campaign, but this kid is a stud. Waddle flashed his gamebreaking talent regularly despite the mediocre QB play, and his 104 catches were 7th most in the NFL. Waddle and Hill should form a truly dynamic duo for the Dolphins, and now Tua has no excuse to not make a significant jump in 2022. Waddle’s bound to be devalued a bit come draft time and you should welcome the chance to snatch him up.
43. James Conner (ARI) – The grass was truly greener for Conner in Arizona, who reached the endzone 18 times for the Cardinals despite starting only 6 games in 2021. Conner parlayed his 1-year prove-it deal into a lucrative 3-year extension with the Cardinals after toting the rock 202 times while also establishing himself as a difference-maker in the passing game. The Cardinals were bullish enough on Conner that they let Chase Edmonds walk in Free Agency, and as long as Conner’s healthy he has minimal competition for RB touches. Conner really projects to be an undervalued commodity in a high-flying Arizona offense that should put up a ton of points.
44. Courtland Sutton (DEN) – All fantasy options on the Broncos got a massive upgrade with Russell Wilson being injected into a Denver offense with an abundance of young talent. Sutton appears to be the biggest beneficiary as a big-bodied target for Wilson, and should be rejuvenated back to fantasy relevance in 2022. With teammate Jerry Jeudy facing discipline for an offseason arrest, Sutton will have a big role out of the gate and will become a favorite target of Wilson in short order. The 26-year old is primed for a career-year in his 5th NFL season in an offense that projects to be far more explosive than in recent years.
45. Brandin Cooks (HOU) – Cooks will be 28 heading into the 2022 season, and has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark 6 times as a member of 4 different teams. He did so in 2021 mainly with Davis Mills under center and in the 12 games they played together, Cooks finished with 7+ receptions 6 times, with 3 100+ yard games. Mills has been force-feeding Cooks at a high volume and the full-season 2022 outlook is ripe, especially from a PPR perspective, as Cooks’ averaged 9 targets and 6+ catches per game with Mills. I’m higher than most on Cooks, but he definitely has sleeper appeal if he slides too far in drafts.
46. D.K. Metcalf (SEA) – Metcalf and company got a vicious downgrade this offseason, as the Seahawks now project to have Drew Lock taking Week 1 snaps at QB. He’s clearly not enticed by the QB room or his contract situation, as Metcalf is currently holding out in the final year of his rookie deal. Metcalf would gain value if he were to be traded pretty much anywhere else, but he’d still be a target hog if he were to stick in Seattle. The 2022 picture is a bit murky for Metcalf as we look at it in July, but a lot should change in the coming weeks and months.
47. Drake London (ATL) – London cashed in on being the first WR off the board at 8th overall in this deep, talented WR class and should be an immediate contributor for the Falcons. London and Kyle Pitts have the ability to be a prolific tandem for years to come in Atlanta, and will both showcase an elite catch radius. The Falcons duo will become matchup nightmares for opposing defenses in the redzone. The biggest question mark here is at QB, as the Falcons will be rolling with 2 QBs who profile quite similarly, with 40s in the 4.5 range, in Marcus Mariota and incoming rookie Desmond Ridder.
48. Marquise Brown (ARI) – Hollywood Brown was PPR’s WR6 through 10 weeks, before his production dropped off significantly in the 6 games that Tyler Huntley filled in for Lamar Jackson to finish the year. It’l be a different story in 2022, as Brown reunites with his old Sooner pal Kyler Murray, joining a far more explosive passing offense. The QB-WR tandem combined for 2,417 yards and 17 TDs in 2 seasons at Oklahoma, and are bound to put up major numbers early on with DeAndre Hopkins not returning from suspension until Week 7. There is some concern about his late-season target volume but not enough, to offset his electric big-play upside with Murray at the helm.
49. Antonio Gibson (WAS) – Gibson has finished as PPR’s RB12 and RB13 the past 2 seasons, playing through a flurry of injuries along the way. Gibson has emerged as a reliable option for fantasy owners, tallying the 4th-most carries (258) and 6th-most rushing yards (1,037) in 2021. He’s also displayed a knack for finding the endzone, reaching double-digit scores in both NFL seasons. Washington added a 3rd-round bruiser in Alabama’s Brian Robinson Jr. who could vulture some goal line carries, but J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson don’t pose much of a threat to his overall workload. Gibson would be an ideal snag as an RB2 on fantasy rosters but has RB1 upside in the newly revamped Commanders offense.
50. David Montgomery (CHI) – There’s much more to be excited about for the Bears in the post-Matt Nagy Era, who brought in Luke Getsy from Green Bay as Offensive Coordinator, to jump-start Chicago’s recently stale and stagnant play-calling efforts. There are a slew of Bears that would stand to benefit in fantasy from more creativity and better execution on offense, and perhaps Getsy is the one to unlock that potential. Montgomery has shouldered a hefty load in his 3 NFL seasons, registering 714 carries, but appears to have more untapped potential than he’s shown. Only Khalil Herbert poses much of a threat for backfield touches in 2022, but he was only used sparingly in his rookie year, aside for the 4 games Montgomery was sidelined.