Jeff Ratcliffe’s 2022 Fantasy Avoids

There is no such thing as a “do not draft” player in fantasy football. If you’ve been told that there is such a thing, I’m sorry, but you’ve been fed lies. Every player has a value breaking point. If they’re on the board long enough, they become a value. However, the reality of drafts is that players will go in certain ranges, and some of these players are bad options where they’re being drafted. So, we’re not outright fading players, but rather we’re fading players in certain ranges of our drafts. Below you’ll find a list of players who are generally being overvalued by fantasy drafters based on Sleeper ADP.

If you’d like more information on draft strategy, be sure to check out my Fantasy Football Draft Strategy Guide and my Draft Day Checklist. You can also take a look at my latest fantasy football rankings. Promo code “RATPACK” will get you 20% off any FTN subscription.

General Fades

Quarterbacks in the Early Rounds of 1QB Leagues

The position is so deep that you’re much more likely to make up ground on your opponents in the middle and especially late rounds than you are at the other skill positions. Let someone else draft likes of Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in the early rounds.

Any Kicker or Defense Before the Last Two Rounds

Drafting the top players at either position rarely works out well. In fact, many fantasy managers blindly draft the top defense on their board without considering who that defense faces in Week 1. I wrote up an article on fantasy defenses to target in your drafts if you want more intel on which defense to go after. As for kicker, just draft the top guy left on your board in the last round. You’re more than likely going to stream both positions during the season, so it isn’t worth investing any draft capital in them.

Handcuffs of Top-10 Backs Who You Didn’t Draft

To be clear, you should absolutely draft the handcuff of any top-10 backs you draft. If you want more information here, check out my article on fantasy football handcuffs. However, drafting the handcuff of a top back who isn’t on your roster almost always ends with you dropping that player by the third or fourth week of the season. Don’t waste the pick and instead look elsewhere, like a high ceiling wideout.

Specific Fades

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

ADP 2.11

Somehow, Saquon Barkley went from a “do not draft” just a few months ago to a somewhat sexy pick right now, but nothing has changed. Yes, he’s the clear lead back in the Giants’ offense, but that’s been the case in each of the last two years. Last season, he proved to be a major disappointment, and that wasn’t just because of the injuries. Unlike fellow oft-injured back Christian McCaffrey, Barkley just hasn’t produced high-end numbers when he’s been on the field over the past two seasons.

Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos

ADP 2.12

Don’t get me wrong, I love Javonte Williams from a talent situation. But drafting him this high is simply ignoring the overall situation in Denver. Not only did the Broncos bring back Melvin Gordon, but new head coach Nathaniel Hackett has said that he wants a “big stable” of backs “because you always want to try to split the load as much as you can.”

Yes, fantasy managers are well aware that Gordon said the team wants Williams to be the man, but that wasn’t the whole quote. Gordon said, “I think they have a plan on what they want heading in, but as far as the rotation goes, I really don’t know … I think they want ‘Vonte’ to be the guy, but we do rotate .” That’s much less convincing than the quote that ran in the headlines. Be careful with Williams.

Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

ADP 4.05

Recently, Rich Cimini called Michael Carter the Jets RB1. While the fantasy crowd certainly overreacted to this quote, it does suggest that Breece Hall isn’t going to be the instant bell cow many expected him to be. Hall should still lead the Jets in carries, but Carter is going to be involved.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Commanders

ADP 5.01

Antonio Gibson’s stock has sunk like a lead balloon over the last month, so it’s unlikely you’d be drafting him in this range. But just in case you’re using old fantasy football rankings, you’ll want to move Gibson down. The Commanders look like they’ll be using a full-blown committee with JD McKissic handling passing downs, rookie Brian Robinson in short-yardage and early down work, and Gibson as a change-of-pace satellite back.

JK Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

ADP 5.06

The third-year back is still recovering from a torn ACL and that seems to be flying under the radar for many fantasy drafters. It’s yet to be seen exactly when he’s back on the field, and ESPN’s Jamison Hensley went as far as suggesting “It’s too early to predict when Dobbins will get back to receiving double-digit touches in games.” We could end up seeing a lot of Mike Davis early in the season, so be careful with Dobbins.

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

ADP 6.05

Michael Thomas completely burned fantasy managers last year and is far from a lock to be on the field when the season starts. Not only is Thomas still getting back up to speed from his ankle injury, but he also suffered an apparent hamstring injury in practice this past week.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

ADP 6.09

The former Steelers wideout is positioned as the new top wide receiver in Kansas City, but that doesn’t mean he’ll inherit Tyreek Hill’s target share. With Hill out of the mix, the Chiefs will likely spread the ball around to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and rookie Skyy Moore. Travis Kelce will also remain a fixture for targets. This new setup could result in a lot of week-to-week inconsistencies in terms of which wideout produces the biggest fantasy numbers.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

ADP 6.12

Adam Thielen 2022 Fantasy Football Fades

Yes, he’s finished well for fantasy purposes over the last two seasons despite Justin Jefferson’s ascending play. However, Adam Thielen’s production has been very touchdown-dependent while his volume and efficiency have tailed off. It would be one thing if he was in the WR40-WR45 range, but he’s being drafted as a WR31 right now, which is just too bullish for a touchdown-dependent aging wide receiver.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

ADP 7.05

If it was based strictly on talent, this would be an absolute steal for DeAndre Hopkins. But, of course, the veteran will miss the first six games of the season due to suspension. That’s a long time to roster a guy who is being drafted as a top-36 wide receiver. Let someone else grab him in this range.

Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans

ADP 8.08

As much as I wanted this one to happen, things just seem to have lined up for the rookie first-rounder. Negative reports clouded his offseason progress, and that continued into camp. As it stands, Treylon Burks isn’t going to be a first-teamer to start the season and has also missed practice due to an undisclosed injury. That doesn’t mean Burks won’t ever hit for fantasy purposes, but he’s certainly being overvalued by fantasy drafters right now.

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Denver Broncos

ADP 11.01

It looked like we were set for an Albert O breakout following the trade that sent Noah Fant to the Seahawks, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The not only did the Broncos draft upside move tight end Greg Dulcich, but Albert Okwuegbunam’s usage and playing time in the preseason does not suggest he’s being viewed as the top pass-catching tight end on the roster. Avoid him in the late rounds and opt for a different upside tight end.

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