The countdown to kickoff is officially underway as we have entered week two of the NFL preseason, and are just over two weeks away from the regular season beginning. With Fantasy Football being more popular than ever before, many players will begin drafting their teams over the next few weeks. As managers prepare for their drafts, let's dive into a few players that fantasy managers should avoid in 2022.
1. Antonio Gibson: RB, Washington Commanders
Gibson has finished as a top twenty running back in the last two seasons, however, there is concern for Gibson heading into the 2022 season. In 2020 and 2021, Gibson was the lead back for Washington in the running game but has had an inconsistent role in the receiving game for Washington. Running back J.D. McKissic has captured the reps for passing downs as well as most third down plays for Washington, creating frustration for Gibson owners. Furthermore, Gibson has had ball security issues since entering the league. Totaling six fumbles over the last two seasons, tied for the most in the NFL over those two years. It was also reported this week that Gibson was seen taking snaps with the special teams unit as well as the third team offense. I currently have Gibson ranked as RB22 in fantasy.
2. Josh Jacobs: RB, Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas decided this offseason to not pick up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option, meaning that Jacobs is entering a make-or-break year. Jacobs finished as the RB13 last year, largely due to expanded work in the passing game. However, it is unlikely he will repeat his production in the passing game. Running backs Kenyan Drake and potentially Ameer Abdullah will see the majority of the work for the Raiders' passing offense. There is also some concern that Jacobs ends up splitting reps between rookie running back Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah in the running game as well. Which would cause his value to plummet. Jacobs recorded a career-low of under nine hundred rushing yards in 2021, to go along with nine touchdowns. I currently have Jacobs ranked as my RB19.
3. DK Metcalf: WR, Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf was able to put up twelve touchdowns last season, even though he was stuck with subpar QB talent for most of 2021. Metcalf and the Seahawks come into this year with Geno Smith in line to be the starting Quarterback which is a cause for concern for fantasy managers. However, there still is upside to DK Metcalf even with Geno Smith under center. Metcalf averaged just under fifteen fantasy points per game (14.9) in the three games he appeared in without Russell Wilson. If Metcalf can become the consistent option he was with Russell Wilson, then he’ll easily finish among the top wideouts. However, I feel that Metcalf is closer to his floor than his potential ceiling. I currently have Metcalf ranked as my WR21.
4. Elijah Mitchell: RB, San Francisco 49ers
Mitchell took over the starting role in the backfield for the 49ers in 2021 as a rookie and didn’t look back. Finishing as the RB14 in 2021, Mitchell ran for just over nine hundred and sixty yards (963) and five touchdowns while also bringing in one receiving touchdown. Mitchell has incredible upside, but the only thing that concerns me is the possibility of Kyle Shanahan electing to use a committee of backs, which he has often done in the past. Furthermore, Mitchell lacks a presence in the passing offense, minimalizing the opportunities he will receive going forward. If Mitchell comes out as the workhorse back for San Francisco, then I do not doubt his ability to be an RB1 candidate. Mitchell is currently ranked as my RB20 going into 2022.
5. Amari Cooper: WR, Cleveland Browns
Amari Cooper spent the past few seasons trapped in a crowded wide receiver room in Dallas. After being traded to Cleveland, Cooper has new hopes of being a number one wide receiver. However, after the latest ruling in Deshaun Watson’s appeal case, Cooper will be catching passes from Jacoby Brissett for the first eleven games of the season. Cooper still has potential, and should be the number one option for the Browns but, their Quarterback play concerns me. Cooper is currently being ranked in the late twenties for receiver rankings. One player that is worth consideration for Cleveland is Tight End David Njoku, as Jacoby Brissett has a history of consistently targeting Tight Ends.
6. Dawson Knox: TE, Buffalo Bills
We’ll continue to talk about the Tight End position, as Buffalo’s Dawson Knox is the next player on the list. Knox had the best season of his career in 2021, but there are uncertainties when asking if he can continue to improve. Knox was heavily dependent on touchdowns last season, hauling in nine in fifteen games, but is unlikely to repeat that production. The Bills’ decision to sign OJ Howard also hurts Knox’s stock. Knox is currently rounding out the top ten for Tight End rankings on most databases.
7. Any Miami Dolphins Running Back
Miami brought in multiple new faces this offseason including first-year Head Coach, Mike McDaniel, from the 49ers. Miami continued to be active, this time in the free agency market, signing three different running backs to their roster. McDaniel is coming from an offensive system that used multiple different backs in San Francisco, which doesn’t bode well for any of the Dolphins' current running backs. McDaniel may shuffle backs in both the running and passing game, limiting the possibility that one specific running back takes a larger role than the others. However, if there are reports that come out of training camp stating a different case; it seems likely Chase Edmonds will be slightly more involved than the other backs.
*All stats were received from ESPN Stats & Info. Department, and FantasyPros.com