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2022 Fantasy Football Opportunity Tracker: Bills and Patriots

The 2022 Opportunity Tracker is where fantasy football managers come to discover fantasy value and potential sleepers. We uncover value by analyzing team target distribution and adjusting for offseason additions and subtractions. Many players will have new homes in 2022-23 and leading up to the NFL Draft (April 28-30), this series provides some high-level insight into the fantasy impact of important offseason moves for each team. Using this insight, we can help managers stay ahead of the curve in dynasty leagues and uncover vacant roles where teams may rely on newcomers and/or rookies to make an impact.

One of the main concepts we use in this series is “Weighted Opportunity“, created by Scott Barrett at Pro Football Focus. Weighted Opportunity (wOpp) is a great way to equalize the value between targets and carries, particularly for running backs. The calculations for this series were done manually, using statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference.

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Buffalo Bills: Gettin’ Diggy Wit It

Key Additions: Jamison Crowder, O.J. Howard

Notable Losses: Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders

Vacant RB Weighted Opportunities: 31

Vacant WR/TE Targets: 184

Devin Singletary will be the subject of many debates during the draft season. He won titles for many managers by averaging 19 wOpp per game, which if you’ve been reading this column, is ELITE usage. Singletary is limited in the passing game, however, and the Bills operate a pass-heavy offense. His season-long average of 11.8 wOpp per game creates a reasonable floor for his 2022 production. Candidly, I expect the Bills to draft a running back to compliment Singletary in the passing game, but for now, Singletary is an RB2 in this role.

Stefon Diggs averaged 16.6 wOpp in 2021, putting him in the top-5 for that category. What’s more impressive, is that he finished the season second in red-zone targets. Stefon Diggs is a rock-solid WR1, and the emergence of Gabriel Davis last season, along with the addition of Jamison Crowder will only help Diggs.

Gabriel Davis is an excellent dynasty asset. He is young, big, fast, and talented, and he managed to score FOUR touchdowns his last time on the field. He has crazy upside, and if you were able to scoop him in dynasty leagues last season, give yourself a pat on the back. In redraft, his value is about right. Davis is the next best outside receiver on the team, and Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley left 20.1 wOpp per game for this Bills receiving group. Davis takes his floor of seven wOpp per game in 2021 and pairs it with a 10-12 wOpp per game ceiling.

I may start the 2022 season with Jamison Crowder on all ten of my fantasy rosters. He is almost the ultimate slot receiver – a great route runner with speed, who can make people miss in the open field. The only problem is that he has a very complicated injury history. Cole Beasley, an objectively less talented receiver, got 11.5 wOpp in this role in 2021. Imagine what Crowder can do in this role with Josh Allen – a massive upgrade from a rookie QB in a bad offense –  if he stays healthy.

Offseason Hot Take:

If Jamison Crowder plays the full 17-game fantasy season, he will finish inside the top-24 wide receivers. 

Josh Allen projects as the QB1 for 2022. He ran the ball 7.4 times per game and operates one of the pass-heaviest offenses in the NFL. Draft him anytime after the 4th-round if you are looking for a top-tier QB.

New England Patriots: Belichick, Please

Key Additions: DeVante Parker

Notable Losses: Brandon Bolden

Vacant RB Weighted Opportunities: 119

Vacant WR/TE Targets: 3

DeVante Parker gives the Patriots the red-zone receiver they have been searching for. Last season, they peppered their tight ends with targets near the goal line, because that was their only source of size. There is not a vacant role in this offense currently, but Parker and Jakobi Meyers will be the two Patriots receivers to own. Meyers got 12.1 wOpp per game in 2021, and much of that came across the middle of the field. His role appears to be fairly safe, and he may be a source of value on draft day with managers gravitating toward Parker.

Damien Harris finished the season fifth in red-zone carries, scoring 15 total TDs. His fantasy value is a polarizing topic, given that he is not a strong pass-catcher. Here is how to value Damien Harris in PPR drafts in 2022. He will fall in drafts, so if you can secure some heavy workload WRs in the early rounds, Harris fits on your team as your RB2. He shouldn’t be drafted before RB24 but has been available in some drafts in the 11th round. Draft Harris any time after the 9th round, and start him in games where the Patriots are expected to be leading.

Hunter Henry was the most valuable tight end for the Patriots in 2021, leading the team in red-zone target share. The 2022 version of the Patriots will not afford him that many red-zone opportunities, with the arrival of DeVante Parker, but he should still provide high-end TE2 value in his current role. Jonnu Smith is not rosterable unless his role changes drastically.

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