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2022 Fantasy Football Opportunity Tracker: Chiefs and Chargers

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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Kansas City Chiefs: Over the Hill

Key Additions: Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling

Notable Losses: Tyreek Hill, Darrel Williams, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson

Vacant RB Weighted Opportunities: 228

Vacant WR/TE Targets: 265

Mecole Hardman is the only regular left in this WR-corps after the unit was seemingly dismantled this offseason. Here is an outline of how I expect the Chiefs WR situation to pan out, and the range of the workloads associated with each position:

  • Inside: JuJu Smith-Schuster (12-16 wOpp)
    • Tyreek Hill received 54% of his targets from the slot in 2021
    • Tyreek saw 159 total targets and 23 red-zone targets
    • Excellent route runner, especially from the slot and over the middle of the field
  • Outside: Marquez Valdez-Scantling (6-9 wOpp), Mecole Hardman (7-10 wOpp)
    • Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson combined to average 9.6 wOpp per game last season
    • Hardman averaged 8.5 wOpp per game and gets occasional work in the running game
    • Kansas City’s offense relies on speed

Travis Kelce enters his age-33 season as the clear number-one passing-game option for Patrick Mahomes. He is set for another top TE finish in 2022, after a season where he averaged 13.9 wOpp. He actually finished third on the team in red-zone target share, behind Hill and Mecole Hardman. Part of that was due to defensive adjustments by opponents, but Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes should be able to sort those out over the offseason. Kelce no longer warrants a first-round selection in fantasy drafts, but he is still an elite TE in a great offense.

Patrick Mahomes averaged about four carries per game but prefers to scramble to throw in the red zone. His rushing ability adds about three wOpp per game to his massive passing volume. He is a mid-range QB1 given the passing ability, but players with more rushing upside are better choices in the earlier rounds of your draft.

Los Angeles Chargers: Missed It By That Much

Key Additions: Gerald Everett

Notable Losses: Jared Cook, Justin Jackson

Vacant RB Weighted Opportunities: 90

Vacant WR/TE Targets: 105

Austin Ekeler finished the season ranked fifth in wOpp per game (18.3), ahead of Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, and Jonathan Taylor. Los Angeles operated a fast-paced offense in 2021, averaging the sixth-most plays per game. This allowed the Chargers to have multiple fantasy-relevant pass-catchers, while also supporting a fantasy RB1. Ekeler led all running backs with 16 red-zone targets and finished second among running backs in red zone carries. Ekeler is a rock-solid RB1 and should be considered in the front-end of the first round.

Keenan Allen (157) and Mike Williams (129) were the highest-targeted pair of wide receivers in the NFL last season. Allen, primarily a skilled-route runner, does most of his work in the middle of the field and Williams is elite at winning contested catches on the outside of the field. Both have elite red zone usage, Allen (23 RZ targets) and Williams (19 RZ targets), which creates multi-TD upside for Ekeler and both receivers. There is a real possibility that if both receivers stay healthy, they could both be WR1s in 2022. Mike Williams is currently the better value, relative to ADP.

Gerald Everett was signed to take over for Jared Cook, a role that yielded 8.7 wOpp per game in 2021. Even the tight end got regular red-zone targets in this offense, a testament to the effectiveness of this Chargers offense. Everett and Cook have similar builds and athletic profiles, so the transition should be seamless. Everett is currently a tight-end streamer, but keep him on your watchlist, as the first big game he has will be your last chance to grab him.

Justin Herbert is similar to Patrick Mahomes in that he adds to his floor with his rushing ability. The Chiefs and Chargers both were near the top of the league in offensive plays per game, which creates more opportunity for fantasy points. Herbert can be drafted as a top-6 quarterback in 2022.

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