From mid-July to early September, I made one bold prediction per team in each division on a week-by-week basis. It’s time to look back on the 2022 fantasy football season and those predictions. I’ll be giving each bold prediction a grade and simple, corresponding values:
A = 5 points, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, F = 0
Then, I’ll take the total score, divide by 32 ( the number of teams and predictions) and give myself a grade for the season.
This is meant to be a fun exercise. Feel free to applaud, make fun of, or pity each prediction along the way. I’ll be grading myself and seeing how I did as a whole by the end of this piece. The goal, as always, was to have fun which is at the very core of this game we play. I just hope I made some league-wining takes and not so many league-losing mistakes along the way. There’s one I’m dreading to relive. Here we go!
Grading Each Bold Prediction from the 2022 Fantasy Football Preseason
Arizona Cardinals: Marquise Brown finishes as the overall WR1
Through the first six weeks of the season, this bold prediction looked like a winner. Brown was the overall WR5 logging three games of 20.8 points or more in half of them. His 10.6 targets per game in that span put him on a 17-game pace of 180. Of course, that is without DeAndre Hopkins in the mix. Unfortunately, Brown’s foot injury kept him out five games and he only got one more with Kyler Murray under center before he tore his ACL. Brown’s 2023 ceiling is sure to be lower until Murray returns, too. What could have been.
Los Angeles Rams: Cam Akers finishes outside the top-25 running backs
Cam Akers’ preseason Average Draft Position was inside the top-20 at the position. This bold prediction is my reflection of how I felt about spending that high of a pick on Akers. I pointed to Matthew Stafford’s health, the decline of their offensive line, and the difficulty in carving out a role with so many stars on the team. Most importantly, I noted that the Rams running backs had seen just 12.63% of the team targets combined in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, that didn’t change. In fact, it got worse as Rams running backs saw just 12.19% of targets this season. Even with late-season heroics, Akers’ 9.0 points per game, in 14 played, lands him at RB36 overall and RB44 on a points-per-game basis. For more reasons than one, Akers is a bust for the 2022 fantasy football season.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance leads all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns
Even in a Week 1 loss to Chicago in the pouring rain, Lance rushed 13 times. He suffered his ankle injury on his third rush attempt in 17 total plays on the Niners’ second drive of the game. From there, the team would go on to trade for Christian McCaffrey who is the RB2 on a points-per-game basis since being traded to the team. It’s tough to wonder, with such a small sample size, if Lance could have had a season like Justin Fields, or even Jalen Hurts given his weapons. He is worth investing in for the 2023 season, though, with a likely discounted ADP.
Seattle Seahawks: D.K. Metcalf averages the most fantasy football points per game in his career
D.K. Metcalf’s points per game average in his first three seasons are as follows: 11.1, 17.8, 14.6. In 2022, he did not meet my bold prediction averaging just 13.7 points per game. Still, given how low just about everyone was on Geno Smith as his quarterback, Metcalf likely could’ve been had as a 4th or 5th rounder in most drafts. He finished as WR23 on a points per game basis. His teammate, Tyler Lockett, is the WR19 in points per game. His success is something I did not expect and therefore did not factor in to my bold prediction for Metcalf. Both players are two great values of the 2022 season.
Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson wins the 2022 NFL MVP award
I’ll wait until everyone stops laughing before breaking this one down. Honestly, is it even worth talking about? This is easily my biggest miss of the 32 bold predictions. He finished as a top-10 quarterback in every season from 2013 to 2020 before failing to due so in 2021 due to his finger injury. A change of scenery and a chance to “cook” with an above average group of weapons is the basis for this take. I was also very high on the pairing with head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, after he coached Aaron Rodgers to two back-to-back MVP seasons as Green Bay’s offensive coordinator. Hackett was fired before this season ended! It will be interesting to see who the next coach of the Broncos will be. Regardless, Wilson will be free in almost every draft if you’re willing to take the ride again.
Kansas City Chiefs: Travis Kelce hauls in a career-high 12 or more touchdowns
After such a miss on the Broncos bold prediction, it feels good to absolutely nail this one. Kelce is king of the tight ends once again. His 19.2 points per game average is 5.9 points more than the next closest tight end. The gap between Kelce and the TE2 in total points is larger than the gap in points between TE2 and TE16. He hauled in exactly 12 touchdowns during the fantasy football season and only need 11 games to do so. The touchdowns are obviously just part of the story, though. In the Chiefs’ final game, he needs just two more catches to set a career-high and 117 receiving yards to set a career-high and NFL record. Both are possible. Draft Travis Kelce in the first round next year.
Las Vegas Raiders: Josh Jacobs finishes outside the top-25 running backs
Jacobs is one of three running backs to average more than 20 points per game this season. Note to self: When a talented running back is in a contract year, it’s a good bet that they will carry the ball a ton. Jacobs’ 2022 stat line is just a bunch of career-highs across the board. In a fully healthy season, Jacob’s managed 323 carries throughout the fantasy football season, something I did not expect in a Josh McDaniels offense. Jacobs is going to get paid this offseason. His landing spot will determine where he comes off of 2023 draft boards, but it’s likely in the first round.
Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams outscores Keenan Allen in 2022
This bold prediction is a bit of a letdown because both Williams and Allen missed a combined 11 games and at least four each. In some of the games played, they left early, as well. Still, Williams did technically outscore Allen by 35.5 total points, but Allen is the winner outscoring Williams 14.9 to 14.1 on a points-per-game basis. One thing is for certain. The Chargers are better when both of these guys are on the field. They are two of five Chargers to log 78 or more targets this season. I will be targeting plenty of pieces of this offense in 2023 drafts, especially Justin Herbert after the obvious bigger names are off of the board.
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott finishes outside the top-12 on a points per game basis
Dak’s season did not get off to a great start after injuring his thumb in the fourth quarter of their first game. The injury caused him to miss the next five games. Since returning, though, Dak has five games of 20.64 or more points, but also five games of 17.8 or less points. Dallas’ backfield of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard is one of the best in the league. Dallas has nearly as many rushing touchdowns this season (24) as passing (27) with Elliott and Pollard accounting for 21 of them on the ground. Still, Dak is the QB9 on a points per game basis, which is about where he was valued in drafts.
New York Giants: Saquon Barkley finishes as the overall RB1
The Giants are heading to the playoffs and Saquon Barkley is a big reason why. He has 55% of the team’s rushing yards this season on just 59% of the carries. He also leads the Giants in targets with 76 this season. To finish as the overall RB1, I expected Barkley to catch closer to 80 passes, but he fell shy with 57. He is the overall RB5 and RB5 in points per game though cementing his value back into the first round of 2023 drafts, as expected. Barkley is a strong value pick from this season for those that landed a top wide receiver or Kelce in the first round with the ability to draft Saquon in the second. If you got him in the third, then you stole him.
Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert finishes as a top-five tight end
Dallas Goedert is the TE5 on a points-per-game basis for the 2022 fantasy football season. He averaged 11.9 points per game this season with just two touchdowns scored. Even with five games missed due to injury, Goedert remains third in targets on the Eagles. In his first season without competing with Zach Ertz for targets, and especially playing time, Goedert is just about everything I thought he would be. With 6.2 targets per game, I did think he would have found the end zone more.
Washington Commanders: Terry McLaurin finishes WR30 or worse on a points-per-game basis
After catching passes from both Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke this season, McLaurin is closer to the expectation of this bold prediction than not. His 13.3 points per game this season land him as the WR27 on a per game basis. Two years ago, McLaurin caught a career-high 87 passes for 1,118 yards. This season, through 16 games, he has 1,1117 yards on just 74 receptions. Unfortunately, though, McLaurin has matched a career-low in touchdown receptions with just four. My bold prediction notes that no wide receiver has ever averaged 14.0 or more points per game with Wentz as their quarterback. That still holds true. McLaurin’s season improved with Heinicke under center, but not enough for him to live up to his borderline top-15 ADP.
Buffalo Bills: Gabriel Davis finishes inside the top-15 wide receivers
Davis is likely a shared disappointment amongst fantasy football managers this season. After scoring the literal first touchdown of the 2022 season on Thursday in Week 1, it looked like he was in for a monster season. The last time we saw him prior to this season, he scored four touchdowns in a playoff game! Davis still set career-highs across the board in receptions and yards, and matched his career-high in touchdowns. Still, he is one of 10 Bills to catch a touchdown pass from Josh Allen this season on just a 15.9% team target share. This offense spreads the ball around. It’s time to recognize Davis as a boom/bust WR3 with upside on a top-five scoring offense.
Miami Dolphins: Chase Edmonds records 250 touches
This bold prediction is funny because Edmonds isn’t even a Miami Dolphin anymore. He is a Denver Bronco. The Dolphins traded him prior to the NFL trade deadline after logging just 52 total touches with Miami. In eight games, that’s an average of 6.5 touches per game, on average, which wouldn’t have even half of my bold prediction over a 16 or 17-game span. I severely underestimated Raheem Mostert’s connection with head coach, Mike McDaniel, and what his role would be. Edmonds was the highest-paid back on the roster and I followed the money.
New England Patriots: DeVante Parker leads the team in receiving touchdowns
DeVante Parker has one receiving touchdown in 2022. If you haven’t guessed by now, that is not the most receiving touchdowns on the Patriots this season. Five, by Jakobi Meyers, is. It’s worth noting, though, that the Patriots only scored 16 touchdowns through the air this season, down from 24 last year. Parker’s one touchdown, therefore, has him tied for third. He is also third in receiving yards with just the seventh-most targets and receptions. Still, not enough, by any means to make him fantasy relevant. It’s going to be hard to trust anyone on this offense moving forward until they find a true franchise quarterback.
New York Jets: Breece Hall rushes for 1,250 yards
This bold prediction is hard for me to talk about because Breece Hall’s injury really rocked me this fantasy football season. I had him in just about every league I was in. Even after tearing his ACL in Week 7, Hall remained a top-20 running back in total points until Week 11 and top-25 back until Week 12. His 463 rushing yards through seven games would’ve put him on track for 1,058 yards in 16 games of the fantasy football season. There is an argument, too, that he would’ve smashed that number as he was averaging 93 yards on 18 carries per game in the three prior to his injury. I’ll be watching Hall closely during training camp. If the reports on his knee are good, he could be in for a major bounce-back in 2023.
Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Allgeier finishes as the top rookie running back
This is one of my more bold predictions, especially after claiming Breece Hall would rush for 1,250 yards. Ahead of this season, though, Cordarelle Patterson and Damien Williams were the only two backs ahead of Allgeier on the depth chart. Both entered the season aged 30 years or older. Additionally, Allgeier’s first NFL head coach, Arthur Smith, is the former offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans when Derrick Henry earned back-to-back rushing titles. After missing Week 1, Allgeier has logged double-digit carries in 11 of 15 games this season with a career-high 20 in Week 17. That landed him as RB12 in points for the fantasy finals. Allgeier finishes the fantasy football season third in total points amongst rookies behind only Kenneth Walker and Dameon Pierce.
Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore scores as many touchdowns in 2022 as he has total in his four-year career
For those wondering at home, Moore has just 14 total touchdowns to his name in four seasons prior to this one. He has exactly four in each of the last three seasons. So far in 2022, Moore has seven, which is a career-high. Still, it’s only half of my bold prediction. Moore has scored in each of his last three games with Sam Darnold at quarterback. That is not something myself or anyone would have guessed. He remains the top target and a volume-based fantasy asset with a 27.4% target share this season. Moore’s 2023 value will depend heavily on who is coaching and who is under center in Carolina next season.
New Orleans Saints: Adam Trautman is this year’s Dawson Knox
The reference to “this year’s Dawson Knox” is to say Trautman would have been a clutch waiver wire pickup for the 2022 fantasy fooball season. Instead, two New Orleans Saints tight ends not named Trautman rank in the top-10 tight ends in total points this season. Both Taysom Hill and Juwan Johnson finished where I thought Trautman had a chance to. Hopefully anyone that bought into this idea quickly realized Johnson was the value and picked him up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans scores the most receiving touchdowns across the league in 2022
This bold prediction is one that I think should have hit and I’m mad it didn’t. Since Tom Brady has been a Buc, Evans has set a career-high in touchdowns each of his last two seasons. This season? Just six! We all know, too, that three of them were caught in Week 17 paving the way to a historic performance during the fantasy football finals. While that’s all well and good, Evans should have more. He dropped multiple passes this season, some for would-be touchdowns, including this one:
Sad truth, #GoBucs fans… SportsCenter has WR Mike Evans’ drop vs. the Panthers at #2 on this year’s #NotTopTen
— Christopher Mathis 🎙 (@thechrismathis) December 30, 2022
This bold prediction is especially disappointing because Tom Brady is just 12 passes away from setting an NFL record in pass attempts in a single season. The volume is there. Evans’ touchdowns should’ve been too.
Houston Texans: Brandin Cooks sets career-highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns
I should’ve known better with this bold prediction. My gut told me to write about Dameon Pierce, but I wanted to shed light on the disrespect to Brandin Cooks. In six of seven non-rookie season, Cooks has hit the 1,000-yard mark. Yet, fantasy managers continue to fade him in drafts. Flashforward to mid-season when the Houston Texans decided to disrespect Cooks by not trading him ahead of the NFL trade deadline. After logging 42 targets in the first five games, this one looked good. However, after the trade deadline tension, it went spiraling out of control. Hopefully we get to see Cooks finish his career elsewhere. His 10.3 points per game are the worst of his career. He is one of the worst picks of the 2022 fantasy football season.
Indianapolis Colts: Michael Pittman finishes as a top-five wide receiver
Quality targets are important. Sure, Pittman’s 136 targets through 15 games are a career-high, but when they’re from Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, and Nick Foles, it doesn’t really matter. I’m willing to give myself some credit though from a volume standpoint. His 895 yards on a career-high 96 receptions average out to a career-low 9.3 yards per catch. Additionally, Pittman found the end zone half as much as he did last season. That said, Pittman is just the WR26 on a points-per-game basis. You know it’s a letdown when you’re wishing Carson Wentz was his quarterback again.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence averages over 20.0 points per game
Trevor Lawrence will finish the season just inside the top-12 quarterbacks, though his 18.34 points per game will fall just short of my bold prediction. It’s worth noting his 5.48 points in Week 17, in a blowout win against the Texans, lowered his average to 19.2 points per game. The additions of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram proved to be essential in Lawrence’s boost in value. However, their presence, plus a healthy Travis Etienne, dropped Trevor from top five in rush attempts amongst quarterbacks last season to 11th through 16 games in 2022. Trevor is a good bet, especially under Doug Pederson, to take another step forward in 2023 and finish firmly inside the top-10 of fantasy quarterbacks.
Tennessee Titans: Austin Hooper finishes as a top-10 tight end
Another swing and a miss with tight end bold predictions. First the Saints, now the Titans. Austin Hooper is a severe afterthought for fantasy football. Instead, Chigoziem Okonkwo is the standout at the position on Tennessee’s roster this season. Bringing a Titan tight end into the fantasy conversation is a direct result of a lack of receiving options at wide receiver. I don’t see things changing much in 2023, but they need to figure out quarterback first. Ryan Tannehill is on his way out and Malik Willis isn’t ready. It could be Derrick Henry’s last hoorah in which he may carry the ball 500 times.
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields fails to break the Bears’ single-season passing yards record
While this comes across as negative, it’s intended to emphasize Fields’ value as a rusher; and it should have. He ranks 32nd amongst all players with 160 carries this season, but first among quarterbacks. His 1,143 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns account for 52.5% of his fantasy points. So, yes, Fields didn’t surpass the Bears single-season passing record of 3,838 yards. His 2,242 weren’t even close. He’s still one of just five quarterbacks this season to average over 20 points per game, landing him in the top five at the position. Once he gets legitimate weapons in the passing game, look out!
Detroit Lions: Amon-Ra St. Brown finishes outside the top 36 wide receivers
I am one of those guys who thought Amon-Ra St. Brown would take a step back from his 2021 production with a healthy D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson as well as the additions of D.J. Chark and Jameson Williams. Instead, ARSB is a top-10 wide receiver in both total points and points per game. His 137 targets are 74 more than the next Lion. Sure, Hockenson was traded and Swift didn’t seem healthy, but it’s clear “The Sun God” is a focal point of the Detroit offense. While I was low on him this season, I still think people may be too high on him next season. He will generate plenty of discourse this offseason.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones leads the entire team in receptions
This is one of my biggest hits of the fantasy football season. Jones’ 56 receptions are tied with Allen Lazard for the lead on the Packers. His 257 touches are spot-on for where I projected Jones’ workload to be this season, too. Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling left behind nearly 40% of targets from 2021. Jones was always a top candidate to fill the void over two rookies and free agent, Sammy Watkins. He is once against a top-10 back in total points on what could be his last season in Green Bay.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins finishes as a top-five fantasy quarterback
Cousins’ dreadful Week 17 performance of 10.9 points with four turnovers knocked him from QB10 to QB13 on a points-per-game basis for the season. Up until then, Cousins was looking like a league winner. His 27.85 points per game from Weeks 14 through 16 led the position. It’s clear hiring Kevin O’Connell as head coach was beneficial for Cousins. That and having Justin Jefferson as his top wide receiver. Cousins will have another shot to finish in the top-five next season with Jefferson, a full season of T.J. Hockenson, and others to catch the ball.
Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman becomes the first ever Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Ravens
Well, it’s obviously another season the Ravens are without a Pro Bowl wide receiver. Through the first two weeks, though, Bateman’s 157 yards and two touchdowns on just six receptions looked like a great start to fulfilling this bold prediction. He then spent the next few weeks dealing with a foot injury before missing the final nine games on Injured Reserve. The Ravens need to figure out what, if at all, they are paying Lamar Jackson this offseason. Then they need to add legitimate options at receiver. Bateman is a good start, and had a shot to really command the vacant 58% of wide receiver targets from last season. However, until there is steady production at the position, tight end Mark Andrews will remain the best value.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins will outscore Ja’Marr Chase this fantasy football season
Like the aforementioned Mike Williams and Keenan Allen bold prediction, this one is technically a hit, as well. Tee Higgins did score 1.7 more points in two more games played than Ja’Marr Chase. Well, technically it’s one more game played as he took one snap in Week 15, the fantasy football quarterfinals, and left with a hamstring injury. Still, Chase has more targets than Higgins on the season as a whole, as well as in games played together. His ADP clearly reflects how much more of a big-play threat fantasy managers justifiably believe he is than Higgins. However, my bold prediction was meant to give Higgins his credit. They are the only two receivers on the same team to finish inside the top 12 of points per game this season (Weeks 1-16 since Cincinnati’s Week 17 is a no-contest).
Cleveland Browns: David Njoku will finally finish as a top-10 tight end
By 0.1 points per game, David Njoku is officially a top-10 tight end. Even with an ankle injury and quarterback change, Njoku remained in the conversation week-to-week as a potential starter. Jacoby Brissett’s 7.1 yards per attempt is a career-high for seasons in which he throws 225 or more passes. That is a key reason why I made this bold prediction. As for the touchdowns, Njoku did not match or surpass his career-high of four touchdowns but still tied Donovan Peoples-Jones for second with three behind Amari Cooper’s nine. Njoku should be the TE1 conversation next season after a full offseason with Deshaun Watson.
Pittsburgh Steelers: George Pickens breaks team’s rookie receiving yards record
Pickens is still 189 yards short of breaking this record with just one game to go. With the Pittsburgh Steelers still battling for a playoff spot, he has a chance to come close at home in a competitive Week 17 matchup with the Browns. Overall, though, Pickens’ rookie season isn’t so much about the yards, but more so about the ridiculous catches he made here and there. The lack of continuity between Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett at quarterback is a disservice to him and the whole offense. I love Pickens to take a leap in 2023 as Pickett looks like he could be settling in nicely.
Overall Grade: C-
I think I’m being overly critical giving myself 10 F’s out of a possible 32 individual grades for the bold predictions. When you break it all down, a good handful of those are tight end misses and injury-related. That said, I think it’s an average group of bold predictions, some of which should’ve really paid off for fantasy managers. For instance, expecting an MVP season out of Russell Wilson is a big whiff to start the season, but hopefully hyping up Tyler Allgeier perhaps paid off toward the end if he was on your roster.
Again, it is fun to look back at the summer takes to see how they panned out. I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and discussing the NFL and fantasy football. This is one of the more fun ways I get to do so. I’ll reflect on these and plan to come back more successful for the 2023 season. They’re bold predictions for a reason, though, but making and believing in such strong claims could be a difference-maker come draft time.