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The 2022 Fantasy Football Awards

For the first time in 1989, I commissioned a fantasy football league, which is still in existence with five original members. Thirty-four years later, I have the honor of presenting the Fantasy Football Awards on Fantrax for the third season.

As a history teacher, I believe that reflecting, recording, and enshrining the past is important for future generations. During COVID, I finally decided to start an annual awards column, and it is one of my favorite endeavors of this terrific hobby.

Five fantasy football diehards—Rob Choromanski, Brad Kilgore, Philip Knighten, Colin McTamany, and Dennis Sosic—joined me to vote on the top three players in seven categories, and the results were tabulated. The top fantasy football stars are highlighted for readers to reflect on now and enshrined in the history books.

Enjoy my fellow fantasy football fanatics!

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax this season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune tnext season.

2022 Fantasy Football Awards

Quarterback of the Year (Points)

  1. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (19)
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (18)
  3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (16)

Please note before reading, Josh Allen’s Week 17 score is obviously not accounted for due to the postponement of the Buffalo Bills’ Week 17 game. Consider a donation to Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s charity and keep him, his family, and his teammates in your thoughts.

Fundraiser by Damar Hamlin : The Chasing M’s Foundation Community Toy Drive (

In 2021, 12 quarterbacks averaged 19 or more fantasy points per game, 10 of which averaged 20 or more. This created a false sense of security for fantasy managers ahead of the 2022 fantasy football season. Many approached their drafts believing they could wait until later rounds to draft a quarterback. However, only six quarterbacks averaged more than 20 points per game, the least amount to do so since the 2017 fantasy football season. Therefore, the gap in elite production became an advantage for those with the best of the best on their rosters.

That said, narrowing down the best quarterbacks of the 2022 fantasy season is easy. Of the five to surpass the 20 points per game average, three topped more than 25. Jalen Hurts leads the trio with 26.76 points per game. His Average Draft Position (ADP) was the lowest of the three to do so, making him the most valuable.

Hurts is tied for second in rushing touchdowns (13) this season amongst all positions. He has five more than the next closest quarterback (Justin Fields) and more than Josh Allen (7) and Patrick Mahomes (4) combined. Hurts has nearly 40 more points than Allen and 100 more points than Mahomes in rushing production this season.

While Hurts was unavailable for the fantasy semifinals and finals, he finished as the overall QB No. 1 in Week 13 as well as Week 15, the opening round of the fantasy playoffs. He was the overall QB No. 1 or QB No. 2 every week from Weeks 12 through 15. Josh Allen ties Hurts with two overall QB No. 1 finishes. Mahomes finished as the QB No. 1 just once (Week 1).

Mahomes’ second half of the season gives him a slight edge over Josh Allen, who finished in the top-three of weekly rankings seven times in 2022. Yet, four of the outings were in the first six weeks of the campaign. After the Bills’ Week 7 bye, Allen finished as the QB No. 9 or worse four times, finishing as low as QB No. 18 in Week 11. Meanwhile, Mahomes finished as the QB No. 2 three weeks in a row from Weeks 9 through 11 and lower than QB No. 7 just once since the Chiefs’ Week 8 bye.

Deciding who the best fantasy quarterback is between these three is really splitting hairs. They all propelled managers into the playoffs and will likely be the top-three quarterbacks off the board in 2023 drafts.

Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT

Running Back of the Year (Points)

  1. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (23)
  2. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (13)
  3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (12)

The No. 1 Running Back of the Year actually finished as the No. 2 running back in standard-scoring points through 17 weeks. But, I can certainly understand why Austin Ekeler earned the most votes through 17 weeks. He finished with 881 rushing yards on the ground. The yardage was only good for seventeenth among ball carriers on the season. So how do you get to second in fantasy points scored by a running back with that yardage? Touchdowns and PPR points!

Ekeler was used heavily in the red zone to the tune of 13 touchdowns on the ground–second only to Jamaal Williams–and also provided a league best (among running backs) 103 receptions, 687 yards receiving–second only to Christian McCaffrey–and five scores through the air—second only to Jerick McKinnon.

The Lightning Bolts’ ball carrier was a model of consistency. Matchup did not matter. Game script did not matter. And most importantly, he stayed healthy throughout the year. It’s no shock to me that Ekeler was voted as the #1 Fantasy Running Back of the Year.

The Raiders had a season full of craziness. They underachieved when it came to their win/loss record. The connection between Derek Carr and Davante Adams was inconsistent. Derek Carr got benched!?

Before all of that, Josh Jacobs was getting snaps in the Hall Of Fame Game (the first preseason game of the year where starters usually sit out). This team wasn’t even sure Jacobs was going to make the team, and he turned in the #1 overall season for a running back in terms of fantasy points scored. Who would’ve thunk it?

The Raiders runner led the league in rushing yards, tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns, and to the surprise of many, active in the passing game. He finished tenth in the league in receptions for a running back. Jacobs became a legitimate all-around threat this year. I don’t know if Las Vegas will retain him at his desired price, but wherever he goes next year, he’ll certainly be among the first ten running backs drafted.

And third…Derrick Henry. There’s not much more that needs to be said. He’s a beast. He’s always been a beast. He’ll always be a beast. He’s now finished top four in fantasy points scored by running backs in three of the last four years.

Henry is and remains the Titans’ identity. Run the ball. Play defense. Full stop. You know what you’re getting with the Tennessee battering ram, and if he’s able to stay healthy, you’ll almost certainly get it. He finished third in Fantasy Running Back of the Year, but the case could be made that he’s the number one running back in real life.

Brad Kilgore, @SirBradleeK

Twitterverse on Fire!

Identify the fantasy football Waiver Wire Player of the Year:

  • QB Geno Smith, Seattle: 19%
  • RB Jamal Williams, Detroit: 38%
  • TE Taysom Hill, New Orleans: 3%
  • RB Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City: 40%

“I know Jerick McKinnon down the stretch had a run of touchdowns, but Jamaal Williams led the league in rushing touchdowns and carried fantasy teams early.” @NinoBrown_T2T

“Jerick McKinnon for me: A fantasy giant during the playoffs when it mattered most.” @aceholesrule

“Geno Smith was most consistent all year. Made up for a lot of underperforming low-end starting quarterbacks in drafts back in the summer.” @SkeeterRobinson

“Justin Fields in my league…Jerick McKinnon second.” @flylefty68

“People sleeping on Jamal Williams: 15 touchdowns is insane production.” @TheFryeGuy

“Justin Fields without a doubt.” @cwlewisusa

Wide Receiver of the Year (Points)

  1. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (28)
  2. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (20)
  3. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (3)

This year it was nearly unanimous: Justin Jefferson was the best wide receiver in the NFL. In fantasy and real life. In his third year, Jefferson continued to go scorched earth on NFL defenses. Through 17 weeks, he led the league in yards (1,771), receptions (124), and catches of 20-plus yards (27). Unless your fantasy league has an antiquated scoring system, he not only is the No. 1 wide receiver, but possibly the best non-quarterback.

He also gets my vote for catch of the year. A one-hander in week 10 against the Buffalo Bills in one of the wildest games of the year. The catch was magnified as it came on fourth-and-18 with less than two minutes to play. Jefferson has also been a model of consistency, bringing in at least six receptions in all but three games this year.

In 2022, Tyreek Hill finished second. In his first year as a Miami Dolphin, the Cheetah put up seven games with 100 yards or more. So far, he has been worth all the Dolphins had to pay to get him.

Fantasy players and analysts clearly expected regression after his days as a Chief as Hill was the eighth-ranked wide receiver, according to Fantrax PPR ADP going into drafts. Kudos to any fantasy player who snagged him at his ADP in the middle-to-back end of Round 2. You are probably posing with your championship trophy.

Third place was a bit more muddled. Arguments can be made for A.J. Brown and Davante Adams, but in the end it is Stefon Diggs. The wide receiver for the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills has six 100-plus yard games this year and is currently top 5 in receptions, touchdowns and receiving yards.

Philip Knighten, @KnightenPhilip

Gridiron Scholar’s 2022 All-Fantasy Team

QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers

RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders

RB Christian McCaffrey, 49ers

WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings

WR Tyreek Hill, Dolphins

WR Davante Adams, Raiders

TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs

Kicker Brett Maher

SuperFlex Jalen Hurts, Eagles

Tight End of the Year (Points)

  1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (30)
  2. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings (15)
  3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (6)

October 23 may have been National Tight Ends Day, but Travis Kelce celebrated every Sunday. A unanimous selection in the voting, Kelce blew away the competition to be Tight End No. 1. As a dynasty degenerate in 10 leagues, half of the teams in the championship had a share of him.

With the departure of Tyreek Hill, Kelce’s target share increased from 22.3% to 24.7% and his red zone looks improved as well, ending with a whopping 12 scores. He also led the Chiefs in receptions (104) and yards (1,300), not allowing newly signed Juju Smith Schuster to dance away with the lead. Fantasy wise, the nearest tight end in nearly all statistics was as close as a Zach Wilson pass to a receiver. Overall, another stellar year for the future Hall of Famer.

Rob Choromanski, @robski917

Kicker of the Year (Points)

  1. Brett Maher, Dallas Cowboys (25)
  2. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (17)
  3. Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills (5)

I loathe when fantasy football players advocate for eliminating kickers. It is insane. The history of the NFL cannot be written without kickers, and fantasy football leagues should always have kickers in lineups.

I even advocate increasing the scoring for distance kicks over 40 yards, i.e. 44-yard FGs are worth 4.4 points and 53-yarders score 5.3 points. And analyzing kickers to start and manage during bye weeks provide an extra layer of strategy, which I relish.

In 2022, Dallas kicker Brett Maher was rostered on three of my nine teams. He averaged nearly 10 points a game and connected on 15-of-18 boots over 40 yards. He also added 50 extra points to cap off an amazing season.

On a personal note, Justin Tucker is the greatest kicker in the history of the NFL, and I have witnessed Morten Anderson, Adam Vinatieri and Gary Anderson perform their skills at the highest of levels in the league, and Tucker is better than all.

More games are lost on missed kicks than I can possibly remember. How many general managers and coaches would trade a first-round pick for Tucker? He is well deserving of being on the all-fantasy team in 2022.

John Laub, @GridironSchol91

Twitterverse on Fire!

Identify the fantasy football Bust of the Year:

  • RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans: 18%
  • QB Russell Wilson, Denver: 51%
  • RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh: 20%
  • TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore: 11%

“Najee Harris: First-round draft capital and evidence that Zero RB is a decent play.” @aceholesrule

“Russell Wilson killed fantasy teams, especially those that took him as QB No. 1. He was definitely ‘King Bust’ for me.” @NinoBrown_T2T

“Russell Wilson was a low QB No. 1 in drafts. How many Top 12 weeks did he put up? Honorable mention to RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati. Didn’t do much outside of one week.” @SkeeterRobinson

“Kyle Pitts” @qcpackfan

“How is Jonathan Taylor not in this poll? Dude was the 1.01 and did worse this year than all these guys.” @RHSC_Sean

Rookie of the Year (Points)

  1. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets (23)
  2. Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks (13)
  3. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints (9)

Garrett Wilson has caught 74 passes on 130 targets for 1,013 yards and four scores. Wilson has become the go-to option on the Jets’ passing offense and has put up three 100-yard performances. He is currently the WR No. 22 on the season despite catching passes from the revolving door at quarterback: Zach Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco.

The former Buckeye is an explosive playmaker, leads all rookie wideouts in receiving yards, and is fifteenth among all wide receivers. Wilson is the apparent selection as the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and if Mike White can regain his magic from earlier this season, we will see Wilson’s ascension as a top twelve receiver.

Ken Walker, former Michigan State running back, replaced Rashaad Penny after Penny suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5. Since Walker took over, he has been the RB No. 7 in fantasy points among all ball carriers, with 151.1 points. However, after a four-week stretch that saw declined production due to injury, Walker increased his bid by finishing the season with consecutive 100-plus rushing yard efforts.

His considerable play ability is evident with his top-10 finish in evaded tackles (4.9 per game) and breakaway run rate (7.5%). Walker produced 936 rushing yards, only trailing Dameon Pierce by three yards for the rookie lead. He is tied with Christian Watson for total touchdowns by a rookie with nine.

Speaking of big-play ability, another former Buckeye wide receiver finishes among the top three in rookie voting. Chris Olave finished tenth with a 14.3 ADOT and fourth in 39.5 percent in Air Yards Share among all wideouts.

Olave is currently the WR No. 25 on the season in fantasy points and is averaging an outstanding 14.7 yards per reception. He has 982 receiving yards on 67 receptions despite the struggles at the Saints’ quarterback position.

Olave stepped into the WR No. 1 role in the Saints’ offense and exceeded all expectations of being the 11th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Just imagine what Olave would do with a better quarterback.

Dennis Sosic, @CALL_ME_SOS

2022 Fantasy Football MVP

  1. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (21)
  2. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (9)
  3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (8)

For consecutive seasons, Justin Jefferson recorded his worst outing in Week 17 of the fantasy football season. Despite the hiccup with fantasy championships on the line, the Vikings’ gamebreaker captured the 2022 Fantasy Football MVP. Jefferson’s victory makes two straight receivers—Cooper Kupp won it last year—that a wide receiver was named the preeminent fantasy performer in the nation.

As a self-proclaimed fantasy football historian, it is amazing looking at the company Justin Jefferson ranks among in my 34 years playing this game. His 1,771 receiving yards ranks seventh all-time and is only 10 yards behind Isaac Bruce with one week remaining.

I have been blessed to witness the top seven-ranked receivers during my fantasy fandom: Calvin Johnson (1,964), Cooper Kupp (1,947), Julio Jones (1,871), Antonio Brown (1,834) and Bruce (1,781). Obviously, Jefferson is in rarefied company.

He earned 179 targets, corralled 124 passes for 1,774 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 14.3 yards per catch. In six games, he logged double-digit receptions, and 10 times the Vikings’ star exceeded 100 yards receiving, including a season-best 223 against Detroit. Jefferson earned my vote for the 2022 Fantasy MVP and the panelists agreed.

During the past summer, I targeted QB Jalen Hurts more often than any signal caller in drafts. He provided incredible production for owners like myself who selected the Eagles’ dual-threat quarterback. Finishing third, TE Travis Kelce once again dominated all other tight ends in fantasy scoring and provided a huge positional advantage for fantasy diehards.

John Laub, @GridironSchol91

Voting Points Awarded:

1st place = 5 points

2nd place = 3 points

3rd place = 1 point

Historical Fantasy Player of the Year

QuarterbackJosh AllenJosh AllenJalen Hurts
Running BackDalvin CookJonathan TaylorAustin Ekeler
Wide ReceiverDevante AdamsCooper KuppJustin Jefferson
Tight EndTravis KelceMark AndrewsTravis Kelce
KickerYounghoe KooNick FolkBrett Maher
RookieJames RobinsonJa'Marr ChaseGarrett Wilson
Fantasy MVPTravis KelceCooper KuppJustin Jefferson

The Scholar’s Teams of the Past

QuarterbackJosh AllenJosh AllenPatrick Mahomes
Running BackDalvin CookJonathan TaylorAustin Ekeler
Running BackAlvin KamaraAustin EkelerJosh Jacobs
Running BackDerrick HenryJoe MixonChristian McCaffrey
Wide ReceiverDevante AdamsCooper KuppJustin Jefferson
Wider ReceiverTyreek HillDevante AdamsTyreek Hill
Wider ReceiverCalvin RidleyDeebo SamuelDevante Adams
Tight EndTravis KelceMark AndrewsTravis Kelce
KickerYounghoe KooNick FolkBrett Maher
SuperFlexAaron RodgersJoe BurrowJalen Hurts
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