Tyler Loechner's Bold Predictions for 2022 Fantasy Football
FTN's Tyler Loechner picks out his favorite bold predictions for the 2022 fantasy football season.
Aug 25, 2022, 9:17 AM EDT
It’s fantasy football bold predictions week here at FTN Fantasy, so get your oven mitts because we have some hot takes coming out of the oven. (Praying the FTN editors don’t delete this amazing joke.)
Speaking of editors, I’ll be following the style FTN’s EIC Daniel Kelley gave in his bold predictions piece Monday. That is, we’ll go for BOLD, BOLDER and BOLDEST predictions.
- Bold predictions are things I think are very likely to happen. They push the envelope but might not blow your mind.
- Bolder predictions are things I think are fairly likely to happen. They’re not obvious, but we’re also not talking “Benny Snell is the RB1” here.
- Boldest predictions are more about direction. I think the specific prediction is extremely within the range of outcomes, but the point is to make a real stand about the players involved and point you in a direction. (Continuing the Snell example, the bold prediction might say “Benny Snell is the RB1,” but the point would actually be “Benny Snell is actually going to be a big-time producer,” and then we carry it an extra notch or two to show how strongly we feel.)
Instead of going position-by-position like Kelley did in his piece, I’ll just lay out some of my predictions by conviction below:
Tyler Loechner’s Bold Predictions for Fantasy Football 2022
Christian McCaffrey finishes as the top overall fantasy player
Bold only because he’s not the consensus RB1 and 1.01 pick. He should be.
Michael Gallup finishes as a top-30 fantasy WR
Michael Gallup’s health is trending in the right direction, and it looks like he’ll be on the field some time in September. With Amari Cooper gone, Gallup is locked into the No. 2 role in the prolific Dallas offense.
Leonard Fournette finishes as a top-five fantasy RB
Wait, what about Rachaad White? Everyone is chanting “Rachaad White!” I’m convinced Leonard Fournette will go underrated in fantasy football every year until he retires. Guess who played 11 first-team snaps in the Bucs Week 2 preseason game? Guess who is still getting all the passing-down work? And goal-line work? It’s Fournette.
Travis Etienne finishes as a top-10 fantasy RB
Travis Etienne has the D'Andre Swift-like skillset to take the fantasy league by storm. He should be the team’s leading rusher and figures to be utilized significantly in the passing game, which skyrockets his fantasy value.
Tom Brady finishes as a top-five fantasy QB
Why is this even bold? Tom Brady goes in the QB8-QB10 range in most fantasy drafts now, despite the fact he’s only 45 years old! The youngster was the No. 2 fantasy QB last year and still has a studly supporting cast.
Tyler Loechner’s Bolder Predictions for Fantasy Football 2022
K.J. Osborn scores more fantasy points than Adam Thielen
With Kevin O’Connell now in Minnesota, all reports are that the team is going to pass a lot more. That means more three-wide sets, which means K.J. Osborn should be on the field nearly as often as Adam Thielen. Thielen, now 32, should still be deadly as a red-zone threat, but Osborn is a true threat to best him in receptions and yards.
Michael Thomas finishes as a top-15 WR in PPR leagues
It’s been 1.5 years since we’ve seen Michael Thomas play meaningful football, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be a target-hog in New Orleans. Prior to a new hamstring injury (which should be healed up by Week 1), reports out of Saints camp were that Thomas was dominating. If the Saints were expected to pass more, this prediction would be “top-10” instead of “top-15.”
In PPR leagues, Chris Godwin outscores Mike Evans on a per-game basis
Related: Julio Jones finishes top 30 among WRs
I say per-game because it’s not a guarantee Chris Godwin will be back by Week 1, but he will be back early in the season regardless. Godwin had a 98-1103-5 stat line last year despite missing 2.5 games worth of action. Mike Evans destroyed Godwin in TDs (14), but his receptions and yards were far behind despite playing two more games.
Julio Jones is currently being drafted as the WR54. This bold claim says Jones will finish as a top-30 fantasy WR. Brady threw the ball over 700 times last season, and this offense is perfectly capable of supporting three top-30 fantasy WRs. Jones will not see Antonio Brown’s ridiculous target rate (Brown led all receivers in targets per snap last year), but I refuse to believe he’s completely dust. Going from Ryan Tannehill in a run-first offense to Tom Brady in a YOLO offense will make a world of difference.
Cordarrelle Patterson is a top-20 fantasy RB
Atlanta coaches say they want to keep Cordarrelle Patterson on a snap/touch count, but it’s not hard to make the case he’s their best RB and their second-best WR. Patterson will get plenty of reps both on the ground and through the air and will finish as solid fantasy RB2.
Aaron Rodgers finishes as a top-7 fantasy QB
Aaron Rodgers without Davante Adams has all of us (myself included — until recently) writing off the four-time NFL MVP. But this is Aaron Rodgers we’re talking about, one of the 10 — probably 5 — best QBs of all-time. I don’t think we see 48 TDs out of him, but I also don’t think we see 26 like we did in 2019, either.
Tyler Loechner’s Boldest Predictions for Fantasy Football 2022
Brandon Aiyuk is the top fantasy WR in San Francisco
Over the second half of last season, Brandon Aiyuk was a top-15 fantasy WR and led the 49ers in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Deebo Samuel is special, but what if Aiyuk takes a big step forward in Year 3? Training camp reports on Aiyuk have been extremely positive.
Jalen Hurts finishes as the overall fantasy QB1
Unless you are throwing for nearly 50 TDs and 5,000-plus yards, you need to be a dual-threat player to contend for the top spot. Jalen Hurts has that dual-threat ability — and the Eagles have invested heavily in his receiving corps the last two years with DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown. Look out for a mega-year from Hurts.
Ezekiel Elliott is a top-7 fantasy RB
In Weeks 1-6 last year, Ezekiel Elliott was the RB4 overall in fantasy. Then he got hurt and his season was hampered the rest of the way. Elliott saw healthy work as a receiver last year (65 targets, only slightly below his 2019 and 2020 number of 71), and he scored double-digit rushing TDs for the third time in his career.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is a top-12 fantasy WR
All of the ingredients are there for JuJu Smith-Schuster to thrive: Good, young WR playing with an elite QB in an innovative offense that has a need at WR.
Brian Robinson outscores Antonio Gibson
The path to this happening isn’t that crazy. First, the team clearly does not love Antonio Gibson considering they retained J.D. McKissic and then drafted Brian Robinson in Round 3. Robinson would just have to replace Gibson at the goal line — and maybe split early-down work — for this boldest prediction to come true. Gibson was third in the NFL with 17 goal line rush attempts last year, but he only scored a TD on 6 of those carries, a weak hit rate. If Robinson can wrest this job from Gibson — plus some first- and second-down carries, he could just straight up outscore Gibson even if Gibson stays healthy.