Way Too Early Rankings For The 2022 Fantasy Football Season

The 2021 fantasy football season is in the rearview mirror, so why not take a way-too-early look ahead to 2022 player rankings? After what was maybe the most difficult fantasy campaign ever due to injuries to multiple superstars and, of course, COVID-19, looking into the future gives us a cleaner slate in some respects. Of course, a lot will change due to free agency, trades and the NFL draft, and we at Sports Illustrated will have you covered every step of the way. But for now, here’s an interesting look at how players would be rated (by position) if we looked ahead to the next fantasy season.

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Note: * denotes players who are scheduled to become free agents in 2022.


  1. Josh Allen, Bills
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  3. Justin Herbert, Chargers
  4. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
  5. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  7. Tom Brady, Buccaneers
  8. Joe Burrow, Bengals
  9. Jalen Hurts, Eagles
  10. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
  11. Deshaun Watson, Texans
  12. Trey Lance, 49ers

Notes: Allen has finished as the top quarterback in fantasy football in each of the last two seasons, during which time he’s rushed for more than 1,100 combined yards. … Herbert is the real deal. I could see moving him ahead of Mahomes heading into the summer months. … I’m unsure if Rodgers will play for the Packers (or at all) next season, but he shows no signs of slowing down. He’s put up 85 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his last 33 games. Unreal. … The fact that Brady will be 45 next season makes little difference at this point. The man is not human, posting another season with 40-plus touchdowns. … Burrow’s hot finish to this season and the talent around him have vaulted him into the top eight quarterbacks. … Watson isn’t going to be with the Texans next season, but he’ll be a top-12 quarterback (minimum) wherever he lands. … Much like Hurts was my favorite breakout quarterback for 2021, I’m going all in on Lance in 2022. That Niners offense will have a ton of fantasy value.

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Running Backs

  1. Jonathan Taylor, Colts
  2. Derrick Henry, Titans
  3. Austin Ekeler, Chargers
  4. Najee Harris, Steelers
  5. Dalvin Cook, Vikings
  6. Alvin Kamara, Saints
  7. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
  8. Joe Mixon, Bengals
  9. Javonte Williams, Broncos
  10. Cam Akers, Rams
  11. D’Andre Swift, Lions
  12. Nick Chubb, Browns
  13. Antonio Gibson, Football Team
  14. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
  15. Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers*
  16. Aaron Jones, Packers
  17. Elijah Mitchell, 49ers
  18. Josh Jacobs, Raiders
  19. David Montgomery, Bears
  20. Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons*
  21. James Conner, Cardinals*
  22. Damien Harris, Patriots
  23. Saquon Barkley, Giants
  24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs

Notes: Taylor in the consensus No. 1 player in fantasy football after he busted out for 20 total touchdowns and over 360 fantasy points. … Henry was on pace to be the top back in fantasy land before injuring his foot midseason. He’s had a lot of wear and tear and will enter the season at age 28, but he’ll be tough to pass on in the top five. … I have Harris ranked fourth at this point, but that might change depending on who the Steelers have at quarterback. Maybe Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson? … Cook will come with some risk because of his usual bumps and bruises, but he still averaged the 11th-most points per game among running backs in 2021. … I’m not sure where to rank Akers coming off the Achilles, but he has top-10 potential in the Rams’ offense. … If the Broncos let veteran runner Melvin Gordon leave as a free agent during the offseason, Javonte Williams could be a low-end first-round selection. … This is the lowest I’ve ever had Elliott ranked, but he’s been far less consistent in the last two seasons despite finishing seventh among backs in 2021. … Fournette could move up in future rankings, but he’s slated to become a free agent and there are plenty of unknowns about the Buccaneers offense at this point in time. … Jones is also ranked lower than in recent seasons due to the presence of A.J. Dillon, who looked like the real deal this season. … I love Mitchell, who has top-10 talent but dealt with injuries often as a rookie. He’ll be a top-30 overall pick as the top back in the offense of Kyle Shanahan… Patterson finished as a top-10 fantasy running back, but his stats fell off the board down the stretch. He’s also slated to become a free agent, so his value in 2022 is up in the air. … Barkley has been injured for most of the last two seasons and the Giants stink, so I can no longer trust him as more than a low No. 2 fantasy runner heading into 2022 drafts.

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Wide Receivers

  1. Cooper Kupp, Rams
  2. Davante Adams, Packers*
  3. Justin Jefferson, Vikings
  4. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
  5. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals
  6. Deebo Samuel, 49ers
  7. Stefon Diggs, Bills
  8. A.J. Brown, Titans
  9. Diontae Johnson, Steelers
  10. Keenan Allen, Chargers
  11. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins
  12. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys
  13. Calvin Ridley, Falcons
  14. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers*
  15. Tee Higgins, Bengals
  16. D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks
  17. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
  18. Terry McLaurin, Football Team
  19. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
  20. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders
  21. Mike Williams, Chargers*
  22. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
  23. Brandin Cooks, Texans
  24. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions

Notes: Kupp is coming off the greatest fantasy season of all time for a PPR wide receiver, so it’s tough not to rank him first despite expected regression. His 25.8 points per game average is nearly 10 points more than his previous career high. … Adams is slated to become a free agent, but reports suggest the Packers will franchise him. But will Aaron Rodgers be back under center in Green Bay? That’s the big question. … Chase is coming off the second-best fantasy season ever from a rookie wideout, and his rapport with quarterback Joe Burrow makes him tough to pass in the top five at the position. … Samuel has pushed into the top five after a breakout season, even with Trey Lance expected to take over under center next season. … Johnson’s stock is still very much up in the air at this point, as Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement in Pittsburgh is yet to be determined. D.J. could fall out of the top 15 wideouts if the Steelers fail to make an upgrade over the likes of backups Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins. I’ve developed quite a fantasy man crush on Waddle, who has pushed into high WR2 value. … Ridley is difficult to rank after missing most of this season due to off-field issues. He might end up on a new team in 2022. … Godwin is coming off a torn ACL and is slated to become a free agent. If he leaves the Bucs, his stock could tumble. … Renfrow has seen a serious rise in PPR value after a breakout season in 2021, and Cooks will remain a nice flex option in Houston. … St. Brown’s massive late-season surge has pushed him into the top-24 wideouts, regardless of Detroit’s quarterback situation in 2022.

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Tight Ends

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
  2. Mark Andrews, Ravens
  3. Darren Waller, Raiders
  4. Kyle Pitts, Falcons
  5. George Kittle, 49ers
  6. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
  7. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
  8. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys*
  9. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers*
  10. Pat Freiermuth, Steelers
  11. Dawson Knox, Bills
  12. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins

Notes: Kelce failed to finish as the top tight end in fantasy football for the first time in the last six years, but I’m sticking with him at the top for 2022. I wouldn’t draft him in the first round, however. … Andrews, the top tight end of this season, moves past both Waller and Kittle after a career campaign. … Pitts, who had one of the three best tight end seasons of all time among rookies, should do nothing but improve next season. He had just one touchdown this season. That total will certainly improve in 2022. … Goedert ranked sixth in points among tight ends this season and should be better in a full season without Ertz in the mix. … Schultz is scheduled to be a free agent, but he will be a top-8 tight end if he stays in Dallas. Depending on who the quarterback is in Pittsburgh, Freiermuth should be seen as a potential breakout candidate next season.

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

Source : https://www.si.com/fantasy/2022/01/10/way-too-early-rankings-2022

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