2022 Fantasy Football Rankings: Rating Stars Who Changed Teams, Including Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, More
Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson (left), Davante Adams (center) and Tyreek Hill.
Russell Wilson (Seahawks to Broncos)
Perhaps the biggest deal of the offseason sent nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos. The transaction included one of Denver’s fourth-round picks in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, Drew Lock, Shelby Harris and Noah Fant.
Wilson, 33, had spent his first ten seasons in Seattle, including seven trips to the playoffs and one Super Bowl victory. His health has been a great asset throughout his career having never missed a single game until last season. Prior to that, Wilson had not finished lower than QB12 in fantasy.
The move should be somewhere between neutral and positive for WIlson’s fantasy value in 2022. His wide receivers — Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton — are a downgrade from D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Broncos’ offensive line is an upgrade from the Seahawks, as is the running back platoon of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.
Wilson is currently being drafted as the QB11 according to FantasyPros ADP. That feels more like his floor, making him an easy buy as a mid- to low-end QB1.
Davante Adams (Packers to Raiders)
The Raiders traded for Davante Adams in a blockbuster deal and gave the five-time Pro Bowler a five-year, $141 million contract, making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL (at the time).
Adams, 29, has enjoyed great success over the last six seasons due in large part to his rapport with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He posted five top 9 finishes at the position and two seasons as the WR1. He is coming off of a banner year in which he reeled in 123 targets for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Adams is undeniably talented, but the move is an overall downgrade for his fantasy value. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr – while more than serviceable – isn’t comparable in terms of the upside Rodgers offers his pass catchers. It is worth noting that Adams and Carr played together at Fresno State from 2012 to 2013.
Post-Jordy Nelson, the Packers wide receiver depth chart never put up much of a fight for Adams. He will face more competition from the Las Vegas pass catching room, which is headlined by Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Renfrow posted his first 1,000-receiving yard season and finished as the WR13 for fantasy. Waller is coming off of an injury-plagued season but is still a consensus top 5 tight end.
Adams is currently being drafted as the WR4 in half PPR behind Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. His ADP is high, but warranted given his upside.
Tyreek Hill (Chiefs to Dolphins)
Tyreek Hill was dealt to the Dolphins in an offseason shocker in exchange for a slew of picks: one first round pick, one second round pick, two fourth-round picks and one sixth-round pick. He later inked a four-year, $120 extension that made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL (at the time).
Hill, 28, had spent the first six seasons of his career in Kansas City. The former fifth-round pick is a three-time first-team All-Pro, a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion. He has four 1,000-receiving yard seasons and four top 6 finishes in half PPR for fantasy.
The move is a downgrade for Hill as far as fantasy is concerned. There are few quarterbacks in the NFL that can rival Patrick Mahomes — and Tua Tagovailoa isn’t one of them.
Even in a season which was considered a down year for Mahomes, he averaged nine more attempts per game and 80 passing yards per game than Tagovailoa. Hill will face similar competition in Miami with Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki (versus Travis Kelce and a handful of less remarkable names), but he will have a lower ceiling with fewer overall targets to go around.
Hill is currently being drafted as the WR8 in half PPR in the same range as Mike Evans, Deebo Samuel and Keenan Allen. This feels like an appropriate range for a wildly talented receiver in a mediocre fantasy situation.
A.J. Brown (Titans to Eagles)
A.J. Brown was sent to Philadelphia in a draft-day stunner which sent the No. 18 overall pick to the Titans. Brown later inked a huge four-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles.
The 2019 second-round pick began his career strong with 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and was the WR14 in half PPR in 2020 – his best season to date. Brown had a down year due to injuries in 2021 and finished as the WR34.
The move is basically a wash for Brown’s fantasy value. Jalen Hurts is a stronger passer than Ryan Tannehill at this stage in Tannehill’s career, and the Titans’ run-first, Derrick Henry-centric scheme did Brown no favors in terms of target volume.
Brown will face slightly more competition from Eagles pass-catchers, namely DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. Smith is coming off of a rookie campaign in which he finished as the WR31, while Goedert had his best season to date, earning the distinction of TE6.
Brown’s ADP in half PPR is WR11 in the same range as Keenan Allen, Tee Higgins and Jaylen Waddle. He belongs firmly in the fringe WR1/high-end WR2 conversation as a blue chip 25-year-old wideout in an above average situation for fantasy.
Marquise Brown (Ravens to Cardinals)
Marquise Brown was one of two trades in the first-round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Cardinals sent the Ravens the 23rd overall pick in exchange for Brown and a third-round pick while also picking up his fifth-year option.
The 2019 first-round selection is fresh off of a banner season in which he caught 91 passes for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns and finished as the WR22. Brown is known for his big plays and ranked eighth in deep targets last season, a trait that makes him more boom-and-bust as well as less reliant on target volume.
The move is slightly positive – at least for the first half of the season – for Brown’s fantasy value. Until DeAndre Hopkins returns from suspension, the Arizona pass-catching corps will consist of Brown, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green and Trey McBride, arguably a downgrade from Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman, et al.
Quarterback Kyler Murray should also offer more upside to Brown than Lamar Jackson did. Jackson has never exceeded 3,200 passing yards in a single season and has averaged fewer passing yards and attempts per game and a lower completion percentage than Murray over the last two years.
Brown’s ADP in half PPR is WR20, which is a bit rich – but not ludicrously so. I worry that Brown may slow down once Murray’s favorite red zone target, Hopkins, returns to play, which would lower his season-long fantasy value. He belongs firmly in the low-end WR2 rung.
Amari Cooper (Cowboys to Browns)
Four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper found his third home this offseason by way of a deal with the Browns that mostly involved swapping 2022 draft picks. Cooper, 28, had recently been paid a massive five-year, $100 million extension with the Cowboys in 2020.
The 2015 No. 4 overall pick from Alabama has had some ups and downs throughout his career. He started out hot, posting back-to-back 1,000-receiving yard seasons for the Raiders. Brown was dealt midseason in 2018 to the Cowboys, with whom he posted another pair of 1,000-yard seasons. He is coming off of a bit of a down year in which he finished as the WR28 in half PPR due in part to the ascendance of new hotshot receiver, CeeDee Lamb.
The move is slightly net negative for Cooper, who will face much less competition from a Browns’ depth chart that leaves a lot to be desired, but will also face major uncertainty at the quarterback position.
It remains unclear how many games Deshaun Watson will be suspended, but at best, Cooper will have Watson for 11 of the 17 games this season. We have not seen Watson since 2020 when he threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns on a horrendous Texans team.
Once active, Watson will offer similar upside to Dak Prescott vis-à-vis Cooper’s fantasy value. Until then, however, it appears the team will have to lean on backup Jacoby Brissett which could be for the entire season.
Cooper’s ADP in half PPR is WR21, which is a tad rich for my taste. I would prefer taking him in the mid-20s given the risk his overall situation imposes.
Allen Robinson II (Bears to Rams)
Allen Robinson finds himself in a much upgraded situation after signing with the Rams this offseason.
There’s no sugar coating how horrendous Robinson was last year. After posting back-to-back WR10 finishes with the Bears, the 2014 second-round pick caught just 38 passes for 410 yards and one touchdown, coming in at WR88.
The move should be a significant boost for Robinson, who spent the first eight seasons of his career catching passes from suboptimal quarterbacks in Jacksonville and Chicago. The Rams are fresh off of a Super Bowl victory. Their quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is an astronomical upgrade from any of the quarterbacks Robinson has played alongside. He won’t be the WR1 in this offense, as that distinction belongs to Cooper Kupp, though that may not be a bad thing, especially at this stage of Robinson’s career. The 28-year-old will not draw elite coverage, but should still see a steady volume of targets.
Robinson’s ADP in half PPR is WR28 which I think is a touch low albeit understandable. Many in the fantasy community – myself included – were burned by him last season. That said, I would much rather have the Rams’ WR2 than the Bears’ WR1. Robinson should return on investment as a low-end WR2.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers to Chiefs)
After five seasons in Pittsburgh, Pro Bowl wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster has moved on to greener pastures in Kansas City by way of a one-year, $10.75 million deal.
Smith-Schuster, 25, has been a mixed bag for fantasy football since joining the league as the Steelers’ second-round pick in 2017. His best season to date came in 2018 in which he caught 111 passes for a whopping 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns – good enough to finish as the WR8. He is coming off of a down season which ended due to injuries and appeared in just five games, recording 15 catches for 129 yards and zero touchdowns.
The move is a titanic upgrade for Smith-Schuster’s fantasy value. While it’s true he was a massive disappointment last season, there are few better places than Kansas City to make a bounce back campaign. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of the top passers in the NFL and is in his prime, while the situation in Pittsburgh has been tumultuous. Ben Roethlisberger was a shell of his former self last season, significantly limiting his pass-catchers’ ceilings. Smith-Schuster will also face less competition with Tyreek Hill off to Miami.
The team did add Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and still have Travis Kelce, but that receiving pair inspires much less fear than Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
Smith-Schuster’s ADP in half PPR is WR34 and is being drafted in the same range as Darnell Mooney, Elijah Moore and Devonta Smith. At that price (and still relatively young), he is a relatively low-risk investment with sky-high upside opposite Mahomes.