Fantasy Football: 9 utilization stats to know from Week 4

Here are key utilization stats fantasy football managers should know following Week 4 of the NFL season.

We’re now four weeks into the 2022 NFL season and injuries are piling up and bye weeks are right around the corner. It’s an important time in fantasy football, and managers need to stay on their toes.

Before you make any roster cuts or waiver claims for Week 5, here are the key utilization notes to know following Week 4.

 

Six points with David Dorey

Friday’s quick look at six fantasy items to know

The NFL is already dealing with injuries and that’s shaking up offenses. But overall, this is a much lower-scoring season and some top players  just haven’t gotten fully on track. None of the current Top-5 running backs were first-round picks other than Saquon Barkley at the end of August. It’s hard to put a finger on why the overall league is scoring less and seeing greater changes to top player in their position. But it’s all worth tracking and then mining for fantasy value as teams transition.

Here’s six things to think about this weekend:

1.) Better With Age? – The prevailing wisdom for many years is that running backs become more productive later in the year while wide receivers start out hot and then cool as passing games go against worse weather and field conditions, and team scoring invariably declines. So I compared the first three weeks from the last five years against the last three weeks of the fantasy season for the two positions. I only considered the Top-25 fantasy scorers from the position in those weeks as the likely starters. Interestingly, I was wrong.

Running backs did become more productive at the end of the year, and then they stopped for the last two years, actually declining from their earlier stats.

Wide receivers lose points at the end of the season, though nothing that dramatic. And this is for the Top-25 wideouts in each of the final three weeks. That’s still a healthy 20+ points each week on average. So less, but not that much.

Bottom line, even running backs now get worse at the end of the year. And worse year to year.

2.) Wide Receiver vs. Running Back 

The expectation here was that the wideouts would do better in the  first three weeks, and then give way to the running backs later in the season. This is the comparison between the two positions for the Top-25 scorer each week.

This was expected. Those first weeks of the season tend to have higher scoring games, the best weather, and go against many defenses that are trying to install new schemes and personnel. So yeah, wideouts are better than running backs to start the year.

The difference between the fantasy points of the 25 best fantasy scorers in each of the final three weeks of the fantasy season between running backs and wide receivers has not only changed, but it gets worse every year. There is still an argument to be made regarding week-to-week consistency, but this only considers a three-week block.

Putting this all together, top running backs and receivers decline in the final three weeks. But the running backs decline is much sharper than with wide receivers. And it gets worse every year. It bucks conventional wisdom, but don’t be afraid to stick with, or trade for, top wide receivers later in the year.

3.) WR Romeo Doubs (GB) – The second rookie that the Packers drafted attracted all the hype this summer. He was part of the basket-full of marginally productive wideouts for the first two weeks. He caught four passes for 37 yards in the Week 1 embarrassment in Minnesota, then just two receptions for 27 in Week 2. But playing in Tampa Bay against one of the best defenses, Dubs ended with eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. He caught each of his team-high eight targets.

Better yet, he was praised by HC Matt LaFleur, who said, “He’s got the body movement skills. He’s got the explosiveness. He plays on his insteps, gets both feet in the ground, and that allows him to get off bump coverage. And the game is certainly not too big for him.” Sammy Watkins landed on injured reserve and Allen Lazard has a lock on a starting spot. Doubs may be the rare rookie wideout that matters in Green Bay. This week against the solid Patriots defense should further define his place in the game plan. The schedule clears up nicely for the next month or so.

4.) QB Zach Wilson (NYJ) – The Jets are only 1-2, but Joe Flacco has been serviceable if not an asset. He’s thrown for over 285 yards in every game and totals five touchdowns on the year. But he was always a placeholder for Wilson who was the 1.02 pick last year. And he only managed 2,334 yards and nine scores over 13 games as a rookie. But he had almost no weapons aside from Elijah Moore, so the Jets drafted Garrett Wilson, who has already impressed.

So far, Moore hasn’t repeated his productive ways of last season. But Wilson already logged his first 100-yard game and has been better than Moore each week. There’s no denying that the schedule is not a friend this year. But there are plenty of fantasy points that will come from this offense.  This week versus the Steelers will be a great test to see what Wilson does in his first game with an upgraded set of receivers.

5.) WR Kenny Golladay et al (NYG) – The Giants just lost Sterling Shepherd to injured reserve, and he was easily the primary wideout with 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. The Giants have David Sills and Richie James as the other starters, and both are playing beyond expectations though that still doesn’t say much. Kenny Golladay is spending time with the second-string which is probably a waste of his $17.750 million salary this year. Kadarius Toney is supposed to be a starter but is out with a hamstring injury and is constantly dinged up and underperforming. Wan’Dale Robinson was their second-round pick that also hasn’t played with a knee injury.

This is one of the oddest set of wide receivers in the league. The most talent of the group are either injured or fell from favor. Losing Shepherd means that they have to replace him. That should spell a chance for Golladay to start. Something has to happen on this offense in the next month to straighten out the receivers and get them productive. The Giants surprised at 2-0 but then couldn’t hang with the visiting Cowboys using a back-up quarterback. Their two-game hot start may be their only winning streak if they cannot get healthy, productive receivers on the field.

6.) Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffrey hasn’t practiced for two days with a quad injury. As not shocking as that is, the entire offense revolves around him and if he doesn’t play or is limited, things will change. His backup isn’t even clear, with Chuba Hubbard returning for his second season and D’Onta Foreman coming over from the Titans, where he covered for Derrick Henry from Week 9 and onward. The official depth chart has Foreman as the No. 2 but both backs likely play.

But the passing game has been stuck in first gear under Baker Mayfield. That’s not a killer as long as McCaffrey is cranking 100-yard games.  But he’s already hurt and the Panthers are at home in three of the next four weeks. Facing the Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, and Buccaneers are not going to be won by rushing. If McCaffrey is out this week, it pushes Mayfield to throw more than 30 passes for the first time as a Panther. And D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson are always going to lead in targets if only because there are no other real options at receiver.

The Panthers offense has been unbelievably bad outside of McCaffrey. They are going to have to make changes soon or Matt Rhule has to be on a hot seat.

 

Six points with David Dorey

Friday’s quick look at six fantasy items to know

Week 2 saw the return of scoring with seven teams topping 30 points and Tua Tagovailoa tossing for 469 yards and six touchdowns in a thrilling comeback win over the Ravens, who choked on a 35-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Week 1 saw so many teams come out rusty and unprepared. Week 2 was marked with exciting comebacks and plenty of fantasy points.

We’ve already lost Trey Lance for the year, and Dak Prescott returns anywhere from this week to November, depending on who you ask. After two weeks, there are fantasy stars from 2021 that haven’t been seen much.

Here’s six things to think about this weekend:

1.) Let’s draft WR,WR,WR,WR, RB – Had a feeling, checked it out, and was correct. The decline in rushing is significant. I compared the stats for fantasy positions between 2021 and 2022 through the first two weeks of each season. There was really no statistically significant change from last year except one position. I’ll include the full table at the bottom. But for running backs:

RB RUN RYD RTD Target Catch CYDS CTD FF Pts
2021 1,472 6,359 55 426 330 2,554 18 1,659
2022 1,294 5,651 27 423 324 2,249 16 1,372
-178 -708 -28 -3 -6 -305 -2 -287
Drop 12% 11% 51% 1% 2% 12% 11% 17%

 

None of the positions varied other than running backs. The decline in the number of runs (12%), rushing yards (11%), and rushing touchdowns (51%) was noticeably skewed. Rushing tends to rise at the end of the season with bad weather games, but can we even rely on that anymore?

2.) Da Bears – They have been unbelievably bad on offense through two games and rant at or near the bottom in almost all fantasy categories other than running back. There is no way that this will continue. Week 1 was in the rain against the 49ers, and they won. It meant nothing. They ran well versus the Packers with 170 yards and both touchdowns. But the passing game was even worse – 7-of-11 for 70 yards and an interception. HC Matt Eberflus’ offense is being  installed and was in tough venues and conditions for two games. This week, the Bears host the Texans. This is likely their weakest matchup of the year.

Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet combined for only two catches and four yards but the first two games can be explained away. Eberflus has spoken to the need to involve Kmet and Mooney and they should be force-fed this week. They are also waiting for rookie speedster Velus Jones (4.3 40-time) to heal his hamstring and stretch the field. The Bears have two road games to follow, so this is the week to take advantage. This is the week they have to show at least a return to last year, if not actual progress.

3.) Kyle Pitts – I speak for all the other Pitts owners who spent a third-round pick. We did not sign up for  consecutive 2-19-0 stat lines. It’s been brought up to the still-calm HC Arthur Smith and he said that Pitts is every bit as much a part of the game plan as fantasy leaguers hope, but coverages have allowed other players to do more – like Drake London’s 13 catches for 160 yards and a score over two games.  He said there have been plenty of plays where Pitts was the first read. The first games were versus the Saints and at the Rams. Both are above-average defenses. Pitts’ final game in 2021 was versus the visiting Saints and he turned in just two catches for eight yards. Smith said, “The ball will find him. He’s going to break out here again, and we’re going to win because of it.”

Stat rankings are hardly reliable this early, but Pitts faced the current No. 2 and No. 5 defenses versus tight ends. The Seahawks this week are No. 24. He’ll be better this week as were the Broncos (7-85) and the 49ers (1-38, TD) who played without George Kittle. If Pitts turns in another 2-19 game, then it is reasonable to start breathing into a bag. But no need to  hyperventilate yet.

4.) Cowboys receivers – It was bad enough losing Dak Prescott for a few weeks or so. But now Dalton Schultz is not a lock to play on Monday night which would bring in a tag team of rookie tight ends of Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Last year, Schultz turned in 79 yards in each meeting. But the receiving picture is further compounded with the return of Michael Gallup who has undergone full practices. He may be on a pitch count, but the receivers could use more help.

The question is how the Cowboys handle Gallup. Noah Brown is a fifth-year receiver that just now has been a part of the game plan. He leads the Cowboys with ten catches for 159 yards and the lone receiver touchdown of the year. He should remain in the slot, but the Cowboys need to get CeeDee Lamb into the endzone and not outplayed by a fifth-year depth receiver.

5.) Malik Willis – The Titans were dominated by the Bills last Sunday night and they finally benched Ryan Tannehill after he threw for only 117 yards, two interceptions and a 32.7 QB rating (if you just throw one incompletion and stop, you get a 36.9). He gave way to the third-round pick Malik Willis. It’s no changing of the guard, yet, and Tannehill remains the starting quarterback. But the Titans are 0-2 and if they rack up many more losses, then Wilson could get a start.

Whenever they do rely on him, the offense will change with a quarterback that ran for over 800 yards in each of his last two season in Liberty. And that probably depresses the passing production. Tannehill needs to connect with Robert Woods (5-52) better and throw a score to anyone other than a No. 2 running back. Poor blocking is leaving Derrick Henry less productive, so the Titans need to get back on track these next few weeks. This is a team that is struggling and pulling down the fantasy fortunes of their best players.

6.) Irv Smith – The Vikings tight end opened the year with no catches on two targets. Justin Jefferson took over in the win against the Packers. But in Week 2, Smith accounted for eight targets – second to only Justin Jefferson. And he caught the lone touchdown in the loss to the Eagles. It is notable that while Jefferson was being contained, neither Adam Thielen nor K.J. Osborn saw an uptick in their targets. The Vikings play the Lions this week and Jefferson should be a lock to do well. But Smith’s usage will say a lot about how this new offensive scheme regards Thielen and Osborn.

 

Below are the total from the first two weeks of 2021 vs. 2022.

QB RUN RYD RTD PASS CMP PYDS PTD FF Pts
2021 273 1,194 16 2,235 1,489 16,585 108 1,477
2022 270 1,075 10 2,234 1,435 15,526 105 1,364
(3) (119) (6) (1) (54) (1,059) (3) (113)
RB RUN RYD RTD PASS CMP PYDS PTD FF Pts
2021 1,472 6,359 55 426 330 2,554 18 1,659
2022 1,294 5,651 27 423 324 2,249 16 1,372
(178) (708) (28) (3) (6) (305) (2) (287)
TE RUN RYD RTD PASS CMP PYDS PTD FF Pts
2021 3 14 0 456 311 3,311 33 842
2022 10 93 1 441 283 2,918 18 698
7 79 1 (15) (28) (393) (15) (143)
WR RUN RYD RTD PASS CMP PYDS PTD FF Pts
2021 45 316 1 1,286 852 10,839 58 2,322
2022 66 441 1 1,296 822 10,329 71 2,331
21 125 0 10 (30) (510) 13 10

 

Six points with David Dorey

Friday’s quick look at six fantasy items to know

The 2022 NFL season is underway and after one mostly disturbing week, we’ll hope that all the low scores and sloppy play were just a function of teams doing little in the preseason to get players “game sharp.” Only three games contained a team that scored over 31 points. There were nine last year and seven before that. It was surprising to see the Chiefs using starters in the preseason. And then they went and spanked the defending World Champs on opening Thursday night.

There was a long list of players that rose in the rankings this summer, and almost all of them haven’t yet justified the hype – D.J. Moore, Allen Robinson, Elijah Moore, Dameon Pierce, Rhamondre Stevenson, Zamir White, Isiah Pacheco, and many more. But  as always – it was only one game, and in many cases, that game will be different than all the others.

Week 1 probably sparked as many questions as it did answers. Here are six players or situations I’m watching this weekend.

1.) 49ers backfield – This is the one that everyone wants to know. Who steps up after Elijah Mitchell injured his shoulder ribs finger head knee hamstring  MCL and will miss up to two months before he is available for the next injury. In his wake are Jeff Wilson, Tyler Davis-Price, and Jordan Mason.  Wilson enters his sixth year with the 49ers as a backup they’d rather not need to use. Wilson isn’t bad, but he isn’t much more than “just another running back.” He’s only 26, but he’s never been more than a backup. Davis-Price was their 3.29 pick, but was inactive in Week 1 and hasn’t impressed in the summer. That leaves Jordan Mason, whose best aspect so far is that he’s an unknown. He was an undrafted free agent and had the most positives in practices. This is all worth tracking because of this trend:

Year Leading RB Rank
2021 Elijah Mitchell 26
2020 Jeff Wilson Jr. 31
2019 Raheem Mostert 25
2018 Matt Breida 24
2017 Carlos Hyde 11

The 49ers had a different primary running back every year since 2014 when Frank Gore’s streak ended. HC Mike Shanahan started in 2017 where this lack of consistency took a firm hold.

2.) The Cowboys – Losing Dak Prescott seems catastrophic for the franchise. While he missed 11 games in 2020, they had Andy Dalton on hand. This year, Cooper Rush takes over with just one start since entering the league in 2017. He relied on Dalton Schultz, but the rest of the receivers including CeeDee Lamb have to be devalued. There are two things to watch for – first, will Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard see higher usage?  There is every reason to want Elliott to do well, and for Pollard to add to the receivers. Secondly, I want to see if the passing game can be sustained until Prescott returns. If it looks bad, then Jimmy Garoppolo, Mason Rudolph, or other veteran quarterbacks may be acquired.

3.)  RB Kenneth Walker III (SEA) – The Seahawks’ 2.09 pick was the  second running back selected in the 2022 NFL draft, but he missed time with a groin injury. He ran just five times for 19 yards and caught an 11-yard pass in the preseason. But the Michigan State star logged 1,623 yards and 18 scores on 263 carries last year. He still has plenty of tread on the tires with just the one big year. Rashaad Penny remains the starter until he isn’t. That all depends on Walker. Penny ran for 60 yards on 12 carries last week versus the Broncos, so he’s done well on the few carries they gave him. When Walker shows up, it’s hard to imagine that Seattle will continue to only have 13 total carries in a game with two running backs of their quality. The plan this year was to run more. One of three outcomes will happen. Either Penny does the unthinkable and remains productive and healthy as the primary back, Walker outperforms him (or replaces the injured Penny), or they kill each other’s potential by sharing the workload that so far is not big enough to be split.

4.) WR Garrett  Wilson (NYJ) – The second wide receiver drafted this year (1.10) only played in little more than half of the snaps in the loss to the Ravens, but he logged eight targets for four catches and 52 yards in his first NFL game. It was a high-volume pass day with Joe Flacco tossing 59 passes, three other wideouts caught at least five passes each. But the Jets will need to throw more than most teams, and Wilson has already jumped into the fray as an equal. He only averaged 13 yards per catch, but his 4.38 speed and college history says he’ll start catching deeper passes soon.

5.) WR Chase Claypool (PIT) – The Steelers are adjusting to life without Ben Roethlisberger, though so far the results have been similar. Pat Freiermuth stepped up to five catches and Diontae Johnson remains a target-sponge with a very low average length of catch. But Hype-monster George Pickens debuted with only one catch for three yards. He was thought to have been a detriment for  Chase Claypool but certainly not yet. The Steelers opted to make Claypool their own “Deebo Samuel” by throwing him four catches for 18 yards, and six rushes for 36 yards. Najee Harris only ran ten times for 23 yards. Regardless of what happens at quarterback, Claypool as a runner was effective.

6.) RB Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) – Of the many surprises, revelations and head-scratchers last week, one that went counter to conventional wisdom and interpreted coach-speak was second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson. He was touted to take over for the retired James White. Stevenson (6-0, 246 lbs.)  may not look like White (5-10, 205 lbs.), and his resume’ was more of a workhorse, power-back. There was speculation that he’d replace Damien Harris as the primary back. With OC Josh McDaniels gone, the roles and responsibilities were up for change anyway. But Ty Montgomery entered the picture in the final part of August as another receiving back.

In Week 1, Harris gained 48 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for ten yards. Stevenson was a close second with eight rushes for 25 yards and two catches for two yards. Montgomery ran twice for a net two-yard loss and led the backfield with three catches for 15 yards and the only Patriot touchdown. But Montgomery injured his right knee and landed on injured reserve.

The coaching staff spoke to the backfield to remain limited to Stevenson and Harris. They also drafted Pierre Strong in the fourth round, but his  development has been slow. The Patriots have a solid offensive line and more reasons to run since the transition away from  McDaniels has not been smooth. This week at the Steelers they face a defense that gave 27 carries to Joe Mixon and their backfield totaled ten catches for 99 yards. This should be a very telling week for how the backfield will be sharing the ball and which back is the truly better option.

13 waiver wire targets for fantasy football in Week 2

Take a look at the top targets on the fantasy football waiver wire in Week 2.

Just like that, the first week of fantasy football has come and gone.

It was a pretty wild opening weekend for fantasy managers. There were some explosive performances from the studs across the league while we also encountered some surprises along the way.

With rosters and roles settling, the waiver wire will be a much less chaotic place. However, that doesn’t make it any less valuable. In fact, working the waiver wire is from where league champions emerge. Drafting is great for setting a team’s foundation, but the real work comes through the waiver wire.

It’s best not to overreact to all of the Week 1 hoopla. However, we do need to take note of certain storylines, especially when it pertains to usage. Volume drives fantasy points, so that’s one of the aspects we should be looking for on the waiver wire.

We’ll be taking a look at the top available players rostered in ESPN leagues, using the 75% mark as the threshold. If you have any questions about prioritizing a certain player over another, don’t be afraid to hit me up on Twitter (@KevinHickey11). Your questions, comments, and roasts are always welcome!

Regardless of whether you won or lost, here are 13 players to target on the waiver wire for fantasy football in Week 2:

Six points with David Dorey

Friday’s quick look at six fantasy items to know

The 2022 NFL season kicked off, and weekly fantasy points are already showing up beside your player names. Maybe not so much for Cam Akers or Allen Robinson, but all the other Rams and Bills. And we’ve already seen just how far off we were on a few things, namely the backfield usage for either Thursday night teams.

We’ll use this weekly space to discuss six players or situations that are of fantasy interest going into the weekend. The NFL constantly changes, constantly evolves, and trying to catch up or even get ahead of the transition week-to-week will pay dividends for your fantasy team.

So many things to watch in Week 1. Here’s the Top-6.

1.) Trey Lance – The 49ers’ hopes ride on the arm (and legs) of Lance who had a red shirt rookie year and now takes over. The 49ers still have Jimmy Garoppolo, so at worse, they are back to 2021. But Lance holds the promise of a wildly effective offense that is hard to defend. Lance holds the key to what Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle will do.  If Lance can maintain the same level of passing and succeed as a runner, then the 49ers will challenge for the division and return to the playoffs.

2.) Saquon Barkley – He’s already burned fantasy owners twice, so hesitancy is reasonable. But he’s looked back to form this summer in practices. Last year, he was still recovering from his 2020 torn ACL. The Giants have all new coaches, a “not as bad” offensive line, and a healthy Barkley. The Bears are about average on defense, so the test for Barkley on the road should be telling. If he looks good again, the rest of the offense gets a major boost. The passing game improves both from Barkley as a receiver, and from his presence drawing  focus away from the rest of the offense.

3.) Travis Etienne – We never saw him last year due to his torn Lis Franc, but he’s healthy again by all reports. If the same quality of player we saw at Clemson shows up this week at the Commanders, then the Jags’ offense takes a major step up. Washington sports a mostly average rushing defense and a bad secondary, so Etienne’s success should yield a solid idea for the rest of the season. With James Robinson slated to also play a role, he could be used in many ways. If Etienne meets expectations as a runner and a receiver, then the Jaguars’ offense improves significantly. If he’s just moderately effective, then last year could repeat. If he reaches what seems to be his potential, every Jaguar fantasy player improves and the offense under HC Doug Pederson blossoms.

4.) Dameon Pierce – Everyone will be watching him since he’s the rookie running back that made the biggest splash in the offseason. No matter that he was the seventh back drafted this year or that he runs behind a horrible offensive line against a terrible schedule. He looked legitimately impressive in the offseason. James Robinson wasn’t even drafted and yet he sent Leonard Fournette packing. It does happen.  Pierce has an uphill battle, but if he is successful, he makes the Texans offense much more balanced and effective. They host the Colts on Sunday, and that is no treat for any rusher. We’ll see just how good Pierce really is in Week 1.

5.) Baker Mayfield – He won the starting job in Carolina just like everyone expected. But his presence impacts the entire offense, and we’ll see what he can do when he is not playing for a run-first offense. We get to see if a new environment makes a difference. D.J. Moore turned in 1,000 yards each season despite playing with a number of sub-average quarterbacks. And Robbie Anderson topped 1,000 yards in Carolina in 2020 before disappearing last year. Mayfield could be much better than he was in Cleveland, and if he returns Anderson to more effective ways, this offense will surprise. He traded a running back that caught about one pass per game for a back that’s twice topped 100 catches in a season.

6.) Green Bay wideouts – Davante Adams took his 123 receptions to Vegas. That leaves a major void to fill. Some speculate that Aaron Jones benefits and while he may see more targets, it’s hard to imagine Aaron Rodgers suddenly becoming a check-down king and reticent to throw downfield. Allen Lazard is the default No. 1 receiver, though he’s nursing a bad ankle and may not play. But his best year was only 40-513-8. Randall Cobb is a starter, but only caught 28 passes when he returned last season. Sammy Watkins also starts but spent the last six years flopping on four different teams. Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson will figure in, though Rodgers hasn’t relied on rookies in the past.

Whichever receiver produces reliable fantasy production is entirely unclear. And yet – there will be value in this group. And it’s going to be a surprise.

So much to watch in Week 1. Once we better define the 2022 teams, we can start mining for emerging players the rest of the way. Welcome to the 2022 NFL season.

Fasten your seatbelt.

10 waiver wire targets for fantasy football in Week 1

Even after your fantasy football drafts, here are 10 waiver wire targets going in Week 1.

The fantasy football season is officially here as managers will finally get to tilt, stress, and possibly even celebrate their teams for the first time during the 2022 season.

Even though the draft weekend resulted in all of us walking away with the strongest rosters in our respective leagues, it’s still wise to keep an eye on the waiver wire. Even moves need to be made in Week 1.

We’ll be taking a look at the top available players rostered in ESPN leagues, using the 75% mark as the threshold. If you have any questions about prioritizing a certain player over another, don’t be afraid to hit me up on Twitter (@KevinHickey11). Your questions, comments, and roasts are always welcome!

Without further ado, here are 10 players on the waiver wire to target in Week 1:

Will fantasy owners capitalize on an investment in Tyler Allgeier?

A late-round selection could pay off nicely for those willing to take a chance.

Despite not being chosen until the fifth round, Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier, the 12th of 23 RBs selected, drew some offseason buzz from fantasy football owners because he was stepping into a potentially advantageous situation. Now that training camp and the preseason are in the rearview mirror, however, it’s time reexamine Allgeier’s outlook for 2022.

One of the things that jumped off the page for fantasy owners was Allgeier’s role at BYU as a true workhorse type of back — to that end he carried the ball 276 times as a senior and led FBS in rushing touchdowns with 23. He’s also strong in pass protection, which should make him a viable option in the Falcons backfield regardless of down and distance. Allgeier is a tough, physical runner that drew some comps to Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner.

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The rookie didn’t exactly shine during camp or the preseason, however, carrying the ball 17 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. That included an eight-carry stint in the finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars when both Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams were held out. If the Falcons had seen what they felt they needed to see of out Allgeier to that point, he likely would’ve joined them on the sidelines, which is what we saw with the Houston Texans and fellow rookie running back Dameon Pierce.

At this point, the depth chart has Patterson, who converted from receiver to running back last year, at the top. That was always to be expected, but the team’s most versatile weapon is never going to be a down-in, down-out grinder who runs between the tackles. He had 1,166 offensive yards and 11 combined TDs on 205 total touches a year ago, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll ask much more than that in 2022.

Where Allgeier disappointed is in failing to surpass Williams, a legit journeyman playing for his fourth team in the last five years, for the backup job. By far Williams’ best years came with the Kansas City Chiefs, which included 2019 when he set career highs in carries (111), yards (498), and touchdowns (five), but the 30-year-old did little with the Chicago Bears a season ago. This figures to be one of those occasional situations in which the depth chart won’t match the fantasy depth chart should Patterson get injured. Allgeier is physically better equipped to handle a larger load than Williams.

Fantasy football outlook

Expect the Falcons to mix and match will all three of their top backs, at least initially, with Patterson getting the majority of the touches, while Williams and Allgeier divvy up the more physical work. The BYU product could move into a more advantageous spot if either of the backs ahead of him, both of whom are on the wrong side of 30, break down. Whether that possibility is enough to justify carrying the rookie on your bench depends on the size of your league. He is worthy of an RB4 or No. 5 spot in any design of at least 12 teams and 16 players on a roster.

Revisiting the Baltimore Ravens’ backfield in fantasy football

A reshaped Ravens’ RB stable requires a fresh look.

While we looked at the Baltimore Ravens’ backfield earlier in the offseason, enough changes have happened to warrant another peek. With that in mind, let’s dive back in and update the Ravens’ backfield situation as we head into the start of the 2022 campaign.

Fantasy football: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback breakdown

How long will it take until this situation is turned on its head?

When the Pittsburgh Steelers began their preseason in late July, their quarterback battle was presented as an open competition to replace the retired Ben Roethlisberger between Mitchell Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph, who was the lone holdover in the group. With camp and the preseason now in the books, it’s time to take a look back at how all three performed and where the team looks to be headed for 2022.