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Player Outlooks (2022)
QB Matthew Stafford: The first season for Stafford in Los Angeles resulted in a Super Bowl, but is he a slam-dunk top-12 option from a fantasy perspective? We love the addition of Allen Robinson, but Stafford struggled some down the stretch last regular season (13 interceptions over his final nine games), and he lacks rushing upside compared to others at the position. Maybe the connection with Cooper Kupp and him being complemented by Robinson will allow Stafford to put up monster numbers through the air, but we rank him as more of a borderline QB1/QB2.
RB Cam Akers: Akers made a remarkable recovery from a torn Achilles suffered last July to return for Week 18 (and obviously the Super Bowl run), so already having cleared the mental hurdle of getting back on the field will hopefully have him looking like himself in 2022. There is risk, though, as Akers recovery was unprecedented, and we are highly unlikely to get a look at him before Week 1 based on Sean McVay’s recent history of not playing starters in the preseason. There’s frankly a chance he’s never the same player he was before the injury, so the floor might not be worth the payoff in the third round.
RB Darrell Henderson: Henderson fell out of favor down the stretch last year, but he was trusted to make plays in Super Bowl LVI with five targets (resulting in three receptions for 43 yards), and he actually had career-highs across the board in the 2021 regular season. Akers possibly being not quite himself over a year removed from the torn Achilles may open the door for Henderson to earn more work than expected, but the selection of Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams complicates the backfield.
RB Kyren Williams: A broken foot suffered in early June will put Williams a bit behind to start training camp later this month, but he’s expected to be healthy sometime in August. If so, the rookie should crack the roster as the No. 3 running back, and he’s a definite name to monitor considering the injury history of Akers and Henderson. At Notre Dame, Williams was one of the toughest pound-for-pound players in college football.
WR Cooper Kupp: The numbers might be difficult to replicate, but it’s a gamble to go with anyone other than Kupp—coming off perhaps the best receiving season of all-time—as the top fantasy wideout for 2022. The connection between Matthew Stafford and his No. 1 target was basically unstoppable with Sean McVay in charge of the offense, and the addition of Allen Robinson will make it tough for opponents to send more resources to contain the reigning “triple crown” winner with consistent double teams and bracket coverage. We prefer running backs in the top five in most cases, but Kupp is at least worth a top-three pick in full PPR leagues and receiver-heavy formats like Best Ball Mania III.
WR Allen Robinson: The star-studded Rams specifically targeted Robinson as someone worth spending money on this offseason, giving him a three-year, $46.5-million deal to slide in as the primary option behind Kupp. Based on how effectively Odell Beckham Jr. was featured down the stretch last season, Sean McVay should have zero issues utilizing Robinson—who has a 14-touchdown campaign under his belt—in scoring territory.
WR Van Jefferson: Jefferson had a very quiet overall WR32 finish in his second season, and his value could arguably be boosted as a rare receiver handcuff to Kupp and/or Robinson in Sean McVay’s offense. When it comes to standalone value, though, a fully healthy Jefferson wasn’t a major factor during LA’s championship run despite heavy playing time (including 99% of the snaps played in the Super Bowl)—totaling 18 receptions for 225 yards and zero touchdowns over the final eight combined regular season and postseason games.
WR Tutu Atwell: He played just ten offensive snaps as a rookie, but Atwell shouldn’t be written off after one year—and he’s apparently looked like a different player this offseason. While the size will always be a knock, Atwell has vertical speed (4.42 40-yard dash) and is electric with the ball in his hands. The issue with his dynasty value is potentially always being a better real-life contributor than fantasy option.
WR Ben Skoronek: Odell Beckham Jr. lingers as someone the Rams could possibly re-sign, but Skoronek should be listed with limited depth at the position right now. The 25-year-old has good size (six-foot-three) and could make more of an impact if given meaningful snaps with another year of development.
TE Tyler Higbee: Higbee had more of an underneath role than previous seasons with the Rams becoming a receiver-focused offense in 2021, but he actually saw the second-most targets of his career (85) and scored five touchdowns for the second year in a row. Still, the average depth of target (5.3) saw a significant decline from the previous season (8.0), and Higbee could be hurt by Allen Robinson creating a dominant tandem with Cooper Kupp to make it even more of a wideout-slanted attack for Los Angeles.
TE Brycen Hopkins: We were high on Hopkins coming out of Purdue in 2020, and he came through as one of the unsung heroes of Super Bowl LVI with four receptions (on four targets) for 47 yards. Prior to the Big Game, Hopkins had only seen one career target, so we’ll see if the performance makes him the clear No. 2 option behind Higbee in 2022.
TE Kendall Blanton: Blanton also came through in the postseason for LA, as while he wasn’t targeted in the Super Bowl, the six-foot-six tight end caught five-of-five targets for 57 yards in the NFC Championship (and a touchdown to help beat the Bucs before that). There is limited standalone appeal with Higbee healthy, but the battle between Hopkins and Blanton is one to watch.
TE Jacob Harris: Tight end is the position that usually takes the longest to develop in the NFL, so Harris—a raw former college wideout entering his second season—should remain more of a dynasty prospect. Compounding the development is the fact that Harris is coming off a torn ACL and MCL suffered in early November.
Best 2022 value: Allen Robinson (FantasyPros ECR: WR26)
Robinson was somehow ranked as the WR42 on ESPN when we released our draft guide last month, but he’s still far too low both there (WR35) and on FantasyPros. Cooper Kupp and others have talked up how Robinson is able to run shorter routes like a smaller player based on how he gets in and out of breaks, so at least listen to them if you aren’t high on the talent of a guy that went for an 80/1,400/14 line as a 22-year-old.
Best dynasty investment: Allen Robinson
It’s been back-to-back articles where a wideout is listed as the best value for both redraft and dynasty leagues, but Robinson is an absolute steal based on his current price. The usage in scoring territory should improve significantly with Sean McVay (and away from the Bears), and Robinson can destroy single coverage all over the field.
Stat to know
Coming off a torn Achilles suffered in July of 2021, Cam Akers totaled 75 touches in four postseason games.