The 2022 fantasy football season was set to end on a high note in Week 17, but it came to a screeching halt after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football. Thankfully, Hamlin’s condition has taken a turn for the better, but several fantasy leagues were left in a tough spot as far as crowning a champion with the highly-anticipated Bills-Bengals game declared a no-contest.
Hopefully your league was able to navigate through these never-before-seen circumstances, as 2022 had been one of my favorite fantasy seasons after an unusually high amount of star players in new places shook up the status quo on draft day.
Now that the season’s officially over, I went back and identified five of my offseason fantasy football predictions that most didn’t have along with five more that I didn’t see coming in 2022.
FIVE THINGS I PREDICTED
Justin Jefferson finishes as the No. 1 overall wide receiver
I pegged Jefferson as this season’s No. 1 wide receiver for fantasy football in my preseason rankings since he was set to take a step forward with the Vikings hiring an offensive-minded head coach in Kevin O’Connell, but most fantasy analysts were still ranking Cooper Kupp ahead of him. While Kupp was having an elite season before his injury, it’s unlikely that he would’ve outproduced Jefferson even if he had stayed healthy, as Jefferson’s performance down the stretch was on another level outside of Week 17.
No fall-off for A.J. Brown in Philadelphia
Brown was traded from the Titans to the Eagles this offseason, and the fantasy football community was divided on where he should be drafted due to uncertainty surrounding Jalen Hurts’ ability as a passer. I was a believer in Brown since I thought that Hurts could end up an upgrade over what he had in Tennessee, and that turned out to be the case, as Brown had a great connection with Hurts right away and finished as a top 10 wide receiver in fantasy in what was a career year.
Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields have second-year breakouts
Many were skeptical to take a chance on Lawrence and Fields since they struggled mightily as rookies, but I saw their potential and believed they could take a step forward this season with better coaches and supporting casts. The Jaguars’ new coaching staff helped Lawrence flourish as a passer, and Fields’ rushing ability saw him evolve into an elite fantasy quarterback despite his limitations as a passer.
Chris Olave breaks out as a rookie
This year’s rookie class had several wide receivers drafted in the first round, but I had Olave as the one to live up to the hype right away since he’d have plenty of opportunities with the Saints. Olave ended up leading the Saints in receiving with a 1,000-yard season and established himself as their No. 1 receiver moving forward with Michael Thomas injured once again. The only other first-round receiver to have a similar season to Olave was his former Ohio State teammate in Garrett Wilson with the Jets.
Darren Waller a bust as a mid-round tight end
I expected the tight end position to be pretty underwhelming after Travis Kelce, but it was even worse than I could’ve predicted with the middle rounds being a wasteland for the most part. One that I was right in avoiding was Waller, who I expected to take a backseat to Davante Adams as the Raiders’ go-to target, and he also dealt with a series of injuries for the second year in a row.
FIVE THINGS I DIDN’T SEE
Josh Jacobs finishes as a top-three running back
My thinking was that Derek Carr would be a high-volume passer, but it turned out that Jacobs and the running game were the Raiders’ biggest strengths on offense. Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards and finished as the No. 3 overall running back in fantasy football, delivering in a contract year. The hope is that he’ll land back with the Raiders for fantasy purposes since he seemed to fit perfectly in Josh McDaniels’ offense.
The Dolphins have two top 10 wide receivers
I didn’t expect the Dolphins passing game to be as explosive as many were predicting despite having a pair of elite wide receivers in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but it turned out that Tua Tagovailoa could get them the ball enough to where they both thrived. Hill had a career year despite leaving the league’s top offense in Kansas City, and Waddle wasn’t far behind, as they both finished as top eight wide receivers in PPR formats.
Geno Smith finishes as a top-five quarterback
After Russell Wilson was traded to the Broncos, I expected the Seahawks to undergo a full-on rebuild on offense and have trouble moving the ball, but their offense didn’t miss a beat with Smith under center. I don’t think anyone in the industry pegged Smith, a career backup, to finish as the No. 5 overall quarterback in fantasy football and support a pair of top 20 wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. It was the opposite for Wilson, who had a disastrous first season in Denver despite high expectations.
Jamaal Williams outproduces D’Andre Swift
Williams wasn’t someone I was targeting in fantasy since I believed D’Andre Swift was in line to take the next step and become the Lions’ workhorse, but the injury bug got Swift yet again and opened the door for Williams to take over as the top running back. Swift was still the go-to option on passing downs, but Williams ended up more productive for fantasy since he led the team in rushing with his first 1,000-yard season and ended up with a league-high 17 touchdowns, which broke Barry Sanders’ Lions franchise record.
Gabe Davis fails to break out
Davis was a trendy breakout candidate among fantasy football analysts, including myself, but it was more of the same for him despite what appeared to be a clear path toward more consistent production. Davis did take a statistical leap forward this season thanks to some huge games, but the consistency wasn’t there like I was thinking since Stefon Diggs was still very much a target hog, and there were still enough other options in the offense to where the ball was spread around too much for Davis or any other Bills receiver to thrive outside of Diggs.
Spencer ‘the Guru’ Urquhart (@spencertheguru) has been a fantasy football analyst since 2014, founding a community of over 6,000 followers on Instagram