2022 NFL Fantasy Board: QBs and TEs

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2022 nfl fantasy football qb te

The NFL Preseason is in the books, cut day has come and gone, and fantasy players are gearing up for their drafts.

The Professor is here to get you ready with BeerLife’s Fantasy Preview. Over the next four days, we will be releasing draft boards for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, and will cap the series with a merged draft board and final thoughts on strategy. Along the way, we will look at attractive player prop bets available on DraftKings.

Before we get started, be sure to sign up to get the Oracle’s picks this season if you haven’t done so already! The Oracle hammered the NFL in 2021 (Up +65 units), so you’ll want to get his picks texted directly to your phone starting Week 1!

Quarterback and tight end have some similarities as far as the distribution of the position’s players go. There are a few standouts who provide value relative to the rest of the field and a solid pool of starters to go around, though you could run into real trouble if an injury forces you to dive into the back half of the backup pool.

The Professor’s strategy at quarterback and tight end is to avoid reaching at the top and to prioritize getting two quality options at each position before the pools dry up in the middle rounds, even if that means sacrificing a roll of the dice on an interesting mid-round running back or receiver. We know that contributors at running back and receiver will emerge as the NFL season wears on and injuries happen, but it’s relatively rare for an unknown quarterback or tight end to suddenly jump up the boards.

Now, let’s kick off the 2022 NFL Fantasy series by jumping into the QB and TE rankings. These rankings are broken into tiers; within the tiers, I’ll note why players are stacked the way they are, but I am relatively indifferent between the players in the group. When we get to the full draft board, our strategy will be based on targeting blocks of players rather than specific names.

Quarterback Board

*Please note that outside of NYG QB Daniel Jones, the quarterback stats on this list are for a full 17-game season. Quarterback Props on DraftKings are based on a 16-game QB projection, so adjust accordingly if using these numbers for DraftKings prop bets.

Tier 1

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Josh AllenBUFQB14843.638.213.1545.97.224.57

Josh Allen is the consensus QB1 for 2022, and for good reason. Allen has developed into an elite passer and is a unique threat as a short-yardage and red-zone rusher. The Bills want to scale back his rushing to some degree after Allen ran for 763 yards in 2021, but he’s such a dangerous weapon that the reduction may not wind up being that significant.

As good a weapon as Allen is, there are a lot of standard roster drafts where someone reaches for a quarterback in the second round. The simpler strategy is to focus on running backs and receivers until someone else sets the quarterback market; there are far too many options to get hung up on a specific quarterback.

Tier 2

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Justin HerbertLACQB25017.737.213.3273.9422.03
Patrick MahomesKCQB3482937.410.2358.12.621.99

Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes are the consensus QB2 and QB3, and they come in within 0.05 fantasy points per game of each other in this projection. Both use their legs, though not as much as Allen, and operate in offenses that put the game on their shoulders. There’s no reason to expect a dropoff headed into 2023.

DraftKings Prop Bet: Patrick Mahomes Passing TDs, Over 34.5, -120. Mahomes has an over-under of 34.5 passing TDs; his adjusted model number is 35.2, and the only season he has not topped the mark was the 2019 season, when he missed time with injury. Let’s take the over at -120.

Tier 3

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Jalen HurtsPHIQB44057.122.712.8935.27.921.55
Lamar JacksonBALQB53756.525.812.51013.95.721.41
Trey LanceSFQB6422825.410.9586.2620.2
Tom BradyTBQB7499041.51072.51.521.26
Aaron RodgersGBQB8448538.25.6233.71.720.85
Joe BurrowCINQB95004.636.912.4131.22.520.66
Russell WilsonDENQB104484.234.110.3301.92.720.08
Matthew StaffordLARQB114685.638.511.3132.91.119.94
Dak PrescottDALQB124776.332.711.4191219.43

Tier 3 is a big one. It is topped by the three run-dependent fantasy quarterbacks: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Trey Lance. They are stacked at the top of the board because of the upside they bring with their legs, but all three of these players carry more risk for nagging injuries than the rest of the board, as we saw in 2021, when all three of them missed time. If you wanted to move Lance to the bottom of the group given his wider range of outcomes, I wouldn’t argue, though as I note below, it is better to think of these players sharing a ranking.

That trio of runners is followed by six pocket passers, with Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow the lone young guy among the veterans. Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott were once somewhere in between the QB-run game group and the more traditional pocket guys, but have backed off on their running over the past few years.

If you’re comparing these QB Rankings to ADP (average draft position), it’s more useful to think of all nine of these quarterbacks as QB8, the median spot in the group. Depending on your NFL watching habits, it might be more fun to have one of these quarterbacks over another, but ultimately, all of their fantasy projections come out within two points per game of each other, and it’s not worth chasing.

Once the first three quarterbacks are off the board, it is important to keep an eye on this group. You don’t want to get out of your draft without one of these quarterbacks on your roster, and my preference is to get both my quarterbacks from this group. The quarterback pool is deep, but that player should also be your top scorer, and you don’t want to be stuck with a dud.

DraftKings Prop Bet: Aaron Rodgers Passing TDs, Over 31.5, -115. DraftKings has Rodgers pegged at the average of his past four seasons, which include two unders (2018, 2019) and two overs (2020, 2021). Yes, receiver Davante Adams is gone, but that split is when Rodgers flipped the switch and regained his MVP form as a passer. His adjusted model number is 35.29 passing TDs, which lends itself to betting on a guy who has thrown 48 and 37 the past two seasons.

Tier 3*

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Kyler MurrayARIQB134473.325.613.6512.36.520.27

Arizona’s Kyler Murray goes into the 3* tier. Based on his projection, Murray should be with Hurts, Jackson, and Lance at the top of Tier 3, but given concerns I have about what the Cardinals will look like on offense with lead receiver DeAndre Hopkins, as well as the possibility that an aging offensive line could be set to implode, and Murray isn’t a risk I want to deal with. He’s without his top receiver for six weeks and has struggled with injuries, particularly in the back end of seasons, creating a lot of downside.

If Murray plays to the high end of his expectations, I’ll survive with a different Tier 3 quarterback. Murray could certainly finish top 5, and I would take him ahead of the Tier 4 guys based on that upside, but with the way this board sets up, he is unlikely to be available.

Tier 4

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Kirk CousinsMINQB144439.437.710.8129.20.919.11
Derek CarrLVRQB154942.229.212.2141.51.718.51

In the situations that I end up with Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, or Patrick Mahomes, Cousins and Carr are my targets as a backup. I’m not looking for competition, but if the starter goes down, Cousins and Carr can fill in capably without breaking the bank in terms of draft position. A little boring, perhaps, but these guys have been consistent for multiple seasons.

Cousins and Carr are also a solid fit to back up the running quarterbacks in Tier 3, but if I have a Tier 3 pocket passer, I might want to roll the dice on a Tier 5 quarterback as the backup.

Tier 5

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Jameis WinstonNOQB164022.525.914.5212.81.915.78
Trevor LawrenceJAXQB174237.522.617.3278.11.715.49
Justin FieldsCHIQB183733.12319.8568.73.216.33
Daniel JonesNYGQB192622.915.68.8279.21.717.09

Tier 5 is a risky tier. Jameis Winston, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Daniel Jones all have the upside to sneak into the Top 12 QB scorers by season’s end, but we either haven’t seen it, have injury concerns about the player, or both.

Winston and Lawrence have the most upside of the group; if everyone is healthy in the New Orleans offense, Winston might get back to his days of threatening 5,000 yards passing, and while Lawrence may not have the pass-catchers to pull that off in Jacksonville, he could easily exceed this passing and rushing projection if things go well for the Jaguars. Lawrence may not have the short area elusiveness to be featured in a quarterback-centric run game, but he certainly has long legs to eat up open grass when the opportunity presents itself.

Fields and Jones do not have the best receiver situations, but both ultimately rely on their legs to be fantasy threats, so their pass catchers aren’t as much of a concern as they would be elsewhere. Both bring injury concerns, and Jones may not have his job by season’s end, so you certainly need to pair them with a more reliable option, but there is some upside here because of what they can do on the ground.

Tier 6

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Carson WentzWSHQB204474.721.111.8251.42.816.57
Matt RyanINDQB214152.4249.7110.61.215.36
Ryan TannehillTENQB223324.321.412.3290.6514.89

Carson Wentz hasn’t done much to inspire confidence in recent years, but he should have more opportunities to throw the ball in a Washington offense that doesn’t feature a Jonathan Taylor-led run game. Matt Ryan is now leading that Taylor-led run game in Indianapolis, which will limit his passing volume, but should create a solid touchdown floor.

Ryan Tannehill rounds out Tier 6; Tennessee has no shortage of concerns on offense, so while Tannehill’s upside as a rusher keeps him out of Tier 7, the worry that Tennessee’s offense might collapse prevents him from being up in the Carr-Cousins Tier, which is where he would have fit headed into 2021.

Tier 7

PlayerTeamPosQBRankPassYdsPassTDINTRushYdsRushTDFantasyAvg
Jared GoffDETQB234143.126.112.3103.91.415.54
Mac JonesNEQB244250.120.615.1196.7114.59
Davis MillsHOUQB253778.225.515.885.60.913.85
Kenny PickettPITQB263051.621.19.8177.41.215.16
Baker MayfieldCARQB273926.617.716.893.21.312.43

This is the last group of draft-relevant quarterbacks. Jared Goff, Mac Jones, Davis Mills, and Baker Mayfield are all pocket guys in mediocre offenses, and while Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett may have the mobility to be a bit more than that, he’s going to have a heck of a time competing behind a talent-deficient offensive line in Pittsburgh if/when he takes over.

If you play in a standard league, this should be the waiver wire pool.

There is no quarterback on the board for Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami, the New York Jets, or Seattle because of the potential for two quarterbacks to play during the season.

DraftKings Prop Bet: Tua Tagovailoa, Passing Yards, Under 3860.5, -120, and Passing TDs, Under 25.5, -130. The model’s combined projection for Teddy Bridgewater and Tagovailoa is 3643.3 passing yards (unadjusted) and 20.6 passing TDs (unadjusted), which both come in under the totals. For reference, Tagovailoa threw for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns in 13 games last year. Given the possibility that Bridgewater could take over midway through the year, I’ll play both of Tagovailoa’s unders.

Tight End Board

Tier 1

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Travis KelceKCTE1104.41232.510.814.14

Travis Kelce remains the consensus TE1, though Baltimore’s Mark Andrews was in close consideration to join Kelce in Tier 1. Were it not for the loss of Tyreek Hill in Kansas City, the two might have vied for the top overall spot this season.

Kelce is starting to show marginal signs of a decline; at 33, he doesn’t run quite as well as he once did, and it doesn’t help that there have been some games where refs allow opposing defenders to maul Kelce through the five-yard contact area. All that said, Kelce has been a model of consistency and is the focal point of one of the NFL’s top offenses. He’s borderline Round 1 this season.

Tier 2

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Mark AndrewsBALTE293.21211.77.712.6

Mark Andrews took on the most volume of his career in 2021 and took full advantage, racking up 107 receptions, 1,361 yards, and 9 touchdowns to beat out Kelce as the top-scoring fantasy tight end. DraftKings has set Andrews’ yardage over/under at 1000.5, which would be an easy play if there were more certainty regarding Baltimore’s run/pass ratio. If the Ravens roll the clock back to 2019 and drop their passing percentage to the low 40s, there may not be enough volume for Andrews to hit that yardage mark. He could compensate with touchdowns, so Andrews is still my TE2 for fantasy, but I don’t love the prop bet because of that possibility.

Tier 3

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Darren WallerLVRTE382.3963.14.49.63
Kyle PittsATLTE471.1995.74.99.67
George KittleSFTE568.5934.95.19.3

The next three tight ends are outstanding players with mitigating factors that prevent them from pushing the top duo. For Darren Waller and George Kittle, there are injury concerns coupled with competition for targets, and for Kyle Pitts, there is the potential anchor of the Atlanta Falcons offense. Even so, if you want tight end to be a strength on your roster, you likely need to target one of these top 5 players; they will be significant difference-makers if all goes well.

Tier 4

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
T.J. HockensonDETTE679.7765.35.38.74
Dalton SchultzDALTE776.2769.85.28.62
Zach ErtzARITE868.1735.65.68.29
Hunter HenryNETE959708.14.17.35
Dallas GoedertPHITE1059.2716.23.67.24

This pool should round out the starters in most fantasy leagues. T.J. Hockenson was on his way to being Detroit’s lead receiver last season, but opposing defenses quickly caught on and hammered him mercilessly, curbing his production. Even so, he is my top candidate to jump into the Tier 3 range; hopefully, with more around Hockenson, he can produce more consistent results throughout the season.

Dalton Schultz and Zach Ertz aren’t the flashiest targets, but they are set to open as the number two receivers in their respective offenses and should rack up fantasy points catching balls in the 0-10 yard range. Hunter Henry is unlikely to match his nine touchdowns from last season, but he is still likely to be New England’s primary red zone threat.

Dallas Goedert would be higher on the list, but the receiver rotation in Philadelphia is deep with a 1 in A.J. Brown, a 1a in DeVonta Smith, and complementary pieces Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins. Throw in the fact that quarterback Jalen Hurts racks up plenty of touchdowns on the ground, and there is only so much passing production to go around for the Eagles, which limits Goedert’s projection.

DraftKings Prop Bet: Dallas Goedert, Under 4.5 Receiving TDs, +100. Goedert had 4 touchdown catches last season and 3 in 2021, when the Eagles had far fewer mouths to feed. It’s hard to anticipate an uptick now, no matter how good a player Goedert is.

Tier 5

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Dawson KnoxBUFTE1144.4555.25.76.58
Evan EngramJAXTE1262.8686.13.67.16
Albert OkwuegbunamDENTE1356.4592.34.46.7
Cole KmetCHITE1454.5594.23.96.49
Tyler HigbeeLARTE1551.2511.84.66.14
Mike GesickiMIATE1650.4549.13.35.88
David NjokuCLETE1748.9513.23.85.79
Noah FantSEATE1849.3523.13.55.75
Irv Smith Jr.MINTE1945.14874.55.78
Pat FreiermuthPITTE2049.6446.84.35.62

If you fail to get one of the top 10 tight ends, it might be worth grabbing three out of Tier 5. These are rolls of the dice, with some players offering a potential ceiling, others a decent floor, and none of them likely to do more than ensure you’re not “buffering” a tight end from Tier 6 or below.

Bills tight end Dawson Knox is my favorite player in the group; Knox is coming off his best season as a pro and caught 9 touchdowns in 2021, but Buffalo’s deep cast of receivers prevents him from jumping up a tier or two.

The opposite is true for Jaguars tight end Evan Engram; Engram was an annual tease with the Giants, but there’s an argument that he is as dynamic a route runner as any wide receiver on the Jags, which could make him one of Trevor Lawrence’s top targets. There’s also the chance that the more relaxed Florida crowds will help him drop fewer balls moving forward.

One name that probably sticks out in this group is Mike Gesicki, but while Miami’s tight end would be higher based on talent alone, the big-bodied pass catcher is reportedly not the best fit in Miami’s offense. Given the model’s dim outlook for the Dolphins offense with Tua Tagovailoa, and the presence of receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, Gesicki’s value is half of what it might be in a different offense.

The rest of the list is largely potential; the exceptions are Tyler Higbee, who should continue his steady role producing about 500 yards and 5 touchdowns for the Rams, and Pat Freiermuth, who showed what he can do in 2021, but is likely to see his absurd red-zone usage decline with rookie George Pickens in town to catch back-shoulder balls.

The other names (Okwuegbunam, Kmet, Njoku, Fant, Smith Jr.) are all similar to Engram; they have physical traits that indicate they could be productive but need to show they can put up numbers on a consistent basis.

Tier 6

PlayerTeamPosTE RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Robert TonyanGBTE2134.9366.734.24
Logan ThomasWSHTE2240.4394.42.14.25
Hayden HurstCINTE2347469.63.75.44
Gerald EverettLACTE2446.1452.83.75.33
Cameron BrateTBTE2544.3425.14.15.24
Isaiah LikelyBALTE2644.9412.93.44.93
Austin HooperTENTE2745409.834.79
Jonnu SmithNETE2836.1376.62.14.48

These tight ends will fill out backup spots for the bottom teams in your league, but it is important to keep the names Robert Tonyan and Logan Thomas in mind. Both are returning from season-ending knee injuries, with Thomas set to open on the PUP list, but could end up being contributors as the season goes along.

Ravens rookie Isaiah Likely is a fun name to watch in what could be a tight end-heavy attack in Baltimore and could be a popular Week 1 Waiver Wire pickup if Baltimore shows he is the third receiver behind Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman in their game against the Jets.

What’s Next?

As a reminder, the DraftKings prop bets from this article were…

  • Patrick Mahomes Passing TDs, Over 34.5, -120.
  • Aaron Rodgers Passing TDs, Over 31.5, -115.
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Passing Yards, Under 3860.5, -120, and Passing TDs, Under 25.5, -130.
  • Dallas Goedert, Under 4.5 Receiving TDs, +100

For more NFL content, out for The Professor’s running back and wide receiver previews in the days to come, and read up on his division previews at BeerLife Sports!

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Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.