It’s estimated that over 40 million people play fantasy football and daily fantasy, which is a little over 12 percent of the population. This set of players will include the expert, amateur, and novice who have their take on building an NFL fantasy roster.
And, every year in fantasy football, there’s a group of the “what-ifs,” the “shoulda coulda’s,” and the just plain delusional about their team, their chances, and their drafting ability.
These types of people are the ones who reach for a kicker in the middle rounds, drop a key player on a bye-week, even an underperforming top-5 player traded away for what could best be described as a waiver wire addition.
But to be genuinely successful in fantasy football, it takes three things. First, it takes drafting with a strategy and drafting well.
Second, being successful in fantasy football requires manipulating the waiver wire to the best of your ability without having to sacrifice a key player from your roster.
Finally, to be successful requires a little luck. Luck can be in the form of players performing to expectations and usage, a lack of injuries to your squad, young players overperforming, and other owners having players with subpar seasons.
With those three components in mind, taking a look at the 2022-23 season and projecting how players will perform is a necessary step that begins now.
How Will Top Performers Be In 2022
Every year there is a player and team that overperforms. The key is to see if that team and player will be consistent year after year.
For example, Super Bowl MVP (and Offensive Player of the Year) Cooper Kupp just turned in an incredible season, taking multiple honors, leading the league in receptions, touchdowns, and yards to win the mythical “triple-crown.” He was also the top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football for traditional and point-perception leagues.
But how this past season came to fruition doesn’t guarantee Kupp will be on top of the leaderboard in 2022. Followed closely behind his fantasy impact was the unicorn that is Deebo Samuel, the rookie phenom JaMarr Chase, and stalwarts Justin Jefferson, Mike Evans, and Davante Adams.
Don’t take it the wrong way; what Kupp did this past year was incredible. But he was the beneficiary of the Mathew Stafford trade, being paired at times (due to injury to both players) with Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Junior, but to presume he’ll repeat his performance next season may be a bit delusional.
In order to make your best projection of how top-flight performers will do in the following season is an entire thing. It requires you to track off-season developments such as free agent signings, retirements, NFL teams draft needs, coaching changes, and contract statuses of veterans.
Why are these factors all important? Because each of them influences how a player may be used in the coming season and how they’ll pan out for fantasy purposes.
The Free Agent Impact
Every year, the free-agent season is seen as the one thing that will set apart a team from another. Getting an elite pass rusher will make a defense that was dead last against the pass become elite, or how the media can make it seem.
While those types of statements may be a bit of hyperbole, there is some truth to the matter that players switching teams can vastly improve, or hinder, their performance.
Unfortunately, every year, a team makes a reach on an aging player, outperformed for one season, and now is being overpaid. That said, some sure-fire elite players are hitting the free-agent market that could quickly turn around a franchise.
Aaron Rodgers leads the list of potential free agents, and the drama surrounding the Packer’s tremendous success and his future in Green Bay could shake up the entire NFL and, of course, fantasy football.
Rodger’s running mate, Devante Adams, highlights a receiving corp that includes Tampa’s Chris Godwin, the Chargers Mike Williams, Chicago’s Allen Robinson II, among others.
Leonard Fournette headlines a weak free-agent running back class, and the champion rusher could collect a hefty payday on the open market.
But the trend away from the bell-weather running back into more of a running back by committee that has become popular throughout the league makes running backs the hardest to predict for fantasy impact.
Evaluating how teams will utilize skill players in key positions and how they game plan week-to-week is part of what makes the challenge of the NFL seasons and fantasy football so interesting for so many people.
Knowing these factors is crucial to a fantasy owner’s potential success, so tracking developments all off-season is almost as important as how you draft and manage your fantasy roster.