Fantasy Value For Skill Players on New Teams: Regression or Progression?

In an offseason that has seen the top 2 Fantasy WR’s from 2021 join new teams and a third of the AFC pick up new quarterbacks, the Fantasy landscape for 2022 has shifted dramatically and we haven’t even gotten to the draft yet. Here’s a look at the impact of recent free agency moves on your 2022 Fantasy lineups and what to expect from players on their new teams moving forward.

All numbers courtesy of the Lineups Fantasy page.

WR Tyreek Hill – Dolphins

Regression or Progression: Regression
2021 FPTS: 233
2022 Projection: 204
In a blockbuster 4 year $120 million deal, the league’s fastest receiver will be joining Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa down in South Beach for the 2022 season. Tagovailoa will be Hill’s 3rd quarterback and his first outside of Kansas City.

Branching from the Mike/Kyle Shanahan tree, McDaniel ran a lot of 21 and 22 personnel in San Francisco. If this is the case in Miami, Hill will have his opportunities to shine in RPO plays over the middle. If McDaniel embraces what LaFleur and McVay have done with 11 personnel, then it’ll be a little harder to gauge until we see some film.

Maybe the biggest detriment to Hill’s fantasy value will be the fact that he’s left Kelce, Mahomes and the bevy of weapons in KC for a team that is still establishing its offensive identity. He’ll also be in a division with 2 of the three best passing defenses from 2021 in Buffalo and New England.

Overall, I expect Hill to have some success early while Belicheck and McDermott are still figuring out McDaniel’s offense, but regression later in the season because of the defensive prowess in his division and the lack of weapons around him.

WR Davante Adams – Raiders

Regression or Progression: Regression
2021 FPTS: 252
2022 Projection: 194
After upending the market for receivers with a 5 year $141 million contract, Davante Adams will start 2022 back with his college quarterback in Vegas. While there’s certainly some chemistry that can be carried over here, I fully expect Adams’ fantasy value to drop over the 2022 season.

For one, he is not only leaving arguably the most talented quarterback in the league, he is leaving a team where he was the only trusted receiver of note. The Pacler’s Divisional Round game against the 49ers proved that Aaron Rodgers not only relied on Davante Adams in key spots, but that he would routinely force things to him when there was nothing there.

Moreover, Adams is coming off of one of the most statistically prolific years of a receiver in the past 3 years. If it weren’t for Cooper Kupp, we would likely be crowning him as one of the best receivers in the league. It’s rare for a receiver to follow up a career year with another career year even if they stay with the same quarterback, much less a transition switch.

To put it simply, Derek Carr would’ve thrown to Allen Lazard in the Divisional Round if he was the Packers QB, and he will throw to Hunter Renfrow in the same situation this season.

WR Amari Cooper – Browns

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 168.5
2022 Projection: 185
Amari Cooper is one of the harder guys on the board to evaluate because there’s a good chance that he will be taking passes from Jacoby Brissett for a chunk of the season. While we await the league’s judgment on DeShaun Watson, one thing for Cooper will seemingly hold true regardless — he will be the top receiver on this Browns team in 2022.

On a team that shares many similarities to the Cowboys from a strong offensive line to a dual rushing threat, Cooper is effectively leaving Dallas for a slightly better version of the same thing. Kevin Stefanski is better than McCarthy and Watson is better than Dak. The big thing holding Cooper back would be if Watson is suspended and Stefanski decides to pound the run game with Brissett under center, much like he did with Baker.

Overall, I like Cooper to progress this season on the heels of a year that saw him take a step back. Cleveland will provide a new beginning that won’t require him to save the day, given the effectiveness of their rushing attack. DeShaun Watson will add a new flavor to Stefanski’s playbook and Cooper will be the beneficiary.

WR Christian Kirk- Jaguars

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 71
2022 Projection: 90
While Christian Kirk was overpaid by NFL Owners, he will be a cheap commodity for fantasy players this season coming off a relatively pedestrian year by fantasy standards. He adds a level of versatility to a Jags offense that is starving for playmakers, and for that reason I like his value this year.
Trevor Lawrence isn’t as bad as he looked last season and second year quarterbacks historically make a jump. Doug Pederson is a great hire at Head Coach and they’ve upgraded their offensive line by adding Brandon Scherff in the offseason.

I like this Jags team as a whole to progress this season with Kirk being one of the primary benefactors.

WR Allen Robinson – Rams

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 68
2022 Projection: 155
Coming off a season that was nothing short of a nightmare as far as Fantasy is concerned, Allen Robinson seemingly has nowhere to go but up with the Rams. A team that has already rehabbed the images of Matt Stafford and OBJ, Allen Robinson will need to do the same and, thankfully for Fantasy players, he’s in the perfect position to do so.

Robinson’s 2021 woes weren’t entirely his fault given he was only targeted 5.5 times a game in a very run-centric offense. The Rams offensive scheme will be the opposite of this and a good fit for a guy who plays well over the middle.
Much like OBJ, I like Allen Robinson to have some breakout performances, though I don’t see him quite returning to the level he was at with the Bears in 2020. Partially because he’ll be surrounded by other great receivers and partially because the defenses in the NFC West are better than those of the NFC North.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Chiefs

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 27.3
2022 Projection: 161
I love Smith-Schuster to have a big Fantasy year in 2022. Not only will he finally be leaving Big Ben and a Jurassic Pittsburgh offense, but he will be joining the best coach-QB combo of the last 4 years.

In his last healthy season, JuJu went for 97 receptions, 831 yards and 9 touchdowns. With a creative mind like Andy Reid drawing plays up for him and a sudden scarcity at the receiver position in KC, I like that number to jump over 1,000 in 2022. The Chiefs are going to have to score this year to keep pace in the division and Smith-Schuster is a dynamic, physical presence that can make it happen. TikTok antics aside, the guy can ball and he’s never been in a better situation.

WR Cedrick Wilson – Dolphins

Regression or Progression: Regression
2021 FPTS: 125.3
2022 Projection: 72
Alongside Tyreek Hill in South Beach, Wilson is a nice addition though I think he’s a little overvalued heading into the 2022 season coming off his best year as a professional. He’ll likely be the third or fourth receiving option on an offense that now has solid running backs.

The Cowboys loved throwing the ball in 2021 and averaged more passing yards per game than every team outside of Tampa. Wilson won’t have the same luxury this season and will also be in a division with two of the best defensive minds in football.

WR Zay Jones – Jaguars

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 82.4
2022 Projection: 84
Like Christian Kirk, there is room for Jones to shine with the Jaguars if Trevor Lawrence is what we think he is. Though only time will tell, I hypothesize Doug Pederson will be a culture changer for the organization and that Jones will prove to be a key piece in a blossoming offense.

This Jags team finally has some pieces up front to buy Lawrence some time and they will be playing in the AFC’s worst division where they’ll get to play the Texans twice a year. In his 6th year in the league, Jones brings a veteran presence to this team that I think offensive players will cling to. People will fade Kirk and Jones because they are on the Jags, but I think they are both solid pickups for a team that is trending upwards.

WR Ray-Ray McCloud – 49ers

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 29.2
2022 Projection: 66
Ray-Ray McCloud may be one of my favorite value picks coming out of the offseason. Like Smith-Schuster, he’s leaving an offense that was relatively stagnant for the likes of Trey Lance and Kyle Shanahan.

The mastermind who turned 6th round pick Elijah Mitchell into one of the league’s best running backs and almost won a Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan will love McCloud’s top end speed and ability to play well around the line of scrimmage. Like Deebo, he can also offer something in a jet sweep type capacity.

TE Austin Hooper – Titans

Regression or Progression: Progression
2021 FPTS: 73.5
2022 Projection: 74
Leaving the Browns to join the Titans, I like Hooper to have a fairly productive season in his first year with Mike Vrabel’s offense. They don’t use TE’s a ton in Nashville, but Hooper is a clear upgrade over what they currently have in Geoff Swaim. He’s got great hands and can be used like a true receiver down the sideline.

Outside of Robert Woods and AJ Brown, the Titans don’t have many weapons downfield, creating even more of an opportunity for Hooper to shine this year. Moreover, the AFC South is inarguably the weakest division in the conference.

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Patrick started covering the sports betting scene in March of 2021 as a member of the Loyola Phoenix. Since then, his industry analysis has been featured on websites such as Lineups.com and Daily Fantasy Cafe, where he has focused primarily on the NFL and individual state launches. As the current Assistant Site Runner of Lineups.com, Patrick aims to give more people access to information that may offer some insight into why teams build the way they do and what that means for any given matchup.

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