Every fantasy football owner has a cheat sheet with players to target in 2022 drafts. Whether it’s first-round studs or mid-round sleepers, everyone has their own favorites. Similarly, most of us also have a “Do Not Draft” list full of potential busts we want to avoid, be it because we think they’re too high in the rankings or simply bad values because of the average draft positions (ADPs).
Of course, sometimes we’re much less analytical and our DND lists are simply players we “don’t like” — guys we think will be busts no matter where they’re drafted. Either way, overrated players are potential hazards at all points in a draft.
Using half-point PPR as our scoring format to split the difference between and full-point PPR and standard leagues, here are the players we recommend avoiding based on where they’re currently being ranked and selected according to early Fantasy Pros’ ADP. If these players happen to fall further than expected during your draft, then by all means take a shot, but in terms of how high they’re currently going, we’d suggest you stay away.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2022 fantasy cheat sheet
Fantasy Busts 2022: Overrated QBs
Kyler Murray (ADP: 56 | Consensus expert ranking: 60)
Great for him to get paid, but don’t follow that money when considering him in your drafts. No DeAndre Hopkins for six games is a hit, as is his desire to keep curbing his running, a key scoring element in his repertoire. it’s hard invest boom-or-bust capital in a mid-tier QB1 when you’re not sure you will get 30 combined TDs.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (ADP: 53 | Ranking: 71)
Burrow was a great value last year coming off his torn ACL and delivering a strong breakout season with Ja’Marr Chase in tow, but his reality upside is being conflated into his fantasy potential, which should be similar to — not great than — 2021 given this is a well-rounded offense and team. The AFC North pass defenses and a more difficult schedule overall also put in him a tougher spot.
Russell Wilson, Broncos (ADP: 78 | Ranking: 87)
Wilson dealt with missed injury time for the first time in his final season with the Seahawks and showed some production fade despite top-flight weapons. A solid QB1 finish is a high expectation in a new offense with unfamiliar targets, especially on a team that still should lean plenty on the running game.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (ADP: 112 | Ranking: 111)
There is some worthy buzz for Kevin O’Connell’s offense, and Cousins did have a QB1 finish last season thanks to Justin Jefferson’s awesomeness and Adam Thielen’s scoring. However, with so many hot sleepers, including Derek Carr and Trey Lance, around him in the rankings, you shouldn’t force a pick on a player who’s already shown his fantasy ceiling.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (ADP: 119 | Ranking: 25)
Some are too high on Tua; others are too low. Don’t get stuck in the middle. There’s too much volatility and uncertainty around a QB in a new offense with a new go-to guy. Tagovailoa is an unnecessary risk-reward pick at a deep position, as his situation seems better on paper than it might play out
Deshaun Watson, Browns (ADP: 138 | Ranking: 179)
If you draft Watson with his suspension standing at six games and maybe being expanded soon, you would need to come up with multiple contingency plans at QB. Is that really worth it? Nah.
Fantasy Busts 2022: Overrated RBs
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (ADP: 3 | Ranking: 2)
This is ridiculous. We get it that whenever he’s on the field, he performs like the elite RB1 with amazing versatile talent, but that’s the biggest conditional clause in fantasy. The injuries add up to a massive durability concern, and the new-look offense seems less inspiring, not more so. Najee Harris, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, and Austin Ekeler are among the many backs to take ahead of him.
D’Andre Swift, Lions (ADP: 15 | Ranking: 13)
The Lions might seem committed to give Swift a semi-workhorse role, but he’s still going a little too high based on hype. There’s some issues with staying healthy here, too, and Detroit, with its mighty offensive line, proved it can plug and play its strong reserves, led by Jamaal Williams.
Saquon Barkley, Giants (ADP: 23 | Ranking: 18)
See a theme here? There’s already enough injury attrition at the position to suddenly expect guys who can’t stay healthy to change that trend. Prefer fresh young bodies instead of chasing past promise.
David Montgomery, Bears (ADP: 31 | Ranking: 35)
Montgomery is an uninspiring RB2. The new offense that’s looking for more explosion in the outside zone-running game seems to be a better fit for talented second-year No. 2 Khalil Herbert. Don’t be shocked to see a flip in key touches sooner rather than later.
Antonio Gibson, Commanders (ADP: 35 | Ranking: 44)
Gibson is like Montgomery — a once-hyped feature type who now has some stacked support behind him in receiving back J.D McKissic and rookie hammer Brian Robinson. Gibson has his share of durability issues, too. Youngsters Breece Hall and Travis Etienne have more upside as RB2s.
JK Dobbins, Ravens (ADP: 52 | Ranking: 51)
Dobbins should return fully healthy from last season’s knee injury for Week 1, but despite being in a favorable run-heavy attack, there are many options to cut into his rushing production in the red zone, including Lamar Jackson. Dobbins also is capped as a receiver because the usage just won’t be there.
Damien Harris, Patriots (ADP: 55 | Ranking: 63)
Rhamondre Stevenson has all the momentum here beyond filing the key complementary receiving role of injured James White (right hip). Stevenson looks like the more talented overall back, and the roles should reflect that soon.
Miles Sanders, Eagles (ADP: 68 | Ranking: 61)
As Harris needs to sweat out Stevenson, Sanders has Kenneth Gainwell gaining on him. Gainwell can simply do more to help a run-heavy offense that’s transitioning back into a more diverse and aggressive pass-leaning team.
Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (ADP: 82 | Ranking: 73)
Penny on paper looks like an absolute steal given his league-winning flourish down the stretch in 2021, but the threat of Kenneth Walker III is real, and it might be spectacular. You can throw a coin into the fountain to wish Penny will stay healthy himself, but it will probably sink to the bottom fast, much like his upside.
Fantasy Busts 2022: Overrated WRs
Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (ADP: 21 | Ranking: 25)
If we’re not buying Tagovailoa, the downfield passer who puts his receivers in consistent position to make big plays, we can’t go this high with Hill, especially with similar Jaylen Waddle having the more established chemistry with Tua. HIll’s not in Kansas City anymore.
DK Metcalf, Seahawks (ADP: 47 | Ranking: 47)
Drew Lock makes it tough to trust any of his receivers, but now Geno Smith is in line for the starting job? Ugh. What a dangeRuss drop-off on deck for such a talented stud wideout. Metcalf’s not with Wilson anymore. A run-heavy offense to boot? Double ugh.
D.J. Moore, Panthers (ADP: 49 | Ranking: 33)
Moore is a pretty good intermediate receiver in real life, but the lack of touchdowns caps him from being more than a fantasy WR2. It’s also hard to believe a pivot from Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield is more than a lateral move for his production.
Marquise Brown, Cardinals (ADP: 58 | Ranking: 56)
“Hollywood” just completed his audition for Fast and Furious 11.5, as Phoenix drivers now need to be wary of him speeding through their residential areas. We get it. He’s fast. But we’re also furious that he’s so big-play dependent and not close to the complete No. 1 we need to replace Nuk for six games.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (ADP: 59 | Ranking: 59)
Tim Patrick (right knee) is down for the season, and Jeudy seems too talented to keep underperforming in the NFL. Wilson will likely have much wider eyes for Courtland Sutton, and the tight ends will end up being bigger factors than expected.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions (ADP: 70 | Ranking: 75)
He was Egyptian god-like during his great finish in the slot as a rookie last season, but that was partially due to injuries to other Detroit pass catchers. Now, the team has added DJ Chark and Jameson Williams. St. Brown can still be a passable WR3, but temper your sophomore expectations.
Adam Thielen, Vikings (ADP: 72 | Ranking: 80)
Thielen has been living off his double-digit touchdowns the past two seasons, as the reception and receiving yardage aspect of his game has faded. The TD regression is factored into his value, but it’s still difficult to feel good about him for his age-32 season. He would be the first NFL pick, however, in fantasy golf.
DeVonta Smith, Eagles (ADP: 89 | Ranking: 88)
Will Smith ever be able to live up to his Heisman-winning season at Alabama with his nagging injury issues? It doesn’t help that he slides to clear No. 2 status behind new stud in town A.J. Brown. Smith seems too capped as a WR3 to merit this ADP.
Robert Woods, Titans (ADP: 99 | Ranking: 105)
Bobby Trees has hit 30 and is coming off a torn left ACL for a low-volume passing game. Even more worrisome, rookie Treylon Burks is looking the preferred direct replacement for Brown. Woods leaving the Rams has the opposite negative impact of Allen Robinson joining the Rams.
Christian Kirk, Jaguars (ADP: 105 | Ranking: 100)
It’s highly illogical that Kirk earned that mega contract in Jacksonville. In theory, he seems like he will be a fantasy steal with Trevor Lawrence, but he was overrated in Arizona and the consistency won’t be there with his new team, either.
Kadarius Toney, Giants (ADP: 118 | Ranking: 107)
Toney. Toney! Toney? It doesn’t feel good that much of the new coaching staff buzz is around rookie Wan’Dale Robinson or that Daniel Jones is his old QB in a new offense. Fading Big Blue in fantasy everywhere seems be the smarter and safer play.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Chiefs (ADP: 127 | Ranking: 127)
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Skyy Moore seem like the right targets to consider most in the post-Tyreek world for Patrick Mahomes. MVS isn’t worth a roster spot for the shot at a few deep plays.
DeVante Parker, Patriots (ADP: 139 | Ranking: 133)
Parker was traded by the Dolphins inside the division because they absolutely didn’t value him and the Patriots were desperate to add another meh receiver for Mac Jones. The late-career metrics don’t suggest any viable fantasy things.
Fantasy Busts 2022: Overrated TEs
Darren Waller, Raiders (ADP: 48 | Ranking: 54)
Waller first had to deal with Derek Carr taking a shine to balding Hunter Renfrow. Now Carr is reunited with his best college buddy, Davante Adams. There’s a limited number of targets to cram into a Uber. Waller’s recent durability issues and red-zone efficiency also suggests he won’t return TE5 overall value.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions (ADP: 62 | Ranking: 79)
Hockenson is coming off a season marred by a hand injury. He’s a solid all-around tight end, but he hasn’t quite lived up to “George Kittle Lite” coming out of Iowa in terms of his fantasy upside.
Dawson Knox, Bills (ADP: 92 | Ranking: 102)
The Bills wide receivers look seriously better, and Knox is also about to share tight end time with O.J. Howard. Knox can still provide back-end TE1 production, but don’t force a pick here when you could take running back or wide receiver depth.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (ADP: 108 | Ranking: 120)
There’s some buzz that Gesicki will get the Kittle treatment in Mike McDaniel’s offense, but here’s a reminder that he doesn’t have the big-play ability that Kittle does. He will be red-zone dependent and needs to worry about all of Hill, Cedrick Wilson and Chase Edmonds cutting into his targets.
Evan Engram, Jaguars (ADP: 174 | Ranking: 156)
No. Not falling for this one again. New team only adds up to bigger disappointment. Don’t forget about Dan Arnold, but completely forget Engram. E squared = waste of draft energy times two.