We’ve all mistakenly reached on a player in our fantasy drafts. There are those guys we want to believe will finally show the world who they are, the ones we project are in a better situation and should improve, or the player who is due for a breakout. It’s easy to be blinded by the idea that “talent always wins out.” While that sounds nice, we also know this isn’t true.
Eliminating bias and evaluating a situation can save you from making these mistakes come August. Here are three players I believe won’t live up to expectations in 2022.
Rankings based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings
Way Too Early Redraft Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Football)
ECR: 4 (RB3)
The offseason is ripe with debate about Colts RB Jonathan Taylor every year. It appeared that his 2021 sophomore campaign settled any debate around Taylor’s status when he finished as the overall PPR RB1 with an impressive 373.3 fantasy points. However, due to injuries and a general ineptitude amongst the coaching staff in Indianapolis, Taylor massively underperformed, finishing as the PPR RB33 in total points (146.4) and the RB23 in points per game (12.2).
After suffering a season-ending ankle injury that eventually required surgery last season, it’s assumed that Taylor will be ready to go for the new-look Colts. In addition, the team is sporting a new head coach and will likely have a rookie QB under center in 2023. The new man in charge, Shane Steichen, was the offensive coordinator for the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles for the past two seasons — the same offense that caused Miles Sanders‘ managers to pull their hair out in frustration.
By no means do I believe that Jonathan Taylor will again land in RB3 territory in 2023, barring injury. However, given the type of offense that Steichen runs, and an incoming rookie QB who is likely to be mobile, all signs point to Taylor not living up to his likely ADP come August. Sanders’ best fantasy performance came last season when he finished as the PPR RB15. Throw in the concerning string of ankle injuries this past season, and Taylor is a risky proposition as a top-five fantasy pick for the upcoming fantasy football season.
ECR: 35 (RB15)
There might not be a more disappointing fantasy RB over the last three seasons than D’Andre Swift. There was a lot of excitement for the dynamic, talented pass-catching back heading into his rookie campaign in 2020. However, between a mix of injuries and a lack of red-zone usage, Swift hasn’t finished better than overall PPR RB15 in 2021.
Things may have worsened for Swift this week, as the team signed free-agent RB David Montgomery, formerly of the Chicago Bears. On the surface, Montgomery was signed as a replacement for Jamaal Williams, who signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints. However, this move seems to have something to do with durability issues at the position and a need for a more effective rushing attack. Montgomery is also a talented pass-catching back – Swift’s specialty – and will surely take away a decent amount of targets from him.
It pains me that Swift has been such a relative bust. In 2022, his ADP was RB9, 15 overall. He finished as the overall RB21, which isn’t horrible, but not what managers who rostered him were looking for. I fear 2023 will yield similar results, with him expected to be in the RB15 range in drafts. If you like taking risks, by all means, grab Swift when you can. However, in an offense that appears to be set to move on from him having any significant role, I implore you to reconsider.
All good things must end, and it appears that’s exactly what is happening in Tampa Bay this offseason. Veteran QB Tom Brady has officially retired — for real this time — and the team has released veterans Cameron Brate and Leonard Fournette. The team will ride into the 2023 training camp with recently signed QB Baker Mayfield in competition with second-year signal caller Kyle Trask for the starting nod. Any way you shake it, this is terrible news for Bucs WR Chris Godwin.
The 27-year-old wideout set career highs in targets (142) and receptions (104) in 2022 in a pass-heavy offense with Brady at the helm. However, things will shift with the prospect of either Mayfield or Trask at QB for this upcoming season. With the downgrade in talent, it stands to reason the team will change to a more run-centric approach instead of throwing the ball on a high-league 67.88 percent of snaps as they did last season.
While Godwin saw significant volume in 2022, he also logged the lowest offensive grade (75.7), per PFF.com, and the second-fewest touchdown receptions (three) of his career. Given he is likely to see a significant decrease in volume regardless of who is behind center, it’s hard to see Godwin as much more than a WR3-tier fantasy player next season. If his ECR is any indication, Godwin will be off the board at the front end of the fourth round in redraft formats. You’ll likely find better value at a discounted price with WRs such as Jerry Jeudy, Christian Watson or even Keenan Allen, all projected as fourth-round or later selections.
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Nate Polvogt is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him @NatePolvogt.