2022 fantasy football: Best players to draft (my guys)

Every year, fantasy managers plant thier flags on certain players. Here are a handful of the best players I want to draft in every league. These are "my guys."

In every fantasy football draft, managers need to be malleable. You can’t get fixated on drafting specific players and need to let the draft come to you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have some players you really, really want on your teams. These are some of the best players to draft in 2022 fantasy football drafts. These are “my guys.”

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Fantasy football best players to draft | My guys

One of the biggest improvements I’ve made in my fantasy football game over the past few years is how I’ve approached “my guys.” As recently as five years ago, I would scan the ADP landscape and only have a handful of players that interested me in each round. I’ve since come to realize almost every player is worth drafting at the right price.

With that said, I still have my guys. Every year, there are a few players I plant my flag on. They may not be the best players, but I perceive them to be the best value. These are players I endeavor to draft on every team, if possible.

Last year, the No. 1 player I needed on every team was Diontae Johnson. That worked out quite well. In the interest of full transparency, three of my other guys were Antonio Gibson, Courtland Sutton, and Antonio Brown. Gibson was fine, but certainly not a must-have. Sutton was a mega bust. And AB was a smash hit until he hurt his heel/threw up the deuces at MetLife Stadium.

For the 2022 fantasy football season, I have three players I’m trying to draft everywhere.

Michael Pittman Jr., WR | Indianapolis Colts

Initially, Michael Pittman was looking like my 2022 version of Diontae Johnson. I expected the same level of breakout, and they had the same ADP. Unfortunately, Pittman’s ADP has jumped over a full round throughout the summer. He’s no longer going in the mid-to-late fourth.

At that price, I could pretty much ensure I drafted Pittman no matter where I picked from. Now that he’s going in the mid-third round, I have to pick in the right spot to get him. If I pick in the early third, I’ll have to reach. If I pick in the late third, he may be gone by the time I’m up.

The good news is that I do plenty of auction leagues. That’s where I can control the narrative. Pittman is poised for a massive leap this season, and I want him on my fantasy teams. He averaged 14 PPR fantasy points per game last season with Carson Wentz. Matt Ryan is an upgrade who historically peppers his WR1 with targets.

From 2008-2012, Roddy White averaged 96 receptions for 1,314 receiving yards. From 2014-2019, Julio Jones averaged 103 receptions for 1,564 receiving yards. In 2013, Harry Douglas became Ryan’s de facto WR1 after Jones broke his foot in Week 5. He caught 85 balls for 1,067 yards. Ryan’s WR1 has never failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards (as long as we count 2021 Kyle Pitts).

Pittman’s price reflects improvement, but I still think he is one of the best players to draft at cost.

AJ Dillon, RB | Green Bay Packers

Similar to Pittman, AJ Dillon’s ADP also falls in an awkward spot where I may have to reach or risk not getting him. Again, I’m really glad about the number of auctions I do. With an ADP around the Round 5/6 turn, Dillon is someone I’m willing to draft just about anywhere in the fifth to ensure I get him.

I really want Dillon this year. I’ve been championing Dillon overtaking Aaron Jones as the Packers’ lead rusher since the middle of last season. Dillon led the Packers in carries (187) and rushing yards (803) in 2021. He also proved to be a capable pass catcher, hauling in 92% of his targets and recording four games with 4+ receptions.

But the reason I’m so high on Dillon is not about his receiving — it’s about his scoring. I’m projecting Dillon to completely dominate goal-line carries this season. Despite Jones operating as a three-down back for about half the year, Dillon finished with more red-zone rushes (39) than Jones (34). If he enters the 2022 season with that role, which I think he will, the disparity will be even greater.

At an RB28 ADP, Dillon is being drafted at his floor. He should at least be a high RB3, even if this is just a timeshare. The reason Dillon is one of my guys is because of his paths to a ceiling outcome. If Jones gets hurt, Dillon instantly catapults into the top 12 running backs. But even if Jones doesn’t get hurt, the Packers could just use Dillon more than most expect because he’s a really talented running back.

Jones is probably gone in 2023. The Packers have little incentive to force him work if Dillon is just as — if not — more effective. Dillon is one of the best players to draft at cost and is someone I will make sure I get in every auction, as well as try and grab in the fifth round of every snake draft.

Courtland Sutton, WR | Denver Broncos

Yep, I’m doing it. I’m going back to the well with Courtland Sutton. I was a year early, and I’m not jumping ship now.

Sutton caught 72 passes for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 with Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, and Brandon Allen under center. He averaged 13.9 ppg. I would say that’s his floor with Russell Wilson, but I really think his floor is even higher than that.

Sutton profiles as a true dominant outside receiver. At the risk of making a lazy comparison, Sutton should be Wilson’s new DK Metcalf.

Unfortunately, Sutton’s ADP is slowly creeping up toward the third round. We are just about at the point where it’s impossible to get both Pittman and Sutton. Thems be the breaks sometimes. If I can’t get them both, I want to make sure I at least get one.

Sutton’s upside is legitimately top five. Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the past decade. He will elevate this entire offense. There’s of course a risk that he prefers Jerry Jeudy, but hey, that’s what my guys are all about. I’m planting my flag on Sutton as one of the best players to draft in 2022 fantasy football leagues.

Honorable mention: Leonard Fournette, RB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I can’t make Leonard Fournette an official my guy because he costs too much. Typically, my guys have to be players I can realistically reach for if I want them. With Fournette, unless I have a mid-to-late pick, I don’t really have much control over whether he falls to me in the second round. While I do love him this season, I’m not taking him in the first.

But just so it’s on record, I have Fournette ranked as my RB7. His ADP is RB13. I think that’s flat-out wrong. Fournette finished as the overall RB3 last season, averaging 18.3 ppg. He led all running backs with six targets per game. Tom Brady is back. Fournette’s role should remain exactly the same. The only concern is injury, but that’s a concern for every running back. The entire fantasy community is too low on Fournette.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.

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