Before all eyes are on the upcoming redraft fantasy football season, the latest episode of PFN’s Premier Fantasy Football Podcast breaks down some of the top dynasty sell-high candidates for the 2022 NFL season. Which players’ values are set to tumble this season and are worth considering flipping before the season begins?
6 sell-high candidates for the 2022 dynasty fantasy football season
PFN Fantasy Analyst Jason Katz joins me on the latest episode of the PFN Premier Fantasy Football podcast to discuss some of our top sell-high candidates for the 2022 dynasty season. As with all dynasty buy or sell recommendations, it all depends on where your team is.
Are you trying to win now or build for the future? There are no hard and firm rules, these are nearly suggestions. Starting with a quarterback, Katz leads things off with one of the biggest questions of the season.
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
Valued as a borderline QB1 in dynasty, Katz feels this is too high for a QB that averaged just 11.4 PPR/game. Justin Fields did have his work cut out for him last season as he was under constant duress, facing pressure on 39% of his dropbacks as a rookie (highest rate in the NFL).
Managers have expected a significant uptick in Fields’ production for 2022, and much of that is due to the rushing upside he brings. With some projecting Fields to close in on 1,000 yards on the ground, he’s carrying the value typically found in QBs that already have an established track record.
While Matt Nagy is no longer the head coach, Fields’ situation has not significantly improved. The Bears hired a defensive-minded head coach in Matt Eberflus, placing the offensive side of the ball — and Fields’ development — on Luke Getsy, former QB coach and passing game coordinator for the Bears.
Chicago also did little to improve the roster. Their roster is one of the weakest in the NFL. That carries into the already poor OL of last season which has significant questions. Tack on the worst wide receiver room in the NFL and Fields could be in for another slow season.
If Fields starts the entire season and struggles, his dynasty value could quickly plummet well beyond his current borderline QB1 value. There is absolutely a path where Fields takes off and is a dynasty star.
If you are in a Superflex league, it very much could be worth your patience as QB values are higher than any other position. Things may be better in 2023, but it’s difficult to see Fields’ value being higher after this season than it is right now.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Heading into his age-27 season, Nick Chubb is one of the best pure rushers in the NFL. With exactly 1,000 carries in his career, Chubb is a workhorse back and has been used like one.
Ranked as an RB1 in dynasty, is there a chance we’ve seen the best from Chubb? Over the last three years, he’s averaged 15.9, 17.3, and 15.4 PPR/game, respectively. While this consistency is great, is the ceiling also there for Chubb to be an RB1 as he’s valued?
The concern for Chubb, as with every season, is his receiving utilization, or lack thereof. After posting 5.2% and 6.3% target shares the last two seasons, Chubb is now paired with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. During his 2020 campaign, Watson checked to the running back on just 17% of his attempts. For that work, the Browns already have Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson, and drafted Jerome Ford.
It’s incredibly difficult for an RB to put up over 20 points without making significant contributions in the passing game. That’s never going to be Chubb’s game. Thus, it’s unlikely his value goes any higher coming into his age-28 season in 2023. If you’re trying to build for the future and have eyes on the 2023 class, now would be the time to move on from Chubb.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs has been a workhorse for the Raiders, especially in his first two seasons. As a rookie, Jacobs recorded 269 rushes. That jumped to 273 in 2020 but took a downward turn last year.
Now sharing a backfield with Kenyan Drake, Jacobs saw just 217 carries in 15 games. Apparently, this was all according to plan. Based on reports, Jacobs went to the team and requested Drake, who was coming off a Pro Bowl, to receive more work as he was being underutilized.
“I don’t want this to be a one-man show,” Jacobs started before their Week 7 game against the Eagles. “My body don’t want this to be a one-man show, you feel me? I tell them, ‘Incorporate him.'”
Jacobs is coming off a season where despite losing some carries he still finished as the RB12 in per-game scoring. How did he pull this off? Targets; 64 of them to be exact which was ninth amongst all RBs and a new career-high for the Alabama product.
There’s a growing notion the Raiders will opt for a more committee-based approach in 2022. This would see Jacobs splitting more reps with not only Drake but also Zamir White, one of the most talented backs of the recent draft class.
Having declined his fifth-year option, Jacobs is in the final year of his rookie contract. Given the direction the NFL is going, it’s likely Jacobs finds himself part of a committee for the remainder of his career. We very well might have seen the peak of Jacobs in terms of volume, making right now the time to see if any managers are still all-in on Jacobs.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
This is one of those names you read and instantly go, “What the hell are you talking about. You’re an idiot.” I get it. I totally do. Here’s what I will say. By no means — and I want to make this clear — am I saying you need to trade Deebo Samuel before his value tanks. For one, I don’t prescribe by the theory you must trade every player who was great the year before.
At the end of the day, dynasty is about adding as much talent as possible. Samuel is coming off a historic year where he had 1,400 receiving yards and set a record for rushing TDs with eight as the overall WR3. That doesn’t just go away overnight.
Samuel unlikely to ever exceed his current value
All I’m proposing is that Samuel’s value likely will never be higher than it is right now. He’s already expressed that he wasn’t happy in his role last year and wants to have a more traditional WR role.
In the NFL, it’s where the money is, and Samuel doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into being something he’s not. Of his 339 PPR points, 25% came on the ground (84.5 points).
What about the QB play? Can Trey Lance, if given the starting role, do the same thing Jimmy Garoppolo did, or will he want to push the ball deeper down the field? I’m all-in on Lance, so while I do believe he finds success, it’s another wrinkle to consider. Not to mention there is the pending contract situation with the 49ers.
Samuel is sensational and deserves to be considered a top-10 receiver in dynasty. With that said, he’s ranked as a top-five receiver with some feeling what happened last year was just a stepping stone for what is yet to come.
In a way, I get it. But if I can move Samuel at top-five value for someone like Tee Higgins plus a decent 2023 pick, that’s a move I’m willing to make. As I said in the beginning, by no means rush out to trade Samuel. Do not make your team worse for no reason. Just shake a few branches. You might be surprised by the offers coming your way.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers
As a mid-WR4, Chase Claypool is a mid-tier player dynasty managers seem to be either in or out on with little riding the middle ground. As a rookie, Claypool showed true promise, averaging 13.4 PPR/game with nine touchdowns. The Steelers found ways to manufacture touches for him and it paid off. However, in Year 2, his production took a dip. Claypool averaged just 11.1 PPR/game with two touchdowns.
As a vertical asset, Claypool’s game was hampered by Ben Roethlisberger’s anemic arm. Things could change with Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett in 2022 as the Steelers try to open things up a bit more. While this sounds great for Claypool, he does have additional competition.
Diontae Johnson is the top target, but Claypool will be fighting 2022 second-round pick George Pickens for the No. 2 role. For my money, Pickens is a more well-rounded receiver than Claypool, who’s more of a vertical and contested-catch specialist.
It’s very possible Claypool has a career year if Trubisky or Pickett can do what Big Ben couldn’t and push the ball. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington gone, Claypool just needs to beat out Pickens and Calvin Austin III for the second spot on the depth chart. As Katz says, don’t sell him for pennies on the dollar, but if you can get plus value, ship him away before the proverbial wheels fall off.
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
Saying this made me feel dirty. Rashod Bateman was one of my crushes for the last draft cycle and came in as one of the most pro-ready players in the class.
A core muscle surgery delayed the start of Bateman’s NFL career. But once he was on the field in Week 6, Bateman showed all the signs of being a legitimate top target in the NFL. Bateman recorded 34 targets in his first five games, ending the season with 68 targets overall (16% target share), catching 46 passes for 515 yards with a TD. He posted 50+ yards in five of those games, finishing as a top-36 receiver in each contest.
There are a few concerns heading into 2022
So why is Bateman listed as a sell-high for dynasty? It’s because his perceived value is dangerously close to passing his actual ceiling. For one, the Ravens will not throw 611 times in 2022. It was the ninth-most in 2021 and a product of a decimated backfield that saw three season-ending injuries and forced Devonta Freeman to become the RB1. That’s not Baltimore’s DNA.
My second area of concern comes down to how Bateman will be used in the red zone. Between Weeks 6 and 13 — when both Lamar Jackson and Bateman were on the field — he was tied for fourth in red-zone targets with two, well behind Mark Andrews (10).
Also, the Ravens run the ball when close. Inside the 20, they ran the ball 30 times compared to 24 passing attempts. Inside the 10, Bateman drew only a single target.
While he’ll be the WR1 following Marquise Brown’s trade, Bateman and his projected 25% target share doesn’t match the same volume as it does in other offenses. It’s unlikely Bateman sees over 120 targets let alone encroach on Brown’s 140 from a season ago.
Currently inside the top 20 amongst WRs, that’s a bit rich for a receiver who will struggle to pass 1,000 receiving yards in a run-first offense. I love Bateman as a player and would be more than happy if he was on my roster. However, if someone in my league feels he’s the next high-end WR2, I’d be very open to moving him. Bateman is a dynasty sell-high if possible, not a must-sell.