Fantasy Football 2022 NFL Free Agency Losers: Values of Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Lockett, and Hunter Renfrow took a hit

Following a wild and crazy 2022 NFL free agency period, which players are the big losers who saw their fantasy football value decrease?

The 2022 free agency period has been the most active in NFL history. With so many big names switching teams, there’s a lot to unpack. Let’s discuss some of the losers from free agency who saw their fantasy football value decrease.

Fantasy football losers in 2022 NFL free agency

What exactly classifies a player as a loser from a fantasy football perspective? As always, there’s admittedly some subjectivity that goes into it.

For the purposes of this article, a loser is any player whose fantasy football value decreased as a result of a move either he or his team made in 2022 NFL free agency.

Fantasy Football Losers: Quarterbacks

What quarterbacks saw their fantasy value decrease after 2022 NFL free agency?

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Let me preface this by saying Patrick Mahomes remains one of the best quarterbacks in fantasy. However, his status as the clear QB1 was gone prior to the Tyreek Hill trade. Now, Josh Allen is the undisputed best quarterback in fantasy football.

Mahomes has only played four games in his career without Hill. He’s obviously talented enough to make it work, but let’s not pretend like this doesn’t matter a lot. There is only one Tyreek Hill. He is irreplaceable.

The Chiefs will undoubtedly draft a wide receiver on Day 1 or Day 2. Mahomes is probably entering this season with a rookie, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and JuJu Smith-Schuster as his starting wide receivers. Travis Kelce is another year older and Mahomes was outscored by four quarterbacks last season in fantasy points per game.

Mahomes is still an elite QB1, but there will be very valid arguments for at least three or four quarterbacks to go before him in 2022 fantasy football drafts, making him one of the bigger losers of free agency.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

I don’t think we’re getting a third consecutive MVP performance out of Aaron Rodgers. Not without Davante Adams.

The Packers shipped Adams off to Las Vegas for a host of draft picks, leaving Rodgers with Allen Lazard as his WR1. Like the Chiefs, they will surely draft at least one wide receiver on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft. But, like Hill, you can’t replace Adams.

Rodgers averaged 3.2 fewer fantasy points per game in 2021 than in 2020. His overall numbers were largely the same. The primary difference was he threw for 11 fewer touchdowns.

Without Adams, I have a hard time seeing Rodgers finishing as anything other than a mid-to-low QB1. His fantasy value will largely depend on his ADP, but either way, elite QB1 Rodgers does not work without his elite WR1.

Other QB losers

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys lost two of Prescott’s receivers in Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, as well as a key offensive lineman in La’el Collins.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (for now): After trading for Deshaun Watson and signing Jacoby Brissett, Mayfield is as good as gone in Cleveland. However, he’s running out of spots where he could start. Mayfield may end up being a backup in 2022.

Fantasy Football Losers: Running Backs

We continue with the running back position. Which running backs saw their fantasy value decrease after 2022 NFL free agency?

Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers signed D’Onta Foreman to be Christian McCaffrey’s backup, relegating Chuba Hubbard to a third-string role.

Hubbard filled in adequately for McCaffrey last season. Now, his fantasy value is just about zero. He would need multiple injuries to be worth starting.

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

One year ago, Myles Gaskin was a fourth- or fifth-round pick in redraft leagues. Now, I genuinely do not believe he is even worth a spot on dynasty rosters.

Gaskin is a former seventh-round pick with an unexpected second-year breakout in 2020. He entered 2021 as the presumptive starter but lost his job to Duke Johnson by the end of the year.

In free agency, the Dolphins signed Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. Between the two, they can do everything you need in a backfield. Gaskin will not be drafted in standard-sized redraft leagues, and it is highly unlikely he ever matters again.

Other RB losers

Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders: Gibson was poised to have a three-down role for a couple of days. Then, J.D. McKissic spurned Buffalo to return to Washington. Gibson will still be productive, but elite RB1 is not in his range of outcomes with McKissic taking passing game work.

Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills: Devin Singletary is the clear lead back in Buffalo, and they signed Duke Johnson to be his backup. I’m not sure Moss will ever be a fantasy asset again.

Fantasy Football Losers: Wide Receivers

Which wide receivers saw their fantasy value decrease after 2022 NFL free agency?

Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

Going from Rodgers to Derek Carr is an obvious downgrade. But there’s more to it.

Adams had a rapport with Rodgers that you just can’t teach. Sure, Adams played with Carr back in college, but that was a decade ago. A lot of what made Adams so elite in fantasy was how in sync he was with Rodgers. The back shoulders. The quick slants. Those plays where the corner would back off and Rodgers would just check to a quick hitter to get a free five yards. None of that is replicable in Las Vegas.

Additionally, there’s actual target competition. Adams will be the alpha and command the largest target share, but, in fantasy, we want consolidated targets in offenses. In Green Bay, there was no one. Adams is competing with legitimately good players in Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow.

Adams should still be a WR1 in fantasy, but he’s not a threat to finish top three anymore.

Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

To be clear, Jaylen Waddle is still a very talented young receiver that is going to be very valuable in fantasy for the next decade. With that said, anyone who tells you Waddle didn’t lose fantasy value upon Hill’s arrival is lying to themselves. When a receiver goes from the clear alpha WR1 on his team to the WR2 behind one of the most talented receivers of all time, it’s a negative.

Waddle may have been poised to see as high as a 30% target share this season. Now, I’d be surprised if he got any higher than 20-22%. If Tua Tagovailoa can throw 600 times, Waddle can still reach 120-130 targets. He can still be a high WR2. I just don’t see WR1 upside because this offense is going to run through Hill.

Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders

Perhaps the biggest loser of 2022 NFL free agency is Renfrow. He was a true revelation in 2021, commanding 128 targets, catching over 100 passes, and amassing over 1,000 receiving yards. And it wasn’t entirely a product of a barren pass-catching corps behind Waller. Renfrow is just good at football. The man gets open.

Unfortunately, you know who else is really good at football and can’t be covered? Davante Adams. And he does it better than Renfrow (and pretty much the entire NFL).

Normally, I can spin things in a way to make them seem not that bad. Nah, this is bad. I think this buries Renfrow. He was going to be ranked as a mid-to-low WR2 for me this season. With the addition of Adams, I don’t see Renfrow as anything more than a WR4.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are still immensely talented wide receivers. However, the quarterback position matters. They’ve now gone from Russell Wilson to possibly Drew Lock (or maybe Mayfield/Jimmy Garoppolo). Either way, it’s a massive downgrade.

Lockett takes more of a hit than Metcalf because Lockett’s more reliant on chemistry with his quarterback and precision timing/accuracy. Metcalf actually averaged more fantasy points per game with Geno Smith than Wilson last season. He takes a hit, but not as much as Lockett.

Consider Metcalf more of a high WR2. He may actually end up being a value due to an overreaction in punishing him for the quarterback change.

As for Lockett, he was already one of the most volatile weekly players in fantasy football with Wilson. Now, he may be volatile without the spike weeks (or with fewer of them). Lockett will probably be a WR3 in ADP, and I’m worried even that’s too high.

Other WR losers

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s hard to call a player a loser when his value was so low to begin with. Yet, Shenault is viewed more favorably in the fantasy community than in real life. The Jaguars signing Christian Kirk and Evan Engram tells you all you need to know about what they think of Shenault.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers lost out on Deshaun Watson, didn’t sign Marcus Mariota or Mitch Trubisky, and expressed no interest in Baker Mayfield. They really might go into 2022 with Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback again. Someone get Moore a quarterback. Please!

Fantasy Football Losers: Tight Ends

We conclude with the tight end position. Which tight ends saw their fantasy value decrease after 2022 NFL free agency?

Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

I won’t belabor the point with tight ends too much. Waller was the clear No. 1 target monster on the Raiders. Now, he has to share (read: play second-fiddle) with Adams.

Waller battled injuries in 2021 and struggled with consistency. The addition of Adams lowers his floor and ceiling. Waller is still a top-five tight end, but he’s farther away from Travis Kelce than he was entering last season.

Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

I’m not certain Noah Fant is a loser in the sense that his fantasy value decreased. It’s more the disappointment in not being able to benefit from the rising tide lifting all boats that is Russell Wilson in the Broncos’ offense.

Fant will be Seattle’s TE1, but he has to compete with Metcalf and Lockett for targets, and his starting quarterback may once again be Lock. I’ve always been a fan of Fant’s talent, but he’s not a TE1 entering the 2022 season, making him one of the biggest losers from a fantasy football perspective.

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