As with most fantasy football related rosters, this article is filled with speculation. We all try to predict unpredictable play in a game. Sometimes taking risks pays off and you look like the hero. However, sometimes being risky ends up crashing and burning and losing your league. In my opinion, these players are more likely to crash and burn than help you win your league. They all have low floors due to their position in their depth charts, which you should be aware of when entering your drafts. Let’s start.
Trey Lance (QB–SF)
I’ll be the first to admit that Lance has one of the highest caps of anyone on this list. He’s part of a top team that wants to move the ball a lot of ways, and he’s not afraid to throw it himself to move the chains. That being said, there is also a non-zero chance that he will be benched for the whole year. Until Jimmy Garoppolo is officially out of this team, Lance’s floor effectively sucks, which worries me.
I mean, let’s face it, the Niners would be smart enough to start Lance early this year and see what they have after giving up so much draft capital to select him third overall last year. But how many times have we seen coaches and teams in general make the wrong choice? Lance could be a league winner, but he could also cost you the title. If he’s not even locked in as a starter on his NFL team, you can’t recruit him as a starter on your fantasy team. Not yet, at least. Hopefully there is clarity when you need to make the decision, but keep an eye on that.
Marcus Mariota (QB – ATL)
Unlike Lance, Mariota is approaching the sunset of his career. He’s 28 and played for the Titans and Raiders during his 7-year NFL career. He hasn’t started a game since 2019, when he was benched for Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN) and later cut by the team and signed by the Raiders this offseason. He’s an aging quarterback on a team that just signed a rookie QB in Desmond Ridder (QB – ATL), who is already challenging him for the starting job in camp.
Like Lance, Mariota is no stranger to ball management, and he’s also spent almost all of 2021 on the bench as a backup to Derek Carr (QB – LVR). While Mariota is on a new team, he and Lance have huge chips on their shoulders and something to prove. However, if Mariota receives a short leash, her draft stock goes from something to nothing in the blink of an eye. Mariota is only worth signing up for in the SuperFlex leagues as a QB3 or QB4, but with the uncertainty of his starting position, even that seems a bit too risky to me at the moment.
David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
Look, if you had told me a year ago that Montgomery would be on my list of newbies with insecure job security, I would have told you you were crazy. But here we are. Montgomery wasn’t terrible last year, finishing as RB21 overall in PPR scoring and RB15 in points per game. But the fact that he ran out of time opened the door for his replacement, Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI), to step up and shine in his absence. It adds some question marks to Montgomery’s status as a bell cow running back in 2022.
For the season, Herbert averaged 4.2 yards per carry on his 103 carries, while Montgomery averaged 3.8 yards on his 225 carries. Without Montgomery, Herbert averaged 19.5 carries per game, while Montgomery averaged 15.3 per game without Herbert. Herbert also scored a full point per game more in PPR when he was given the point guard role. It’s entirely possible the Bears also liked what they saw, limiting Montgomery’s advantage and lowering his potential floor. Montgomery is currently drafted as a 3rd-round RB17, and it could crush your title dreams if he ends up splitting races with Herbert this year.
Antonio Gibson (RB–WA)
Gibson is another polarizing fantasy actor this year. He finished as RB10 overall and RB19 in ppg in the PPR score last year, but there’s a big chunk of the community that’s wiping him out hard this year. COs resigned Jd Mckissic (RB – WAS) after agreeing terms with the Bills, making it very clear they want him on their roster to complement Gibson’s abilities. While that’s great for McKissic, it’s scary for Gibson’s managers in the fantasy.
Gibson may finish in the top 10 again this year, but it’s hard to see exactly how that happens in a team going through so many transitions. He received 258 carries in 2021, the 4th most in the NFL, but can he get that kind of volume again? It’s honestly hard to say. Personally, I don’t think so, which makes his current ADP of RB16 feel more like his ceiling than his floor. If McKissic takes a bigger share of the touches, which I think he will, Gibson’s managers could have a tough season.
Cordarelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
The final running back on my list is last season’s fantasy darling. Anyone lucky enough to recruit Patterson or catch him on waivers early in the year has reaped the rewards throughout the season. Sure, it was a bumpy ride some weeks where he scored less than 5 PPR points, but there were seven straight weeks at the start of the season where he scored more than 14 PPR points per week. This kind of variation can be frustrating, but given how expensive it was last year, most fantasy managers accepted it.
Given his fluctuation and unknown workload this year, he becomes RB35 at ADP. It’s not exactly fantasy starting material, but it’s significantly higher than it was last year. The Falcons drafted Tyler Allgeier (RB – ATL) and signed Damien Williams (RB – ATL), so the team is telling us something. It’s entirely possible that Patterson isn’t even fantasy relevant in week 2. He’s not someone I’m targeting at all this year, although it would be a great story if he stands out at new.
DeVante Parker (WR–NE) and Hunter Henry (TE–NE)
Pass catchers are really hard to put on a list like this. This is largely because there are so many of them, and almost all of them have the potential to be relevant to fantasy at some point. That being said, Parker is one of the few WRs I’m worried about this year. There was a lot of hype around him when the Patriots signed him and even more hype once they traded Harry to the Bears. But there are two things I’m never sure of: is there life on other planets, and what is the pecking order in New England?
The Patriots depth chart lists Parker in the lead, but Kendrick Bourne (WR–NE) and Jakobi Meyers (WR–NE) played well last year with rookie QB Mac Jones (QB–NE). The team also drafted Tyquan Thornton (WR – NE) in the second round, so I would expect him to be used a lot as well. It’s not that I think Parker is bad or anything. I hate to predict what Bill Belichick will do on any given Sunday. He could be a starter, or he could be a veteran coming off the bench. We just don’t know yet, so I pass it in most drafts.
Along with Parker, another tight end depth card battle for the Patriots involves Henry and Jonnu Smith (TE – NE). Henry finished in TE10 overall last year, while Smith finished in TE35. Heading into the season, we had no idea who would step in and be the real TE1 in New England, and it was clearly Henry. But can we believe it will happen again? As I mentioned a minute ago, Belichick is known for doing things his own way. Henry could find himself behind Smith this year. I’m not saying it’s likely, but the fact that it’s possible makes me hesitant to draft Henry into almost every project I’m in. Its ceiling is not so high and its floor is very low. Just like Parker, write with caution.
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Andrew Hall is a featured writer for FantasyPros. To know more about Andrew, check out his profile and follow him @AndrewHallFF.