Fire up the Draft Boards!
It’s prime dynasty startup season right now! After many of us spent the season complaining about being in too many leagues, we are now eager to jump right back into more drafts. I have two 2022 dynasty startup drafts in the books so far in 2022, and here are a few of my favorite picks based on the current ADP. I’ve included their exact draft spot in parentheses.
2022 Dynasty Startup Drafts Value Players
Miles Sanders (9.12)
Fantasy managers were lukewarm for the most part about Miles Sanders going into 2021. Instead, some were worried about the Eagles’ fifth-round draft pick, Kenny Gainwell. He was one of the better receiving RB prospects and expected to take on the lead passing downs role, which is extremely important for fantasy production. In the end, Gainwell was nearly a non-factor when Sanders was healthy. His main obstacles were actually injuries and a new head coach, Nick Sirianni.
Sanders’ usage to start the season was highly questionable. There were times when the Philadelphia fans would boo the team mid-game because they weren’t running the ball enough. It might have been new coach jitters from Sirianni or overthinking things, but he even admitted that they were not running it enough during a September interview.
Then, in Week 5, we started to see Sanders’ snap counts increase. Even though he wasn’t getting a ton of volume, it was an encouraging sign. Unfortunately, just when it appeared that he was gaining momentum, Sanders injured his ankle in Week 7 and missed the next three games.
He was eased back into the offense in his first couple of weeks back from the injury, but in Weeks 13 and 15 (Week 14 bye), we saw Bell-Cow Miles Sanders, and it was fantastic!
Sanders averaged 18.65 fantasy points over those two games without scoring a touchdown. He was also at 5+ yards per carry in each game since Week 11. Sanders looked primed to lead their rushing attack into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again, and his season ended in Week 16 after breaking his hand.
Even though 2021 will turn many away from drafting Sanders, I’m going to be all-in on him as my RB3/4 in startups. Sirianni saw the error of his ways at the start of the year, and I’m confident that he will feed Sanders as he should have from the beginning.
“We haven't even seen everything Miles can give this team. Obviously, he's been really productive. I know he wants to get in the end zone, as well. But I think the best is yet to come from Miles”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 3, 2022
Terry McLaurin (5.02)
One of the biggest fantasy disappointments of last season was Washington Commander’s wideout, Terry McLaurin. McLaurin was a popular WR1 breakout candidate going into 2021, especially after Washington picked up Ryan Fitzpatrick. I often pointed out how “Fitz” tends to hyper-target his number one receiver, a habit that led to DeVante Parker’s fourth-year blow-up season.
As we all know, Fitzpatrick didn’t even make it through the season’s first game. But then, he dislocated his hip, and suddenly, McLaurin had a career backup to lean on at QB.
Second-string QB, Taylor Heinicke, gave us optimism that he could keep the offense rolling based on his performance at the end of the 2020 season. That hope was short-lived, though, as Heinicke quickly reminded us why he had been a backup for his seven-year career.
Heinicke reached 300 passing yards in just one single game last season. In addition, according to Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz), he was the third-worst deep ball passer in the NFL. Combined with a hampered Antonio Gibson and absent Curtis Samuel, it was too easy for defenses to turn all attention towards McLaurin.
It’s always tough to trust players again after they burn you in fantasy. McLaurin was overdrafted in 2021, but those situations are typically set up for nice bounceback. The community overcorrects, and their value plummets, creating a post-hype sleeper. Keep in mind that his disappointing season was still a 1,053 receiving yards performance and WR25 finish (WR33 in PPG).
With the Commanders’ recent acquisition of Carson Wentz, I’m back in on McLaurin being in the WR1 (Top 12) conversation. Except for this year, you can draft him much later.
QBs Terry McLaurin has seen a target from in his career, sorted by total targets:
Taylor Heinicke 123
Dwayne Haskins 98
Alex Smith 52
Case Keenum 41
Kyle Allen 31
Colt McCoy 7
Garrett Gilbert 4
I know we like to dunk on Wentz, but this is an upgrade for McLaurin
— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) March 9, 2022
D.J. Chark (13.02)
I don’t want to remember much from Jacksonville’s 2021 season. The Urban Meyer experiment was a failure from the start. Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence did not look like the “can’t miss” prospect we’ve been waiting for, and losing his number one receiver in D.J. Chark within the first month of the season didn’t help.
Chark is an athletic freak. He ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile) at 6’3″ 199 lbs, and we’ve seen the speed translate into production on the field at various times. So far, his only solid campaign was back in 2019 when he posted 1,008 yards and eight TDs and finished as WR17. He seemed poised for a major third-year breakout in 2020, but the Jacksonville offense had other plans.
At that time, Minshew Mania was at its peak. The very likable Gardner Minshew took over for Nick Foles in Week 1, after Foles fractured his clavicle (on a 35-yard TD pass to Chark, btw). Minshew did well enough to earn another shot to start in 2020.
That’s when Chark regressed a bit, and we didn’t see much of the Minshew Magic that we did in 2019. That led to a QB carousel of Minshew, Mike Glennon, and Jake Luton. That group of passers would take the air out of the sails for most fantasy WRs, including D.J. Chark, who lives off of the deep ball. None of those guys are known for having strong arms that suit a player like Chark.
We didn’t get to see much of Chark with Trevor Lawrence since he broke his ankle in Week 4 and missed the remainder of the season. Now set to hit free agency, he can choose his next destination and ensure it’s a situation that would cater to his skill set.
There has been a lot of buzz that several teams are willing to offer him top dollar for his services. I’m ready to bet that the 2019 season wasn’t just a fluke, especially when you consider his low draft cost.
This is a hell of a throw and catch from Trevor Lawrence to DJ Chark.
Even more impressive was the drive — 9 plays, 72 yards just before halftime. pic.twitter.com/g9G39Zu77E
— Big Cat Country (@BigCatCountry) September 26, 2021
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