What do you do when your trusty lawn mower won’t start the first time? Do you prime it with a new spark plug and fill the tank with fresh fuel without ethanol? Or are you heading to The Home Depot and preparing for another future disappointment? As easy as it is to stage the old Briggs & Stratton on the sidewalk for that yard sale you’ve been putting off for years, giving it another shot can be just as rewarding (at a fraction of the cost). ).
We give up on the good stuff too soon in this age of instant gratification and the relentless pursuit of it. new new. It’s cliché, but one man’s trash is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes all it takes to bounce back in favor is a change of scenery and a little elbow grease.
For all the toxicity hanging over the underdogs, people still love a comeback story. The NFL is a meritocracy that runs the gamut from epic facial plants at the feet of expectations to Phoenician ascents from the ashes of obscurity. Fantasy football managers are incredibly hasty when it comes to kicking players out of their lineup who have let them down, whether through injury or poor roster completion. statistics.
NFL players are generally resilient and work hard to improve their craft, especially after a disappointing campaign. The wide receiver stance is notably bolstered by a relevant flair for fantasy, so a wide receiver’s shine fades faster than white gold on a sweaty knuckle if he falls on hard times. I’ve been tasked with identifying “rebounding” WRs for 2022: passers who let us down in 2021 and saw a turnaround in health, environment, or circumstances. Since many of these players have left fantasy managers jaded and scarred, there are also inherent value savings over ADP.
Allen Robinson (WR–LAR)
The 2021 Chicago Bears were one of the most dysfunctional teams in recent memory. Highly touted rookie quarterback Justin Fields did not receive reps in the preseason with Robinson and the rest of the first-team offense. A-Rob was a perennial quarter-proof stallion until last season. Nagging injuries and a bad fight with Covid-19 aside, Robinson was obviously not happy with his role in attacking Matt Nagy.
His use dropped to a career low which was an insult to his regular job. Robinson’s 5.5 targets, 3.2 receptions and 34.2 receiving yards per game didn’t even come close to his 2014 rookie numbers as a member of the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. According to Matt Harmon’s famous reception perception, Robinson was consistently highly successful relative to the man and media coverage (81st and 96th percentiles, respectively). It was apparently tossed in the trash, when it was obvious to anyone watching that it was Nagy’s plan that belonged there instead.
The change of scenery couldn’t be more brutal for Robinson in 2022. He escapes Matt Nagy’s pattern of bloopers and madness at kindergarten level to one of the most brilliant offensive minds in the game’s history in Sean McVay. The former Nittany Lion will catch passes from Matthew Stafford, who was reportedly Robinson’s top quarterback when he enrolled in freshman classes at the University of Georgia. Eight home games at beautiful SoFi Stadium in sunny Los Angeles are a far cry from the freezing cold and long grass of Soldier Field.
His new teammate, Cooper Kupp, will pull off the best coverage the Rams’ opponents can muster. That leaves plenty of room for A-Rob, who reached the Pro Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback, to rekindle his fantasy football flame. Robinson was a top 10 WR thrice in his career, notably in 2019 and 2020 with the Bears. His ADP of 67 (WR29) is quite a deal for 2022 fantasy drafts.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – KC)
The TikTok star hasn’t made much of an impression on the NFL over the past two seasons. JuJu has been limited to just five games in 2021 with a shoulder injury. His 2020 has been a productive year from a macro perspective. He was targeted 128 times, but he converted his 97 receptions into a meager 831 receiving yards. His fantastic outlook was underpinned by nine touchdowns, but it was incredibly disappointing to see the 2018 WR8 in PPR confined to such a penalty box role in the Steelers offense.
Youth is still on the side of the former USC Trojan: he is still only 25 years old. Improving health and a one-year “prove it” contract with one of the most prolific offenses in the league are also very good developments for Smith-Schuster. It will be interesting to see what role Andy Reid envisioned for JuJu.
He’s been far more competent from the slot than off, with an abysmal lack of success against men’s coverage. Harmon mapped Smith-Schuster as only appearing in the fourth percentile of human-mapped receptors. Interestingly, he’s quite adept against area coverage, with a success rate in the 83rd percentile. JuJu isn’t a good splitter on the field or when lined up at the line of scrimmage, but he’s crafty and likes soft pockets he can sit in to provide his quarterback with a big target with strong hands.
A real concern I have is with JuJu’s fit in the Chiefs offense. Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are much more suitable options on the outside, while starters Mecole Hardman and Travis Kelce fill the big slot and speed slot roles when Kansas City goes to four. It remains to be seen if Smith-Schuster’s high-volume dump days are as behind him as his WR1 days in 2018 alongside Antonio Brown. Patrick Mahomes is truly the high tide that lifts all ships. There is no doubt that JuJu can eclipse his healthy 84 overall (WR35) ADP, especially if his mid-range game reappears.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR–SF)
Landing in the doghouse is no fun. I should know, I’ve been married for over a decade. Aiyuk was in something of a professional niche at the start of last season. One of 2020’s rookie stars was shunned off the football pitch by head coach Kyle Shanahan, only eclipsing 75% of attacking snaps before Week 8 once. Aiyuk averaged less of three targets per game from Weeks 1-7 and scored just one touchdown. . By the time he warmed up mid-season, the fantastic managers who spent a mid-round pick on the talented Sun Devil had largely abandoned him to waivers.
Those lucky ones who picked up Aiyuk for the stretch run (or who never gave up hope) enjoyed a fantastic 159.1 points from Weeks 8-18 (14.5 FPPG). He was also on the field for no less than 90% of the snaps in the last 10 weeks of the regular season and served the offense well as a vertical threat with plenty to offer after the catch. Averaging 14.75 yards per reception is an incredible feat with a quarterback as limited as Jimmy Garoppolo in the talent department.
The transition from Jimmy G to Trey Lance is like Tiger Woods removing his driver’s handmade headgear on a long par 5. Limit throws are back. Downshots aren’t just prayers that the wounded duck will fall into good hands. The 49ers won’t need to guard the best tight end in online football to better protect their porcelain statue in the pocket. All of these are nods to the potential of the receivers in this offense, especially the 24-year-old Aiyuk.
Reception Perception was just as jaded by the mysterious early-season relegation as many fantastic managers who hoped Aiyuk would build on his jaw-dropping rookie season. Harmon still found Aiyuk to be a technician worthy of optimism in 2022, ranking well above average against man, zone, and press coverage. Every sign seems to point north for Brandon Aiyuk, except for his ADP. With two seasons inside WR3 territory despite obstacles from his coach and quarterback, Aiyuk is still falling through the drafts to pick 99 (WR40). Receiver X for an offense that buzzes like the 49ers should warrant much earlier consideration.
Parris Campbell (WR–IND)
Yes, everyone is aware of Campbell’s injury history. Buckeye, 25, is he really injury prone? The term itself is dubious. Football is a contact sport with extreme demands placed on the human body. Many injuries can be attributed to bad luck, whether the player is Christian McCaffrey or Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell.
15 games in three NFL seasons isn’t a number that impresses anyone, but Campbell is still an electric football player. He just turned 25 and is enjoying a healthy offseason with the buzz and fanfare resulting from his minicamp performance. As it stands, the Ohio State burner is expected to start as the Colts’ slot receiver. Michael Pittman and rookie Alec Pierce are both expected to be on the outside at X and Z respectively. Matt Ryan is the new sheriff in town, and the former NFL MVP is ready to finally kick him behind an offensive line stronger than a wet paper bag.
There is one indelible memory from last season that fueled my desire to include Parris Campbell in this article. Still the DFS junky, I took a wild hit and signed up Campbell in week 6. He was targeted once all game but turned out to be on a touchdown bomb from 51 yards from Carson Wentz. Campbell was vintage on this piece, recalling his days at the Horseshoe in Columbus. He broke his foot later in that game and missed the rest of the season except for eight snaps in Week 18.
Usually, there is hard data to back up a hypothesis about a player’s fantasy outlook. Parris Campbell hasn’t given us enough healthy time on the court to determine whether or not it’s worth shooting him late in the draft. The evidence I have is circumstantial, but compelling. Campbell is an indispensable field stretcher from the slot on this Colts team. Ryan is a very smart and accurate quarterback who will deliver passes on the fly to give his receivers YAC potential. Campbell ran with the first-team attack all summer, and head coach Frank Reich expressed his desire to spend more in an effort to reduce wear and tear on Jonathan Taylor.
The only glaring question is whether or not Parris Campbell can stay on the pitch to show the world what he can be. Personally, I’d rather trust the talent I saw on tape and not dwell on the fear of a late dart. Campbell is virtually free for the take at the end of the drafts, with an ADP of 253 (WR91). A healthy Parris Campbell has an unfathomable advantage.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning list of fantasy football tools while you navigate your season. Of our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal range based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wizardwho lets you quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered for this fantasy football season.