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Fantasy soccer sleepers, busts and breakouts for 2022


As we enter into the guts of fantasy football draft season, the ESPN Fantasy Soccer consultants are right here to carry you their newest sleepers, busts and breakout gamers for the 2022 marketing campaign, as outlined right here:

  • Sleeper: A participant who’s being missed and can outperform his common draft place (ADP) in 2022.

  • Bust: A participant who is extremely regarded and can underperform his ADP in 2022.

  • Breakout: A participant (rookies included) who will stand up with career-best numbers in 2022 and make a huge effect.

Our panel includes the next ESPN Fantasy writers and editors: Stephania Bell, Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Daniel Dopp, Joe Kaiser, Eric Karabell, Keith Lipscomb, Liz Loza, Eric Moody, Kyle Soppe and Field Yates.

Every analyst named a sleeper and a bust for every of the main offensive positions, in addition to one breakout candidate. You’ll find their picks beneath, and their evaluation and perception on a collection of gamers they felt most obsessed with in every class.

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Quarterback sleepers

Matt Bowen: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Mike Clay: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Daniel Dopp: Derek Carr
Joe Kaiser: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Eric Karabell: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Keith Lipscomb: Trevor Lawrence
Liz Loza: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Eric Moody: Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
Kyle Soppe: Trey Lance
Area Yates: Trey Lance

Stephania Bell: Matt Ryan: Ryan would be the fifth beginning quarterback in as a few years for the Colts, and response to his change of locale has been largely tepid. However why? Sure, he is 37 years previous, however his 14 years within the league present he is sturdy (he has missed only one recreation in his 12 years as a starter) and an skilled decision-maker who can get the ball to his receivers rapidly (one other trait already on show at minicamp). He confirmed in OTAs his arm remains to be robust, and he’ll play behind a greater offensive line; as an alternative of scrambling for his life behind the road of scrimmage, he can really get the ball out on time. Earlier supply provides the offense a bonus, resulting in elevated alternatives for Ryan’s receivers, particularly with regards to YAC … all of which interprets to fantasy factors.

Quarterback busts

Stephania Bell: Aaron Rodgers
Matt Bowen: Aaron Rodgers
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Aaron Rodgers
Daniel Dopp: Aaron Rodgers
Joe Kaiser: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Eric Karabell: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Keith Lipscomb: Kyler Murray
Liz Loza: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eric Moody: Aaron Rodgers
Kyle Soppe: Kyler Murray
Area Yates: Aaron Rodgers

Mike Clay: Joe Burrow: Burrow loved a breakout 2021 season during which he paced the NFL in completion share and yards per try (YPA), whereas ending no decrease than eighth in passing yardage and TDs. And but he completed eighth in fantasy factors, with a ridiculous 47% of these factors coming in three video games — his solely weekly finishes higher than eighth on the season. Burrow did not add a lot together with his legs (118 yards, 2 TDs), and that might want to change simply to offset inevitable YPA regression to the imply. Sure, Burrow is rising as one of many league’s high quarterbacks, however that has but to translate to the high-end QB1 fantasy output that his ADP suggests.

Working again sleepers

Stephania Bell: Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
Matt Bowen: Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Mike Clay: Miles Sanders
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
Daniel Dopp: AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Joe Kaiser: Ken Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Keith Lipscomb: Travis Etienne Jr.
Liz Loza: Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
Eric Moody: Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos
Kyle Soppe: AJ Dillon
Area Yates: Elijah Mitchell

Eric Karabell: Travis Etienne Jr.: Fantasy managers simply must neglect about final season’s dysfunctional clown present that was the Jacksonville Jaguars and see all of the potential in a brand new, competent teaching workers with a tantalizing, younger offense. Trevor Lawrence will thrive together with his school buddy Etienne, a 2021 first-round decide and the Jaguars’ new lead again, wholesome after a misplaced season. Etienne boasts Alvin Kamara traits as a runner and pass-catcher. He is quick, elusive and a terrific receiver, and injured James Robinson is means behind Etienne by way of September readiness. Etienne has RB1 upside proper now, however he is getting into flex vary. Be ready to leap a spherical or three to go get him.

Working again busts

Stephania Bell: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
Matt Bowen: James Conner
Mike Clay: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
Daniel Dopp: James Conner
Joe Kaiser: Cordarrelle Patterson
Eric Karabell: Cordarrelle Patterson
Keith Lipscomb: James Conner
Liz Loza: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Moody: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
Area Yates: James Conner

Kyle Soppe: Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos: The concept of this train is to judge not solely gamers however our consumer drafting patterns, and my choice to fade the proficient sophomore is predicated on the latter. I really like the upside, however I do not love having to financial institution on that type of development out of my third-round decide. The Broncos not solely introduced in Russell Wilson to bolster the go recreation; additionally they re-signed Melvin Gordon III. There is not any query Gordon is on the again 9 of his profession, however six straight seasons with at the very least eight speeding scores is uncommon air. “Uncommon” as in right here is the record of gamers who’ve ever finished that: LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Brown, Adrian Peterson and Emmitt Smith. The highest 15 RBs by way of complete factors final season scored, on common, 12.1 touchdowns, and the presence of Gordon on this roster, to not point out a probably extra open offense to cater to Wilson, makes it powerful to imagine Williams reaches that threshold. Love the expertise, hate the worth.

Extensive receiver sleepers

Stephania Bell: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
Matt Bowen: Russell Gage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Clay: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
Daniel Dopp: Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Joe Kaiser: Jerry Jeudy
Eric Karabell: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Keith Lipscomb: Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
Liz Loza: Marvin Jones Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars
Kyle Soppe: Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
Area Yates: Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills

Eric Moody: Chris Olave: The Saints moved up from the sixteenth to the eleventh spot within the 2022 NFL draft to pick out Olave. He’ll be a star in New Orleans. The time is true to go all-in on a rookie huge receiver. Olave stands out among the many six receivers chosen in Spherical 1. He is a fluid route runner who ranks third in Ohio State historical past with 176 receptions and fifth in receiving yards with 2,711. Olave was capable of accomplish this whereas enjoying alongside fellow first-round decide Garrett Wilson and projected 2023 first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Olave’s expertise and place with the Saints, who desperately need assistance at huge receiver, actually justify choice at his ADP. Olave may lead the crew in targets.

Extensive receiver busts

Stephania Bell: Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns
Matt Bowen: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Clay: Allen Robinson II, Los Angeles Rams
Daniel Dopp: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Joe Kaiser: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Eric Karabell: Michael Thomas
Keith Lipscomb: Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Liz Loza: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Eric Moody: Gabriel Davis
Kyle Soppe: Jaylen Waddle
Area Yates: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Tristan H. Cockcroft: Allen Robinson II: His arrival in L.A. each strengthens the Rams’ passing recreation and provides him a recent begin coming off a disappointing 2021, but it surely additionally lands him in a supporting position. For all of the Odell Beckham Jr. comps, keep in mind that Beckham was fantasy soccer’s WR32 with a Thirty third-ranked 17.1% goal share throughout his Rams tenure, a touchdown-dependent participant for our functions. Robinson ought to have his share of productive video games, but when he is going among the many high 25 at his place, he is too dear for my tastes.

Tight finish sleepers

Stephania Bell: Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Mike Clay: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Irv Smith Jr.
Daniel Dopp: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Joe Kaiser: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
Eric Karabell: Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders
Keith Lipscomb: Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
Liz Loza: Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts
Eric Moody: Evan Engram
Kyle Soppe: Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
Area Yates: Logan Thomas

Matt Bowen: Cole Kmet: Kmet caught 60 of 91 targets final season. And we all know the pass-catching traits are there to see the ball in Chicago’s new offensive system with quarterback Justin Fields getting into his second professional season. It is the anticipated purple zone utilization, nevertheless, that places the third-year tight finish within the combine for a possible breakout season. Kmet noticed a complete of simply 12 purple zone targets final 12 months, with solely six finish zone targets. And he did not log a single landing. However with tight finish Jimmy Graham now out of the image, there’s an open door for Kmet to see a lift in scoring alternatives — which might push him into the TE1 dialogue.

Tight finish busts

Stephania Bell: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders
Matt Bowen: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Mike Clay: Dawson Knox
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Hunter Henry, New England Patriots
Daniel Dopp: Dawson Knox
Eric Karabell: Hunter Henry
Keith Lipscomb: Darren Waller
Liz Loza: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Eric Moody: Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
Kyle Soppe: Darren Waller
Area Yates: Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

Joe Kaiser: Darren Waller: Waller was restricted to 11 video games as a consequence of harm final season, inflicting his numbers to plummet in comparison with the season earlier than, when he completed with 107 receptions, 1,196 yards and 9 touchdowns. Waller turns 30 in September, and the addition of Davante Adams over the offseason means the Raiders have one of many premier — and highest-paid — receivers within the NFL. Whereas Adams will take some defensive consideration away from Waller, he is additionally going to remove targets.

2022 breakout gamers

Stephania Bell: Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
Matt Bowen: Trey Lance
Mike Clay: Breece Hall, New York Jets
Tristan H. Cockcroft: J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
Daniel Dopp: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Joe Kaiser: Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Eric Karabell: Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Keith Lipscomb: Darnell Mooney
Liz Loza: Nico Collins, Houston Texans
Eric Moody: Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
Kyle Soppe: Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers

Area Yates: Darnell Mooney: Mooney has already said his case as a budding star after ending within the high 20 in each receptions and receiving yards final season. Amongst all gamers with at the very least 80 catches, Mooney’s 13.0 yards per catch ranked fourth, behind solely Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. First rate firm. He is a possible big-play menace with an apparent path towards large quantity, and I am a agency believer that he and Justin Fields will take a determined leap ahead this 12 months. They’ve spent in depth time coaching collectively this offseason.

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