There are always a few divisive players in each fantasy football draft. The manager may give these players a few more weeks of playing time before giving up on them, but they have the potential to be league-winning superstars at the highest level. They’re the guys we draft with equal parts excitement and trepidation, and they’re a big part of what makes the game so thrilling. Let’s investigate a few of these divisive figures in greater detail.
For the San Francisco 49ers, the quarterback position is held by Trey Lance.
We should pick Lance because… As a dual-threat fantasy star, Lance could join the ranks of Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray thanks to his impressive rushing ability. The 22-year-old also benefits from having a great offensive coach in Kyle Shanahan and some game-changing skill players in Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. The fact that the 49ers drafted him third overall in 2021 after seeing him play in only one game during his final college season speaks volumes about his potential.
Avoiding Lance because… This 22-year-old is a tough opponent because of his youth and inexperience, having started only two games in his rookie season. Last year, he only completed 58% of his passes, so if he wants to be taken seriously as a top NFL quarterback, he’ll need to increase that number. And while Shanahan is a mastermind on offense, he is also a big fan of the run game and may opt to ease Lance into the NFL by shifting the focus to his stable of ball carriers.
Finally, the verdict: For standard leagues, I can’t wait to draft Lance, even though his Yahoo ADP is QB13. Perhaps the kid will win the league and rush for 1,000 yards, and if he fails miserably, I can stream quarterbacks from the waiver wire with favorable upcoming matchups. I’m not quite as eager to draft Lance in Superflex leagues due to the scarcity of viable alternatives.
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For the Dallas Cowboys, running back Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott should be selected because… Over the course of his six-year career, Elliott has been very productive, averaging just over 1,600 total yards and 11 touchdowns per season. Last year, despite playing through a partially torn PCL, he participated in every game. He will be fully recovered by 2022. Elliott has a contract that all but guarantees him a major role, and at age 27, he still has at least a couple of productive seasons ahead of him. At long last, the Ohio State grad is playing for a team that scored the most points in the NFL in 2017.
Ignore Elliott because… Zeke could be the Cowboys’ second-best running back at best. When given the chance to play last year, Tony Pollard made the most of it, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 8.6 yards per reception. In 2021, Dallas’s offense performed much better with Pollard on the field. With Dallas’s receiving corps thin to start the year, the Cowboys’ coaching staff may have to rely even more heavily than usual on Pollard’s game-breaking abilities.
My final verdict is that, while I tend to give players with deep financial ties to their team the benefit of the doubt, I cannot do so in the case of Elliott. Superstar running backs can quickly lose their luster, but I’m convinced that our team would improve if Pollard was given the bulk of the carries instead. Zeke is projected to fail to live up to his Yahoo ADP of 30th overall.
View photos from Wednesday’s Bengals training camp practice here (SMG)
The New York Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley.
Justifications for picking Barkley in the draft Former Penn State star who entered the NFL as a generational talent and went on to amass over 2,000 yards as a rookie. He continued his excellent play into his second year, giving fantasy managers reason to be excited about a level of potential that is unmatched by most players at any position. Brian Daboll, the current head coach of the Giants, is well-known for getting excellent production from his offensive players.
Some managers believe Barkley will never return to his pre-surgery form after he tore his ACL in week 2 of the 2020 season and then failed to live up to expectations the following year (593 yards, 3.7 yards per carry). Daboll is a good offensive coach, but he may not be able to immediately create a successful offense with quarterback Daniel Jones and an unproven cast of receivers.
Yahoo drafters have been hesitant to select Barkley, going through 13 other running backs before settling on him. Despite the 25-year-obvious old’s flaws, I’m more than content to have him on my team in Round 2 of the 2022 draft.
New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas
Thomas’s career flourished under Drew Brees’ tutelage, as evidenced by his yearly averages of 126 receptions and 1,458 yards in the passing game from 2017 to 2019. An ankle injury has kept him out of action for the better part of the past two seasons, but at age 29, he still has time to make a full recovery.
Excuses to stay away from Thomas: Jameis Winston, the current Saints quarterback and the subject of this article, is coming back from an ACL tear suffered in the middle of last season. Thomas and Winston have never played together before. Although the Ohio State product was the team’s go-to receiver for a number of seasons, he will now have to share targets with first-round pick Chris Olave, seasoned pro Jarvis Landry, and pass-catching RB Alvin Kamara. It’s possible that by the middle of the season, people will be saying that Olave is superior to this iteration of Thomas.
Ultimately, I don’t like Thomas very much, but I have to admit that Yahoo managers probably hit the jackpot with his draft value. The veteran is expected to be selected somewhere around the 85th overall spot, making him a WR30. His replacement options on the waiver wire are plentiful, so I think he’s a good choice as a WR3 in those leagues.
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Wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, Gabriel Davis
Cases for picking Davis in the draft Well, on January 23, 2022, most of the reasons became apparent. Davis’s 201 receiving yards and four touchdowns against the Chiefs in a playoff game in prime time demonstrate a level of talent few wide receivers possess. The 2020 fourth-round pick had already shown signs of big-play potential by scoring 13 touchdowns over the course of two seasons despite seeing limited action.
Excuses to stay away from Davis: The 23-year-old is being drafted with one of the shortest resumes of anyone in the top 100 picks this year, second only to rookies. Davis has undeniable potential, but he and the rest of Buffalo’s offense have to take a back seat to Stefon Diggs, who is a target monster.
Conclusion: I’m not likely to own many Davis shares this season, but I don’t have a problem with those who draft him around his current Yahoo ADP of 74th overall. Although I would rather draft JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is going in the same round, Davis is a solid backup plan.
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