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Fantasy football non-bounceback candidates for 2022

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In my last installment, I discussed a few players who should see their fantasy football output increase back to previous norms in 2022. Today, we will highlight a slew of players it’s time to cut bait with, avoid in drafts next year, or simply tread lightly with caution. Identifying players with difficult roads to resuming previous production is just as key as finding those who can bounce back in fantasy football. 

 

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott’s RB15 finish in fantasy points per game doesn’t look damning at face value, but his days as a locked-in top 10-12 option are in the past. Down the stretch, when he and Tony Pollard were both active, they began splitting the early-down work and red zone work while still holding the pass route advantage. That’s the last domino to fall for Elliott to be in a full split with Pollard, and that could easily happen in 2022. Elliott’s per-carry efficiency has declined steadily over the last two seasons as he’s ranked outside the top 30 running backs in yards created per touch (per Player Profiler) and breakaway run rate. It’s unlikely we see even a fully healthy Elliott reverse that trend next season. 

Weeks 12-13, 15-17

Player

Rushing attempts

Red-zone opportunities

Targets

Routes

Ezekiel Elliott

56

11

18

131

Tony Pollard

40

7

19

66

 

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill is coming off a season where his fantasy production bottomed out. Tannehill finished as the QB14 in fantasy points per game after back-to-back seasons as the QB9 in that regard. Even with a healthy Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown for 2022, it isn’t easy to see him returning to his former stature as a top-10 fantasy quarterback. Tannehill has seen his yards-per-attempt and passing-touchdown rates decline in each of the last three seasons. In a low passing volume offense without his previously incredible efficiency, he’s likely to see yet another fall down the fantasy quarterback rung in 2022.

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Commanders

Logan Thomas was the TE5 in fantasy points per game in 2020, breaking out while also leading all tight ends in routes run and ranking third in targets. Thomas looked like he was on his way to another production season last year as the TE10 in fantasy points per game. The issue for Thomas is efficiency and his ability to earn targets if the team adds more receiving talent around him. Even in 2020, his targets-per-snap rate only ranked 20th among tight ends. While his yards per route run climbed from 1.16 to 1.62 this past season, it’s still such a small sample size that it’s worth wondering if he can repeat it in 2022. Thomas might scrape by and make it back into the top-12 realm of the tight end position, but his days as a top 5-10 option could be in the rearview. 

Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers

Robby Anderson’s first season in Carolina was a big surprise, as he was the WR29 in fantasy points per game, but in 2021 he saw all that come crashing down. He was the WR63 in fantasy points per game while also limping to the finish line in various metrics. He saw his yards per route run dip to a paltry 0.92 while also ranking outside the top 90 receivers in fantasy points per route run, QBR when targeted, and fantasy points per target. With a murky quarterback situation and Anderson entering his age-29 season, his chances of logging a top-36 fantasy wideout season next year are slim to none. 

 
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