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NFL

2022 top NFL fantasy football breakout players at each position

The NFL regular season starts in just 28 days, so it’s time to start thinking about your fantasy team, and that includes the sleepers and breakout players.

Update:

NFL regular season is just around the corner, so that means fantasy draft season is even closer. It’s time to start your research on the best players to take in the early rounds, who to avoid, and who the sleepers are. Of course, you cannot forget about the breakout players. Here we identify which players we’re expecting to exceed their projected ADPs and have a breakout fantasy season.

Justin Fields, QB - Chicago Bears

A team a lot left to desire at wide receiver will do well with a quarterback who can aid in the running game. In his second season, Fields will be playing under new coach Matt Eberflus and could easily outperform his projected ADP. In the offseason, the Bears addressed their need to improve the o-line and though they’re unlikely to be one of the top still, Fields should be able to perform better than he did in 2021 with these changes. Last year, we saw Fields taking lots of chances in the red zone and it paid off - he ranked seventh in red zone accuracy. Plus, he had the second-highest air yards per attempt (10.1).

His ability to run is what makes him the top breakout quarterback though. In his 12 games in 2021, he logged 420 rushing yards, the fifth-most in the league and seven carries, the seventh-most in the league among quarterbacks.

Rashod Bateman, WR - Baltimore Ravens

Bateman had a rough rookie year last year. He missed five games due to an injury and when he was finally able to play, he had to play without QB Lamar Jackson for the next five games. Since the Ravens traded WR Marquise Brown, Bateman is now Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver. When he was in college, he led the Big Ten in yards per reception and could be even more of a deep threat than Brown was. He has a good chemistry with Jackson and this year, will have the opportunity to show that.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB - New England Patriots

Stevenson didn’t have a bad rookie season - his PFF grade was the third-highest and he was 13th in rushing yards and yards per route. He ended up the RB25 in total points, just eight points behind Damien Harris, who played 138 more snap than Stevenson did. Despite that again, Stevenson had just three fewer targets than Harris (18) and allowed just one pressure in pass protection. Now that the Patriots are without an injured James White and lost Brandon Bolden to the Raiders, it is likely Stevenson who ends up as the main pass catcher at back.

Cole Kmet, TE - Chicago Bears

In 2021, Kmet finished second in targets with 93, just behind Darnell Mooney. He didn’t have a single touchdown, but was targeted 12 times. Jimmy Graham was there to take several of the TDs though, and this year, that won’t be a problem as he’s now a free agent, giving Kmet more of an opportunity. Last year, he was expected to have a way better fantasy year than he ended up having, which just means he’s due for a breakout. After losing Allen Robinson but adding Byron Pringle and Velus Jones on offense, Kmet should be taking on a bigger role. He’s got the size and the athleticism. He just needs the chance, and it’s coming in 2022.

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