When it comes to breakout picks for Fantasy Football, what you’re looking for is upside. Upside can come in many different shapes and forms, but there are a few things to look for across the board when looking for upside.
With quarterbacks, it’s all about rushing production. You don’t have to run to be a high-end starter at QB, of course – Tom Brady was QB2 with 81 rushing yards, Matthew Stafford was QB5 with 43, etc. – but you have to be one of the best passers in the league to manage that, and that’s a tall ask of anyone, especially the kind of younger QBs we’re usually looking for in this context. Joe Burrow is probably the best bet among the non-rushers, though you could make a case for Derek Carr as well, but the simple fact is that rushing production makes a Fantasy QBs margin for error so much smaller.
With the other positions, pass-catching volume is the closest thing we have to a stand-in for upside. Wide receivers and tight ends derive nearly all of their production from targets, so that’s obvious, but it’s also just as pivotal for running backs, in the same way rushing is for quarterbacks. It’s not that you can’t break out and be an elite performer without catching passes – Jonathan Taylor was the No. 1 overall RB last season, after all – but every pass you catch makes your margin for error that much wider – even in 0.5-PPR and non-PPR scoring formats.
So, you’ll notice consistent themes across my breakout picks. We’re still at the point in the offseason where situations can change, either via the remaining free agents and trades or with the upcoming NFL Draft, so all of these are subject to change. But for now, here’s who I’m highlighting as my breakout picks for 2022.
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