In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!
Russell Wilson (QB – Denver Broncos):
“Horrific” doesn’t even begin to describe Russell Wilson’s 2022 season – finishing as the QB16 in points and the QB19 in PPG with 3,524 passing yards and 16 passing TDs to 11 INTs. It was definitively Wilson’s worst season as a pro with career-worst numbers in completion percentage, passing TDs, total TDs, passer rating, fantasy points, and fantasy PPG.
However, Wilson did show some signs of life towards the end of the year, posting 23+ points in three of his final four games (two of which were without then-HC Nathaniel Hackett) and ranking as the QB4 in PPG in that stretch. With RB Javonte Williams, WR Tim Patrick, and WR KJ Hamler all returning from injury, seeing the addition of 2nd-round pick Marvin Mims, and (most importantly) having Sean Payton as Head Coach, the odds are very good that Wilson turns it back around to what expectations were heading into 2022.
Many are forgetting that before the 2021 season that saw Wilson miss time (and suffer throughout the season) due to a hand injury, he was a top-12 fantasy QB every season in his career and had been a top-6 QB in three of the four prior seasons.
The historical production is there. The supporting cast is there. The offensive scheme is there. Everything is there for Wilson to potentially return as a top-5 fantasy QB.
Recency bias will be extremely prevalent for Wilson heading into drafts this season with him currently presenting an 11th/12th round price tag as the QB17/QB18 off the board. I’d be comfortable spending more than that on Wilson as a mid-to-high QB2, especially given his upside. At his current price, there may not be a better draft-day value at QB (or any position) than Wilson.
Javonte Williams (RB – Denver Broncos):
It was a season to forget for Javonte Williams (and the entirety of the Broncos). For Williams in particular, his sophomore season didn’t last long, suffering a torn ACL in Week 4 and coincidingly missing the remainder of the season.
Before the injury, he was average, posting 204 yards off of 47 carries and adding another 76 yards on 16 catches through the first four games. For where he was drafted in 2022, it was wildly underwhelming production when he was on the field, but considering the offensive struggles we saw all season long in Denver, Williams may have shown promise.
It appears that Denver is fully expecting Williams to be 100% to start the season, opting to bring in multiple RBs (Samaje Perine, Tony Jones Jr.) but neither of major significance outside of a potential 3rd down role for Perine. With that commitment from the coaching staff and front office, Williams could be in store for a sizable role in Sean Payton’s offense, even after a season-ending knee injury last year.
Everything comes down to price with Williams – the potential is there, especially between the workload and a favorable offensive scheme, but the risk is also significant with a lengthy history of reaggregation the year following an ACL tear.
At the moment, it doesn’t appear the price will be very significant for Williams, sitting somewhere between the 7th and 8th rounds as a mid-to-high RB3 option (RB26 on ECR, RB29 on ADP). At that price, a significant amount of the risk associated with Williams is taken into account, leaving him a potential value on draft day.
I like the RB2 (or even RB1) upside with Williams, especially in the mid-rounds of drafts in an offense that should be expected to bounce back under Payton. Invest in him as a high-upside RB3 option.
Jerry Jeudy (WR – Denver Broncos):
Even despite the significant offensive woes in Denver last year, Jeudy managed to put up a very respectable 67 catches, 1112 total yards, and 6 TDs as the WR22 in PPR scoring.
It really was a tale of two seasons for Jeudy, struggling mightily in the first half of the season with 9+ points in just two of his first 6 games, ranking as the WR40 in that stretch, but then completely turning it around the rest of the year. The rest of the year, he posted 10+ points in all but one game, and in that one game, he exited early due to injury (1 target, 0 catches, 0 points). After Week 6, Jeudy was the WR4 in games he played and ended the season on a hot streak with 14+ points in four of his final five games (WR3 in that stretch).
The only concern for Jeudy is the mass influx of receiving weapons for Denver with the likes of Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler returning from injury, Marvin Mims Jr. being selected early in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, and Marquez Callaway being brought in via free agency. Regardless of the additions around Jeudy, it is difficult to envision him seeing anything less than his 17.5% team target share in 2022.
With a massively improved offense, a very favorable Sean Payton offense, and the likely rebound of Russell Wilson, everything is aligning for a potential breakout season for Jerry Jeudy.
Projecting as a late-4th/early-5th round pick in fantasy drafts (WR22 on ADP, WR25 on ECR), Jeudy is a player I am targeting in every draft. At that price, you are looking at a WR that is being drafted very close to his floor (excluding injury) with the realistic potential for a top-10 season.