NFL Free Agency is right around the corner, but first teams had some pressing decisions to make involving a few key players. Of course, we’re talking about the franchise tag deadline. That deadline has now come and gone. And with it, our analysts have their key fantasy football takeaways from the 2022 franchise tag deadline.
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Packers use the franchise tag on Davante Adams
Davante Adams’ return to Green Bay signifies his status among the league’s top fantasy football wide receivers. A healthy Adams has finished no worse than fantasy WR5 attached to Aaron Rodgers over the last four seasons, and he ended 2021 second in fantasy points per game at age 29. Adams also commanded the league’s second-highest target share (28%) despite missing one game entirely.
I’d expect Adams to flirt with similar high-end target numbers in 2022 with a lack of depth behind him on the roster.
The Packers No. 1 wide receiver is currently being drafted as the WR4 at 9th overall in best-ball ADP.
– Andrew Erickson
The Buccaneers hit Chris Godwin with the franchise tag.
This is a little depressing, honestly. Godwin and Tom Brady meshed nicely together the last two years. Now, Brady has hung up the cleats, and Godwin will spend the 2022 season tethered to a team with a QB problem. It’s possible the Bucs will find a solution in the weeks to come — a meeting with Jameis Winston? a trade for Deshaun Watson? a surprise un-retirement by Brady? — but for now, we have to consider the Tampa tagging a bad outcome for Godwin. He had 96 catches, 1,103 yards, and five TDs in only 14 games last season. Even if Godwin is able to return from the ACL tear he sustained on Dec, 19 in time for Week 1 and plays a full 17 games, he’ll have a hard time matching last year’s reception and yardage totals.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
Mike Gesicki retained by the Miami Dolphins
The tight end/slot receiver hybrid finished sixth in receptions, ninth in receiving yards, fourth in route participation (78%), and fifth in target share (17%) through 18 weeks of action. This receiving and route volume led to only moderate success in fantasy football, as Mike Gesicki finished as TE9 (TE8 Weeks 1-17).
His efficiency metrics left something to be desired, though – he was 13th in fantasy points per game (9.9) and 15th in yards per route run. Part of that does fall on the up-and-down quarterback play, but it just further cements Gesicki as a good, not great tight end in fantasy football.
Gesicki does deliver worthwhile fantasy production at times, as displayed by his TE6 standing from Weeks 3-15 (11.5 fantasy points per game). And 94% of his snaps from him came lined up in the slot or out wide in 2021, which is another advantage for creating mismatches.
But all in all, he tends to only rise to the occasion for fantasy purposes when targets become available in the offense because of injuries to other players.
The athletic tight end will end up meeting his mid-range 2022 ADP based on his consistent play the past two seasons, but he would require a major quarterback upgrade or a boatload of volume to enter into the top-tier fantasy tight end conversation. He also seems primed to play more inline than ever before in 2022 with the expectations set by the new coaching staff that he will be assigned to block more.
– Andrew Erickson
David Njoku franchise tagged by the Cleveland Browns
Njoku came into the league in 2017 with elite physical traits, but the production has never matched the traits. Njoku is The Great Pumpkin, and the Browns are Linus, dutifully camping out in the pumpkin patch in hopes of witnessing a triumphant arrival. The Browns picked up Njoku’s fifth-year option last spring, and now they’ve bought in for a sixth year by giving Njoku the franchise tag. Njoku will be entering his age-26 season, so there’s still time for him to become fantasy-relevant, but can it happen in Cleveland? Baker Mayfield probably isn’t the right QB to fully unlock Njoku’s potential, and the Browns still have veteran Austin Hooper and promising youngster Harrison Bryant. It would have been nice to see Njoku go to a team that could provide him with greater pass-catching opportunity. For now, he remains a TE3 for redraft.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
Dallas Cowboys franchise tag Dalton Schultz
Dalton Schultz returns to Dallas after a career year, snagging 78 of his 104 targets (sixth-most) for 808 receiving yards and eight scores. Schultz finished as the TE5 in fantasy points per game and has an opportunity to earn even more work in 2022. With Blake Jarwin still banged up and Amari Cooper likely headed out of town, Schultz can improve upon his 16.4% target share and 14 red- zone targets (both ranked 13th at the position). Schultz has top-three fantasy tight end upside if everything breaks right for him next season.
Orlando Brown tagged by the Kansas City Chiefs
After a solid year as the 30th highest graded tackle per PFF, Orlando Brown returns to the Chiefs. Kansas City keeps all five starters intact for an offensive line that was much improved in 2021. They were eighth in adjusted line yards with the fourth-lowest adjusted sack rate per Football Outsiders. Patrick Mahomes will have plenty of time in his pocket next year. As frustrating as Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been in fantasy, he should have no issues finding running lanes in 2022.
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