Yahoo's Fantasy Football Live crew looks ahead to the 2022 season and decides who could break out.
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah, let's get bold, recklessly, and just nonsensically bold. Nobody is going to remember any of these predictions next summer, so we're just going to say some foolish stuff because we haven't done that enough on this show already. We want your boldest fantasy predictions for 2022. Matt Harmon, start us off.
MATT HARMON: Yeah, let's start off. We know we're going to see Trey Lance today we talked about him in the moment, living in the present reality at the top of the show. But let's think about next year. I think Trey Lance could be a top-five quarterback next year. That is bold, that is aggressive, but it is not out of the range of possibility. A couple of things here, number one, we know the rushing upside. We talked about it already. That is just how like Lamar Jackson, Andy predicted him to be the QB1 the year he first started, boom, happened. How Josh Allen bolted up to the top of the quarterback rankings, boom, Trey Lance can do that as well. That is going to push him up into that top-five range once he gets firmly established as a starter.
And the reality here is, as good as the 49ers offense has been at times, you know, with Deebo, with Brandon Aiyuk, with George Kittle, all these guys out there, you watch his team and you cannot tell me there is not meat left on the bone by Jimmy Garoppolo doing his little middle of the field-only passing thing. I think Trey Lance can open this offense up, can open it deep down the sideline, everything there. I think we're going to see-- is this going to be an Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes transition? I don't know about that. But hey, what if Trey Lance crushes today and it's like an Alex Smith, Jimmy Garoppolo plays that part too, Colin Kaepernick transition for the 49ers once again? And I know the Green Bay Packers would love to see a mobile quarterback in the playoffs again. We know how that has gone in the past. So yeah, give me Trey Lance, top-five quarterback next year.
- I love it. I think we get a taste of it today. Tank, what do you got?
TANK WILLIAMS: I just feel like frustrating the hell out of fantasy owners, managers even more, so I'm going with my cousin, Javonte Williams top-five fantasy running back next year. I know everybody wanted to see it this year, and it didn't happen because Uncle Melvin is a hater, because Uncle Melvin is still good. Like Vic Fangio is an old-school coach, and so like he wanted to go ahead and split the carries between Melvin and Javonte, which is understandable because both of those guys were able to do work. But guess what, Melvin Gordon's contract is up this year, which means that Javonte is going to get all the volume next year.
And he would-- we saw what he did against the Kansas City Chiefs. Like, he went into that game when Uncle Melvin was out and ran down their throat. When they knew he was going to get the ball, they couldn't stop him. So just imagine if Aaron Rodgers were to leave Green Bay and mosey on down to Denver. Or somehow Denver ends up with a competent quarterback, like he's doing that when both quarterbacks are either average or subpar. Just imagine them having a really good quarterback and this dude getting all the volume. I feel like he's a can't-miss. He has the last name, the do it, which means he will do it, Javonte, top-five in 2022.
ANDY BEHRENS: Oh sure, anybody could take a good player in this segment. Where's the fun in that? I'm going to go with Trevor Lawrence. And I'm here to tell you that I think Trevor Lawrence can still finish next year as a top-12 fantasy quarterback. Imagine an alternate universe in which the Jacksonville coaching staff wasn't just criminally dysfunctional this year, and in which that team's coaches were just like chosen randomly from a list of bad ideas. In that universe, perhaps they would have maximized Lawrence's obvious strengths, coached up his shortcomings. I know he has just one touchdown pass in his last eight games. That's kind of ridiculous. But he also has the most dropped passes in his receiving corps so far this season.
The arm strength here is great. He made some phenomenal throws in the Jets game. Also, he's quietly rushed for over 300 yards on the season. He's averaging almost 5 yards per carry, so he's a dual threat guy. Give him a healthy Etienne, another outside receiver, grown-ups as coaches, and I think Trevor Lawrence can make a little fantasy noise. OK, those are our bold prediction for next year. But what happens if you finish last in this year's fantasy league? Let's consider some fantasy punishments.