2022 NFL Free Agency Look

Updated: March 22nd 2022

This free agency group once looked liked a great one, particularly at wide receiver.  Franchise tags to some of the top wide receivers and tight ends diminish the luster somewhat but there is still a lot of talent for NFL teams and potential fantasy rosters.  There is no shortage of starting-caliber receivers and running backs for teams but the available group of quarterbacks remains primarily relegated to the fringe starter class, as is usually the case.  Below the reader finds a synopsis of the most relevant free agent fantasy players.


Jameis Winston

The narrative is that 2021 was a great year for Winston largely due to significantly cutting down on his interceptions (3) in seven games before an ACL tear.  The data shows more of a middling year with the Saints limiting his volume (which still makes a very good free agent quarterback).  He was PFF’s 23rd ranked quarterback in passing grade while posting one of the worst completion percentages in the league.  He’s likely at the top of some team’s QB free agent list in this group though.

Mitchell Trubisky

It’s interesting that Trubisky is one of the most talked about free agent quarterback this offseason.  The former Chicago starter displayed abysmal down-to-down accuracy in his time with the Bears.  Was a year receiving Brian Daboll’s tutelage in Buffalo enough to correct his mechanical issues?

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Washington signed Fitzpatrick to be their short-term starting quarterback after some quality play in Tampa Bay.  Unfortunately a hip injury ended his season before it began.  He could be an emergency option for teams that miss out on the top trades or free agent candidates.

Tyrod Taylor

Taylor offers rushing ability with bottom-level NFL arm talent and started at quarterback for three NFL teams.    There’s a chance another team gives him a chance.

Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater ranks among the bottom-level starter / good backup tier and also started at quarterback for three NFL teams.    There’s a chance another team gives him a chance.

Others to watch: Marcus Mariota

Running Back

Melvin Gordon

Gordon produced another quality season with Denver.  He is a good rushing down back and capable of catching the ball but isn’t a route-winner, someone better as the lead back of a committee.  Gordon might look for one more substantial contract going into his 29 year old season or could return to Denver if the offers aren’t up to his standard.

Leonard Fournette

Fournette had probably his best year as a pro averaging 4.5 yards per carry and finished inside PFF’s top-32 running backs for the first time in his career.  He’s capable enough to play three downs but not good enough to stand out at any phase of the game.  Tampa Bay will reportedly let Fournette test the market.

James Conner

The Cardinals hit nicely with Conner on a cheap contract, playing particularly well in the passing game.  Health issues probably keep him from a huge touch role but he is another back capable of playing solidly on all downs.

Cordarrelle Patterson

The “come out of nowhere award” in fantasy football goes to Patterson who totaled over 1,100 yards (easily his top performance) in his ninth season.  His best chance of repeating the performance is staying in Atlanta.  Tread with caution in fantasy with the most role-uncertain back on the list.

Sony Michel

New England and the Rams primarily used Michel as a two-down committee back throughout his career, somewhat odd considering how good Michel was on screens in college.  His role probably caps out to more of the same at the next stop.

Rashaad Penny

Penny exploded to end the year with four out of five games of at least 135 rushing yards and ended up averaging 6.3 yards per carry for the season.  He’s the biggest wild-card in the group with numerous injuries so far to the former first-round pick but averages 5.6 yards per carry over his limited attempts during his career.

Raheem Mostert

His best scheme fit lies with the 49ers and he’s put up good yardage when available.  Will he actually be healthy?  How much of the workload would he take from Elijah Mitchell if he stays in San Francisco?

Chase Edmonds

A fantasy football favorite, Edmonds will likely never attain the role many want for him.  His role grew every year in Arizona however and was a useful fantasy option last season. He maintains value in the wide-open Cardinal offense if he stays.

J.D. McKissic

The bane of Antonio Gibson truthers, McKissic is one of the quality receiving down backs in the league.  He provided flex-level PPR production the last two seasons in Washington.

Others to watch: Marlon Mack, James White, Phillip Lindsay, Ronald Jones, Jerick McKinnon

Wide Receiver

Allen Robinson

Robinson chose a poor year to have his worst season as a professional making him an interesting watch in free agency.  Many considered him “QB-proof” before and tallied at least 150 targets in every full season. Was last season a blip in a disinterested year with a rookie quarterback or the case of a non-burner receiver slowing down?

Will Fuller

The issue with Fuller is well documented.  He hasn’t played more than 11 games since his rookie season.  With that being said, Fuller’s a game-changer who forces teams to change the way they play defense and has multiple spurts of significant fantasy production.  He likely receives another one-year prove-it deal.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Many considered Juju the among the top dynasty wide receivers just a few short seasons ago after a monstrous sophomore season.  It’s been downhill from there with questions about the value of a “big-slot” option.  He’ll need to be paired with an outside route-winner to open up the field to maximize his traits.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The Rams got one of the better deals last season on their way to Super Bowl glory picking up Beckham Jr. on the cheap mid-year after Robert Woods went down.  OBJ showed off his explosive traits and extraordinary hands in a limited fashion acclimating to the Rams’ offense.  An unfortunate ACL-tear (his 2nd in recent years) in the Super Bowl means he probably won’t be ready to start next year and will likely diminish his contract.

Christian Kirk

The Arizona wide receiver does his best work from the slot but not in the quick shifty way, winning in the intermediate and deeper routes. He also has some scheme diversity in the usage history.  Kirk has two 100 target seasons under his belt and is just 25 years old.

D.J. Chark

Chark broke out his 2nd season but struggled when the offense tried to run more through him and he was forced to beat more physical coverage.  The thin-framed receiver shows explosive linear speed, plus athletic traits, and should have more success on a team as a complimentary intermediate and deep piece.

Michael Gallup

Dallas looks ready to sign Gallup to an extension after reportedly trading Amari Cooper.  He isn’t elite at anything and doesn’t possess great speed but is a good all-around receiver.  Gallup brings boundary-winning ability with solid ball skills and produced 1,100 yards in only 14 games his sophomore year.

Antonio Brown

Brown still displayed high-end receiver ability ending as the PPR WR9 in per game scoring last year.  The odds are long that someone signs him after self-destructing mid-year and with a host of behavior issue but there’s still a good player to be had if a team takes a chance.

Others to watch: Jamison Crowder, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Russell Gage, Zay Jones, T.Y. Hilton

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski

Does Gronk retire (again) with Brady bowing out?  There’s still plenty left in the tank if he returns.  The TE4 in per game fantasy scoring last season would upgrade most tight end rooms as a combo blocker and receiver.

Zach Ertz

Ertz fills the need for a reliable receiving option best suited to winning against underneath zone coverage and finished as the fantasy TE11 option.

Evan Engram

The Giants primarily used Engram as an underneath man-beater and he struggles with consistency at the catch point while offering little as a blocker.  Will a new team better utilize his deep speed and big play ability?

Gerald Everett

Everett specializes as an athletic undersized after-the-catch weapon with willingness to block, similar to a discount David Njoku who was franchise tagged by the Browns.   He’ll need a special scheme to fully utilize his talent.

Jared Cook

The elder one continues producing as a strictly receiving weapon but might finally be slowing down.  Does he get one more shot?

Others to watch: O.J. Howard, C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Mo Allie-Cox, Hayden Hurst

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

IDP Fantasy Football 101

Updated: March 14th 2022

Welcome to the Down to Fantasy with Reality Sports Online series around IDP Fantasy Football. I’ll be your tour guide on this adventure that is the next level of Fantasy Football, and that is the transformation from team defense and special teams to Individual Defensive Players, IDP. We are going to kick off this series with a Fantasy Football IDP 101. To have success (and ultimately fun) in IDP, there are two main things we need to consider and break down. Those two things are your league’s roster settings and the scoring for IDP players. Let’s dive into IDP roster settings and what it means for us as IDP fantasy players.


First and foremost, I have to say, you need to have enough depth in your IDP roster settings for it to be worthwhile. I see so many leagues where they have 3 or 4 IDPs. This is just not enough for there to be any really meaningful strategy or depth to your fantasy roster! Think if you only had to build out your roster with 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 WR, 1 TE, and 1 Flex. Your team would be so top-heavy and waivers would be full of tier-1 and tier-2 players, and I just don’t think most of us would find that to be a very fun league to play. Understanding that, we want to make sure you and your league take the right approach to IDP Fantasy Football, otherwise, you won’t enjoy it and there is a good chance you’ll scrap it. 

So what should your IDP roster settings look like? That opens up another question to ask and answer. Do you want to take a more simplified approach and play the three levels of the field defensively? In this scenario, you have defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs. I tend to find this setup a bit more digestible for newer players to IDP Fantasy Football, but this also tends to skew towards specific position types within each level (defensive backs tend to skew towards safeties, defensive linemen tend to skew towards edge rushers). 

If you prefer to take the “deep dive” into IDP Fantasy Football, there is “True Position” IDP. This is where you have requirements for each specific or ‘true’ position for the players. You would then have starters for DE, DT, LB, CB, S. This creates more depth, strategy, and effort from GMs. This also creates a greater sense of value for some of those elite (and consistent) talents in each position as the depth greatly decreases across all levels of the field. The decision of what you want to get into or what you want to set your league as should be dictated by what kind of experience you or your league’s GMs are looking to get out of it.

Having stepped through all of that, let’s take a quick peek at some quick suggestions for roster settings for your league(s):

‘Simplified IDP’

  • 2 DL, 2 LB, 2 DB, 2 IDP Flex (DL/LB/DB)

‘True Position IDP’

  • 2 DE, 2 DT, 2 LB, 2 CB, 2 S


Now, we have “established” what your rosters would/could/should look like, what is the next step? It is how that roster turns into points each week. The scoring for IDP fantasy football though is quite possibly the biggest barrier or challenge when getting into it. This is largely due to the fact that IDP Fantasy Football has not been mainstream nearly as long as offensive Fantasy Football which has been refined over the decades of its existence. If I say “PPR”, or “6-pt passing” almost everyone knows what that means and the type of impact that it has on building a roster as well as the underlying assumptions (0.1 pts per rushing/receiving yard, 0.04 pts per passing yards, etc). There has been a push for one standard to help drive IDP scoring and make it more mainstream and more easily understood, and that is IDP123. What does this scoring look like? Here is a breakdown:

1 point

2 points 3 points

6 points

QB Hit

Assisted Tackle

Solo Tackle

Tackle for Loss

Forced Fumble

Recovered Fumble

Pass Defensed


Blocked Kick




With the understanding of this type of scoring as our format a quick note, this IDP scoring aligns very well with combined offensive and defensive leagues that use PPR and 6-pt passing TD for the other side of the ball.


Having this perspective of IDP scoring, how should you take an approach to build your roster? Well, just like for the offensive skill positions, there isn’t just one approach or strategy, there are multiple and I want to give you a general lay of the land that allows you to use your own knowledge, insight, and experience to be able to take your roster wherever you want. Starting in the trenches, one thing to note or understand with IDP Fantasy Football success for DL or DE/DT, depending on your roster setup, is this is the one level of the field that truly needs talent on the field to help correlate to IDP success. Defensive linemen need to win off their blocks to make any play in the pass or run game. If they are not doing that, they will provide little to no impact when it comes to your IDP stat sheet. With this said, it is probably the one position you want to target elite talent early and often and when it comes to rookies, spend that draft capital to pull in those top draft capital talents (Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Kayvon Thibodeaux, etc…). Your drop-off here from tier 1 to tier 2 can be pretty sharp, think, ‘bellcow’ RB versus an RBBC (running back by committee). They can still have their weeks and be relevant that way. But an elite DL talent should and most likely will deliver for you week in and week out. Let’s move to that next level, the linebacker position.


This is where people can diverge to opposite ends of the spectrum on how to approach things. There are some amazing IDP linebackers their talent on the field flows through to the IDP Fantasy Football world,  and they are set ‘em and forget ‘em type players on your roster and you love seeing them go off week-to-week. However, another belief is that linebacker is a position that can easily have greater value-based almost entirely on snaps played. A true war of attrition if you will. Find the guys who are playing most downs, regardless of pure talent and you will find your starters at linebacker. These lower-tier linebackers will get you 80% of the production at 20% of the cost is the overall mentality. Now those numbers are not set in stone, but you get the concept. Both approaches are valid, but depending on how you feel about the other parts of the field and your roster, will dictate what you think is the best approach.


Lastly, the back end of the defense. The secondary, the last line of defense, those working on an island. How do we approach this group? This one can be one of the more diversified in terms of approach whether or not you are looking for just defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties rolled up together) or you are playing ‘True Position’ and you need starting spots for both safeties and cornerbacks. If you are looking for just DB’s, the biggest indicator and target when approaching which players are the right ones for your IDP roster is based on the location of their snaps. The reason for this distinction is that DB’s can line up all over the field based on the nature of their position and skillsets and the further that alignment gets from the line of scrimmage, the lower the probability of being involved in the actual play on the ball that will lead to an addition to that box score and your fantasy team’s score. The spots you need to find are the ones that get them closer to the ball. These are the key locations:

  • The box (lining up like a linebacker)
  • Slot (lined up over the inside WR/TE)
  • On the line (right up there with the big boys)

These opportunities heavily tend to skew towards the safety position so when you are not a ‘True Position’ league, you will find yourself looking at safety primarily, but there are still other values out there we will get into with further review of the positions. As for cornerbacks, this gets quite tricky for a lot of people, especially if you are newer to IDP. When people think cornerbacks they think of interceptions and flashy plays as a true indicator of someone you want to pursue. This is almost always NOT the case for cornerbacks. Interceptions are very rarely something that sticks with a cornerback (think touchdowns for offensive skill positions and their regressions). Something much more telling is the number of pass breakups (or passes defended) and to a lesser extent solo tackles. These are much more sticky and telling stats to a cornerbacks play, success, and potential future in IDP production.

We have covered a lot here today and it may seem like a lot to take in, but as we move through this series and other articles, we will take these ideas and put them against the backdrop of previous IDP seasons for us to get an idea how they work out in practice and application. I will be walking through a 2021 recap of the IDP groups at each level and I will kick it off with defensive linemen. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about fantasy football, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @jakekohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake