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Every NFL Team's Safest Fantasy Football Draft Pick - NFC Edition

D.J. Moore - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Picture this. You're on the clock in the third round of your fantasy draft, looking to take a receiver after you reached for running backs in the first two rounds. Your thumb hovers over the "draft" button for two players: one of them being a safe, reliable veteran, the other a rookie with extreme upside but a low floor and poor supporting cast. You take the second guy. A month later, you're dropping him to waivers and bracing for a last-place finish. Yikes.

For far too long, fantasy football managers have been burned by injuries and underwhelming performances. This is the product of taking risks, and while it's good to be bold, risks certainly don't pay off all the time. That's why it's time to identify the safest player from all 16 NFC teams, setting you up nicely to add some wholly reliable weapons to your fantasy roster.

This list comes with a caveat, of course. Playing it safe doesn't always correlate to success. It's imperative to balance your fantasy approach with some risk-taking and some conservative decisions. Without further ado, though, let's dive in.

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Dallas Cowboys

TE Dalton Schultz

Schultz showed a glimpse of what was to come in 2020, but he truly broke out last season, catching 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns en route to finishing as the overall TE3. Although an impasse in extension talks has interrupted his offseason, the expectation is that Schultz will be ready to go when Dallas takes the field in Week 1.

With Blake Jarwin released and Amari Cooper traded, Schultz could actually see an increase in production this coming season. He's one of the safest tight ends in the league, teasing high-end usage in an offense that has found consistent success.

 

New York Giants

WR Sterling Shepard

Giants players are always the topic of discussion. People continue to wonder what they can expect from players like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney. Through the drama, one constant has emerged: Sterling Shepard's production.

When healthy, the veteran wideout has been the steadiest option in the Giants' offense. He averaged 13.5 points during the five games in which he wasn't injured last season (and at least 17.5 points in three of those five).

Although he isn't a league-winner by any means, a healthy Shepard can provide steady FLEX value week in and week out. When players like Golladay or Toney are booming and busting, Shepard is there to give your lineup the guaranteed points that it craves.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

TE Dallas Goedert

The Eagles' offense is suddenly full of playmakers and the team looks like a legitimate contender. Which players are truly "safe" options in fantasy football, though? At quarterback, Jalen Hurts is dominant but has shown struggles as a passer from time to time. He's not immune to tough games, especially against strong defenses, so he's not the choice here.

Miles Sanders has made it clear that he doesn't care about your fantasy lineup, so exclude him. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are exciting, but without knowing exactly how the splits are going to finish, it's hard to label either of the young receivers as safe.

Thus, we land on Goedert, who took the expected step forward following Zach Ertz's inevitable departure last season. While playing alongside Ertz from Week 1 to 5, Goedert was the TE12. Over the remainder of the season (and after Ertz's trade), he was the TE6.

Not only has Goedert proven that he can be one of the best starting tight ends in the NFL, but he has developed a valuable rapport with Hurts. The 27-year-old is a very appealing draft target thanks to his steady weekly production.

 

Washington Commanders

WR Terry McLaurin

McLaurin suffered from poor quarterback play last season, leading to a disappointing WR25 finish in PPR formats. He was inconsistent along the way, posting between 10 and 20 fantasy points just five times. However, he finished the season with the second-highest air yards share and remains the top option in the Washington passing game.

He might not project as a top-12 wide receiver, but he should have a higher and far more steady floor this season now that the Commanders have upgraded at quarterback. You can comfortably draft McLaurin and deploy him as a consistent WR2.

 

Chicago Bears

WR Darnell Mooney

Mooney deserves this nomination due to his pure talent on the field, though you could argue that he's one of the team's only reliable fantasy options anyways. It took Mooney a little while to get going last season, but once he started to develop a rapport with Justin Fields, he took off. Between Weeks 8 and 18, Mooney produced double-digit fantasy points in eight of ten games. He exceeded 17.5 fantasy points on five of those ten occasions.

During the aforementioned window, Mooney was the overall WR12, averaging 15.1 points per game. He has challenged teams' top cornerbacks and proven that he can succeed in tougher matchups.

With Fields entering his second season (and his first sans competition from Andy Dalton), the offense should take a step forward. In the process, Mooney will remain a very safe and appealing fantasy option. You should feel comfortable deploying him as a mid-range WR2 in 2022.

 

Detroit Lions

RB D'Andre Swift

It's not uncommon for a pass-catching running back to be his team's safest weapon. The second half of Swift's 2021 campaign was hampered by injuries, but he looked great from Weeks 1 to 11, ranking as the overall RB5 during that span. He had at least 11.8 fantasy points in eight of those ten contests, as well as 22-plus points on five occasions.

Heading into 2022, the Lions have further solidified their offensive line and offense as a whole, yet managed to avoid bringing in further competition for Swift. Sure, Jamaal Williams will still carve out a role, but Swift is the clear-cut No. 1 option in the Lions' backfield, making him a borderline top-12 option in fantasy.

The biggest concern with Swift is his concussion history, which could shut him down for several weeks at any time. When healthy, though, Swift is one of the best running backs in fantasy football.

 

Green Bay Packers

RB A.J. Dillon

This feels dirty considering Aaron Rodgers has been a top-nine quarterback in 11 of his last 13 seasons. In the two seasons that he didn't finish inside the top-10, he played nine games or fewer.

So why isn't Rodgers the safest option? For starters, he's about to embark on a 17-game season with the worst group of wide receivers he has ever played with. He's also being drafted around his ceiling considering he doesn't have the rushing upside to overcome a lack of weapons and finish as an elite fantasy quarterback.

On the other hand, Dillon is being drafted near his floor, which fantasy managers with a keen eye will certainly take advantage of. Dillon might open the year as Aaron Jones' backup, but he has still demonstrated a fantastic ability to carve out impressive production in the passing and rushing games.

Dillon, 24, is the Packers' running back of the future, so it makes sense that the team will continue to feed him the football more and more. He was the RB12 from Week 9 to 18 last season, finishing with at least 13 fantasy points in five of those eight games.

His snap share jumped from the upper-20s near the start of the season to the mid-50s by the end. He is an emerging star and remains a steal at his current price tag. Barring an injury, he will provide more value than his current ADP suggests and, thus, represents the safest option on the Green Bay roster.

 

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins and WR Justin Jefferson

Double whammy! The Vikings have been consistently mediocre from an NFL perspective, but in fantasy football, their roster is full of fantasy studs. Cousins has been Mr. Consistent, finishing as a QB1 in five of his last seven seasons.

He posted at least 20 points in 75 percent of his games last season, finishing the year with 4,221 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. In fact, he threw just two picks through the first 11 weeks.

For fantasy managers seeking a safe, steady quarterback without spending a pretty penny, Cousins is your guy. Meanwhile, Jefferson has taken the league by storm and, in part, thanks to Cousins' stability under center, emerged as one of the top wide receivers in fantasy football. He was the overall WR4 last season, finishing with at least 20 points on seven occasions. Only once did he post single-digit fantasy points, and that was the same week in which he logged a season-low 71 percent snap share.

Jefferson proclaimed that he expects to be the best wide receiver in the NFL by the end of the 2022 season. Such an outcome would not surprise anyone. He is a prominent part of the Vikings' offense and will produce WR1 numbers most weeks.

 

Atlanta Falcons

TE Kyle Pitts

Pitts earns this title thanks to both talent and process of elimination. Drake London was the only other candidate to be named here, but even he is too risky since he has never played a down in the NFL. Thus, we settle on Pitts, who impressed during his rookie campaign last year. He finished as the overall TE6, tallying 1,026 yards and just one touchdown.

Assuming his yardage remains the same and he finds the end zone more than once, the Florida product should take a significant step forward in 2022. Plus, the absence of Calvin Ridley (suspension) gives Pitts a greater opportunity to emerge as the alpha in the Atlanta offense.

 

Carolina Panthers

WR D.J. Moore

Moore has been the lone constant in a Carolina offense plagued by inconsistencies. Whether it be Christian McCaffrey's injuries or the revolving door at quarterback, not much has gone right for the Panthers' skill players.

Enter, D.J. Moore. The 25-year-old has overcome poor quarterback play, posting more than 1,150 yards in each of his last three seasons. Although his touchdowns remained low and his efficiency declined in 2021, he should take a step forward in 2022 now that Carolina has replaced Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker with Baker Mayfield.

With a 36 percent air yards share and a 25 percent target rate per route run in 2021, it was clear that the Panthers wanted to get Moore involved more than ever. Going forward, he'll finally be able to add good quarterback play to the equation, making him an even more consistent fantasy option week in and week out.

 

New Orleans Saints

WR Chris Olave

The Saints face a lot of question marks this coming season. What will Jameis Winston look like now that he's fully healthy and not fending off Taysom Hill? Can Michael Thomas really play football at a high level in 2022? Will Alvin Kamara be suspended? These concerns limit our options for the safest player, so let's pivot to a rookie instead.

Olave was phenomenal in college, demonstrating great separation skills and a rewarding ability to get open downfield. He fills a clear hole in the Saints' system, giving them a big-play threat to complement Michael Thomas, who was infamously dubbed "Slant Boy."

Olave also benefits from playing with Jameis Winston, who isn't afraid to air out the football. With his clearly-defined role in a solid offense, the Ohio State product should provide steady FLEX appeal this coming season.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Tom Brady

When it comes to the Buccaneers, we know that we are going to see big production from both Brady and Mike Evans on a yearly basis. While Evans warranted some consideration here after posting eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, he also had some week-to-week inconsistency last season that left fantasy managers frustrated.

Despite finishing the year as the WR9, Evans had four or fewer catches in seven games. On four of those seven occasions, he finished with less than 5.5 fantasy points.

On the other hand, Brady was wildly consistent en route to finishing as the QB3. Only thrice did he finish with fewer than 18 fantasy points. Heading into 2022, he teams up with a phenomenal receiving corps that includes reliable veterans like Evans, Kyle Rudolph, and Julio Jones, as well as rising stars in Chris Godwin (ACL) and Russell Gage. Expect Brady to finish as a top fantasy quarterback once again this season.

 

Arizona Cardinals

TE Zach Ertz

Last year's midseason trade to the Cardinals didn't hurt Ertz's fantasy value. In fact, the change of scenery seemed to help the veteran tight end as he finished the year as the TE5. During his window with Arizona (Weeks 7 to 18), he was the TE4. Over his 11 games with Atlanta, Ertz tallied double-digit points on six occasions. Only twice did he finish with fewer than eight points. Finally, he saw at least nine targets in five contests.

Heading into 2022, there's reason to get even more excited about Ertz. He has a stable quarterback situation and an even bigger role now that Kyler Murray is fully healthy, De'Andre Hopkins is suspended, and Christian Kirk has signed with the Jaguars. Ertz's ADP is relatively low due to his age, so managers in redraft leagues should capitalize on this opportunity and draft one of the safest, most projectable players they can find.

 

Los Angeles Rams

WR Cooper Kupp

How could you not appreciate the safety of Kupp after last year's historic season? He posted at least 20 fantasy points in 15 of his 18 games and he reached double-digits in all 18.

The 29-year-old truly did it all, garnering plenty of targets, making big plays, and finding the end zone. Although the Rams brought in Allen Robinson this offseason, they said goodbye to Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr.

There is no concern about Kupp's role, especially considering Los Angeles boasts one of the best offenses in the NFL. There will be plenty of targets to go around and Kupp should thrive once again this coming season.

 

San Francisco 49ers

TE George Kittle

This year, you can't draft any 49ers player with full confidence. The backfield is a mess, Deebo Samuel might regress, and Trey Lance is far from a sure thing. Even George Kittle has some question marks after missing three games last season.

Still, he's the safest fantasy pick on the team, perhaps purely due to the process of elimination. Kittle played in 14 games in 2021 but still finished as the TE4. He has finished as the TE4 or better during each of the last three seasons in which he played at least half of San Francisco's games.

Kittle struggled with consistency at the end of the year, but through Week 15, he had just two games with fewer than eight points. Nobody knows if he'll mesh with Lance as he did with Garoppolo, but there's no denying that Kittle's talent makes him one of the most appealing tight ends in fantasy drafts.

 

Seattle Seahawks

TE Noah Fant

The process of elimination once again comes into play with the Seahawks, whose massive quarterback downgrade this past offseason left the offense in shambles. With Drew Lock and Geno Smith fighting for the starting job, the Seahawks offense is headed for a huge step backward.

Traditionally, poor quarterback play hurts wide receivers more than tight ends because the former are dependent on big plays down the field while the latter can still get open for shorter, safer plays. As such, Fant represents the safest fantasy option on the Seattle roster.

He finished as a top-12 tight end in each of his last two seasons with the Broncos and has been praised by new head coach Peter Carroll as having "the most spectacular camp of anybody." He's worth a flier in later rounds and should provide relatively steady value week in and week out.




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Now that we've reached the point in the year where NFL teams are playing preseason games, we've also reached the point where teams are putting out their unofficial preseason depth charts. On one hand, these are unofficial. But on the other hand, it can be fun to read into things. So, let's do examine some... Read More


Chris Olave - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Fantasy Football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks - New Orleans Saints 2022 Outlook

Welcome to our fantasy football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks, a series on RotoBaller where our writers look at three key players on each NFL team. Today, we're talking about the New Orleans Saints. With a new head coach for the first time in years and with a (presumably) healthy Jameis Winston under center, what can... Read More


Jahan Dotson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

Is Jahan Dotson Worth Drafting? Fantasy Football Rookie Outlook

The Washington Commanders used their first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2022 NFL draft to select Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Dotson stands 5'11" and weighs 183 pounds and will team with Terry McLaurin to give new Washington quarterback Carson Wentz two talented receivers to target. Dotson was the RotoBaller consensus rookie WR8... Read More


Najee Harris - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Fantasy Football Injury Report For NFL RBs: Preseason Updates On Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, James Robinson and Kenneth Gainwell

Below you will find our updated fantasy football injuries report for running backs in the 2022 NFL preseason as of Friday August 12th. The injury statuses for various NFL running backs are up in the air during training camp, including Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, James Robinson, and Kenneth Gainwell. With peak draft... Read More


Quarterback Fantasy Football Sleepers - 2022 Later-Round Draft Targets

Today I'm here to discuss some quarterback fantasy football sleepers and value picks. Identifying undervalued players in the late rounds of fantasy football drafts is one of the best ways to give you a better shot of winning your fantasy leagues year in and year out. This is especially true with the quarterback position, as... Read More


Jauan Jennings - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Sophomore NFL Wide Receivers Set to Bust Again - Fooled Me Once, Not Again!

Adjusting to the speed and the rigors of the NFL can be tough, and not every player will do it effectively as a rookie. And that's okay! Plenty of players struggle in their first year but then breakout later. But not every player. Some struggle as rookies and then follow that up with more struggles.... Read More


Darrel Williams - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Darrel Williams: 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper and Undervalued Running Back

Arizona running back James Conner is currently being drafted as the RB16 in the third round of PPR redraft leagues. This price is certainly understandable. Conner finished as the RB5 last year, racking up 18 total touchdowns in the process. He also demonstrated his ability as a pass-catcher with 37 receptions on 39 targets. These... Read More


tony pollard fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

Running Backs Targets for Zero-RB Fantasy Football Drafts (2022)

There are so many different fantasy football draft strategies nowadays, but no other strategy comes with as much scrutiny and judgment as the zero-running back strategy. For the longest time, the running back position was widely accepted as the most important position in fantasy football. For some, that’s still very much the case. However, with... Read More


Noah Fant - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Must-Have Tight Ends for 2022 Fantasy Football Drafts

Tight end is a fun position in fantasy football. There's a clear top group of tight ends, headlined by Travis Kelce. The top-five tight ends all count as "must-have" tight ends because of positional scarcity, but it's boring to suggest you draft the following names: Kelse, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, and Darren Waller.... Read More


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