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USATSI

Javonte Williams will likely be everyone's favorite breakout candidate this season. He has the chance to be a star -- if everything breaks right. And that's what we're hoping for in 2022.

The Broncos have two areas of need worth watching over the next several weeks with their quarterback situation and backup running back. Both will clearly impact Williams in a major way.

If there's a significant quarterback upgrade over the combination of Teddy Bridgewater-Drew Lock from 2021 then that would be a boost for Denver's offense, giving Williams more scoring chances. And if Melvin Gordon, who is an impending free agent, doesn't return, along with someone else of recognition not joining the roster, Williams could be awesome.

We'll see what develops, but Williams has top-10 or even top-five potential if things break right. We saw as a rookie in 2021 the one game when Gordon was out in Week 13 at Kansas City, and Williams had 23 carries for 102 yards, along with six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown on nine targets for 29 PPR points.

Williams had eight games last season with at least 15 total touches, and he averaged 14.0 PPR points per game over that span, including three games with at least 19 PPR points. Clearly, with enough work, he could be special, and that's the hope under new coach Nathanial Hackett.

The next few weeks will determine how we view Williams. But he's hopefully headed for a breakout campaign, and that's why he's listed here at the top of Breakouts 2.0.

Quarterbacks
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #5
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2021 Stats
PAYDS
603
RUYDS
168
TD
6
INT
2
FPTS/G
12.5
Lance is expected to take over for Jimmy Garoppolo, and Lance could prove to be a special talent for Fantasy managers. He appeared in three games as a rookie in 2021, and he scored at least 22 Fantasy points in two of them. His rushing ability is something we covet, and he had at least 31 yards in every appearance. He also has a great situation with the 49ers because of the talent around him in George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, as well as head coach Kyle Shanahan. Lance is worth drafting as a low-end starter in all leagues, but he could be a top-10 Fantasy quarterback by the end of the season.
CHI Chicago • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
109th
QB RNK
13th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
132
2021 Stats
PAYDS
1870
RUYDS
420
TD
9
INT
10
FPTS/G
11.7
Fields and Lance are going to be compared for most of their careers, especially by Fantasy managers. I like both and have them back-to-back in my rankings for 2022, with Lance slightly ahead. Now, that could change if the Bears add to their receiving corps, and Chicago is expected to lose Allen Robinson in free agency. But Fields has tremendous upside heading into his second season, and new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is excited to work with Fields this year under new coach Matt Eberflus. Said Getsy, "we're gonna build this thing around this quarterback position." Fields wasn't overly productive in 2021 as a rookie, scoring more than 19 Fantasy points just twice in 10 starts. But you can see the potential, and he also uses his legs, rushing for at least 35 yards in six of his final seven starts. Like Lance, Fields is also worth a late-round pick in all leagues, and he could emerge as a top-10 Fantasy quarterback.
Running Backs
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #3
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
37th
RB RNK
18th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
NR
2021 Stats
RUYDS
3
REC
3
REYDS
10
TD
0
FPTS/G
33.1
Last year, Akers was a preseason breakout candidate, but we got robbed of seeing what he could do as the lead running back for the Rams when he ruptured his Achilles in July. We thought it would be August of 2022 when he would return, but he surprised everyone by coming back in Week 18 and then taking over as the lead running back for the Rams in the playoffs. The stats were underwhelming -- 67 carries for 172 yards and eight catches for 76 yards on 10 targets -- but the workload was encouraging since Sean McVay had no hesitation putting a lot on his plate. Akers should be much better with a full offseason, and the Rams will hopefully lean on him again. He'll likely share touches with Darrell Henderson, but Akers has top-10 upside in all leagues and is worth drafting late in Round 2 or early in Round 3.
BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
38th
RB RNK
17th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
38
2021 Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
Like Akers, Dobbins was a preseason breakout candidate last year before a torn ACL in August ended his campaign. We haven't heard much on his recovery, but if he's fine for training camp then Dobbins should have the chance to be a standout Fantasy option in all leagues. He'll likely share touches with Gus Edwards again, assuming Edwards is fine from his own ACL tear in 2021, but Dobbins should be the lead option in the Baltimore backfield. And in 2020, he was looking like a special talent. Over his final five outings in the regular season, Dobbins averaged 16.2 PPR points per game, and he had three games with at least 13 carries. He also had no game under 13 PPR points over that span. His value is higher in non-PPR leagues because he likely won't have a huge role in the passing game (only 18 catches for 120 yards on 24 targets as a rookie), but he's still someone to covet in all formats as early as Round 3.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
49th
RB RNK
21st
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
86
2021 Stats
RUYDS
639
REC
36
REYDS
325
TD
4
FPTS/G
11.1
The positives for Carter are we know he can be a do-it-all running back for the Jets and Fantasy managers. We saw that in spurts as a rookie in 2021. The negatives are the majority of his positive production came with quarterback Mike White when Zach Wilson was hurt. Carter had five games last season with at least 13 PPR points, and three of them happened because White made Carter a focal point in the passing game. The three games where White played the majority of snaps -- Week 7 at New England, Week 8 against Cincinnati and Week 10 against Buffalo -- were the only games where Carter had more than three catches, and he scored at least 15 PPR points in each outing. I'm hoping that Carter will be used as a weapon out of the backfield with Wilson in 2022, and I expect the Jets to lean on Carter more in his sophomore campaign. He had eight games in 2021 with at least 10 carries, and he averaged 14.6 PPR points over that span. He's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in all leagues.
JAC Jacksonville • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
63rd
RB RNK
26th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
NR
2021 Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
Etienne didn't get the chance to showcase his skills as a rookie in 2021 because of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, but he is expected to be ready for training camp. And he has a few things working in his favor this year. James Robinson (Achilles) could be out to start the season, which would make Etienne the likely starter. Doug Pederson should also enhance Etienne's skills as a pass catcher since he coached Miles Sanders and Darren Sproles to 50-catch seasons during his tenure in Philadelphia. And the Jaguars should improve on the offensive line and skill players in 2022, along with an improved Trevor Lawrence. Etienne was a star at Clemson, with three seasons in a row of at least 1,500 total yards and 16 total touchdowns, and he had 85 catches in his final two collegiate seasons. He also averaged 7.2 yards per carry and 11.3 yards per catch. Even if Robinson is healthy for Week 1, Etienne could be a standout Fantasy option in PPR. He's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in all leagues.
Wide Receivers
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #88
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
39th
WR RNK
18th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
41
2021 Stats
REC
79
TAR
120
REYDS
1102
TD
6
FPTS/G
14.8
Lamb played well in his second season in 2021 (79 catches for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns on 120 targets), but he's capable of more, which is why he's listed here. He has star potential, and hopefully he reaches that level in Year 3. The Cowboys could move on from Amari Cooper this offseason, along with Michael Gallup as an impending free agent, but no matter who is there, Lamb should still be the focal point in the passing game. Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said as much in a radio interview following Dallas' playoff loss to the 49ers in the wild-card round when Lamb had just one catch for 21 yards on five targets. "If I've got a great player at wide receiver, and a corner is playing him single-coverage, throw him the ball," Aikman said. "He's going to win most of the time." Lamb had 10 games last season with at least six targets, and he scored at least 17 PPR points seven times over that span. That's the receiver we want to see all season, and Lamb has top-five upside in all leagues. He's worth drafting no later than Round 3 in all formats.
CIN Cincinnati • #85
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
31st
WR RNK
13th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
71
2021 Stats
REC
74
TAR
110
REYDS
1091
TD
6
FPTS/G
20
Ja'Marr Chase is the star receiver for the Bengals, and he's the one Fantasy managers are going to draft first in the majority of leagues. But Higgins shouldn't be far behind, and he was actually more productive than Chase to close the season. In the final six games of the regular season, Chase averaged 19.2 PPR points per game. Higgins, however, averaged 20.5 PPR points per game. And in the playoffs, Chase (25 catches for 368 yards and one touchdown on 35 targets) was slightly better than Higgins (18 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns on 30 targets), although both were spectacular. Both should be excellent again, but Chase will cost Fantasy managers a first-round pick in the majority of leagues. Higgins will likely fall to Round 4, and that's amazing value for someone with top-10 upside in any format.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #8
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
66th
WR RNK
31st
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
166
2021 Stats
REC
43
TAR
77
REYDS
538
TD
6
FPTS/G
12.6
It's too bad that Moore sustained a quad injury prior to Week 14 that cost him the final five games of his rookie season because he was starting to play like a star. In his final six games, he scored at least 12 PPR points five times, and he averaged 18.0 PPR points over that span. He stepped up as the No. 1 receiver for the Jets with at least six targets in each outing, and hopefully that carries over to his sophomore campaign this year. Zach Wilson should continue to lean on Moore, but we'll see what happens with Corey Davis and any other additions the Jets make this offseason to their pass catchers. I had high expectations for Moore in his rookie year, and he showed flashes of brilliance. Now, he should do that over a full season, and he's worth drafting in Round 5 as a low-end starter in all leagues with top-20 upside.
CHI Chicago • #11
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
62nd
WR RNK
29th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
146
2021 Stats
REC
81
TAR
140
REYDS
1055
TD
5
FPTS/G
12.9
Bears general manager Ryan Poles said at the NFL Combine on Tuesday that the team needs to give Justin Fields help at wide receiver. That seems obvious given that Allen Robinson is an impending free agent and not likely to return to Chicago. It doesn't mean the Bears need to find a better receiver than Mooney, although that could happen. But barring Davante Adams or Chris Godwin signing in Chicago or the Bears selecting a top-tier receiver in the NFL Draft, Mooney should be the No. 1 option for Fields in 2022. Mooney took a step forward in Year 2 in 2021 with 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns on 140 targets, but he should be more productive in Year 3. He had 13 games last season with at least six targets, and he scored at least 15 PPR points in seven of them. Hopefully, new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy gets the most out of Fields and Mooney, and this connection continues to flourish. I like Mooney as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver to start the season, but he has top-20 upside in all leagues. He should be drafted no later than Round 5 in most formats.
BUF Buffalo • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
83rd
WR RNK
34th
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
202
2021 Stats
REC
35
TAR
63
REYDS
549
TD
6
FPTS/G
11.9
Bills coach Sean McDermott spoke highly of Davis at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, and clearly McDermott is excited for Davis this season. "Gabe's going into his third season and he's our type. He's our type of guy," McDermott said. "He has tremendous DNA. He's a winner. He's a player that in Year 2, really in Year 1, our backup in Year 1 had a good season and came back and followed it up in Year 2, which is not easy to do. And then he continues to get better and better. And that's what I'm looking forward to seeing when he comes back in Year 3 now this offseason." The last time we saw Davis was in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Chiefs, and he had eight catches for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 10 targets. He also scored in the wild-card round against the Patriots with two catches for 41 yards on three targets. And to close the regular season, Davis had at least 11 PPR points in three of his final five games, with three touchdowns over that span. He also had at least seven targets in three of his final four outings. Emmanuel Sanders is likely gone as an impending free agent, and Davis has star potential. He's worth drafting as early as Round 6 in all formats.
Tight Ends
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #8
Age: 21 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
34th
TE RNK
3rd
PROJ PTS
0
SOS
ADP
55
2021 Stats
REC
68
TAR
110
REYDS
1026
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.4
Pitts ended up being a Fantasy bust as a rookie in 2021, not because his production was horrible, but the expectations were unrealistic. He finished the season with 68 catches for 1,026 yards and one touchdown on 110 targets. He joined Hall of Famer Mike Ditka as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards, and Pitts set the Atlanta franchise record for the most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end. It was a great year, but the touchdown total and lack of consistent production (only seven games with at least 10 PPR points) was disappointing. I'm expecting him to be even better in 2022, and he's my No. 3 tight end coming into the season behind only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. He's worth drafting as early as Round 3 in all leagues, and he should once again be a prime target for Matt Ryan. Pitts should continue to be successful with his catches and yards, and his touchdown total will definitely rise. He's a star, and he's someone to covet in all leagues.