It’s that time of year once again! Football Absurdity will bring you a breakdown of every notable fantasy football-relevant player throughout June, July, and August. We continue with the tight ends. Today, we take a look at a tight end whose receiving room got a bit more crowded this year, as the Raiders added super stud Davante Adams to their room. What does that mean for Waller, can he still produce with Davante Adams on board? Let’s take a look at Darren Waller’s 2022 fantasy football player profile!
Darren Waller ADP and AAV:
Average Draft Position: TE4, 38 overall
Average Auction Value: $12.2
Darren Waller Statistics:
|Year||Std Pts||HPPR Pts||PPR Pts||Pts/G||HPPR Pts/G||PPR Pts/G||Pts/Tgt||HPPR Pts/Tgt||PPR Pts/Tgt|
|Year||Air Yards||aDOT||YAC||YAC/Tgt||YAC/Rec||AYMS||Tgt MS|
2022 Darren Waller Overview:
If you ever do fantasy point projections, there are certain players that you start with on teams, by giving them theirs. The Raiders now have two (potentially three) of those guys with Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow. What we have to figure out is if there are enough targets to go around for Waller, Renfrow, and Adams to get enough targets to feast. I’m not particularly worried about Adams’ targets because the Raiders cleaned house at wide receiver prior to bringing in Adams. Since the start of last season, they jettisoned Henry Ruggs, Zay Jones, Bryan Edwards, and DeSean Jackson. These four receivers combined for 184 targets last year, and let’s be clear, they have mostly wasted targets. Just give those targets over to Davante Adams and everything is all good with the Renfrow/Waller/Adams triple stack.
Now, there is the elephant in the room is Darren Waller missing time. He played just 11 games last season, but in those eleven games, he got his. Waller averaged 8 targets, 5 catches, and 64 yards in the nine games before he suffered an injury that cost him most of the rest of the season. The Raiders have enough in their quiver to make sure he gets nine targets per game again. Derek Carr threw the ball 37 times per game last year, and Waller had a 24% target share in the games he played. If we dropped Waller down to eight targets per game, that’s a 21% target share, and it leaves some breathing room for Carr to get the ball to Adams and Renfrow.
The main question mark with the Raiders seems to be the volume, and that is something that doesn’t particularly concern me. The Raiders cleared out a lot of flotsam and jetsam at wide receiver and throw the ball a ton. So, there are plenty of opportunities to go around. One of Waller, Adams, and Renfrow will fall on their face, but there’s no way to guess who it might be. So, a smart move is to hedge your bets against that face fall potential from Waller.
2022 Darren Waller Fantasy Football Draft Strategy:
If you already read about Kyle Pitts or George Kittle, then this is going to sound incredibly familiar. One of Pitts, Waller, or Kelce is likely to finish as a top-two tight end this season, given the issues surrounding Mark Andrews and the Baltimore passing game. Well, Kittle & Waller are both going at the three-four turn, but that’s too high a price to pay to double tap them. Just take whoever is left to you in the fourth round, and be happy with your top-five tight end that will literally never leave your lineup.
Things get juicier in salary cap drafts. It’s starting to make a lot of sense to me to smooth out the potential downside of TE3 through TE5: call “two out of three ain’t bad.” It involves Kyle Pitts, George Kittle, and Darren Waller. The goal is to get two of them for less than the price of a Travis Kelce in your draft. It’s incredibly doable, and it’s even possible to get two of the three for less than Mark Andrews. By AAV, Pitts is $16, and Kittle & Waller are both $12 whereas Travis Kelce is $45 and Mark Andrews is $34. Snatch the first two that get nominated for cheap, there. It’s possible to get a smash start TE1 for most weeks for $28, for less than the price of a Mark Andrews, who may or may not be a smashing start, given the potential Ravens’ downturn. And look, if you read George Kittle, Darren Waller, and Kyle Pitts, then you’ve seen this three times, so you know I’m serious.
Best Case Scenario:
The Raiders’ offense ends up concentrated between Waller, Pitts, and Renfrow, and the three account for about 80% of the team’s targets. Waller finishes as TE2.
Worst Case Scenario:
Unsatisfied with devouring Waller’s targets, Davante Adams unhinges his jaw and consumes every bit of Darren Waller’s being.
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[Statistics are sourced from pro-football-reference.com, airyards.com, and ftnfantasy.com]
[Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Darren_Waller_2019.JPG under CC BY SA 2.0]