It was Michael Jordan who famously said, “The ceiling is the
roof.” He was actually just trying to say the sky is the limit,
but it came out humorously and that’s all anyone remembers.
But Michael has a point. He wanted his football team to reach for
Similarly, you want your football team (read fantasy players)
to reach the heights of their ability. For some, that’s
to become elite at their position. For others, their abilities
are much more limited as are their goals. We only want players
who “reach the ceiling.”
Of course that’s not for everyone because some of those
with high ceilings players also have extremely low floors. We
might call them “boom or bust” players. They’re
only for fantasy owners who are gamblers.
If you are the more conservative type, you want the men with
the “highest floor.” You want your guy to produce
each week, perhaps not at the elite level, but enough that you
have the chance to win week in and week out.
In today’s exercise we are going to analyze the “highest
ceiling”, “highest floor”, and “most likely
to bust” for each round based on a 12-team, PPR league and
using FFToday’s ADP.
Highest Ceiling –Christian
McCaffrey must be considered the highest ceiling based on his
healthy performances in the past. No other current running back
has produced at the 29-point level for a full season and even his
2018 season at 23.8 FPts/G would have been better than Jonathan
Taylor’s top-ranked RB at 22.2 average last season.
Highest Floor – Given that Derrick
Henry has averaged more than 20 FPts/G in each of the last
three seasons and is healthy, it’s hard not to say this is the
safest first-round bet. Had Henry not returned for the 2021 playoffs
to prove his health, I would likely have gone with Jonathan Taylor.
Henry has elite usage and until last season had played in 63 of
his last 64 games.
Bust Potential –D’Andre
Swift’s issue isn’t talent-related, it’s his inability to
stay on the field in his first two seasons. He’s missed seven
games and left others early. He also has a solid backup in Jamaal
Williams, so the team doesn’t hesitate to sit him when his
health is questionable. When on the field he has top-five potential
due to his pass-catching ability and a quarterback who loves to
check down to his running backs.
Highest Ceiling – Without Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce may
see a few more defenders crowding into his area, as might CeeDee Lamb without Amari Cooper, so I’m going with Stefon Diggs
as the highest ceiling. He has an elite quarterback who feeds
him the ball (9.6 targets per game). The emergence of young Gabriel Davis will only make it harder for teams to double Diggs or roll
the defense in his direction.
Highest Floor – If only to justify spending all the draft
capital and money spent on him, Hill will see more than enough
volume to guarantee solid production each week and vindicate his
second-round selection (21 ADP).
Bust Potential –Leonard Fournette was going in the late
first and early second round this summer, but injuries to the
offensive line should be very concerning (Ryan Jensen, Tristan
Wirfs and Aaron Stinnie). I had also added the absence of Tom Brady, but he apparently has returned from his family vacation
and is ready to play. The Bucs under Brady have always been pass
first (league leading 719 attempts last season) meaning his rushing
numbers (only 180 attempts last season) could continue to be limited.
Additionally, when they get ahead on the scoreboard they have
a tendency to rest starters which could lead to more rookie Rachaad White usage.
Highest Floor – How could anyone argue that Mike Evans
isn’t the player by which we should all measure consistency?
He’s played eight seasons and cracked 1,000-yards in all
eight. In Year 9 he’ll likely begin the season with either
a sidelined or a less-than-100% Chris Godwin. And under Tom Brady’s
direction, Evans has caught 13 and 14 touchdown passes the past
two seasons. Evans is a fantasy player’s security blanket.
Bust Potential –James Conner isn’t an explosive
back (averaged 3.7 ypc in 2021), but made his living getting into
the end zone (scored in 12-of-28 attempts inside the 10-yard line).
It’s a bit concerning that he’s so touchdown-dependent
with 41.9% of his points coming from scores. It could be even
more of a concern if quarterback Kyler Murray runs as he did in
2020 when he rushed for 11 scored, six times inside the 10-yard
Highest Ceiling –J.K. Dobbins will lead the Ravens’
running back room in yards and touchdowns for 2022. The last time
we saw him was 2020 when he rushed 134 times for 805 yards (6.0
ypc) and nine touchdowns. That was despite sharing the workload
with Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram. And his nine touchdowns were despite
Lamar Jackson rushing for seven scores and Edwards six. Edwards
was just put on the PUP list and will miss at least four games leaving
only Mike Davis (who was horrible last season in Atlanta) behind
him to eat into his workload. Dobbins should get off to a great
start and go from there.
Highest Floor – In his three seasons, Terry McLaurin has
caught touchdown passes from Case Keenum, the late Dwayne Haskins,
Kyle Allen, a one-legged Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke. Despite
this quarterback roulette, McLaurin has averaged 1,030 yards and
5.3 touchdowns. I’m not a big Carson Wentz fan (well, except
for 2017 when he led my Eagles to great heights), but he’s
better than all of those guys. He’ll be helped by a quality
deep threat on the other side in rookie Jahan Dotson. I think
McLaurin puts up the best numbers of his career (though he still
won’t crack the top-10).
Bust Potential –Antonio Gibson’s fantasy value has
been dropping faster than the price of gas this month. Fantasy
owners are scared that rookie Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama) could
eat into Gibson’s first- and second-down workload while
J.D. McKissic is still set to be the third-down and receiving
back. I’m concerned too.
Highest Ceiling – Will the real Michael Thomas please stand
up? It was just three years ago that Thomas was the No. 1 receiver
in the league posting 149-1,725-9 totals (23.4 FPts/G). The last
two seasons have been non-existent (seven games in 2020, zero in
2021), but he’s back. Unfortunately, his Hall-of-Fame quarterback
isn’t (retired Drew Brees), but we know his replacement, Jameis Winston has plenty of ability. With a 61.7 ADP and as the 24th receiver
off the board, Thomas could be a huge steal if he regains form.
Probably not 2019 value, but perhaps top 15 and that’s still
a nice ceiling.
Highest Floor –Brandin Cooks has managed to crack the
1,000-yard mark in six of the last seven seasons no matter the
quarterback. Sure, it was probably easier in the years he had
Brees and Brady throwing to him, but he also managed to break
the 1K mark under Jared Goff and in 2021 with the combination
of Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills. The Texans return Mills under
center and with only Nico Collins on the other end, Cooks should
continue his string of 1,000-yard seasons.
Bust Potential –Chris Godwin is returning from a late-season
ACL tear and even if he comes back early in the season it’s
unlikely he’ll be at full strength. It’s why the Bucs
brought in Russell Gage and Julio Jones. Don’t expect the
former Penn Stater to return to 100% health/production until the
2023 season or at the earliest this year’s playoffs. I’d
expect the team to control (read limit) his usage until it really
counts. I’d rather select Allen Robinson (another Penn State
alum) at this point in the draft.
Highest Ceiling –Marquise Brown had his best season in 2021
(91-1,008-6) while stuck in a run-centric Ravens’ offense.
In Arizona, he reunites with his Sooner quarterback Kyler Murray
and should see plenty of early work with DeAndre Hopkins suspended
for the first six games. What will determine whether he’s
a “boom” is whether he can continue even when “Nuk”
is back on the field. I believe he can and will. At Oklahoma, Brown
had to share the receiving workload with CeeDee Lamb and made it
Highest Floor – I hear all the complaints about Eagles’
quarterback Jalen Hurts. Weak arm, slow decision making. And yet
he still averaged 24 FPts/G in his first full year under center.
I’d be hesitant to throw open Jalen Reagor and some of the
others too. His receiving corps has been drastically upgraded
with the addition of A.J. Brown along with second-year DeVonta Smith and a solid tight end in Dallas Goedert. If all else fails
he can still run and running quarterbacks will always be elite
Bust Potential –Clyde Edwards-Helaire would seem to be
the easy choice here, but I thought long and hard about putting
Damien Harris and his ultra-touchdown-dependent fantasy value
here. In the end, CEH has proven to be subpar in two straight
seasons. He lost 300 yards in rushing from season one to last
year and his touchdown production seems stuck at a maximum of
six. Andy Reid simply likes to pass a lot so CEH’s rushing
is limited and now there is a threat from rookie Isiah Pacheco
for early-down work. It’s too high a price to pay for someone
who has yet to produce as expected in two seasons.
Highest Ceiling –JuJu Smith-Schuster was better as the No.2
guy in Pittsburgh with Antonio Brown getting all the attention than
when he became “the guy” in 2019. Now with the Chiefs’,
he’ll again be the No.2 guy with tight end Travis Kelce getting
all the attention. He should thrive in this role. And in Patrick Mahomes, he’s got the best quarterback he’s played with
(Ben Roethlisberger was already starting to slide by 2019 when Smith-Schuster
was supposed to carry the load).
Highest Floor –Kareem Hunt can run. Hunt can catch the
ball. He just needs opportunities. Even with yielding early-down
duties to Nick Chubb, Hunt has produced 12.7, 13.7 and 13.5 FPts/G
in three seasons with the Browns. There are rumors that Hunt could
be traded. Imagine what he could do with more touches. As a starter
in Kansas City he averaged 18.6 and 20.9 FPts/G. No matter how
the season works out, Hunt should get his points and be a fantasy-worthy
Bust Potential – It’s not Devin Singletary’s
fault that the Bills don’t run the ball enough. He saw just
188 attempts in 2021 and produced 870 yards (4.6 ypc) and seven
scores. Now add in Bills’ management selection of Dalvin Cook’s baby brother in the second round (James Cook). They
still have Zack Moss too. Too many mouths to feed with too few
Highest Ceiling –Hunter Renfrow is a great receiver, but
there are too many pass-catchers on the Raiders for him to reproduce
last year’s results. Marquise Brown is in Arizona meaning
Rashod Bateman likely only has to fight with Mark Andrews for targets
in Baltimore. Bateman should exceed Brown’s totals of a year
ago and at this price (WR34) should be a huge steal.
Highest Floor – Renfrow may not have a high ceiling with
the arrival of Davante Adams, but he still runs some of the best
patterns in the league. Even Chargers’ safety Derwin James
admitted to such, just a couple of days ago. A year ago Renfrow
caught 103-of-128 targets. That’s over 80% and pretty much
unheard of at the wideout position. He’ll get enough work
to keep you in the game every week.
Bust Potential –Elijah Moore had a nice season in 2021
for a rookie (43-538-5) in 11 games, but the competition for targets
will be a lot tougher in 2022. Corey Davis was injured for a lot
of 2021 and the team spent a No.1 pick on Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson. They also used a second-round selection on running back
Breece Hall a do-everything guy from Iowa State. Moore might actually
be a better player than last season and still not see a drastic
increase in fantasy value due to all the talent the Jets have
brought in on offense to help their young quarterback Zach Wilson.
Highest Ceiling – Remember what I said about Hurts, that running
quarterback make elite fantasy options? Trey Lance could be one
of those guys. I think he has the talent. He certainly has the pass
catchers (Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle). It’s
a matter of how quickly he puts it all together. It could be this
year or it might not happen until 2023, but it’s more than
likely going to happen.
Highest Floor –Robert Woods is a huge talent who appears
to be healthy after a November ACL injury. He’s going to
be the steadying force in the receiver room for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and likely his first look early in the season before
rookie Treylon Burks is ready to be the WR1. Woods played opposite
Cooper Kupp and managed to average 15.7 FPts/G. He should be able
to produce close to that in Tennessee.
Bust Potential – We just mentioned the Jets drafting of
Hall a little bit earlier, but that probably puts Michael Carter
on the back burner as far as rushing chances. He’s a nice
back and a handcuff for Hall, but he’s not a standalone
guy like Hunt, and can only have value if the starter is injured.
Highest Ceiling –Marlon Mack was supposed to win this
job, but the fourth-round pick Dameon Pierce, appears to be on
the way to winning the starting role in Houston. If that’s
the case, he could be a RB2 despite being the 41st running back
off the board. He’d still have to fight off journeyman Rex Burkhead and Mack, and the fact that the Texans play from behind
more than with the lead, but he’s got the best upside of
Highest Floor – When you play behind Jonathan Taylor you
better make the most of your opportunities and Nyheim Hines has
done that. He’s averaged 4.5 ypc and 52 catches a season
the past two years, but didn’t get enough work in 2021.
The coaches admitted that and claimed they would get him more
work in 2022.
Bust Potential –Chase Claypool exploded on the scene in
2020 (62-873-9), but regressed a bit last season (59-860-2). Some
of that was due to Big Ben’s failure. Smith-Schuster is
gone, but the team brought in talented George Pickens who has
looked pretty good this preseason. Claypool and Pickens will have
to fight for the leftovers after Diontae Johnson gets his share.
If Pickens is for real, Claypool could be the odd-man out.