2022 Fantasy Football Touchdown Regression

by Desrick Rhooms Jr.
2021-22 NFL DFS Wild Card Weekend Yahoo Picks - Sunday

Welcome to the 2022 Fantasy Football Touchdown Regression article. 

Every season we see players that we expect to breakout underperform. And we see players come from nowhere and burst on the scene or even players who have bounce-back seasons. A leading culprit is touchdowns.

For example, Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 37 touchdowns last season. Still, with the Cowboys trading away Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup coming off ACL surgery, I don't see him throwing anywhere close to that this season. 

Jalen Hurts had a great Fantasy year because of his legs but his passing has kept him back. However, with the addition of A.J Brown,  I expect him to throw at least 20 touchdowns this season. 

We will look more at Hurts and a few other candidates as we dig deeper into the 2022 Fantasy Football Touchdown Regression article. 

2022 Fantasy Football Touchdown Regression

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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

All eyes will be on Rodgers this season as everyone is eager to see how he performs this season after losing Davante Adams but cashing in with a three-year, $150 million contract extension. After throwing for 37 touchdowns last season, I think it's reasonable to expect a decline when looking at his receiving corps.

The Packers signed Sammy Watkins during the offseason and forgive me if I'm bullish. Watkins hasn't played a full season since his rookie season and has only one 1,000-yard season in his career.

Rodgers has hyped Allen Lazard as the WR1 coming into this season but I don't think it will go as smoothly as a lot of people think. He doesn't have any experience as a starter and won't have the benefit of defenses focusing on Adams.

Lazard doesn't run many deep routes, so he will be a factor in PPR leagues.

I have Rodgers falling out of the top ten and he becomes more matchup-dependent this season. I think names such as Kirk Cousins, Trey Lance, and Derek Carr will have better fantasy seasons.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

When the Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith in the first round last year, many expected  Hurts to make the next step as a passer but that didn't happen.  He ended his first season as a starter with 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Hurts and the Eagles were in the bottom five in pass attempts per game with quarterbacks such as Davis Mills and Jared Goff throwing more per game.

It will be interesting to see if the move to get A.J Brown will deter them from focusing on running the ball. With Brown, and their core from last season this will be the best offense Hurts has played with.

With Hurts near the end of his rookie deal, they will do everything in their power to see his full potential. This is why I'm expecting him to have his best year this upcoming season.

I have Hurts finishing as a top-five fantasy quarterback this season. Anything less than 23 passing touchdowns should be seen as a disappointment.

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

It was only a matter of time before the Seahawks would trade Russell Wilson, the question was where? The Broncos are a perfect fit as it seems like forever ago since Peyton Manning was in town.

Wilson comes with new head coach Nathaniel Hackett, the offensive coordinator for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last season.

His weapons won't drastically improve from D.K Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. The difference will be the offensive line and the playbook being catered to him unlike in Seattle.

After injuring his thumb last season Wilson looked terrible but improved towards the end of the season. Despite finishing as QB16, from week 12 until the end of the season he was QB8 with 15 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. After only throwing for 25 touchdowns last season I think that 30 is just his floor this season.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Zeke didn't look as explosive as he once did last season, he didn't seem to make defenders miss as much. You have to wonder if the carries have caught up to him. He only had five runs that went for 20 or more yards, and only one of those runs occurred after week 7.

Not only is he looking like he is declining, but backup Tony Pollard is rising. Pollard had eight runs of 20 yards or more with 100 fewer carries and is a bigger threat in the passing game as well.

Zeke should be viewed as an RB2 and even a FLEX if Pollard starts to see even more snaps.  He ran over 100 yards in only two games last season, RB1 Zeke is now gone.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

One of the few bell-cow running backs, you have to appreciate the consistency Cook has given owners over the years. He's had over 1,100 rushing yards each season despite always missing games. The only knock on Cook is his durability but I believe that his volume will make up for that. Last season he finished fifth in carries despite missing four games.

I'm a believer in the Vikings this season and I believe they will have a top-ten offense this season. This will allow more scoring opportunities for Cook, rushing for only six touchdowns last season. I expect him to get back to double digits in touchdowns after scoring 16 touchdowns in 2020 and 13 the year before.

After finishing as RB15 last season I expect Cook to be in the top ten next season. He's a low-end RB1 because of his injury history, it would be smart to have RB depth behind him.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Last year seemed to be an odd year for the Saints as they played without Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. This year there will be another departure as Sean Payton "retired" over the offseason.

Last season Kamara only scored four rushing touchdowns but the offense was a mess, especially once Jameis Winston got hurt. Kamara got banged up himself and missed four games. However, he is easily a top-five running back when healthy.

With Thomas and Winston returning and adding Jarvis Landry and rookie Chris Olave, defenses can no longer stack the box.

FantasyPros has Kamara ADP as RB12 and I have Kamara as this year's Joe Mixon. A second-round running back that can finish as a top three running back and win your league.

Wide Receivers

D.K Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

The freak of nature had another great season last season and was finally rewarded. He recently signed a three years, $72 million contract extension. That might be the only thing he has to look forward to as he is no longer playing with Wilson.

After scoring 12 touchdowns last season I would be surprised if he gets more than half of that this season. With the Seahawks' offense being so terrible, scoring opportunities will be hard to come by. Half of his touchdowns were in the red zone which is where he is at his best.

Additionally, Pete Carroll will be looking to run the ball with Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker. Metcalf will also have to compete with Tyler Lockett for the few targets that they do get. I see him as a low-end WR2 and borderline FLEX. He is now more touchdown dependent than ever with the targets expected to decline.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

After a breakout sophomore year in 2019 which resulted in a Pro Bowl, Sutton was coming into his own. However, many owners were burned after he tore his ACL in the opening game in 2020.

Last season was a good season for Sutton when you consider he was playing with Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. He ended the season with 776 yards and only two touchdowns.

I expect him to have at least ten this season with Russell Wilson under center. While he will be competing with Jerry Jeudy for targets I think he will stand out the most in the red zone. Similar to the role Metcalf played last season.

Wilson is also excellent at the long ball which Bridgewater and Lock lacked season, and just so happens to be Sutton's calling card.

We have him ranked at WR24 in our rankings here at Fantasy Six Pack, but I think Sutton has the potential to hover around the WR15 range.

D.J Moore, Carolina Panthers

Since his rookie season, Moore has recorded over 1,100 receiving yards each season despite the quarterback play. However, he isn't a top 10 fantasy receiver. The reason is that he doesn't reach the end zone enough. He has yet to score more than four touchdowns in a season but I think he at least doubles that this season.

The Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield last month and reportedly there's a competition. I think that it's Mayfield's to lose since they just traded for him. While Mayfield isn't a world beater he is an upgrade over Sam Darnold and that could be the difference for Moore.

Last season he was tied 11th in red zone targets (15) among receivers, so the targets are there. Each season his red zone targets have gone up and coach Matt Rhule knows he needs the ball in Moore's hands.

He is a WR2 with WR1 upside if he finds his way in the endzone more. It's reasonable to see him among the top 12 receivers after finishing 17th last season.

Tight Ends

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

The Bills' tight end burst onto the scene last year, on his way to finishing as TE5. Most of that had to do with how often he was scoring, something I don't see happening again.

Gabriel Davis has emerged as a legit deep threat and the Bills added Jamison Crowder during the offseason.

Adding pass-catching tight end O.J Howard didn’t help things either. Because the tight end position is so shallow you can do a lot worse than rostering him but I would temper expectations.

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

The rookie tight end showed he was good as advertised last season, finishing the season with over 1,000 yards. Despite the yardage, he still finished as only TE11. This is due to the fact he only scored ONE touchdown last season.

He was tied 10th among tight ends in red zone targets (15), but he only caught five of those passes. If Pitts is able to touch paydirt more often next season I see only Darren Waller, George Kittle, and Travis Kelce ahead of him.

Having Marcus Mariota under center scares me but with Ridley out who else will demand the ball?

Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Zach Ertz isn't a sexy name but he gets the job done every season. With DeAndre Hopkins out I see Ertz as Kyler Murray’s safety blanket. They added Marquise Brown but he's not a red zone factor and that's where I think Ertz will capitalize.

Only Mark Andrews had more red zone targets than him. With Ertz having an entire offseason with the Cardinals this year, he and Murray's chemistry should be even better.  It will be almost impossible for him not to finish as a top ten tight end this season.

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