Dynasty Football Players to Stash for 2022

by Ryan Kirksey
Dynasty Football Players to Stash for 2022

As we await the rookie destinations, we are offering some advice on Dynasty Football players to stash for the upcoming 2022 NFL season.

In your standard Dynasty Football league, you have four options to acquire players for your squad: Startup draft, waiver wire, trades and rookie drafts.

As we inch towards the NFL offseason and await the 2022 NFL Draft, the only one of those options available to us right now is the trade. But even with just one path to take, the savvy Dynasty manager is always walking that road.

The players below are not the elite of the elite or the ones that will top any Dynasty rankings you can find on this or any other site. These players are more under the radar (or off the radar completely) players whose price will not be exorbitant. They might just be guys you can get added to a deal if you are looking for help in 2022 and beyond.

In this piece I recommend six Dynasty Football players to stash for 2022 with tremendous upside in the coming year, assuming the opportunity falls their way.

Dynasty Football Players to Stash for 2022

Eno Benjamin

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It might be faster to make a list of which Arizona Cardinals’ offensive skill players are NOT free agents than those who are. All of the following have deals that are now expired: James Conner, Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green, Zach Ertz, Christian Kirk, and Jonathan Ward. For Benjamin, we care primarily about Conner, Edmonds, and Ward. Every running back on the Cardinals’ squad is a free agent save Benjamin. I am sure they would love to bring back both Conner and Edmonds, but both earned big deals this season and they won’t be able to afford them both.

If the Cardinals retain one or none of that backfield, the door for opportunity will swing wide open for Benjamin. In his first year on the active roster (Benjamin was drafted in 2020), he averaged 3.5 yards per carry and 7.0 yards per reception. And yes, Benjamin was used sparingly in the regular season, but it wasn’t Conner or Edmonds who led the backfield in yards in their playoff game this year.

The Arizona staff trust Benjamin and they have him for a few more years on a cheap rookie deal. With all of the weapons at their disposal, the Cardinals ran the 12th-highest rate in the league last year. If Benjamin can carve out a large piece of that pie, he is worth the pennies it would take to invest in him today.

D’Ernest Johnson

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Maybe you were able to plug and play D’Ernest Johnson a couple times this year when the Browns were ravaged with COVID issues and running back injuries. Who can forget the Thursday night game in Week 7 when he rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns against a strong Denver front seven. He ended the year with another 123-yard, one-touchdown game in Week 18. Perhaps these performances helped you in fantasy football this year, but did you realize just how good he really was?

A higher grade than even Jonathan Taylor? That type of success deserves a larger role moving forward. And that’s exactly what he should have. Johnson is a restricted free agent looking into 2022. Which begs the question what do the Browns do with him? Do they bring him back just to play an RB3 role? Do they cut ties and let him sign somewhere else considering Nick Chubb combine for almost $12 million in salary cap funds next year?

If Johnson finds himself on a new team where he is even lead the back in a 60-40 timeshare, this is an asset that can pay dividends for years. Johnson will be 26 next year but he only has 127 career rush attempts. His body is fresh and ready for a larger gig.

Josh Palmer

The Los Angeles Chargers had so many potent weapons in 2021 it was easy for a player like Josh Palmer to get lost in the shuffle. Among offensive players, Palmer ranked fifth in targets and receptions and sixth in yards on his own team. But Palmer was money in the red zone this year when given the opportunity. He caught four of his five targets for an 80% catch rate plus two touchdowns.

Now, the Chargers are facing an offseason of potential offensive overhaul. Mike Williams is an unrestricted free agent and he chose the right year to have 1,146 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He will likely sign elsewhere, leaving behind 129 targets. Jalen Guyton is also a restricted free agent. He demanded 48 targets last year. So just from wide receivers there may be upwards of 175 vacated targets. As mentioned below, three tight ends are also free agents next year and totaled 129 targets. The Chargers are going to need bodies for Herbert to throw to next year, and Josh Palmer’s time may be now.

In six games in December and January when the Chargers were missing various pieces of their receiving corps, Palmer balled out. He demanded 29 targets and caught 18 of them. He totaled 185 receiving yards and three touchdowns. That’s a full-year pace of 51 catches, 524 yards and 8.5 touchdowns. Not bad for a WR3/4. That audition likely earned him a starting spot next year opposite Keenan Allen in the high-powered Chargers’ offense.

Los Angeles ended the year with the third-most passing yards per game and the sixth-most passing touchdowns per game in the NFL. When we consider dynasty options, especially cheap ones, we want players on the best possible offenses that look elite long term. That’s the situation Palmer finds himself in moving forward.

Tyler Johnson

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Let’s take stock of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiving options heading into 2022.

Chris Godwin: torn ACL and a free agent in 2022. Antonio Brown: flipping crazy and will not be back. Mike Evans: signed through at least 2023. Rob Gronkowski: free agent and 33 years old next year. Cameron Brate: signed through 2023. Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard: all free agents in 2022. Cyril Grayson: exclusive rights free agent. Breshad Perriman: free agent in 2022. Tyler Johnson: signed for less than $1 million per year through 2023.

Assuming Tom Brady wants to come back and avenge the heart-breaking loss he suffered in the divisional round of the playoffs, just Evans, Johnson and Brate from this list might be making the trip with him. The Bucs will surely sign a number of players to complement the offensive style, but Johnson and Brady have at times developed some chemistry.

Despite just a 15% target share, Johnson saw nine red zone looks from Brady and six more deep targets in his starts. Even if the Bucs do renovate the offense, Johnson is going to be one of the few players that are familiar with Brady and his tendencies.

This is a player who scored 25 touchdowns in his final two years at the University of Minnesota. He will enter 2022 at just 25 years old with seemingly endless opportunity in front of him.

Hunter Long

In 2021, no team targets the tight end position more than the Miami Dolphins. At 174 total targets, they beat the Ravens, Bucs, Chiefs, and several other strong tight end groupings. Well, of those 174 targets, 153 of them are about to walk out the door in free agency, which leaves Hunter Long as the man you will want in this tight-end heavy offense.

Both Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe are unrestricted free agents next year, leaving Long and Adam Shaheen as the only experienced tight ends on the roster. Long is just 23 years old and at 6’5″ and 253 pounds, was an absolute monster coming out of Boston College. He drew a 23% target share in his final season there and caught five touchdowns on just 57 total receptions.

Long played primarily as a blocker his rookie season, ending 2021 with only three targets. But he has the receiving pedigree to absolutely become a weapon for Tua Tagovailoa with Gesicki, Smythe and Will Fuller out of the picture.

Many NFL Draft prognosticators had Long as behind only Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth in last year’s draft. The Dolphins believed, selecting him 81st overall. At that price tag, he is going to get his shot. And it’s going to be soon.

Tre’ McKitty

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It won’t surprise me if you haven’t heard of Tre’ McKitty before. Unless you are a Los Angeles Chargers target zealot, you may not have realized he was even a contributor on this team. McKitty, a rookie tight end out of Florida State and Georgia finished 10th on his own team with just eight targets this year. That resulted in six catches for 45 yards. Why the dynasty love for a barely-used player on a team with so many passing options?

Well, simply put, many of those passing options may be on their way out the door. Mike Williams and his field-stretching 129 targets are about to enter free agency, as discussed above. But, the Chargers top three tight ends this year are also all free agents for 2022. Jared Cook, Donald Parham (an exclusive rights free agent) and Stephen Anderson amassed 129 targets in an offense that called pass at the fifth-highest rate in the league in 2021 (62.9%).

What about McKitty’s pedigree and where does he fit? A third round pick out of FSU and Georgia Tech, McKitty was criminally underused at those schools. In 2020, he played only four games for Georgia and caught six passes. His 3.3% target share barely registered. Why then was he selected in the third round? Basically, because the 6’4″, 240-pound behemoth can do things like this.

He is also regarded as an excellent blocker. While this won’t get you fantasy points, it is a skill that keeps him on the field. The more McKitty is on the field, the better chance he has to get targets. If the Chargers bring back none or only one of those free-agent tight ends, McKitty is going to have an excellent shot to make an impact.

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