Ahead of your long-awaited fantasy football draft, it’s always tempting to go for the swing for the fences, electrifying picks to create the most fun team possible to root for every Sunday in order to win your league. You want to root for Christian McCaffrey hurdling a linebacker into the end zone off of a screen, or fantasize about the ceiling that a young budding rookie or sophomore could hit as they make the leap so that you can say “I called that!” to your friends as you triumphantly nail that value pick.
But all that glitters is not gold.
Typically, those who win the league are the ones that play it safe- they draft the stable or boring players that your other league mates avoid for unfair reasons, and the team that you thought was the most superstar-filled going into the year just lost to the most bland team possible. The boring selections that you don’t want to make in the heat of the moment when the adrenaline is high are the ones that win you your league.
This is the 2022 Fantasy Football All-Boring Team- the players that for some reason have that sort of stigma that isn’t as electrifying, but is competent enough to perform year-round for their respective value.=
QB- Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
There’s a stark cut-off point in terms of the quarterbacks that put the team on their back that can be enough to carry a team to being a contender, and right there in the middle lies Kirk Cousins. When you think of Kirk Cousins, you likely think of the primetime losses or the “so close, yet so far” games Minnesota has fallen victim to in heartbreaking fashion, or the shots of his coach Mike Zimmer or his receivers looking at him on the sidelines looking at him with potentially-murderous intent. Not only that, but he is immobile in the pocket, he is named Kirk, often mistaken for Kurt on the broadcasts, and he is, to put it lightly, a bit of a dork.
However, he is a perfectly serviceable and fine fantasy quarterback! Kirk has put up a minimum of around 17 points per game in fantasy the past 4 seasons despite having no flash or flair in the process. While he may not get the points rushing the ball as a dual threat, things are also looking up for the Vikings offensively this year- this is a boring man that is about to have Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and now has a head coach who no longer hates his guts. You also get him playing in a division that gets the inept Bears and Lions defenses twice each.
Kirk will now have Kevin O’Connell as head coach. He may be in his first year, but this is still the play caller who unleashed Cooper Kupp’s last monster year with the Rams. Frankly, no new offense scheme can be as limiting as what Kirk has been working with the previous few seasons.
Don’t let the boring guy that grills steaks in tin foil fool you. For his value, Kirk will be consistent enough for you to know exactly what you’re getting week-to-week.
RB- Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
No, it is absolutely not going to be fun taking a player on a team that just traded away Russell Wilson and will either have Drew Lock or Geno Smith at the helm. Penny is also not Kenneth Walker III, the rookie running back taken in the second round that set the college world ablaze at Michigan State. Penny also has the stink of being a major reach in his class and a bit of a disappointment thus far.
But what does Pete Carroll want to do more than anything else? Run the ball!
Penny will get a ton of volume this year in the Seattle offense behind what has now become a strong offensive line. They’ll likely be trailing a lot, but the offensive production has to come from somewhere, and Penny will be the man- he was the RB2 in fantasy on a hot streak last year in the final 4 weeks of the season and showed some momentum as he’s finally becoming healthy. All that while Walker is still developing and suffered a minor injury preseason.
You might never have to watch the Seahawks in a relevant game this season based off of their outlook, but Penny will likely be a turn off and go underdrafted for his potential value. Pennies on the dollar, if you will.
RB- Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
The Browns will be another team that just won’t be fun to watch or root for this season for a whole different set of reasons, but for the past two years, their entire offense has revolved around running the ball. Even with Baker Mayfield slinging the ball with a crutch of an arm, the Browns’ rushing tandem was top 10 in the league. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb have been such a dynamic duo in that scheme that even D’Ernest Johnson thrived when he had to fill in, and now with rumors swirling about Hunt potentially wanting out via a trade, Chubb might be the one that finally establishes himself
as the lead back. He could be going in the middle of the second round for many, but he is an absolute bruiser that runs gloveless, as an old school back, and the scoring for the Browns for the first 11 games is either going to be coming from their ground game, or Jacoby Brissett, who normally stands in the pocket far too long. Brissett standing in the pocket that long is going to result in A LOT of dump-offs to Chubb if he can’t find anything down the field to newly-acquired Amari Cooper or… Anthony Schwartz?
You may not even know what Nick Chubb looks like or sounds like. You may be completely turned off by his crowded backfield or despicable situation in Cleveland. He is still going to be as consistent as can be this year and potentially overachieve on a Browns team full of unknowns.
WR- Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
Christian Kirk is the absolute black sheep of the NFL offseason for NFL GMs. He was no better than the third option when playing in Arizona, and then the annual tradition of terrible Jacksonville overspending to fill out their roster continued when they gave him a 4-year, $72 million deal that made every other superstar wide receiver say, “okay, I’m FAR better than THAT guy,” and the market for receiving threats exploded. There is a terrible stench on this guy that has two first names that never necessarily shined in Arizona, and now he’s going to a team that won 15 games in four years.
And that’s where his upside kicks in.
No, he has proven absolutely nothing outside of being decent out of the slot whenever DeAndre Hopkins was out last year, but he’ll now be the first option in the passing game with Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence was lauded as the next coming of John Elway out of the draft, and we arguably have never given him a level playing field because of his association with Urban Meyer as his excuse for a head coach. Just by merely having Doug Pederson as his coach instead makes this his “real” rookie year to see if that potential can be unlocked.
The Jaguars are still a middling roster everywhere else in a loaded AFC, so that would mean they’re playing from behind and would need to pass often. With no more DJ Chark in Jacksonville, Kirk is now easily going to be the first option even if it means loading up garbage time stats.
WR- Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills
When you think of the Bills’ offense, you think of Josh Allen slinging his rocket passes down the field to Stefon Diggs, arguably a top-5 receiver in the league.
However, you probably also remember the best game played all year last year in the AFC Championship against the Chiefs that featured almost 1000 combined yards of offense between the two teams.
Gabriel Davis’s statline that day? 8 receptions, 201 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Gabriel Davis has a name that looks like it was generated automatically on a Madden Franchise Mode game. However, that last AFC Championship game showed us that when it comes down to the wire, and the other teams are putting all the attention on Diggs, he is an absolutely reliable and firm second option with a ton of chemistry alongside his quarterback. He emerged past Emmanuel Sanders and developed throughout 2022, and that rise will only continue from a fantasy perspective as this Bills team is slated to dominate the AFC East. He is the definition of upside going into 2023 being on the upward trajectory that he has been on as a young and budding receiver. No it is not fun drafting high on a receiver that’s not a number one, but this Bills team is going to score enough points that their #2 almost beats the rest of the league’s primary weapon.